Agriculture flunker gets 2nd chance with Yamang Bukid
Published: July 20, 2019 01:25pm | Puerto Prinsesa
He dreamed of becoming a musician and Daniel John Zabala ended up trying to become an agriculturist.
A native of Palawan, the 26-year old is one of two aspiring agriculturists Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. (YBHPI) is funding to take this year’s licensure examinations. The would-be examinees are in the thick of their review classes at the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB).
“While being an agriculture in itself is good, it’s still better if you pass the exams and get a license,” Zabala said during an interview at the foot of a tall monument at the UPLB grounds.
His love for farming sprouted when he was still young, although his family was not really into farming.
“I just love to grow plants. I love farming,” Zabala said, adding this motivated him to take up agriculture.
After graduating from college at a university in Palawan, Zabala did not take the exam immediately. He went to Manila and worked for a call center company, doing punishing graveyard shifts that took a heavy toll on his health. He only lasted months before deciding to return to Palawan.
He got a job at the city agriculture office in Puerto Princesa, doing special projects in the barangays. While it was somehow a rewarding job, Zabala still yearned to become a licensed agriculturist and improve his career. He therefore decided to take the boards years after he had graduated.
“I started my self-review routine but found it quite difficult because I’ve been out of school for a long time already,” said Zabala. Nevertheless, he still took the exams.
Zabala said he was saddened but undeterred by the results.
He continued his job visiting the barangays of Puerto Princesa doing technical works, until he came to Yamang Bukid Farm, an agri-tourism destination at Barangay Bacungan that is becoming popular among locals and visitors.
Zabala said he was struck by the uniqueness of the agri-tourism farm because it operates based on novel ideas, like not having an entrance fee for visitors. He also appreciated how the farm cares for its employees, particularly the farmers who were given a chance to turn a new leaf after engaging in illegal logging and other destructive forest activities as means of livelihood.
That’s why Zabala readily accepted an offer of employment extended by the farm management, leaving his government job of a year-and-half.
There, Zabala immediately embraced the farm’s culture and made friends with the employees.
“I found working at YB (Yamang Bukid Farm) very fulfilling. i adjusted well with the working environment. They let you learn and improve at the same time,” Zabala said.
Apart from getting a compensation well above his previous income, Zabala also got additional bonus when he the farm offered to shoulder his review and board exam expenses.
“I could not contain my happiness. God gave me the second chance to reach my dream of getting a license through Yamang Bukid’s generosity,” Zabala said, vowing to make good his second attempt.
For his second try, the aspiring agriculturist sees to it that he is well-prepared.
“I have to read many modules. The board exams is for those who have so much knowledge. You can’t rely on a single module and expect to pass.”
Whether he makes it this time might be not yet certain, but Zabala was sure he would stay working with Yamang Bukid Farm after the board exams.