THE BOUGAINVILLEA KING is not found in Bay, Laguna, where many landscapers in Metro Manila source their requirements for their landscaping projects. Rather, he is found in Brgy. Manalpac in Solsona, Ilocos Norte.
Considered the Bougainvillea King is John Teodoro, 50, currently the general manager of the Ilocos Norte Water District, but who finds time managing his own farm projects. At any one time, he has 60,000 blooming baougainvilleas in his one-hectare nursery. We have visited other nurseries in Laguna, Davao, Cebu, Iloilo and elsewhere but no single nurseryman propagates as many bougainvilleas as John.
John does not propagate the fancy or rare varieties that collectors usually look for. What he does is to multiply the floriferous variety with red flowers. His main target market is the provincial government which has a program of planting flowering plants along the highways. Bougainvillea is one such plant that is highly suitable for that purpose.
The provincial government is not the only buyer, though. There are private landscapers not only in Ilocos Norte but from other provinces who buy his flowering plants at P75 apiece. One landscaper who recently bought 900 pieces was John Agbigay from Batac City.
While John is propagating bougainvilleas for commercial purposes, he does not keep to himself the technique of multiplying this flowering ornamental. In fact, he often demonstrates to women’s groups that visit his farm how to multiply bougainvillea. And he also tells them how they can make money from it.
PALAWAN CHERRY – Aside from bougainvilleas, he propagates other plants in big numbers albeit not as many as bougainvillea. He is probably the only propagator who has right now 3,000 seedlings of Palawan cherry, an indigenous species that is prized for its beautiful flowers.
He said that Gov. Imee Marcos had asked him if he had Palawan Cherry for a beautification project.. He had none. That gave him, however. the idea of ordering seeds from Jesus Romasanta, the general manager of Puerto Princesa Water District. Today, he has no less than 3,000 seedlings available. He is not yet releasing any now because Ilocos Norte might need it for its own beautification project.
MAHOGANY –Propagating mahogany is another pet project of John. He is currently preparing 100,000 black plastic bags for sowing mahogany seeds. He also has in stock at least 30,000 seedlings that are about 4 feet tall, ready for planting. And there are also large planting materials that are at least eight feet tall.
In previous years, he sold thousands of them to a government agency for reforesting purposes. But there are also private land owners who are buying their requirements. He is also encouraging even the smallhold farmers to plant forest trees. In fact, if the farmer needs only 20 seedlings or thereabouts, he will give the seedlings for free.
If the seedlings are overgrown and there are no buyers, John will plant them in his own property or somewhere else.
DUHAT SEEDLINGS – John has also germinated thousands of duhat seeds. He thought of this because this is one tree that could be planted in the bare mountains. If they will eventually come to fruiting stage, their fruits could be made into duhat wine.
He has also germinated a lot of McArthur palms which are among the favorites of landscapers.
FISH PONDS – Water is plentiful in Solsona, particularly where John has his farms. That is why he has his own fishponds. One is where he has his nursery. There, he grows a lot of orange or colored tilapia which are sometimes allowed to grow into more than a kilo in size. In fact, there are some that weigh three kilos.
John’s tilapia are not for commercial purposes. Most of them are served to visiting friends or for home consumption. When his three children were still studying, he used to harvest his fish for sale for the children’s school expenses. Now that that they are all professionals and are working, he does not have to sell his fish anymore.
In front of his house, there are two small ponds that are fed by a spring from the mountain. Here, he grows his favorite giant gourami. A bigger number of his gourami, however, is grown in one pond near his mango plantation. Two other ponds over there are used for growing colored and gray tilapias.
Unlike most other fishponds, John constructed his ponds differently. Instead of excavating the soil, he built a dike around them. He volunteered to excavate the pond of a neighbor with manual laborers so he could get enough filling materials for his dikes. The neighbor was of course happy because he had his own pond built practically for free.
John considers himself a self-made man. When he was a small boy, he spent his young years with a relative in Laoag City, At that time he sold pan de sal in the morning and also cleaned the motorcycle of his relative. Through hard work, he was able to finish a course in civil engineering which has landed him in his current executive position in government.