When I think about organic farming, I can't help but look back on the one-of-my-many unique experiences in Negros (I feel like I really learned a lot about organic agri thanks to ATI-DAR last year and the desire to eat healthy slash growing my own food is kinda rubbing on me hehe). As I said before, they said that the whole island has the most organic farms in the Philippines and it is vying to be the organic capital of Southeast Asia. The Agricultural Training Institute of the Philippine Department of Agriculture (ATI-DAR) took us to Bacolod on this trip and we made our way by car to the Penalosa Farms. Mr. Penalosa's style of telling us about the organic journey was to let us discover it by ourselves and literally had us interacting with every plant, animal and material in his farm. It felt like I was back in school during our brief stay LOL. He made us understand the intricacies of integrated farming, that everything is intertwined and that one should really understand the different kinds of plants (and everything's special place in the cycle) before we even start having grandoise notions of having our own farm. It was fun and definitely not as easy as Farmville but doable and can be replicated :)
It was a hot, hot day but we were in for a treat! This "house" is cool, spacious and very refreshing inside. This is one of the income-generating activities taught to interested parties at Penalosa Farms - can you imagine your resthouse now in the middle of your farm? Haha. I sure was thinking about it. It was here that Mr. Penalosa welcomed us to his micro model of an integrated organic business.
We were offered this tea concoction made with all stuff that are good for different types of your body and ailments like blood pressure, digestion, etc. There's Taheebo the bilbil-fighter / fat metabolizer, Ashitaba for improved blood circulation, Gotukola the memory enhancer and the bitter herb for blood sugar, Peppermint for its respiratory benefits, "cold" factor and as a breath freshener and Calamansi for Vitamin C. Add honey to sweeten.
His son Andrew is an architect (hopefully, I can meet him one day...) and I definitely took the time to take in his minimalist design and creative attempts all over the receiving area. It was filled with decorative pieces made from recycled materials :) Even the glass on top of the table was from a bus window. There seems to be a future in AgriTecture =D
This is a low-cost housing model. Mr. Penalosa said that a 2-story 80-square meter house can be made with P70000. There were 4 posts and they made their own bricks from cement and apog (agricultural lime).
We were amazed with the use of space upstairs. They went beyond the 2-storey house and made a lot of rooms with bunk beds for training guests. Some rooms have their own restrooms.
Most of them have the kulambo curtains and double bunk beds with a common bathroom on the 2nd floor (stairs only). There's no airconditioning and no TV haha. If I were booking here, I'd ask for the room on the 2nd floor, the one facing the farm (Room 3) hehe.
There's a normal-looking room on the 2nd floor with its own bath that's good too. It can accommodate up to 4 people.
There are 2 common areas on the 2nd floor. You can wait here if you're waiting in line haha. It's much brighter on this floor.
We were quickly ushered into the common hall for the training slash crash course. And so the fun continues in the next post... haha.
Farm / ATI Organic Farming Learning Site Philippines Details:
Magsasaka Siyentista Ramon "Mon" Dayrit Peñalosa, Jr.
#7 Quirino St. Victorias City
Negros Occidental, Philippines
0917-3004861 / 0917-3325687
0917-3633885 (Andrew Penalosa) / 0922-2624500
How to Get There - Take a bus from Bacolod City Ceres North Bus Terminal to Victorias City Bus Terminal. Penalosa Farms is near the bus terminal.
To visit the different ATI-assisted projects (Organic Farming Learning Sites), you can drop by or ask the ATI Regional Training Center nearest you or inquire through:
982AGRI (982-2474) for Metro Manila calls
1-800-10-982AGRI (1-800-10-9822474) for provincial toll-free calls using PLDT landlines
For Smart and Talk & Text Subscribers, send a message to 391-DA (391-32).
For non-Smart Subscribers, send a message to 0920-946AGRI (0920-9462474).