A Hobby Becomes a Source of Livelihood During the Pandemic

Since 2018, Josefina Bunquin of Alcala, Pangasinan has been growing different varieties of bougainvilleas. Some are common, semi-rare, and rare.

She used to plant hibiscus but she later realized that the amount of insecticide that it demands would pose a health risk, especially to her lungs. She then switched into planting bougainvillea.

As her plant collection grew, she decided to build a 500 square meter-wide greenhouse. This is where she places ready-to-sell bougainvillea and where walk-in buyers can pick up and purchase plants. She also has a separate area for propagation and cutting.

The business side

Growing bougainvillea does not only make Josefina happy and stress-free, but she also earns from it. She sells her plants from P50 to P1000, depending on the flower’s variety. In a month, she gets to sell more than 200 plants per month, depending on the demand and how many she can provide.

hobby to business

Image: Facebook – Garden/Farm of Danie Sam

She was also able to provide jobs to other people in her community. In the beginning, Josefina only has her friend to help her tend to the garden. Now, she employs three regular helpers.

When she was expanding and renovating her garden, she hired some carpenters from their area, as well.

The implementation of the community quarantine has become a blessing in disguise for her. Since most couriers cannot ship out products due to the strict travel restrictions, nearby co-sellers and growers would drop by to visit her garden.

hobby to business

Image: Facebook – Garden/Farm of Danie Sam

“When they discover that I have a good number of bougainvillea variations and that I only sell healthy and well-taken care of plants, more resellers and collectors came to me,” Josefina shares.

Though the demands for plants increased during the quarantine period, the prices of her plants did not change.

“One of the reasons why my patrons keep coming back for more is because I offer cheaper prices compared to the other sellers. I do not charge extravagant prices for my plants. Just enough to earn a profit,” she explains.