DURING the pandemic, gardening and planting became therapy to some people. As everyone in the world stayed within the confines of their homes looked for a diversion despite the terrifying news about deaths and uncertainties, planting gave peace of mind. Locally, the term plantitos and plantitas populated our social news feed where even celebrities joined the fad. Some plants they owned commanded high-value appraisals, which made the new-found hobby attractive to all ages.
"The idea of planting a seed and you see it grow gives a sense of hope and the thrill of making it stay alive which is translated on how we deal with the pandemic is what drives plantitos and plantitas immerse into this new fad, " said Janina Fernando-Lagman, an aroid enthusiast who, together with her friend, Meg Gonzales staged the “Pampanga Aroid Plant Swap for a Cause.”
The event happened on December 5, 2020, at the Benjamin Tacos Restaurant and Quesadilla in Lubao, Pampanga. It intended to gather aroid plant enthusiasts and create a community that can come from other regions.
"We also want to regulate the value of every plant, which poachers and resellers tried to sell at towering prices as they ride on the ride," said Meg.
Meg and Janina were already planting and gardening which started some few years back and had the precise idea of how much aroids or plants in general cost.
A couple of months ago, social media went crazy when news about a P2-million worth of succulent named B.G Regale was stolen from a plant nursery called Arid and Aroids Nurseries.
Netizens were in disbelief that a single plant can be an expensive seven-figure price, while others dismissed it as a mere hoax.
"Some plants' prices can be that high because some succulents are hard to produce which takes years to make," said Janina, who is a lawyer based in Pampanga.
She said that one of the goals of the event is to share awareness that plant selling should be regulated. For her, it's a good way to eradicate the exploitative abuse of poachers and hoarders.
The positive feedback of the plantito and plantita community when the invitation of the event was posted online made Meg optimistic about where the project is heading.
"We can say that through swapping and selling, plants can be the new currency in this age of pandemic," Meg shared with optimism.
The event was attended by not less than 50 people. The funds generated will be used for the benefit of the Ulysses survivors in Cagayan that were hit hard by the typhoon in November. (Ruston Banal/Contributor)