I thought I lost something very material on this day and amidst all the chaos, I found myself instead and an unexpected great way to conquer my inner turmoil in Binahon Farm. I cherished our morning forest walk the most so I suggest you try it out. We spent a night there so this post will come in two parts, an intro to the Binahon Agroforestry Farm and the accommodation options then a post on our farm tour the following day so that I can show more pictures. =) Binahon Agroforestry Farm (BAFF) is a farm enterprise that earns with (farm) technology and contributes to the conservation of a protected area.
From Jaya's Secret Garden in Malaybalay (Bukidnon), we proceeded to Mr. Henry and Perla Binahon's Farm in Sitio Bol-ogan (Lantapan, Bukidnon) around an hour away. You most likely have to go down the highway nowadays (due to rain and drizzles) and wait for their 4x4 to take you 600 meters up the farm if you ride a van like ours.
Two of the barriers to farm tourism I've noticed are the lack of decent roads to the farms and the horrific mobile signal (making it hard to communicate with each other, what more WiFi...).
I was excited to see this particular farm because of the forestry part. I haven't been to one actually that focuses on trees and forests.
The farm has a retreat feel for me. I would go here on my own to reflect or bring some friends (small group who wouldn't mind being disconnected) along and we'll go explore at our own pace in silence for a few days.
They have around 4 dorm-type rooms. Rooms 1 and 2 can accommodate around 12 people then Room 3 20 people. There is no airconditioning but you don't need it in this place.
The bathrooms are shared, each side (one side for boys, one side for girls) having around 2 cubicles with toilet and bath. Since this is a secluded area, they can boil water for you with a fee but it would take around 20 to 30 minutes due to the cold temperature here.
BAFF is located 1300 masl at the foot of Mt. Dulang-Dulang, the second highest mountain in the Philippines (just 17 meters below Mt. Apo in Davao). It's an ideal base camp for climbing Mt. Dulang-Dulang and they have connections to local guides and the local indigenous Tala-anding tribe if you already have the climbing permit from DENR =)
You can get lodging, food (3 meals, snacks), tour and lecture for around P800 per head at the moment (no minimum). You can be trapped here in a good way if it rains hehe.
We arrived late afternoon so the only thing left to do after the briefing was eat dinner and get ready for the next morning walk! =)
I loved their dressing hehe. I believe they put honey (BAFF has a bee farm), calamansi or vinegar, salt, garlic, cheese, ketchup, mayo and milk in there!
They have a fireplace for super cold nights. It could get pretty hot and smoky though =)
They have a small sari-sari store for some of their products and your essentials since you are more likely to just stay in at night if you go here. OJTs make sure that this place is running smoothly =)
This is the common area in front of the fireplace. No other thing to do aside from sleep but look at your photos and occupy all outlets for our chargers! Haha.
I also did a primary survey of the area around our accommodations and found what looks like a tree nursery =) We have a lot of tree planting activities in the country and I read that planting the right tree is important. Read here.
I have this fascination for ferns, ornamental plants and this type of setting... I read they had Carribean pine trees, lauan, timber and falcata trees. I wonder what those look like... In my preoccupation during the tour, I failed to ask which ones exactly they were... I remember when my KCLIP roomie, being an agriculture student, told me what they do in school nowadays, which entails going to a forest, collecting samples, identifying plants and memorizing all of them hehe. I've improved a lot in the common veggie and herb identification and it took me a few years. The Binahons both came from DENR and their specialties include forestry, watershed management, agroforestry training, organic farming and many more so imagine that knowledge brought to life in their farm =) Can't wait to show you a glimpse of their 8-hectare model upland farm in my next post!
Sitio Bol-ogan, Barangay Songco
Province of Bukidnon, Philippines
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).