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    Wednesday, September 18, 2019-5:21:09A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Rufina Tropicals holds ‘soft opening’

RUFINA Tropicals, an agri-tourism and ornamental plant export business, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday across from the airport field As Lito.

“We are just waiting for our plants to grow, then we will have our grand opening.” owner and manager by Rowina O. Torres said.

Torres said they showcase the islands’ plants, trees, flowers, edible fruits, fancy chickens and birds.

In her remarks on Wednesday, Torres said the idea for Rufina Tropicals “began many moons ago, when it seemed impossible.”

But, she added, “when you are surrounded by so much inspiration and positive living, everything is possible.”

Rufina Tropicals includes Bibang’s Café which serves local indigenous food, including many authentic Chamorro dishes, Torres said.

Bibang’s Café is open Monday to Wednesday, from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Thursday to Sunday.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, the younger brother of Rowina O. Torres’s husband, attorney Vincent DLG Torres, was the guest speaker at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

He noted that Rufina Tropicals is a “first-of-its-kind business in the CNMI. It just shows the resilience of our people.”

He said Rufina Tropicals, which exports plants and flowers, is another place for locals as well as tourists to visit.”

When Rufina Tropicals first opened in 2014, Mrs. Torres said she wanted it to be an online business.

Rufina Tropicals and Bibang’s Café are located in As Lito.  Photo by Bryan ManabatRufina Tropicals and Bibang’s Café are located in As Lito. Photo by Bryan Manabat

When she started exporting plants in 2015, she learned that there was a high demand for Sansevieria, a flowing plant.

Today, she has 19 Sansevieria species for export and Rufina Tropicals itself ships plants to 50 states.

In March 2018, Rufina Tropicals broke ground and set the initial completion date at the end of the year.

But Super Typhoon Yutu hit Saipan on Oct. 24-25, 2018, destroying about 90 percent of what Mrs. Torres and her team had worked hard for.

“It wasn’t so much about the damage caused but the wasted labor of my hardworking staff that involved heavy tools, direct sunlight, walking, heavy lifting, and many more,” she said.

Behind Bibang’s Café’s happy hour area is named Yutu Lounge. “It’s a reminder of how Yutu tested the residents of the NMI,” she added.

Bibang’s Café includes a conference room, a nursery area for the staff’s children, an accounting office, an administration office and three restrooms.

“If you want to dine outside, you have to let us know in advance and we will set it up for you,” Mrs. Torres said.

The area also has two gardens called Ogorres and Chotda, which feature a Virgin Mary grotto, 5,000-gallon pond and a St. Jude gazebo.

At the Chotda Garden, customers can choose vegetables and the staff will pick them for cooking.

To make a reservation, call 233-8647 or email tropics670@rufinallc.net

For more information, go to https://rufinatropicals.com