BUGALLON, Pangasinan — The most-preferred variety of ilang-ilang (Cananga odorata), which will bloom soon in a far-flung village Hacienda in this town, is set to make history.
This was assured by businessman Fred Reyes, owner of the company Fragrance Factory, as he urged the planting of more ilang-ilang in the province, and even in other parts of the country.
He said there is an existing local and world market, particularly France, for the essential ilang-ilang oil.
In his visit to the ilang-ilang nursery in Barangay Hacienda with second district congressman Leopoldo Bataoil, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) foresters, and the people’s organization concerned on June 23, Reyes said of the project, “This is more than reforestation, we are creating history.”
He noted that in the 18th century, Manila produced the best ilang-ilang but eventually the industry died as foreigners took samples of the product and started to commercially produce it in their respective countries, as in Madagascar and Comoro Islands.
The plant originated in the Philippines but the top ilang-ilang producer in the world at present is the Comoros Island.
“We have to bring back to the Philippines what was rightfully ours,” Reyes said, noting that there should be about 1,000 hectares of ilang-ilang plantation to be put up.
He further disclosed that the best-selling perfume in the world, Chanel No. 5, is made from ilang-ilang oil.
Congressman Bataoil said other towns may also plant ilang-ilang on their own and supply fragrant oil to Reyes’ company, provided that they conform with specifications like regular pruning and the use of organic fertilizer.
While in Barangay Hacienda, Bataoil, Reyes, DENR foresters, and the community replanted some of the ilang-ilang seedlings produced, which already reached the minimum 30-centimeter height requirement.
According to Mar Gonzales of the DENR- City Environment and Natural Resources Office, they have identified 180 hectares to be planted, at least 120 hectares of which to be used for ilang-ilang plantation and the rest to be planted with other plants like the G. Melina or paper tree under the National Greening Program (NGP).
The nursery in Hacienda is just one of the three nursery areas in the second district of Pangasinan identified by the DENR for the project. Other nurseries are in Sitio Mapita, Barangay Laoag in Aguilar, and in Barangay Quetegan, Mangatarem.
A budget of P3.42 million has been set aside for a three-year comprehensive site development to be undertaken by the people’s organizations in the areas covered.
The first year, which will be devoted to plantation establishment, has been allotted P14,000 per hectare; the second year, P3,000 per hectare; and the third year, P2,000 per hectare.
Gonzales vowed that their agency will be providing technical assistance to the people throughout the project development stage.
“After three years, DENR will award the 180-hectare land to the people under the community-based forest management agreement under a 25-year term and renewable for another term,” he added.
Gonzales also noted that the project is the only NGP ilang ilang plantation in the entire Region 1
Bataoil said thousands of coconut trees will also be planted to form as perimeter fence of the nursery areas.
The nursery in Hacienda is being tended by the Hacienda Community Livelihood Association, which has 78 members led by president Jane Quillopas.
Quillopas said they already have planted almost 100,000 seedlings.
Ilang-ilang, on average, takes five years to bear flowers and has at least a 25-year life span.