A Haven for Butterflies in the Philippines’ Seafood Capital
JP Anthony D. Cuñada
Is "giving up" the right words to describe the act of people who turn their backs on their day job to pursue their passion? Right or wrong, one thing is bound to happen.
In Wenny's Butterfly Garden near the capital of Capiz province, Roxas City, even the butterflies that flap their wings and cross paths with you seem to be imbued with passion and genuine love. From the historic Sta. Monica Parish in Panay town (home of Asia’s largest church bell), you can go inwards to Brgy. Bonga to see Wenny (Wenceslao Dimoos), who worked for twenty five years in a bank before finally deciding to devote his time and energy to environmental awareness, protection, and preservation.
And what better way to demonstrate the precarious nature of our world but through the delicate creatures called butterflies?
Wenny will not allow you to tour his half-hectare garden unless you attend his orientation wherein he explains the life cycle of butterflies with live samples of butterfly eggs, larvae, cocoon, and the actual butterflies.
From this orientation, you will realize how easy it might be to build your own butterfly garden--that you only have to plant Acapulco to attract Cabbage White butterflies; plant Camachili to attract Clouded and Cloudless Sulfor butterflies; plant Guyabano to attract the Tail-j butterfly and the world's biggest nocturnal moth, the Mariposa; plant Calamansi to attract Banded Mormon, Common Mormon, Red Mormon, and Lime Butterflies. Or you may have not realized that our simple camote (sweet potato) has its own butterfly follower, the Great Egg Fly. Or that the young Mahogany has its Syam Tree Nymph butterfly.
When we were there, we also bonded with non-insectoid creatures, such as rabbits and turtles. Truly, the garden’s a perfect place for children and the young-at-heart alike to get close to nature while picking up some appreciation for the environment, as well as some gardening tips.
When Typhoon Yolanda ravaged the Philippines, including Capiz province, Wenny's butterfly cage in Panay and all the butterflies inside were blown away. But the eggs and larvae remained. Wenny's Butterfly Garden reopened a few months later, welcoming and blessing visitors with the love and passion its owner has for nature.