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FVR and Ming’s love garden

Isagani de Castro Jr.

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FVR and Ming’s love garden

GREEN. Former First Lady Amelita Ramos' Ming's Garden in Silang, Cavite has a picturesque plant store beside its The Greenhouse events venue, in this photo taken on February 3, 2024.

Isagani de Castro, Jr./Rappler

What began as a place for the private horticultural collection of former First Lady Ming Ramos is now also an events place with a courtyard and a venue for weddings, birthdays, and other social events

MANILA, Philippines – Former President Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) must be smiling from heaven seeing that his wife’s garden in Silang, Cavite, where they must have spent a number of special occasions, is still doing well following his death in July 2022.

On a recent visit to Ming’s Garden, which looked poorly maintained when I last saw it ages ago, I was surprised that it’s now a much-improved tourist destination. Many local tourists stop by to eat in Mozu’s at Ming’s restaurant, and look at the plants and trees in the garden.

FVR and Ming’s love garden

The best place to check if a decades-old establishment is maintained well is the comfort room. During my visit, the men’s room was clean and didn’t smell bad.

Clean toilets were important for Mr. Ramos. Former First Lady Amelita “Ming” Martinez Ramos said back in 2005 that the former chief executive “sells the restaurant by advertising our comfort room.” 

A Ming’s Garden Facebook post said a new management team took over the establishment in 2017, although it’s still owned by “Ming Ramos’ family and other business partners.” One of the partners is in-house caterer Chef Enzo Chavez of Mozu restaurant. The renovated place was promoted on the new social media accounts of Ming’s Garden in the first quarter of 2018 with its president and CEO Samuel Ramos Jones, son of Angel Ramos and one of 8 grandchildren of the Ramoses, welcoming the public to the facility.

Ming’s Garden was damaged by the eruption of Taal Volcano in January 2020 but recovered quickly.

Events place

What began as a place for the private horticultural collection of Mrs. Ramos – a certified plantita – followed by a simple restaurant serving only a few dishes, is now also an events place with a courtyard and a venue for weddings, birthdays, and other social events. It’s ideal for a wedding with 300 guests.

If you like flowers, plants, gardens, and Filipino food, Ming’s Garden on Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road going to Tagaytay City is a perfect stopover. 

One of its unique plants, currently in bloom, is the New Guinea Creeper, a dangling, red-orange plant that is also called the “flame of the forest.” There are two rows at the parking lot where these plants dangle from. 

STONES. A man-made waterfall in Ming’s Garden in Silang, Cavite provides a good background for “green” selfies. Isagani de Castro, Jr./Rappler

There are several other Instagrammable spots in the 3-hectare garden, such as a man-made waterfall beside the Mozu at Ming’s restaurant, and the Courtyard.

Those who want to taste cuisine from Ilocos, Mr. Ramos’ home region, would be happy to know that the restaurant offers three types of bagnet: Ilocos bagnet salad, bagnet dinuguan, and bagnet kare-kare

And, if you’re looking for dishes famous in Tagaytay, there’s Crispy tawilis and bulalo

Ming’s Garden also has a plant store as well as the “Things From Ming’s” Pasalubong (gift) shop, which sells Philippine delicacies.

SPECIAL. Photos of former President Fidel V. Ramos and wife Amelita “Ming” Ramos are displayed on a table at the main dining area of Mozu at Ming’s restaurant in Silang, Cavite, on February 3, 2024. One of the photos shows the couple celebrating Mother’s Day in Ming’s Garden. Isagani de Castro, Jr./Rappler

There are three photos of the late former president with Ming at the main dining hall of Mozu at Ming’s, given that the lush garden is meant to honor the life and legacy of the couple. 

A photo posted on Ming’s Garden’s Instagram shows the Ramos couple in a golf car being driven around the garden on Father’s Day in June 2019.

(READ: Fidel Valdez Ramos: The president who guarded democracy, broke monopolies, made peace)

Mrs. Ramos said in an interview with the Inquirer in 2008 that Ming’s Garden was where she took her daughter, Carolina “Chula” Ramos-Sembrano, who was then in her late forties, every Friday following a vehicular accident in Parañaque City in 2003 that damaged her brain. Sembrano, a banker, was crossing a street when an Isuzu Elf truck’s left side mirror hit her head, threw her 3 meters away, and left her unconscious and comatose. It took years before she got well.

Sembrano’s memory was badly affected, and Mrs. Ramos hoped that the tranquility and lush greenery of her garden would help her remember.

MEDICINE. A sign at the Plant Store in Ming’s Garden recommends gardening as medicine, in this photo taken on February 3, 2024. Isagani de Castro, Jr./Rappler

Mrs. Ramos retired from the International School Manila (ISM) in November 2022 at the age of 95, the longest serving ISM staff. She held several jobs at the school, including secretary and physical education teacher, as well as consultant in her latter years. 

TEAM RAMOS. Citizens Fidel V. Ramos and Amelita “Ming” Ramos ask the public in June 2018 to visit Ming’s Garden in Silang, Cavite. Ming’s Garden Facebook

Ming’s Garden, around 2 hours from the Philippine capital, is open from 8 am to 9 pm on weekdays, and 7 am to 10 pm on weekends. – Rappler.com

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Isagani de Castro Jr.

Before he joined Rappler as senior desk editor, Isagani de Castro Jr. was longest-serving editor in chief of ABS-CBN News online. He had reported for the investigative magazine Newsbreak, Asahi Shimbun Manila, and Business Day. He has written chapters for books on politics, international relations, and civil society.