Flower Fields Above the Clouds: Northern Blossom, Atok

The Northern Blossom Flower Farm was largely unknown for some time but has been supplying its gorgeous flowers to Metro Manila and even to as far away as Mindanao. A little over three years ago, however, a local TV network featured the 3-hectare farm and mainly because of social media, the secret was soon out.

close-up of orange alstroemerias
Close-up of orange alstroemerias

Hordes of visitors began descending on the place and soon the owners, Mrs. Melany Ganayan and her husband, opened the farm to tourists, eventually erecting two building units to house guests.

cabbage roses at sunrise, Northern Blossom Farm, Atok, Benguet
Rows of cabbage roses at sunrise, Northern Blossom Farm, Atok, Benguet

Northern Blossom had been on our radar for a while and finally last week we made the drive up the highland town of Atok in Benguet province. Wanting to get good views of the place during sunrise we signed up for an overnight stay.

sunrise view at Northern Blossom Flower Farm, Atok
Sunrise view at Northern Blossom

After checking in at our lodging for the night we made our way into the farm entrance, wound our way through a few greenhouses and emerged into the open. The views are stunning to say the least: rows and rows of colorful flora, many of them of a variety rarely seen in the country, with the cloud-covered Cordillera Central mountain range forming a striking background.

view of the Cordilleras from Northern Blossom Flower Farm
The Cordillera mountains form a perfect backdrop for Northern Blossom

It seems that one can point the camera in any direction and still get gorgeous shots. But the views with the clouds and mountains in the background are the best of all. From several vantage points one can even get a good view of Mounts Pulag and Timbak in the distance.

agapanthus flowers and budding everlasting flowers
Agapanthus flowers in the foreground with budding everlasting flowers in the background.

Like the vegetable farms that Atok was famous for before Northern Blossom burst into the picture, the flower patches here are situated on terraced fields. A little exercise and care are needed to get close to most of the flowers.

statice flowers
Statice flowers, also called sea lavenders

Northern Blossom’s popularity has grown partly because of its unique flowers including cabbage roses and snapdragons. The farm staff told us that these cabbage roses are edible but are used mostly for ornamental purposes. The cabbage rose seedlings, like many other flowers in the farm were imported from Japan. Most of the colorful snapdragons were still in their early stages of blooming (and planted inside greenhouses) but the white ones were already in full display.

varieties of cabbage roses
Different varieties of cabbage roses. Yes, they’re edible.
white snapdragons
White snapdragons

The main reason we chose to stay overnight was to get good sunrise views of the place (Northern Blossom faces east). However, a cold front hovering over northern Luzon covered the mountains in thick grayish clouds. There was just a very small opening for the sun’s golden rays to sneak through – almost invisible – but the views were still gorgeous.

rice flowers
Rice flowers
arum lily and a field of hydrangea
Left: Arum lily; Right: A field of hydrangea

Another reason for our overnight stay was to visit the Benguet – Kochi Sisterhood Park in Paoay, still inside the town of Atok. Several sakura (cherry blossom) trees were planted here in 2016 and are now beginning to blossom. Unfortunately, the people at Northern Blossom told us that the park is closed indefinitely due to measures being undertaken by the local government to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

pink, red and orange alstroemerias
Pink, red and orange alstroemerias on the lower slopes of the farm

Actually, Northern Blossom was also scheduled to be closed three days after we arrived for the same reason. With the Coronavirus – now renamed Covid 19 – situation still uncertain it is also unclear when visitors can once again enjoy the farm’s flowers. We’re wishing that won’t be too long as this farm is definitely one of the places in the northern part of the country that should not be missed.

(UPDATE: On February 24, the Northern Blossom Flower Farm, as well as other tourist destinations in Benguet, reopened to the public. However due to the Luzon-wide enhanced quarantine all are currently on lock down again until April 30 at the earliest.)

a flower patch during early morning at Northern Blossom

Tips and How to Get There

Northern Blossom Flower Farm is situated almost in the center of Atok town with the driveway to the farm located just off the main highway from Baguio to Bontoc (the Halsema Highway). The drive to Atok from Baguio City is about 1.5 hours away by private vehicle. The driveway leading to the farm is located on the right side of the highway just before the Atok municipal hall. Look for the signage pointing to Northern Blossom.

view of the Cordilleras from the upper slopes of Northern Blossom Flower Farm

If commuting head up to Baguio first, then board any of the buses going to Bontoc, Besao or Sagada. Get off at the Atok municipal hall or the terminal in front of Marosan’s restaurant and just ask around for directions. Northern Blossom is just walking distance from both places.

You may also take a van at the Dangwa Station in Baguio bound for Abatan or Mankayan. There are also group tours being offered online to take visitors straight to Northern Blossom from Metro Manila.

A day tour of Northern Blossom costs P250 per adult. This includes bread  and unlimited brewed coffee.

pink and white larkspurs with a sprinkling of yellow marigolds
Pink and white larkspurs with a sprinkling of calendulas or pot marigolds.

You can stay overnight like we did at any of the transient rooms inside Northern Blossom. We paid P1800 for 3 people (it’s P1500 for 2) and an additional P250 per person for the farm tour. The rooms are basic but they are clean and have hot water and comfortable beddings. The farm does not offer breakfast or lunch but just head up the town center where you can dine at Marosan’s Restaurant or San Fernando’s Restaurant. The food is good and the prices are astonishingly cheap.

January to April are the best months to visit when most of the flowers, especially the cabbage roses, are in full bloom. January and February happen to be the coldest months also so bring warm clothing when visiting on those months. The coldest temperature we encountered here was 11C but according to one of the farm staff it was 5C the previous week.

7 thoughts on “Flower Fields Above the Clouds: Northern Blossom, Atok

Add yours

  1. Spectacular.

    There was a time when Atok was privileged only for mountaineers.

    I pray the place wont end up the same way as Mount Sto. Tomas in Tuba — closed to tourists due to environmental degradation.

    1. Thanks Elmer!

      There’s a lot of tourists now especially during weekends. Fortunately the farm is just 3 hectares in size and should be easy to maintain. Visitors are not allowed to bring food inside, buti na lang. Not sure about the rest of Atok, though.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: