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Sanctuary for plantitos opens in Aklan

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BALETE, Aklan—Unknown to many, a sanctuary for plantitas aimed at conserving exotic fruits and flowers has been opened to tourists and travelers at Barangay Fulgencio Norte, Balete, Aklan.

The site is in the eastern district, almost 90 minutes away from Caticlan by land. Gemma Ruiz Beldia, 50, owner of Arge Fruity and Flower Farm, told the Boracay Island News Network that she decided to establish the said farm in remembrance of her lost child.

“The child when he was still alive asked me what a star apple looks like,” she said.

This prompted her to dream of building a sanctuary that would preserve exotic and endangered flowers and fruits. She inherited her passion for cultivating gardens from her parents, who are both plantitas, a colloquial word for an individual who loves to care for plants.

Beldia hails from Digos City in Mindanao.

“The Arge Farm is a seven-hectare-wide sanctuary. It is still forty percent complete, which means that there will be a lot of development that may still happen,” she said.

Currently, the farm offers various attractions to tourists, such as camping, glamping, stargazing at night, a swimming pool, a grill station, a pyramid attic good for families,  a bonfire area, and a lot of greenery.

The farm entrance tour is P40 for adults and P20 for children. For overnight campers, the fee is almost at P50 per individual minimum of six pax.