These Entrepreneurs Share the Joys of Being a Plant Parent
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These Entrepreneurs Share the Joys of Being a Plant Parent

These Entrepreneurs Share the Joys of Being a Plant Parent

Business & Career | August 26, 2021
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With the plantita and plantito trend going strong, these entrepreneurs show you that there’s no better time to be a plant parent than now.

During the pandemic, people have been turning their homes into green sanctuaries. No wonder our social media feeds have been flooded with photos of proud plant parents and their leafy babies!

These plant lovers have soon adopted adorable nicknames to match their green thumb. They call themselves “plantitos” and “plantitas”—a portmanteau of plant and Tito (uncle) or Tita (auntie).

There are varying degrees of being a plant lover. Some choose to raise cacti in pretty, tiny pots, while others like indoor plants with giant leaves. On the other hand, some plant parents opt for a practical approach—by raising edible plants like herbs and vegetables. In that same vein, they too have adorned their homes differently. Some take the minimalist approach by adding potted plants in strategic corners of their homes, while others opt to thrive in an indoor jungle.

Nevertheless, these plants advocate all believe in the same school of thought—that there is a soul in plants. Here’s why these entrepreneurs chose to find joy in plants, despite their busy schedules amid the pandemic.

MICHELLE ASENSE-FONTELERA: Founder and President of Zen Zest Asia Inc. (Plant Advocate)

Why do you love plants?

I love plants because they give a very positive vibe and atmosphere to your home—both inside and out. Not only does it [help] clean your air, but it also adds color and brings life into your home. For me, it’s [also] natural decoration to your living space. [And] I think that any space always looks better with plants.

What is your favorite plant and why?

My favorite plant is a fiddle leaf fig—given to me by my best friend Sari in 2019. It holds a very, very special place in my heart because it reminds me of her. It never fails to remind me how much she loves me.

She gave that plant to me in July 2019—2 months before she passed. I remember that she was already very sick that time and not feeling well, but she still managed to send me a plant just because she thought it was nice and she thought of me. [To this day], it is my prized possession.

If you were a plant, which one would you be and why?

If I were a plant, I would be an anahaw [because] it gives life to the space where it grows. It is also a low-maintenance plant—just like me! I am very low-maintenance and very simple. [Also, an anahaw’s] leaves grow when you take care of it well. Similarly, I am continuously growing and learning in different aspects of my life.

DENNIS ROBLES: CEO of Authentecite (Plant Advocate)

Dennis is your go-to person if you need to find those hard-to-find Hermes products and luxury must-haves.

Why do you love plants?

I love plants, as they give life and color to a rather cold corner of my space. Since I live in a condo unit and don’t have a backyard, [raising plants also] gives me a chance to be with nature in the most simple way. I enjoy looking at them, especially when I see a new leaf unfurling. 

What is your favorite plant and why?

My most favorite plant is the one shown above—anthurium radicans. I love how thick and sturdy the leaves are. This species is [also] quite rare, too. 

If you were a plant, which one would you be and why?

If I were a plant, I’d want to be the one I chose as my favorite—anthurium. It thrives indoors and outdoors [and] when nurtured well, [it] produces a new set of leaves consistently.

KERRI GAIL ONG-GUICO: Chef and Entrepreneur of Chef Kerri’s Baking Room and Lobster Mobster Manila (Plant Advocate and Pastry Influencer)

Chef Kerri’s cakes are highly sought after this pandemic and her XO Sauce Lobster rice is to die for!

Why do you love plants?

I love plants because it reminds me of life. A life that we all have to be grateful for, [since] we [are blessed to] wake up every day, breathing. 

Plants [also] remind me of how God started this world, how beautiful it is, and how we should keep it that way—loving every bit of it! [Plus], plants give life to everything—from the home that we live in, to the food that we eat.

What is your favorite plant and why?

As a chef, I love herbs, most especially. I love using them in food that I cook for my family and friends, and [I] use them in my pastries, too!

[But] my favorite plant is the white orchid. It reminds me of love and beauty, [as well as] purity and hope in everything, especially when things don’t go the way we wanted. The only flowers in my home are white orchids [and] every time I feel down and I see them, I am reminded always of my favorite Bible verse: Jeremiah 29:11.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Then I’m comforted.

If you were a plant, which one would you be and why?

If I were a plant, I think I would be a succulent. A very low maintenance and laidback plant.

Just like a succulent that doesn’t need to be under direct sunlight, I don’t want to on the spotlight. I am shy like that! [And] just like a succulent that adds life to a table or home, I can lighten up a table with friends with my crazy personality and contagious laughter. Just like a succulent that is very low maintenance, I love simple joys. Having good health and being around my family and friends are my [source of] happiness.

JJ DE MANUEL: President of JM Poultry & Livestock Supply, Inc. and Universal Feed Mill Corp. (Modern Parenting Advocate and Plant Parent)

Why do you love plants?

I love plants because they’re just magnificent living things. They are our source of oxygen and [you can use them for] all sorts of medicine, too. As for indoor plants, they provide pleasing aesthetics to your home [with] their color, form, and uniqueness, as well as the functionality of providing fresh oxygen indoors.

What is your favorite plant and why?

There’s a lot, but currently, I’m fascinated with the Prayer plant. It has a peculiar characteristic of having its leaves point upward at a certain time of the day, making it appear as if it were praying.

If you were a plant, which one would you be and why?

If I’d be a plant, I’d like to be a giant oak tree. I would love to live a long [and] full life, be able to see and interact with the world around me and allow a lot of living creatures to benefit from what I can give.

ROXANNE ALLISON BAEYENS: Miss Earth Philippines 2020 (Plant and Animal Advocate)

Roxie is a plant and animal advocate. She has joined me in my Pawsion project of helping rescue shelters.

Why do you love plants?

Though it is a simple word, it is what sustains billions of lives. I love things [that] I am grateful for. 

What is your favorite plant and why?

Bamboo! It stays sturdy amidst all the storms coming through. I can connect it to me and my life in many ways. Also, other than bamboo being effortlessly beautiful, it also has endless benefits to the community—from sturdy roots that protect our land from erosion to giving people [a source of] livelihood. We really need those factors, especially in the Philippines.

As for my favorite flower, it is a gardenia! I would wake up every single day as a kid and see a gardenia flower in a vase, prepared by my mom. It melts my heart just thinking about it. It’s also my favorite scent, as it reminds me of her

If you were a plant, which one would you be and why?

Definitely the Queen of the Night flower. To be prepared to bloom beautifully in the right time, and leave people in awe.

DR. IAN HOMER Y. CUA: Gastroenterologist-Hepatologist (Plant Parent)

Dr. Ian Cua is a dear friend to many and he is the country’s leading influencer Gastroenterologist with a big heart.

Why do you love plants?

It’s easy to fall in love with plants. Taking care of plants promotes good health and boosts our sense of well-being. It makes us feel good that we are nurturing something alive. [Additionally], taking care of plants can provide a form of respite from the stress of everyday life and can even improve our mood.

Plants improve the quality of air that we breathe at home. It’s also cool to plant something in the ground, fertilize, water, and care for it while watching them grow and bloom beautifully.

What is your favorite plant and why?

Pilea Peperomioides or Chinese money plant because its leaves are round, which resembles coins. It is [also] easy to grow and propagate Pilea, a Chinese Money Plant, that symbolizes our wish for financial stability and wealth

Among us Chinese, it gives a constant reminder to stay positive concerning financial matters. [That way], we’d feel that it gets easier to put our ideas into action, get rid of the doom and gloom, move forward, stay confident, and act to do something productive.

If you were a plant, which one would you be and why?

Monstera delicosa. With its large, round leaves, this plant gives a soft statement in your home—particularly if it has aerial roots. The leaf holes or fenestrations give its appearance an extra stylish boost and it comes as no surprise that this plant is a source of inspiration.

Many are [also] saying that Monstera symbolizes honor, respect, and longevity—positive values which speak of my healthy relationship with my family.

LORENZO ANTONIO NARCISO: Human Resources Talent Acquisition (Rare Plants Advocate)

Why do you love plants?

I grew up being surrounded by plants. I consider my mom and grandma [to be] the OG plant parents. They have varieties of Syngoniums, Hoyas, Bromeliads, Coleus, and flowering Anthuriums. I started really young and when I moved to Manila, I thought of having my own plant haven since 2014.

What is your favorite plant and why?

That’s a tough one since I don’t play favorites. I would say Begonias, Ficus varieties, Syngoniums, Pothos varieties, Monsteras and ferns. These mixes are [both] Yin and Yang—hardy and divas [by nature]. If you’re seriously into sprucing up your space, get them and you won’t notice your space becoming an urban jungle in no time.

If you were a plant, which one would you be and why?

Syngonium. Resilient, colorful, and surprisingly low-maintenance.


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Pinky is the President and CEO of Progressive Laboratories, Qualibet Testing Services Corp. and KPP Powers Commodities. A chemist by profession, she is also the President of the Association of the Bureau of Animal Industry Registered Companies and Recognized Testing Laboratories (ABAIL). A humanitarian at heart, Pinky hosts a weekly online show called Grateful Tuesdays. On top of all this, she is also a wife and a mother of two.
More from Pinky Tobiano is your all-in-one access pass to exclusive content from a wide variety of lifestyle experts, thought leaders, influencers and leading content creators here in the Philippines and around the world. is a prestige media brand of One Mega Group, Inc.


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