Dave Sandoval, florist and event stylist, has a vivid memory of his mother bringing him to an SM Department Store when he was seven years old. They were at the mall to buy artificial flowers for their home. He has many of those memories—of her mother picking flowers, arranging them, and smiling whenever she’s happy with her creations.
Little did he know that through those moments, he would develop the same penchant for flowers and making places beautiful. And little did he know, he would make a career out of it.
Through good times and bad
Sandoval grew up in a home that celebrated special occasions through embellishments. “Our house will always be filled with festive decorations for the holiday season,” he recalls. “[It was] a different look for summer, for spring. And my mother also put a lot of effort for my sister’s birthday, and other family occasions.”
His mother was too good at her hobby that even their neighbors would come to her for help, whenever they need to have flowers arranged, or to have a place spruced up. “Everyone agrees that my mom has a flair for timeless style,” he says.
A devout Catholic, his mother would help out with church activities, and would bring her son with her. Every Sunday, for the mass, mother and son would provide and arrange flowers for the church—the same goes for Holy Week processions and feast days. Because of these tasks, they frequented the Dangwa flower market in Sampaloc, Manila.
He narrates, “I can still remember braving the storm and floods of manila just to provide flowers for our regular Sunday mass. But my mom never complained, I am sure it is because this is her passion, and even deeper, her love for God that kept her going.”
Through his mother’s work, Sandoval learned that “less is more and excessive is okay, but make it clean and polished.” This was especially true when they did the flowers arrangements for his sister’s wedding 11 years ago. “Flowers have been part of the most joyous occasion in our family.”
It was flowers, too, that made them get through one of the most difficult moments in their life. In 2004, Sandoval’s father passed away. During that time, Sandoval and his mother would carefully handpick the different kinds of flowers, which they used for his funeral and interment. He remembers those days with sadness, but it also made his relationship with his mother stronger: “I used to accompany her almost every day to the cemetery just to arrange flowers for dad. It became a bonding and learning experience while I waited for her to recover from dad’s passing. But my mom is very strong, she taught us to be brave amidst all the trials and challenges that our family encounters.”
As years went by, Sandoval’s career began taking off, and he slowly made a name for himself. In all of his projects, his mother has always been by his side. He says, “She’s always been there to guide me whenever I’m losing focus. She critics my work when it becomes too trendy or baduy, or sobra-sobra na.” His mother also taught him to take projects as a learning experience, “no matter how big or small.” Now, he’s been working as a florist and events stylist for a decade.
Recently, he and his mother, took on a much bigger project, one that they can really call their own: a flowers, bouquet, and personalized gift shop and services, called Fiore d’Alicia. It’s an ode to the woman, who raised him.
“I am thrilled about this new venture, crafted with pure love and passion for flowers,” he says. “This is another purpose for why I'm still in this industry.”
For more information on Sandoval and his business, visit eventstylistdave.com.