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OISCA Sunflower Garden Family Trip | Bago City

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OISCA Sunflower Garden is for everyone

Towards the end of the month of September, my Facebook newsfeed has been flooded with posts about the OISCA sunflower garden. Since my daughters love flowers, a visit there was just a must for our family.

OISCA Sunflower Garden - sunflowers - uses of sunflowers - symbolism of sunflowers - family travel - mommy blogger - Bacolod mommy blogger - Negros Occidental
Our family enjoying the sunny scene at the OISCA Sunflower Garden in Brgy. Tabunan, Bago City, Negros Occidental.

Not So Good A Day

The OISCA Sunflower garden is located within the property of the OISCA in Brgy. Tabunan, Bago City, Negros Occidental, Philippines. We went there towards the end of the peak of their blooms, as we couldn’t find the time before that. The weekend before, Shane and I has to travel for two days in order to attend the Grow Happy Nation in Cebu.

OISCA Sunflower Garden - sunflowers - uses of sunflowers - symbolism of sunflowers - family travel - mommy blogger - Bacolod mommy blogger - Negros Occidental
I had to let the girls wear long pants and some sleeves because I thought they might brush their skin on the fibrous stalks and get rashes.

So on the day that we decided to go there, it wasn’t exactly a good one. Something happened that stirred my personal space. I was crying all the way to the OISCA. To make matters worse, rain clouds threatened in the horizon while we were about to leave the house. I was highly emotional while the eldest kept praying that God would grant us even just a few minutes with the flowers. We just had to see the sunflowers that day.

OISCA Sunflowers of Hope

For me, and for a lot of people as well, no other flower can lift my spirits up like the sunflowers. Even just looking at a photo of a field, like the one at the OISCA Sunflower Garden, gives me a warm and happy feeling. A sunflower garden photo is also a nice screensaver for the computer. hehe

Why? Just by their appearance, sunflowers are bright and cheery. It exudes warmth, like the sweet summer sun. With its brilliant yellow petals, which are also aptly called as “rays,” sunflowers have the unmistakable sun-like appearance. Hence, its name. When it’s rainy and gloomy, looking at photos of sunflowers is simply uplifting for me.

And lastly, it’s yellow. People who know me also know that I like the color yellow. In food, I associate it with being yummy, creamy, and buttery. In other things, I associate the color yellow with life. 🙂 Heck, our car is also yellow!

Symbolism of Sunflowers

They say that sunflowers symbolize adoration, loyalty, and even longevity. Not if these are true, as much of the meaning of sunflowers was derived from the sun itself. They are unique because they have the ability to provide energy in the form of nourishment and vibrancy.

Meanwhile, artists throughout the ages have loved the sunflower’s splendor. Those from the Impressionist era were especially fixated on the flower, which is why we have a lot of famous oil paintings with these as subjects. The most notable sunflower paintings were by the brush of famed Dutch painter, Vincent van Gogh, who made a series of them. Furthermore, some native societies have also used the images of sunflowers as religious symbols.

OISCA Sunflower Garden - sunflowers - uses of sunflowers - symbolism of sunflowers - family travel - mommy blogger - Bacolod mommy blogger - Negros Occidental
Our pretty Dindin is growing like a lovely flower.

Wild sunflowers are often photographed with their tall stalks with their bright petals stretching towards the sun. This interesting behavior is known as phototropism and has inspired many ancient works.

Moreover, sunflowers are also known for being “happy” flowers, making them the perfect gift to bring joy to someone’s day.

Uses of Sunflowers

For many centuries, sunflowers have been cultivated for food. It was reported that these happy flowers originated in the Americas in 1,000 B.C.

Today, sunflowers remain a highly recognized flower. It is admired for its sunny charm and delightful disposition, like a young lady in the spring of youth.

But they are also planted for their seeds. Sunflower seeds are like a staple in our home. My in-laws, husband, and kids, love to much on the seeds. They have great health benefits, too.

OISCA Sunflower Garden - sunflowers - uses of sunflowers - symbolism of sunflowers - family travel - mommy blogger - Bacolod mommy blogger - Negros Occidental
Our funny Shane. Among sunflowers, she’s the ladybug.

Its oil is also a premium item, as it is used for cooking and beauty products. I used to apply sunflower oil on my daughter’s hair every night and the result was a beautifully conditioned mane. It is for this purpose that OISCA is growing sunflowers–for its oil.

Other uses of sunflowers:

  • Medicine for respiratory ailments, like bronchitis, using the head
  • Oil is used for salad dressings
  • An ingredient in margarine and shortening
  • Seed cake is given to livestock for food
  • Hulls are used for manufacturing ethyl alcohol
  • Dried stems may be used for fuel
  • Fiber from stems may be used for fabric and paper

Vandalism at the OISCA Sunflower Garden

Where there is a good thing, there would also be people who just want to sabotage it. The OISCA sunflowers were not spared from the work of vandals. Some of them could have been children who were not briefed about how to behave in such a setting.

OISCA Sunflower Garden - sunflowers - uses of sunflowers - symbolism of sunflowers - family travel - mommy blogger - Bacolod mommy blogger - Negros Occidental
A sunflower garden is not new to my kids. Their grandparents have also grown these for their yard and you can see their picture in my post, Parenting in the Digital Age. They have also planted some of the seeds there. But at OISCA, the farm was just breathtaking because there are thousands of sunflowers in full bloom at the same time.

We know that the OISCA sunflower garden is a novelty in Negros Occidental, but the behavior of some people wasn’t. I was just dismayed, because I am one of those who care about nature. Honestly, I would get hurt whenever I see a tree being chopped down. I am peeved when people just pick on leaves or cut branches just to kill their boredom. At this age, I still do not understand these people and their motives.

We teach manners to our kids, even just basic restaurant manners. When we leave home and go somewhere, we remind them of do’s and don’ts. Of course, they are not perfect and they are kids. So we would remind them again wherever we are, how to act accordingly. These are just basic rules so that they will grow up to become considerate, kind, and responsible human beings. You may or may not be homeschooling like us, but I believe that basic manners should be taught at home.

About OISCA

The OISCA of Bago City is under the OISCA International of Japan. It is a non-profit organization that focuses on Community and Human Resource Development. They achieve their mission through capacity building, agriculture and environmental conservation and restoration.

In Bago City, the whole operations are already independently run by Mr. Watanabe Shigeme and his wife Thelma. This is the first time that they are growing sunflowers for the seeds, from which they intend to extract the oils. In a land area of about 2,500 square meters, they planted approximately 3,200 sunflowers last August.

OISCA Sunflower Garden - sunflowers - uses of sunflowers - symbolism of sunflowers - family travel - mommy blogger - Bacolod mommy blogger - Negros Occidental
Mr. and Mrs. Watanabe during the peak of the blooms at the OISCA Sunflower Garden. Aren’t you a tad happier just looking at this photo?

By about the last week of September, they opened the OISCA Sunflower Garden to the public. People could just go there and enjoy the flowers and have their pictures taken. No entrance fees were required and you can stay for as long as you like during the day. A donation box was just placed at the entrance for anyone who wants to help out for the upkeep.

Happiness for Thousands

Thousands of people have flocked to the OISCA during the short period when the sunflowers were in full bloom. In one day, the highest number of visitors they recorded was more than 10,000! Whoa!

As of October 4, the sunflowers already took a bow. They will soon be harvested.

Being part of the thousands of people who were very happy to have visited the OISCA Sunflower Garden, thank you very much OISCA! Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Watanabe! While a few people chose to vandalize and destroy nature, they were the exceptions. For the rest of us, you are a gem.

Find OISCA on the map.


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28 thoughts on “OISCA Sunflower Garden Family Trip | Bago City

  1. I love your article! This makes us aware that there are good people and bored people. Lol. The good news is that OISCA can plant another field of flowers for us to enjoy.

    1. hahahaha I found your take-away from this post so hilarious. 🙂 Hope OISCA won’t get tired planting sunflowers and allowing us all to visit again. 🙂

  2. Lovely family! And what a beautiful sunflower farm. Bacolodnons are lucky to have this so we could easily cling to nature whenever we want to. That’s why we have to preserve our sunflowers and respect them.

  3. I love sunflowers, they are the most beautiful flowers out there! I remember actually reading recently about a sunflower field that closed its doors forever to visitors because of how people vandalized and damaged the area. Such a shame!

    1. See, that sucks! I wonder how people can be so cruel to plants when these don’t do anything except give beauty and fresh air to the world. 🙁

  4. Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers! I’ve always wanted to visit a sunflower field. I had no idea they had so many benefits.

  5. I currently have sunflowers sitting on my dining room table, and I keep having to turn them every day as they keep turning towards the sun 🙂 It’s beautiful. I didn’t know however, that sunflowers symbolize adoration, loyalty, and longevity. That’s pretty amazing!

  6. Looks like a great family trip at OISCA. I love the article very much. And one more thing those sunflower is very big in size never saw in India.

  7. Your daughter Shane looks so adorable in her lady bug like sunglasses. Who can resist the beauty of this sunflower field. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience.

  8. Those sunflowers are the bomb! Is it okay to pick-up few seeds from the ground to take home?
    Sunflowers gives an instant delight!

    1. From the ground, I guess, yes. But I don’t think there were already fallen seeds, as the sunflowers were still in full bloom. The field is not really a park. They are growing them for the sunflower oil, so they need the seeds. 😀

  9. The OISCA sunflower farm is really nice. Much nicer because it was free. I just wish we were able to go there when the flowers were still new. And also if we had more time. It started to drizzle when we got there, so we had to leave hastily, as we had kids with us. Hopefully, they will grow more next year. We will be sure to go there early and during the early morning, too. Thank you OISCA for bringing joy through sunflowers.

  10. These sunflowers are so pretty! It looks like it was a great quick trip with your family. Road trips are so much fun! Thanks for teaching more about the meaning of sunflowers.

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