Senatorial spouse Jinkee Pacquiao was talking about the “gift called ‘today’” in the message that accompanied her Instagram post below—but all everyone’s attention seemed to only be on the giant leaves behind her. A news site has already ran a Facebook post on the image with the title, “Plantita of the year.” It’s only September but a winner has already emerged, the writeup seemed to say.
We are not sure if the plants are really Jinkee’s or just props for a shoot. Is Mrs. Pacquiao really striking a pose in her own garden? But we asked our friendly plant seller about those green things stealing her thunder. We’ve learned a lot from him in the past three weeks, not only about plants but also about the plant biz.
Enthusiasts online have identified the humongous plant as variegated alocasia elephant ear but it’s also called giant taro, as per our guy who has the plant in a yellow version, in a similar height. He says he got his for only P700, “pero kung white yun, nasa 30k possible niya nakuha yun.” He has a feeling it’s quite the pricey get. “Jackpot sya if nabili nya lang ‘yan ng 30k. Kasi last time may nakita ako na white at mga three-feet long, selling for 25k na.”
Because of the picture, the plant seller is predicting the giant taro will be the next plant du jour. “Knowing Jinkee, tiyak mag-shoot up ang price ng plant na ‘yan. Wala na kasi nagse-sell ng malaki ngayon niyan. Ngayon eh mga one foot na lang available...Naramdaman ko na next in line na siya na magiging in demand. Pero two months ago nasa 1k lng yan.”
Our plant expert says this particular plant needs sun exposure otherwise it won’t show its true color—yellow or white. It can survive with just once-a-week watering and it grows pretty fast.
But wait! Our plant advisor shifts his estimation when we ask him to look at the rest of the greens surrounding the beautiful Ms. Jinkee. “Feeling ko mura nga lang nakuha yung big alocasia. Ang mumura ng nakapalibot eh,” his message says, as if he suddenly picked up a magnifying glass to look at jewelry. The Spider grass near her goes for 75 pesos each, he says. Below are random grass worth 100 pesos. “Yung bamboo is 350 pesos. Yung caladium is 1k.” This plant seller's insight: “Pag mahal, dapat mahal lahat sa group, otherwise magmumukhang mumurahin silang lahat.” He has a point.
“But people will automatically think mahal plants niya kasi siya si Jinkee,” he adds. “Puwede siyang plantita but not a collector. Collectors ayaw nya mahaluan ng mura mga plants nila. Meaning [they’re only after] premium, rare, super rare. Yung mga ‘not for sale’ ang meron sila. [Ang] plantita e yung from 30 pesos worth meron sya.” So is Jinkee a collector or a plantita? Until we know who owns those plants, the winner for “Plantita of the year” remains open for debate.