by Bong R. Osorio
When he was in advertising, Angelito Pangilinan or BoyP to the advertising community, travel and photography were his therapy. His travel blog www.boyplakwatsa.com was a most referred to site by friends planning their travel itineraries anywhere in the country.
BoyP retired as Chairman of Dentsu Aegis Network and, guess what? He has almost forsaken his travel blog and is pre-occupied with bonsai. His language has shifted from market shares, TARPS and GRPs to shohin, mame, shari, nebari and other Japanese words related to bonsai. The only link, it seems, is that his last post as an adman was at the huge agency born out of Japan.
Today, he has a collection of nearly 200 trees in pots. He swears any young tree, including fruit bearing trees can be potted and made into bonsai. His collection includes sampalok and guava trees alongside his many bantigues. He also has flowering bonsais like the “21 jewels” bougainvillas, melendres, and bluebell.
I visited him in his Tagaytay retirement home which has become his bonsai haven. The sprawling garden has large bonsais spread around the pool. The highlight of the tour is the roof deck of his bar which he transformed into a bonsai exhibit of sorts, with the potted trees on top of exhibit-standard tables spread on turf, making the deck look like a garden with grass on the ground. I swear only one addicted into bonsai will create a showcase like this one.
BoyP is busy nowadays grooming his bonsais, wiring and unwiring some trees, potting new materials and re-potting older ones. He explains that caring for bonsai is not limited to watering morning and afternoon. That there is science in bonsai care. Like when to spray fish emulsion, when to spray sea-salt on bantigues, when to spray pesticides - - - all written on a white board within his bonsai “headquarters”, a virtual showroom of mostly imported pots and bonsai stands he has accumulated and ready for use in exhibits. He showed me a meter that measures moisture and pH levels of the potting medium which I just learned is river sand.
BoyP started his bonsai collection 12 years ago when he established his Tagaytay retirement home. But travel took a higher priority then. On his retirement, bonsai came with a vengeance, and takes up almost all his time. He is assisted by his bonsai artist and groomer Ninio Agana.
When I visited BoyP, the officers of the Cavite Bonsai Club were in his place discussing final details about their oncoming show and competition on August 21-25 at SM Dasmarinas City in Cavite. The exhibit will feature 84 trees from the different members of the club. If you happen to visit, you will see large banyan trees in pots, tamarind, tugas, argao, bluebell and even a banana bonsai on exhibit. Bonsais are a product of many years of patient work training the branches of these trees, and the exhibit is appropriately themed Living Art.