No need to fly to Japan to see those cherry blossoms!
The first-ever sakura or cherry blossom park in the country will soon open in a mountaintop park 2,000 meters above sea level in Atok, Benguet.
Local officials and representatives from the Japanese embassy and the Kochi prefecture planted over 30 cherry blossoms from Japan on Monday, June 6, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of friendship ties between the Kochi prefecture and Benguet province.
There are also plans to plant sakura trees in other nature parks in Benguet, particularly Mt Timbac and Mt Pulag.
The trees are expected to bloom after three years.
More than 100 cherry blossoms have already been planted before in November 2015, but these didn't survive. According to Japanese botanist Kiyuharu Yamamoto, those trees were planted at the wrong time.
In Japan, cherry blossoms are a major tourist attraction in early April, when the flowers are in full bloom. The Japan National Tourism Organization recorded 37,500 Filipino visitors in March 2016.
The Philippine Department of Tourism and the local Department of Environmental and Natural Resources in Cordillera hopes that the Benguet sakura park becomes a tourist attraction once the flowers bloom.