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Rooted in Resilience: Pamana Plantas' Commitment to Community Healing, Growth, and Empowerment

Pamana Plantas, a Filipino-owned and operated plant shop celebrating its second anniversary in June, has become a source of empowerment and healing for the Berkeley community in Northern California.

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, owner Dominick Morales turned to plants to nurture her mental well-being. Her collection of plants rekindled the interest of her mother, Elma, who began crafting artwork using plants. Together, the mother and daughter embarked on a botanical venture and sowed the seeds of Pamana Plantas in September 2020.

“Pamana,” meaning “inheritance” in Tagalog, inspired Morales to represent her Filipino culture and honor the rich spiritual inheritance of her parents, ancestors, and Tito Enchit.

“What really pushed me to open the shop was when Tito passed away. He had a resilient spirit, and I wanted to share that spirit with the community through plants because I think plants are also resilient,” Morales said.

Morales remembers her Tito Enchit as a fighter who, despite facing the difficulties of Alzheimer’s, lived each day with a smile and an unwavering commitment to helping others.

“I realized many of my family members have that fighting spirit but also the Filipino lineage, we are known to be fighters,” she said.

Through the business, Morales celebrates and educates visitors about the Philippines, incorporating family photographs and showcasing the work of Filipinx creatives.

“Pamana Plantas is different from the decor to the painting on the wall — one of the walls has Filipino warrior tattoos representing protection, strength, and guidance,” Morales said. “It’s a little touch to show what our culture brings and how it’s different.”

The shop has reached new heights under Morales’ leadership, offering a variety of houseplants, repotting and drainage hole drilling services, plant rentals and decor, and monthly workshops.

For customer Jordan Marez, the commute from Marin County to Pamana Plantas is well worth it with its inviting ambiance and abundance of plants displayed from window to wall and ceiling to floor.

“If you’re a plant lover like me, I can go in there and walk around for 30 minutes to an hour even though it’s probably a couple of 100 square feet of a store,” Marez said. “I really enjoy looking and tending to plants in the house. It’s cool to pass my love of plants down a generation to my daughter.”

Pamana Plantas is more than a mere plant shop, said longtime friend Amy Guan. It has become a home and source of motivation that empowers others to thrive.

“We don’t often see Asian American women running a business on their own, which is why Dominick is so inspiring,” Guan said. “She is very community-oriented and tries to provide space for not just her own plants but other small businesses too.”

As the founder and designer of Modokot, Guan collaborates with Morales and small businesses like Pamana Plantas. The two inspire each other throughout their entrepreneurial journeys.

“As a small business owner, we’re confined to our spaces. When I moved to my studio in San Francisco, the first person to visit was Dominick, who brought me a welcome plant,” Guan said. “It’s been my lucky plant. It’s alive and thriving and a reminder to incorporate the things we love, which for me is the outdoors, into the space I work in every day.”

Morales hopes to instill a sense of healing and rejuvenation in the community through Pamana Plantas and share the spirit of growth and resiliency through plants.

“I think tending to something and it responding to you is good for your mental health,” Morales said. “When you love a plant, it will love you back.”

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