On land that used to be planted with pineapples, Bonsai Paradiso is not very easy to find. One can get there only with detailed directions provided by the owner, based in Tagaytay City.
The owner started collecting bonsai 15 years ago, starting with balete, Tagaytay cherry, and other species that were then generally available on the Tagaytay roadside stalls selling bonsai. Upon his retirement 3 years ago, bonsai has become his primary occupation
Paradiso is the name he gave to his retirement home. Originally, the landscaping consisted of mature earth-balled trees. Narra, mahogany, agoho, Benguet pine, arocaria, African tulips, and a few fruit bearing trees were planted all over the property, surrounding the house. Shrubs and flowering ornamentals completed the landscape, with carabao grass as ground cover.
But bonsai has taken over. Most of the tall trees were pruned since bonsai trees need full sun.
The collection includes many local species, from deciduous trees to fruiting and flowering ones. To those who are not into bonsai, tree species like bluebell, tugas, kambilog ( kamuning bilog), kamtulis ( kamuning tulis), suimei, yangya, Argao, mulawin, lemonsito, ficus and some more may sound strange. Then there are also bonsais that most people will be familiar with, like santan, bayabas, balimbing, and bougainvilla.
There are also trees originated from Taiwan and Vietnam.
The owner takes one on a tour, too, of the materials that start with cuttings as he promotes sustainable bonsai.
Workshops are conducted frequently among members of the Cavite Bonsai Club, where newbies are always welcome. Bonsai Basics are discussed, and newbies get a chance to witness and do hands-on participation on many phases of bonsai creation and maintenance. There are no entrance fees charged. And most visitors even get free coffee.
Bonsai Paradiso is located in Tolentino East, Tagaytay City.