So, today, I did something ‘different.’ I got a half-day leave from work and drove all the way to the highland barangay of Sirao. If you’re thinking that I wasted 4 precious office hours to accomplish something monumental like joining a feeding program or planting trees in the Butuanon Watershed, then you’re wrong. I travelled a total of 38 kilometers just to get a – wait for it – Celosia Selfie!
The mountain barangay has been in the news lately thanks to the Celosia Selfie craze. So what exactly is this craze about?
First, let’s talk about Celosia. Celosia is a plant which produces yellow, pink, orange, and fiery red ‘flowers.’ Originally from the Netherlands, the flowers first arrived in the city in 1991 after a delegation from Cebu (which toured Haarlemermeer) brought home some seeds. The flower easily caught people’s attention and soon, the Sinulog Foundation started calling it the Official Flower of the Sinulog celebrations. In 2011, the flower was named the Official Sinulog Flower by the Cebu City Hilly Land Management Board. (src)
Yellow Celosia, a prenup pictorial, and a selfie.
So how did the craze start? No one knows for sure. What is known, however, is that the first few selfie photos taken in these fields obviously ‘inspired’ others to also visit a mountain barangay just to see a plant.
Not a selfie but I guess this will do.
Often accompanied by the hashtags #MiniAmsterdam, #CelosiaSelfie, and #Sirao, it is safe to say that this trend is now the hottest thing in Cebu since #siomai and #tuslobbuwa.
This stretch from Ayala Heights to Barangay Guba is normally quiet and sleepy.
These days, however, finding a parking space is now an actual problem in these parts.
To access the flower fields, visitors are required to pay PhP 20 each. It is said that the fee is for the maintenance work and all the plants which will surely be crushed by some selfie-hungry visitors.
It’s early in the morning and the fields are now teeming with life.
Selfie takers have now completely taken over the fields.
The fields are often referred to as Cebu’s very own #MiniAmsterdam due to its similarity to the tulip fields of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
According to news reports, this batch, which was planted back in July, was scheduled for cutting last October 27.
However, due to the unexpectedly huge foot traffic, the owners decided to postpone the cutting indefinitely and ask visitors to pay an ‘entrance fee,’ instead. One of the flower vendors I spoke with said that the money the owners raised from the entrance fee alone was probably already two times bigger than the projected income for the whole field.
My mom, of course, demanded a solo shot.
And another one.
Beyond the fields is a beautiful view of the lush mountains of Cebu City and the town of Balamban.
Benefiting greatly from the sudden influx of visitors are the flower farmers – both from the main farm and from other smaller nearby fields. Instead of shelling out a fortune to pay for the delivery of their produce, they can now sell their items right in their front yard.
Aside from the Celosia Flower (local name Burlas,) other types of flowers are also grown and sold in this farm. This one is called “Tapay-Tapay.”
African Daisies are also extremely popular among visitors.
Visit the Celosia Flower Farms of Barangay Sirao, Cebu City now!