Side Trip In Atok: Northern Blossom Flower Farm [2022.01.15]

The Northern Blossom Flower Farm was really the highlight of my trip to Baguio. Before we go any further, we had planned this part of the trip before even COVID hit. We were planning to go right after Panagbenga in 2020, not knowing that we were all going on lockdown. Two years later, we finally got to do it!

We were worried before going because we thought it would be closed or there would be checkpoints. So, I went to Dangwa terminal the day before to ask around. According to a blog I read, you can take any bus or van going to Mankayan, Abatan, Lepanto, Sagada, Bontoc, or Besao. When I got there, the only vans available were going to Lepanto. I did not see any buses at all. The drivers did say that Northern Blossom is closed, but there are no checkpoints. That makes sense because the vans do not have Atok as their final stop, so if there are going to be checkpoints each time they pass a new town or municipality then that will be a huge hassle. And that is all we really need to know – as long as we could get to Atok, we’re okay, we were going to take our chances. And I’m so glad we did!

We woke up early, planned to leave at 4am but we ended up leaving the apartment at around 5am. The van that was available then was going to Mankayan, which is okay because that will pass through Atok. However, since they still need to wait for passengers and for the van to fill up, we waited for almost 2 hours before we actually got to leave the terminal for Atok. We prepared for a cold morning in Atok, but we ended up leaving Baguio with the sun out. One and a half-hour later, we were in Atok!

The driver dropped us off right where Northern Blossom Flower Farm, and gave us instructions on where we can hire someone to take us around Atok and where we can find a van that will take us back to Baguio. Btw, we paid PHP170 each for the van.


Northern Blossom Flower Farm

We got here at around 8:00 am on a Saturday, and it was open. They had signs at the reception area that Atok Tourism is closed, and Northern Blossom Flower Farm is on soft opening. They encourage making reservations by calling 0908 151 3368 – we didn’t know about this and that was our plan anyway, we’d just show up hoping they won’t turn us away seeing we traveled 1.5 hours from Baguio. The entrance fee for adults is PHP250 and they are closed every Sunday.

You can also buy flowers and plants from here obviously and if you don’t mind traveling with them all the way back to Manila, I would encourage buying from here because it is way way inexpensive to buy from here. Cy and Gab bought everlasting and I was really tempted to buy some new succulents, but I was staying a few more days in Baguio and my backpack was already super bulky and I had my laptop, too. If you drove to Baguio, then even better – buy some plants from them!

We were lucky because I think there were only about 5 or 6 groups before us and they don’t crowd the place. They make sure they wait for some time before taking the next group to the entrance of the farm. The receptionist just provided us some instructions that it is one-way, spend as much time as you want in a specific area because you cannot go back. Social distancing was definitely not an issue when we were here.

We can all agree though that the highlight of the Northern Blossom is the cabbage roses. The whole flower farm is really pretty though. My favorites, though were the hydrangeas. Our driver later told us that the cabbage roses were frozen the day before we got there because it was too cold.

The last stretch of the tour was unexpectedly tiring. When you are on the way to the cabbage roses field, it’s going down so obviously, going back to the reception area would require going up a lot of stairs. That was hella tiring! But at the end of the stairs, you get free coffee and you get to sip it while being surrounded by a lot of beautiful plants and succulents.


After a few hours at the Northern Blossom Flower Farm, we walked to Marosan Restaurant where we hired a vehicle to take us to Haight’s Place and the Highest Point.


Haight’s Place

Ok, I’m just going to be really honest – this was disappointing. I contemplated if I want to talk about this because I definitely held back when I posted these photos on Instagram. However, I want to be honest on my own blog and set proper expectations for people who want to go here.

I definitely suggest doing your research. I admit it was partly our fault because we barely researched this place since we weren’t really 100% sure that we’d be able to make the Atok side trip happen and to be perfectly honest, we devoted all of our internet sleuthing for the Northern Blossom Flower Farm.

However, I think the place should also be more transparent. After the fact, I checked their social media pages, there are barely any posts about any updates of the sakura trees. I couldn’t help but compare this to two gardens that I planned to visit (in La Trinidad and in Tagaytay). For example, Celine and I planned to go to Sunflower Farmville in Tagaytay last December but when I checked their Facebook page, they were very transparent about the current height of their sunflowers. I wish Haight’s Place had a similar approach since obviously, people come here for the sakura trees.

The entrance fee for this place is PHP150, and I’m sorry to say that I felt like it was a waste of money. Sure, there are other flowers, too, however, I’m pretty sure that most of the people who go here have also been to the Northern Blossom Flower Farm so I don’t think the flowers here would excite people just the same. After paying the entrance fee, it was only then that we were informed that the flowers usually start to bloom in March or April, which makes sense since cherry blossoms usually bloom during spring. But then, let’s go back to the transparency in information or maybe the person at the entrance could’ve set our expectations. But there was none of that, and that left a sour taste in my mouth.

I don’t know where I heard it, but I really thought there were many options for food here. But there is only one restaurant. I don’t know why there’s so much fake news about this place. LOL. I must admit though that the restaurant is really pretty. The pancakes that we had as a snack was really delicious.

We were all disappointed so after our snack, we didn’t really explore the place anymore and went to our next stop. There was another much bigger group with us there and it was a family of 10 to 15 people. Just imagine how much that entire group paid, they were also complaining and were disappointed. I guess the bottom line is, it is still premature if you are coming here solely for the cherry blossoms. Come here after I dunno, maybe 5 years, maybe the trees would be more mature by then. To end this, my biggest takeaway is to do your research and manage your expectations.s.


Highest Point

I’m so glad we were able to visit the highest point landmark! We were so freaking close to Mt. Timbak! By the way, I found out that this is no longer the highest point of the Philippine Highway System as of 2019. The new crown holder (LOL) is a portion of the highway in Tinoc, Ifugao.

Also, if you’re going to Atok, you will pass by this half-tunnel. It is pretty crazy! Halsema Highway is also one of the most dangerous roads in the world.

Photo from: http://tarakahitsaan.com/benguet/atok/natumpukan-half-tunnel/detail

Since the situation is much better now, Baguio is even going to hold Panagbenga this year in March, so I’m sure that Atok Tourism will be opening soon, too. Or maybe it has already opened.

Talk to me~