By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao

Ramil and Angie Libunao, both from San Miguel, Bulacan, have been married for 25 years. Aside from sharing in the bond of matrimony, the couple also shares a mutual love for growing different kinds of plants.

Their house is surrounded by verdant greens, and it’s not because they live in the province. The couple grows different types of plants, from flowering ones to vegetables.

“Siya [si Angie] talaga yung mahilig sa halaman. Nag-umpisa siya na parang hobby lang hanggang sa naisip namin na kung kaya namin buhayin yung ibang klase. Nagustuhan ko din paglipas ng ilang taon kaya madami kaming tinanim sa harap ng bahay,” Ramil said. 

Ramil and Angie Libunao.

Ramil explained that the plants in their garden are a result of his and Angie’s determination to grow something on the empty space located at their house.

The pair met while they were working at a chicharon joint in Bulacan that was owned by Ramil’s uncle Bert Libunao. Their professional relationship slowly blossomed into a courtship, and soon into a lifelong commitment.

Now, they have three kids and house that was built by Ramil himself. The front of their house is ladened with plants that are both eye-catching and beneficial to the family.

How Their Home Garden Came to Be

Their home garden started out small, with a variety of durable houseplants like snake plants because these require minimal care. Soon, they added a variety of new acquisitions to their garden. 

At present, they have a wide array of greenery like cacti, succulents, ferns, and even vegetables such as ampalaya (bitter gourd), eggplant, and chilies.

“‘Pag may nakita kaming maganda sa mga garden ng kapitbahay, nanghihingi kami ng seeds tapos tinatanong din namin paano siya patubuin,” Ramil said.

He said that asking for cuttings or seeds from the neighbors is a practical way to get new kinds of plants while establishing a friendly relationship with others who share the same interest.

Angie and Ramil also grow vegetables, which Angie serves in different dishes once they’re ripe enough to harvest. 

“Nilalaga ko yung ampalaya para may makain kami. Practical na, healthy pa,” Angie said.

Aside from plants, the couple also raises pigs, which they sell at a reasonable price or use for special occasions like birthdays or fiestas.

Care for the Plants

When it comes to caring for their garden, Angie provides the basic needs of their plot by watering the plants, fertilizing them, and doing what she can to keep pests like aphids at bay.

She said that growing a garden needs more than just “seeing” that the plants are growing.

“Kailangan nandoon ka din sa garden mo. Dapat nakabantay ka kasi di naman ibig sabihin na mukha pa siyang okay, okay pa din talaga siya. Kailangan alam mo kung may problema para maagapan mo din agad,” she said.

As for Ramil, he advises that plants should be treated with respect and care, as any person should be. 

The Libunao’s home garden consists of plants that range from houseplants to vegetables.

“Parang ‘pag may asawa lang; dapat marunong ka makiramdam kung may problema, alagaan mo, at siyempre mahalin mo. ‘Di ka naman pumasok sa pag-aasawa o pagtubo ng halaman dahil trip mo lang. Dapat pagtiyagaan mo talaga,” he said.

The pair are hoping to get more plant varieties to add to their garden, which gives a vibrant touch to their house and allows the couple bond over something they both find enjoyable.