10 Nov 2020
The Philippines is experiencing a new trend during the ongoing pandemic, as citizens have become more interested in gardening, making way for the newly coined “plantdemic”.
Plant prices have increased as well as a rise in poaching from public parks and protected forests. The pandemic has changed our normal lives but many Filipinos discovered their green thumb and started to cultivate their backyards and balconies.
Landscape gardener Alvin Chingcuangco noted, "It's unbelievable. People are super interested in plants these days.” Some of the monsteras were being sold for 55,000 pesos. Before the pandemic, such plants were being sold for just 800 pesos.
Arlene Gumera-Paz, a Manila plant seller also pointed out that as soon as her business resumed after the lockdown, her daily turnover tripled. "It's hard to understand people. When plants were cheap, they were ignored.”
Prices of alocasias, spider plants and peace lilies soared in their price, but were still in demand. Additionally, some plants on the market may not have been legally bought, authorities said.
Maria Christina Rodriguez, Zamboanga regional director for the Department of Energy and Natural Resources affirmed, "Prior to the pandemic we hadn't observed many plant poachers. This only became popular during lockdown."
"Maybe it's because of boredom or they want to generate income,” Rhenan Diwas, officer in charge of the Baguio City Environment and Parks Management Office said.