The limited number of cargoes arriving in Puerto Princesa bringing in flowers is driving up its local prices as Valentine’s Day nears, according to florists.
Flower shop owners in the city they buy their supplies from Cebu because of the quality of its flowers, but the pandemic has affected the flights from the province ranging from two to one, or sometimes, none at all.
Emie of Emie’s Floral Design said that a bundle of roses now costs between P1,400 to P1,800 from their supplier in the Dangwa Flower Market and in Baguio. She said this is way higher than the previous prices that range from P1,300 to P1,350.
“Medyo hirap at saka may kamahalan ang mga bulaklak, mas mataas kumpara sa dati. Dala siguro na ganito ang naging sitwasyon sa atin. Nagkaroon ng pandemic, bumabawi ‘yong iba sa plantation, mahal ang presyo ng bulaklak,” Emie said.
She said a single flower bouquet now costs P200, while a dozen set is P1,800. The price of roses per stem, which was previously sold at P50 to P70, has increased to P100. Aside from roses, other varieties that are in demand, such as carnations and sunflowers, are now P150.
The Malaysian mum, which is one of the cheapest flowers, sells for P50 per stem during the season and is expected to drop to around P40 to P45 on regular days, she said.
“Ngayon ang supply ay from Dangwa papunta sa atin. Na-o-offload nga tulad kahapon kaya nasunog ‘yong aming flowers, buti na lang walang roses kasi ang roses ay madaling masira,” she explained.
Flower seller Marife Sales, who used to order supplies from Cebu due to cheaper prices, decided to order flowers from Dangwa and Baguio. However, fewer harvest of flowers has been observed in Baguio, prompting her to import supplies from China and Ecuador.
“Dangwa pa rin [at] Baguio, pero ngayon ay more imported flowers kasi kumonti ang supply ng Baguio. Wala naman flight ang Cebu to Palawan, whole month of February, dahil sa sitwasyon. Sabi nila one week before na may flight tapos noong medyo malapit na ‘yong [week] ngayon, nakaraan lang namin nalaman na cancelled lahat ng flights ng Cebu Pac,” Sales said.
Her imported roses range from P350 to P500 per single stem and her sunflowers’ prices have increased from P250 to P350 per stem.
“Challenge talaga ‘yong cargo at saka ‘yong supplies ng flowers kasi triple ang itinaas, cargo nga ay triple rin ang itinaas. Ito ay advance ko na-i-order, two weeks na noong in-order ko ito. Kinuha na ng supplier lahat ng order kasi short sa flowers,” she said.
“Mas mura-mura pa nga ‘yong imported kaunti, mag-imported ka na lang kaso kawawa rin ‘yong supplier ng Baguio kapag hindi kami kumuha. Di ba noong nakaraan tinapon na lang nga nila, noong Undas, naawa kami sa bulaklak, nasira,” she added.
Due to the price increase of flowers and limited supply, Marilyn Solon who has been running a shop for decades is uncertain if she can still recover this Valentine’s season.
“Napakahirap talaga, napakahirap. Napakatumal ngayon, ito lang pinadala sa amin, dalawang karton samantalang last year sampung karton iyan. Ang rose ay nasa P1,500 (per bundle) plus pamasahe napakalaki,” she said.
Solon said that her clients also prefer flowers like roses and stargazers during the season, which have increased prices from around P50 to P100.
Solon said she recorded a lesser number of reservations this 2021 compared to the previous years and like other sellers in the city, she is also hoping that the number of buyers will increase on Valentine’s Day for them to recover their expenses.
The prices of bouquets also depend on the style of arrangements, her pricing ranges from around P350 to P1,500 and P1,800.
Aside from flowers, her store is also offering stuffed toys and chocolates as alternative gifts this season.
“Sana nga pagpalain kami ng Panginoon na marami ang mag-order sa amin. Talagang nangangamba rin kami, may mga putol pa, walang laman. Malaman sa 14 kung makabawi. Ang problema ngayon ay supply talaga,” she said expressing her hopes a few days before the Valentine’s Day celebration on Sunday.