This was my second visit (since I arrived in March 2014) to the Santo Tomas, Naguilian Farm owned by the Pascual Family. We planned to buy the adjacent farm from a rural bank but could not agree on the fair price for the farm. We bought a part of the Pascual Farm instead while we continue to negotiate with the bank.
Ricefields of the Lumban Farm and Resort, just after rice harvesting. Scenic backgrounds include Mt. Banahaw,Mt. Makiling and the Caliraya Reservoir and Dam.
One of the fond memories I have going to school at UP Los Banos was the subtle scent of fresh rice permeating the early morning from the ripening grains in the farm fields along the express highway leading to Los Banos.
Fast forward to the present, the exploding population of the Philippines, especially in Metro Manila and the adjacent regions, transformed almost all of the farm fields and to an extent forest lands into urban sprawl of industrial parks, housing developments, commercial shopping and entertainment centers, more roads, etc. with no apparent well-planned regional and long term development plans. This transformation is true especially in the regions of CALABARZON and Central Luzon, closest to Metro Manila. However, similar trends (in a slower pace) are evident in almost all regions in the Philippines.
Cadu Farm 03 is one of the farms owned by the Eugenio-Magano Family from Lumban. Currently, this is not part of the Land Trust project initiated by the Primo and Lucia Caday Family Trust, Inc.. However, we will prepare a proposal to the Eugenio-Magano Family to let us use their land for our project to convert an essentially monoculture orchard farm into a more biodiverse and ecodiverse farm ecosystem.
Jojo and Jovy Caday Figarola were kind enough to donate two dump tracts of carbonized rice hull and rice hull ash, a by-product of rice grain drying component of the JCF Rice Mill in Centro San Antonio, Ilagan. [Fifteen hundred recycled bags came with the donation also.]
Growing up in Ilagan, Isabela, I have always wondered even when I was a young boy why the farm crops are dying during the summer season, even in fields just above the river banks. So, I dreamed of cheap bamboo pumps that will bring the water up to the farms above the river banks. [I learned later on in college that I "re-invented" the perpetual motion engine to power my bamboo pumps.]
What I learned later on was that farm crops dying during the summer, was not solely because there are no pumps, nor because there is not much rain during the dry season but more linked to socio-economic issues including the question of who owns the farm lands.
So, while in college, I spent a few summer camps in the island of Mindoro to help advocate for farmers' right to own their lands (and almost got killed in the process). Later on I realized that even with land reform, the individual farmers on their own are quite vulnerable due to risks inherent with farming -- drought, flood, pestilence as well a family issues -- that could endanger those farmers who happened to have been fortunate to finally own their land.