YB Farm’s Evolution

Published: February 14, 2019 07:00am | Puerto Prinsesa


The Yamang Bukid farm in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan was initially intended to be a turmeric plantation, but later it evolved into a place for relaxation for eager tourists and weary travelers, and a habitat to wild, endemic species of animals and insects and flowering plants in the area.

Baguio City-based Yamang Bukid Healthy Products, Inc. started the farm in Barangay Bacungan Princesa a little over two years ago to produce turmeric. It was an initially 1.2-hectare tract of unproductive land that was supposed to be dedicated to turmeric farm.

But it has since evolved into a diverse habitat of local fauna and flora, even as it began to be known as a farm-tourism destination, especially after the Tourism Department granted it an accreditation.

As it burst into a cool idyllic sight, the farm soon caught the attention of everyone – from curious passers-by to wide-eyed tourists and travelers -- as it transformed into an agro-forestry showcase, an ideal place for people, families, and friends to be in commune with nature —free of any charge.

With this exciting development, the farm's initiators saw another opportunity not only to expand their venture but also broaden the help they are giving back to the community and the environment.

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Farmers, tourists toil for art at Palawan attraction

  • PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Hundreds of farmworkers in a farm tourism destination here literally tried their hands on a painting session that showcased their talents and opened up their dreams and life aspirations on canvas. The hand-painting session dubbed “Guhit ni Ama (Father’s Drawing)” is a project involving employees of emerging farm tourism destination Yamang Bukid Farm in Barangay Bacungan here.

    A lady tourist shows off her opus "I love Agutaya" during a hand painting event by farmer-employees and guests at Yamang Bukid Farm-Palawan recently
    (photo by Jennifer Milante)

    Part of drumming up its fifth Agros Festival for farmers, the sprawling agri-tourism attraction initiated the event “to honor all farmers and give them an avenue for their artistic skills they they usually underestimate,” said Bro. George Maria, Yamang Bukid Farm’s vice president for community relations.
    Initiating the activity were brothers Adonis and Julius Opiala and J-joy Umambong, the farm’s resident visual artists.

    Body of work created by farmers and tourists during a hand-painting event by farmer-employees and guests at Yamang Bukid Farm-Palawan recently
    (photos by Reden Villaester)

    Most of the artworks centered about the farmers’ simple dreams and environment, with subjects like houses between rolling hills, a garden with sunflowers labelled “Yamang Bukid Farm” and standalone sunflowers.
    Interestingly, the activity caught the attention of other farm employees as well as guests who dirtied their hands to try their painting skills.

    Their subjects were as diverse—about two islands and a boat against a red sky and signed with “I love Agutaya”, to a messy attempt at psychedelic impressionism, and to a gray cloud against a blue horizon which according to the artist, was the noxious Indonesian haze now blanketing Palawan’s skyline.

    Against a background of sunflowers, farmers literally try their hands on painting their dreams and aspirations during an art session at Yamang Bukid Farm-Palawan recently
    (photo by Frinston Lim)

    “I’m surprised I can paint,” exclaimed farmer Sonny Tesado, who worked in one hand due to a disability caused by a motorcycle accident several years back, showing his painting of a huge tree with what appears like sunflowers growing around it. “This activity showed our farmers are not only creative at growing food but also at drawing their aspirations on canvas,” said Maria.

    The event’s output were put on display at a kiosk converted as temporary open gallery inside the farm, where guests can buy the artworks for as low as P350 each, with the sales revenue going back to the farmer-artists.

    With the overwhelming success of the activity, Maria said they were considering to hold it on a regular basis, probably once in a month.
    (JL)
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YB partners with DA for
'farm entrepreneurship'

  • Yamang Bukid Farm (YBF) has partnered with the Department of Agriculture (FA) to elevate farming and agro-tourism in the country by teaching farmers a better, science-based, alternative approach and perspective in growing crops, and by encouraging the younger generation to get more involved in agriculture.

    Agriculturist Flor Ilao of the DA's Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) said the agency decided to award YB with an accreditation because of the company's desire to help the government turn farmers from regular crop growers to "farmer entrepreneurs."

    DA's senior agriculturist Norberto C. Maur said the ATI and YB aim to introduce programs about new modalities in agricultural extension in which regular farmers are molded to become farm entrepreneurs and businessmen promoting not only farming but also farm tourism.

    Through the YB's Training Center, farmers are also trained to shift from monoculture to diversified or integrated farming.

    Hezir Rabaya, YB farm production manager, expressed delight over the accreditation that Yamang Bukid received from the ATI, saying it would allow them to train farmers throughout Palawan, and not only in the provincial capital's Barangay Bacungan where the 1.2-hectare farm is located.

    Farmer-trainees get to be under the tutelage of YB Training Center's trainers and consultants who are experts in the fields of forestry, agronomy, and veterinary medicine, among others.

    With a desire to spread alternative and more efficient farming techniques, YB, which started its farm with only 20 farm workers, is now home to more than 200 farmers and agriculturists. Talking about the new partnership, farmer Sonny Tesado said: "Gusto kong matuto ng ibang paraan ng pagtatanim."

    However, there is a handful of farming families who do not share Tesado's enthusiasm in this fresh farming approach and DA's Maur said this is one of the challenges that YB's Training Center is hoping to address.

    "It's heart-breaking to know that our farmers are starting to age. Their children who have witnessed how hard it was to farm during their time no longer want to go into farming because they have realized there is no money in farming.">

    The YB Training Center aims to break that notion and lure people back into farming.

    YB agriculturist Fernan Hubo said Yamang Bukid aims to instil among their farm workers a "sense of joy" in their work, and emphasize to the next generation — who have otherwise grown skeptic about farming — that plenty of opportunities in agriculture abound.



    "There is money, plenty of money in farming... There is dignity and money," Hubo said.

    "Since we now have an accredited learning site, we will be able to encourage more people to take agriculture and become farmers that follow scientific practices," he added. — YB
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Veteran physician endorses Yamang Bukid’s way of “natural health and wellness”

  • A Quezon City-based physician has hailed the natural and organic products of Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. (YBHPI) as ideal food supplements even as he urged people to go natural in food and wellness products.

    A tourist shows off her bundle of sumbulo (suman sa buho), a glutinous rice cake cooked in bamboo and is a popular delicacy at the Yamang Bukid Farm in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. The emerging farm tourism destination has been praised for its organic products and nature-friendly farming activities.
    (Photo by Emee Lapurga)

    In an interview by Puerto Princesa City broadcaster and city councilor Elgin Damasco, Dr. Mario Adraneda noted YBHPI stores are sprouting up in Quezon City and in other areas in the capital, which he said is a good indication that natural and organically-made food supplements are readily available.

    He said Yamang Bukid’s turmeric-based products, particularly the Turmeric 10-in-1 tea is a good supplement for those suffering rheumatism as it is a known vasodilator, or that which helps veins and arteries become wider thus helping blood and nutrients flow smoothly.

    Sales personnel at a Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. outlet inside a shopping mall in Quezon City, with the food supplement maker's array of health and wellness products (YB photo)

    “Yamang Bukid (turmeric 10-in-1 tea) is a combination of turmeric and lemongrass which have been proven good for our body,” said Adraneda, a 43-year veteran gastroenterologist who currently practices at Delos Santos Medical Center. He admits being a user of the health and wellness tea.

    Aside from turmeric and lemongrass, Yamang Bukid’s turmeric 10-in-1 tea has also eight other herbs as ingredients that are recognized by experts for their medicinal properties. These include pandan, sambong, lagundi, banaba, ginger, malunggay, peppermint and Gynura procumbens.

    Adraneda noted people’s unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle has caused prevalence of disease that afflicted even to the young. “During our time, most people usually got sick at age 65 or above. But nowadays, we can hear of children and teenagers getting hypertension, cancers or heart diseases,” Adraneda told Damasco.

    He urged people to go natural and maintain healthy non-sedentary lifestyle. “Exercise regularly, eat healthy food that are free from preservatives and take food supplements that help enhance healthy bodily functions like Yamang Bukid products,” the gastro-intestinal specialist said.

    “Let’s try nature’s way of wellness. Let’s support alternative food supplements like Yamang Bukid’s,” Adraneda said.
    During his visit at the Yamang Bukid Farm in Puerto Princesa’s Barangay Bacungan, Adraneda praised the delicious and organically-prepared food, such as native chicken, that according to him did not contain any genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). Present in preservatives and in livestock and poultry that are artificially manipulated in the laboratory, GMOs are known harmful to the body and can cause various diseases. “Let’s advocate going organic,” he said. (JL)
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