Thursday, October 29, 2009

An Artist's Garden in Tagaytay

Our party met up with artist Popo San Pascual in Bali Paluto Resto in the Taal Lake rim. Popo was with friend/neighbor, Mrs. Ging delos Reyes. We had a sumptuous lunch and interesting conversations regarding plants and travelling. Mrs. delos Reyes invited us to have dessert in another Tagaytay resto (which I could only remember as Mossimo, but isn't that an underwear brand?). The establishment served home made ice cream which is renowned in the area. I ordered Belgian chocolate and indeed the chocolate was so rich and tasty, coupled with enjoying a picturesque view while dining on their lanai balcony. Mrs. delos Reyes had to go back to her farm and our company, along with Popo, headed for his Tagaytay hideaway.

Popo's family house is a few hundred meters from the Tagaytay ridge and encompasses around roughly a hectare land. When we entered the property, the landscape looked a bit rugged and wild but with a lot of familiar plant species, which Popo collected and cared for in the last 15 years. Ronald had always raved about Popo's garden and I had mixed thoughts about its first impression on me. In closer look the random landscape revealed some finds like Agloanemas, Pandans and Macarangas, but nothing like what Ronald marvelously described.

Eventually Popo led us deeper into his sanctum, which started to resemble what Ronald painted in my mind. Pathways with staghorn ferns, native and exotic orchids, gingers and a huge katmon tree led to nooks and crannies and eventually a sunken area where Popo kept most of his prized possessions. It included a lot of species I have not seen before. Popo served us freshly brewed coffee, beans picked from his own tree, which we enjoyed while admiring the impressive collection. Later on we were led even deeper into the lot opening up into other themed gardens include a manicured English garden which they rent out for weddings.

After giving us the tour, Popo brought us back near his studio to where his propagations were. We were after all there to fetch what popo has promised, the 2 specimens of voyavoy or the batanes palm. Popo obliged us with a few extra native tree seedlings. By sundown we were already loading up our second loot to the back of Ronald's pick up truck and a few more hours we were on our way back to Manila, satisfied with our day's accomplishment and a vehicle load of native specimens for the park .

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