Saturday, November 01, 2008


When Manileños think of buying fresh flowers, many go to the Dangwa Flower Market, though Bob Dangwa, a very successful entrepreneur, did not own any business enterprise in the cultivation or selling of fresh flowers.

The Dangwa Flower Market was so named because of the Dangwa bus terminal on Dimasalang Street, which became the drop-off point for fresh flowers when the Dangwa buses were the primary means to transport them from Baguio to Manila. Consequently, the surrounding area became a fresh flower market, now offering fresh flowers from all over the world.

As for Bado Dangwa, he was born in Kapangan, Benguet, on May 5, 1905. His main aspiration was to become a teacher while studying at the Trinidad Agricultural School. He was, however, also fascinated with junk
machines and motor vehicles; taking them apart and then restoring them to finely-tuned, working condition.

During the 1920s, with the foresight to provide an
efficient means of transportation for the Trinidad Valley region as it was being developed as the country's vegetable bowl, Dangwa took five dilapidated Chevrolet cars from the North Garage in La Trinidad. He refurbished their engines, and with a loan of ten pesos, converted three of them into passenger vehicles. They eventually proved to be a popular mode of transportation plying the La Trinidad-Baguio City route, long before the surplus jeeps of World War II.

Soon thereafter, he expanded his transportation business to connect Mountain Province with other nearby provinces and Manila. Hence, the Dangwa Transportation Company was born with Bado Dangwa as its president and general manager. By the time war broke out, the firm had 173 buses carrying both passengers and cargo between Baguio and Manila.

Just before he joined the guerrillas when the Japanese forces landed in the Philippines, he turned over his buses to the U.S. army. His bravery in leading guerrilla units
in fighting the Japanese in the various mountain trails of the Cordilleras brought him fame.

After the war, to serve once again the people of the Mountain Province, he rebuilt his transportation business by acquiring and converting surplus American trucks.

In recognition of his business achievements and wartime heroic efforts, President Quirino appointed Dangwa as governor of the Mountain Province in 1953. Ramon Magsaysay, who succeeded Quirino, also reappointed him as governor; hence, Bado Dangwa was the only governor in Philippine history, who was appointed by two presidents from opposing political parties. When the governorship of the Mountain Province (composed of the sub-provinces of Bontoc, Ifugao, Kalinga Apayao, and Benguet), became elective, Dangwa was elected governor of Benguet. He was also reelected after his first term.

In 1963, he retired from politics and focused his energies on various private enterprises; one of which was the largest poultry farm in La Trinidad that employed highlanders (Igorots), and supplied Baguio City's needs for poultry products. Meanwhile, his transportation service company, b
y 1967, included 500 trucks and public utility cars and taxis; the majority of its 1000 or so employees hailing from the Mountain Province.

Married to the former Maria Antero, he and his wife pursued many philanthropic activities that benefited hospitals and schools, including a number of other civic and charitable organizations. Bado Dangwa died In 1976 at the age of 71.

Unfortunately, the Dangwa bus company is no longer as it once was. It has become a mere shadow of its former glory. Nonetheless, besides the famous flower market in Manila, the Cordillera police regional office was also named after Bado Dangwa.

* * *

Additional source:
Inspiring Lives of 101 Great Filipinos
by Fernando A. Bernardo
Published by Anvil

Photo depicts the crowded scene yesterday at the Dangwa Flower Market as many people flocked
to the area to buy fresh flowers for All Soul's Day.

Related links:

Dangwa Flower Market - Pictures from flickr

Flowers at the Dangwa Flower Market - a slide show -

Flowers for All Soul's Day - Housewife @ Work

* * *

Please note:
I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
Thank you!




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posted by Señor Enrique at 7:51 AM


Blogger Sidney said...

Wow...Eric... you are a living encyclopedia about Manila.
Very interesting post.

November 01, 2008 10:52 AM  

Blogger EM said...

i've riden Dangwa Bus so many times. It's basically part of my Baguio memories! Di ko alam na marami pa pala syang other businesses.

thanks for all the information Senior!!

November 01, 2008 11:18 AM  

Blogger Unknown said...


You are indeed a joy to read. You make history very interesting the mundane and the ordinary come to life.

I've been to Dangwa many time to buy flowers and spend some time taking photos. also many trips to the north also remind me of Dangwa and most of them trips to Banawe.

so nice to know these trivia. the place came to life with this new perspective I've learned from you. I agree with Sidney :) you are a wikipedia of blogalandia!!!

keep it up. we love reading your entries :)

it brought me a smile on this dready Saturday morning.

God bless!

November 01, 2008 12:14 PM  

Blogger nutart said...

This post is something again! Where do you get your infos, Eric?

Bado Dangwa is a genius! Imagine converting chevrolet cars into utility/passenger cars and on the rocky terrain of the mountain province??? Imagine the wear and tear!!! I would think a lot of westerners would say "so, where's the auto manual of the engine?" Kaya daw, a lot of Pinoy technicians and mechanics abroad would wow their employers for troubleshooting oido style!

My memories of the word Dangwa is riding a bus to Sagada it rafters filled with hog feed sacks and stopping at public comfort rooms which had been converted originally from pig sties.:-) Even the station of Dangwa in Baguio (where we should be in waiting by 4am for the Sagada trip) had a cowboy saloon type of setting. The locals would even wear cowboy attire and cowboy songs would be heard being yodelled from the jukebox somewhere. I was just so surprised at the whole scene and this was in the 80's pa!---my first ever trip to Sagada!

November 01, 2008 5:53 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I happened to have passed by the dangwa Flower Market yesterday, Sidney, and got caught in the serious traffic snarl. Since I had done a series on the North Cemetery last year, I thought of writing something about the source of flowers for All Soul's Day -- Dangwa. And instead of a photo essay, I opted to research on the man behind the name of this popular flower market; thus, Bado Dangwa :)

November 01, 2008 7:36 PM  

Blogger Dennis Villegas said...

Happy All Souls Day, senyor! I ue to buy flowers from Dangwa...

November 01, 2008 7:37 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

A provincial passenger bus company can be incredibly lucrative, EM, especially when operated properly, and this should explain the readily available funding Mr. Dangwa had for other businesses.

My pleasure, EM :)

November 01, 2008 7:39 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Oh, thank you, Daisy! Not sure, however, if I were indeed blogolandia's wikipedia, though ... hehehe.

But what's even more wonderful is having readers like you who actually buy flowers at Dangwa and travel to those places up north, and such insight adds another dimension to my posts :)

November 01, 2008 7:41 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Bernadette!

Besides the sites as hyperlinked, there is also the books which I've purchased during the Manila Intl Book Fair, which I had forgotte to list earlier since I was in a hurry (see 'Additional Source')

As you know by now, I'm not much of a traveler, though I immensely enjoy reading about other places. And as I've mentioned to Daisy, it's wonderful to have readers like you who had actually gone to the places mentioned in this article; your comments do add another dimension to my story!

Isn't it something? that America's country music tend to bode well for our provincial folks. Awesome!

But the cowboy outfits and yodelling are quite astounding, indeed :)

Thanks for sharing, Berndette!

November 01, 2008 7:48 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you ... and the same to you, Dennis!

I, too, had bought flowers at Dangwa. It's really a worthwhile, money-saving experience :)

November 01, 2008 7:58 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another great read from the Senor! Thanks.

Dangwa Flower Market is also popular during Valentine's Day. My former co-worker would swing by Dimasalang from his house in Malabon on his way to work in Bicutan just to buy roses to give to each of his lady co-workers on the day of the hearts. Such a thoughtfulness I would always treasure and remember him for. He migrated to Canada a few years ago.

Again, thank you for this very informative post and for the links.

November 01, 2008 11:05 PM  

Blogger Wil said...

FAscinating story on Dangwa. Where did you find the info on him? :)

November 01, 2008 11:44 PM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hi Eric,

It's Saturday in the Bay Area, still working on "guerrilla marketing strategies" that will fit our consumer's buying habit, in this 2nd depression era in Tiyo Samuel's history!

I couldn't help but take a break & add "tidbits" to your well researched, great timing (for this occasion), well written blog about an interesting unknown & unsung hero, Dado Dangwa...

# During WW II in the Cordilleras, there were two well known guerrilla officers fighting the Japanese forces; Major Dennis Molintas & a native of Kapangan, Benguet Major Dado Dangwa.

# Being in the transportation business, plying the La Trinidad-Baguio City route, Dangwa donated 197 of his passenger vehicles to the US Army. The US Army used these vehicles to transport supplies & military personnel from Camp John Hay, Baquio to Bataan.

# Dangwa's innovation & knowledge of automotive, generators & electricity, help allied forces during WW II with their vital communication system.

# Dangwa as governor of the Mountain Province, established more schools, health clinics, hospitals, roads & built more bridges. Dangwa brought back the edifying pride, passion & wisdom of Igorots.

# The former "Camp Holmes" was renamed in honor of Dangwa, to "Camp Dado Dangwa" the base of the "Philippine National Police of the Cordillera Administrative Region." The camp was also the former base of the "Philippine Constabulary Soldiers," established a "family base" in the area. The constabulary soldiers' children in the range are called "Annak ti Messkit's"

I hope these facts adds to your descriptive blog & help researchers & school kids about this modern "Lam-ang" Dado Dangwa!

Now... back to my work, but want to thank you & best regards,
ka tony

November 02, 2008 4:20 AM  

Blogger sheilamarie said...

hola Senor Eric! What a very interesting story about Bob Dangwa. Thanks for sharing it with us. I used to pass that place daily when going to school, without really knowing the history behind the name. I'll ask nga my dad if he's ever encountered him (since Popsie also joined the guerilla during those time).

wow... the flowers looks very lovely, Eric! Buhay na buhay ang dating. Kulang nalang to be able to smell it *presses nose into computer screen*.

November 02, 2008 6:49 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you, Guy!

Whoa! What a popular co-worker he must've been. I'm sure wherever in Canada he works now, he continues with his sweet St. Valentine's tradition of giving a rose for evry co-worker. What a suave guy :)

November 02, 2008 9:47 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, Wil!

Got infor from my usual respources: online and some books I had acquired during the Manila Intl Book Fair, as well as from those given to me as gifts.

November 02, 2008 9:49 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you very much for the significant additional information, Ka Tony! His detailed wartime efforts, as you've shared with us, now gives a broader image of this man's contributions.

On the new post, I had mentioned Ramsey's guerrillas., which I'm sure, you know much about, too :)

I was wondering if you had gone for a pre-winter vacation, Ka Tony. By the way, my nephew is Burberry's director of product development for North America. Like you, I'm sure they're burning candles, so to speak, in drumming up their sagging sales due to this worrisome American economic crisis.

Thank you and good luck at work, Ka Tony!

November 02, 2008 9:54 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Sheilamarie!

Thank you very much. Yes, your dad might have met or known about Bado Dangwa.

Trust all is well with you and the family :)

November 02, 2008 9:56 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

interesting. I know about Dangwa transit having taken the Dangwa bus to Baguio several times but never heard of the flower shop :)

I never quite knew much about Dangwa, that he became a successful politician and business entrepreneur until I read this post. As always, good info :)

November 03, 2008 3:08 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you, BW.

I never experienced riding a Dangwa bus to Baguio; only took the Victory Liner buses.

Never knew either how successful Bado Dangwa was and about his contributions to our freedom.

November 03, 2008 6:34 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am a resident of Pico La Trinidad since birth (1958) and now an officer at Camp Bado Dangwa. i would just like to gather more information with the history of the former camp holmes now where Benguet Police Provincial Office is located, any further info? thanks

February 26, 2009 7:26 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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