It seems like you no longer need to fly to Japan to see cherry blossoms or sakura up close. Haight's Place in Atok, Benguet, has been growing sakura trees that started blooming in 2018.
More than a hundred sakura trees were first planted in the area in November 2015 but only a few survived because they were planted at the wrong time of the year, Japanese botanist Kiyuharu Yamamoto told CNN Philippines. Learning from this, the new sakura trees that were gifted by Japan's Kochi Prefecture to Benguet in 2016, were planted during the rainy season.
Atok was chosen to be the ideal place to grow sakura trees in the Philippines because its temperature is akin to spring in Japan, hence there's a higher chance the the flowers will thrive.
The park's caretaker, Edward Haights, said in an interview with ABS-CBN News that cherry blossoms are a delicate flower to grow but the blooming flowers we have now are a good sign that they will survive our weather. Edward added that the infant blooms are expected to fully grow in 10 years.
Cherry blossoms are usually in full bloom between March and April, and they only last for two weeks. But in case you miss out this precious window of opportunity, going up to the Sakura Park in Atok is still worthy of a visit. The park is home to vast stretches of floral fields where you can surely see Instagram-worthy sceneries.
In fact, if you visit around January, you can marvel at the sight of frost-covered flowers there, too!
You can also set up your campsite here and watch the stars or catch the sunrise.
But if you're not the outdoorsy type, Haight's Place also offer overnight stays at their Cordillera-inspired cottages.
Atok's Sakura Park is a three-hour car ride from Baguio.
*This story originally appeared on Pep.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.