Memorable Farm Stay and 4x4 Tour at Terra Verde Ecofarm & Resort in Maragondon Cavite!

You’ll find this next farm in the heritage town of Maragondon, Cavite. Terra Verde Ecofarm & Resort was a great escape from Manila for me even for just an overnight stay in our 3D2N CALABARZON trip with the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI). We spent the whole evening with Sir Eric Atanacio just talking about anything and everything - from the farm to blogging to business and most importantly life and being happy. The farm became a retreat for their family from stress and they’ve opened it up for the public, especially the youth for picnics, team-building and hands-on farming experiences. On the other hand, they seek to revive ancient traditions like weaving (Habing Maragondon), provide locals with alternative livelihood, protect the natural resources they have and just found, rediscover the role of Maragondon in history and  build the character of the people in the area.

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We had the briefing in a very comfy reception area. This used to be the only structure here at first in 2007 with just a simple roofed hut for the brother educators Emer and Eric and their families. A doctor advised them to try the farm life as an alternative treatment for a thyroid problem aggravated by stress. They've decided to name it Terra Verde or Green Earth where one can always feel at home and teach you to be grounded and comfortable with nature. It’s amazing how they cleared up the some of the 17-hectare property of weeds (not trees) and developed the place as an agri-tourism site with the local community while continuing to run a school (education is their main line of business) and a hospital among other things. They seemed busier but you can see calm and happy faces taking care of us. It is their escape borne out of medical prescription.

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What I like about this place is that it has become a family affair. They talk about coming here together and letting their grandkids lose in the farm, even play in the muddy puddles on gloomy days like these. When doomsday comes, isn’t it nice to have a self-sufficient place like this to weather the storm? These 4 kubins (kubo cabins?) were rebuilt to withstand strong typhoons. 

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The ambiance out here was resort-like. The food was delicious and we couldn't help but come back for like the fifth plate hahaha.

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They've included "weeds" like pansit-pansitan, gotukola, kangkong, kamote tops, Chinese malunggay, blue ternatea, nuts, mango, edible flowers, and talinum in their farmer's salad.


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This is a local delicacy called bibingkoy and puto.

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I got addicted to the potato croquettes, banana turon and palitaw... Yummy!

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After merienda, Sir Eric himself drove us around the farm due to our short time frame. It was like being on a safari tour, only the highlights include animals and plants as well. I believe they also have ATVs available sometimes if you'd like to drive yourself or go for a farm tour with their albino water buffalo. We passed by a worm condominium (vermi) and a place where they produce wood vinegar or Mokusaku like what they do at Lily of the Valley Organic Farms in La Trinidad, Benguet.

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I doubt we could go as far as these guinea fowl that roam freely and serve as a security measure for army worms in the farm.

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They have resilient black native pigs enjoying the mud. He said they eat the weakest and survive by natural selection and we may think this is not good but "nature normally knows how to fend for themselves until humans intervene".

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Here is the equally resilient bamboo, which Maragondon is apparently famous for. Did you know that barbeque sticks come from the kawayang tinik here? Terra Verde is also a designated custodian farmer for indigeneous native plants. We passed by a kamagong tree that produces the mabolo fruit (red velvet apple).

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They have a resident ostrich too with the, geese, duck, pigeons, turkey, sheep and goats. 

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It was pretty steep and muddy all around and I was glad for the 4x4 car ride.

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This is a research facility for solar irrigation with the Department of Agriculture

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while this area is for their dragonfruits (I think mainly as a demo farm)! Near these, you'll also find chicken manure being treated with EM technology.

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They have a solar pump to get water from the manmade pond.

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We got the only kubin with TV but didn't use it due to exhaustion as we came all the way from Teofely Nature Farms in Silang Cavite. It could fit around 4 people.

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The sinks, toilet and showers are all outside. I strongly recommend wearing boots for the mud and bringing a hanger.

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We started our great conversations over dinner until around 11pm (exhaustion completely forgotten).

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I would like to thank Sir Eric and for taking the time to welcome, listen to us and inspire us to be better versions of ourselves. We talked about social fencing in a farm, where you won't find any guards - just look after your neighbors and they will also look after you. How tourism is about the aha moments and not about the structures, that clients define what tourism is. And what is important is that it is fun, you learn and it is safe. Maybe in a farm, we can mutually coexist with other organisms like the snakes here at Terra Verde Ecofarm that help against rat infestation. Their advise it to drag your feet, hold a stick and not be quiet (make noise) and they will stay out of your way.

Other learnings include changing the culture before the agriculture and changing the cultural mindset, the 7-minute power nap and FAWS (food, air, water and sleep is all you need), the importance of ceremonies in everything you do and prepping for the journey, profit without guilt, the theory of space and positivity, rules of engagement, using your energy in solving problems and continue experimenting if you fail, being pressured but not stressed, how you can be angry but don't have to manifest it, knowing your limits and asking for help, subduing your passion but not giving up, evolving your influence and choosing how to spend your life. It was a pleasure to spend an evening with you, Sir.

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He recommended we wake up early for the sound of birds from here. Terra Verde is an accredited extension services provider of the Agricultural Training Institute and also TESDA-accredited so you can spend an overnight here like this, half work and half play, with the seminars. If you're lucky, maybe you can catch a firefly show at night too. 

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The weather was nicer the next day so I decided to explore a bit before we left. Beyond this area is the dormitory where big groups and kids can stay. It's like a childhood field trip where you can experience petting animals, cooking and planting.

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As an activity, guests are taught to plant rice in this field during the muddy season. They have a ramp pump somewhere there installed.

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For bonding, there is a picnic area nearby and an outdoor grill.

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I heard a student who came here from an international school went home and wanted to become a farmer after coming here on a field trip. ;) Maybe you'd like to visit. Maragondon used to be the center of government in the Philippines and now it has become a 5th class municipality. It is believed that they executed Andres Bonifacio here. You can find Our Lady of Assumption, caves, waterfalls, mountains to climb, old houses in the bayan and nice people around, according to Sir Eric. I believe our Mt. Pico de Loro hike trail is also part of this.

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Thank you for reading my post! Stay happy and healthy, folks!

For more info on the sites we visited and if you're interested in Philippine agriculture, farm visits and organic farming, check out the ATIE-Extension and Department of Agriculture websites. 

For their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, you can check out @atiinteractive. 

ATI also has a list of all accredited farms that are Learning Sites (LS), Extension Service Providers (ESP) and Schools for Practical Agriculture (SPA). Click here. These are the hotlines of ATI Main if you want to be in touch and ask for the farm contacts - 0920-9462474 or 929-8541 (government office hours). It is better to call their regional offices (info available at the ATI website) also as they are the ones coordinating with the farmers. 

Details:
Terra Verde Ecofarm & Resort in Maragondon, Cavite
Accredited DA-ATI Region 4A Extension Service Provider, Accredited by DOT Agri-Tourism Site, TESDA Accredited agricultural school for safe food production and integrated diversified organic farming system
Km 89 Alfonso-Maragondon Road, Pantihan 2, Maragondon, 4112 Cavite
Open for Team Building, Picnic, Parties and Farm Stay
terraverdeecofarm@gmail.com
0917-5223637
Facebook

ATI Calabarzon Region Facebook
8575 Camerino St. Brgy Lapidario, Trece Martires City, Cavite
atirtc4a@gmail.com
(046) 4190210
Website

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Memorable Farm Stay Experience with Mr. Eric Atanacio and 4x4 Tour at Terra Verde Ecofarm & Resort in Maragondon Cavite!

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