Yamang Bukid Farm’s “happiest” tour guide

Published: July 14, 2019 02:40pm | Puerto Prinsesa


His warm personality can be infectious and Isabelito Aspa Jr. has used it to his advantage.

The 20-year old who loves to put a pink cotton ball on his wrist is a tour guide of Yamang Bukid Farm in Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City.

Wearing a pair of rain boots, pants and a blue shirt emblazoned with block letters proclaiming Yamang Bukid Farm as an agri-tourism site, Aspa was now meeting a group of local tourists who were stepping off a van and are lining up to avail of free taste of turmeric 10-in-1 tea at the farm entrance.

“Welcome to Yamang Bukid Farm ma’am, sir. Hope you enjoy here. Free taste,” Aspa, known to friends and colleagues as Sab or Sabie, says as he hands a cup of Yamang Bukid Healthy Products’ turmeric 10-in-1 tea to each of the new visitors who eagerly gulped it down.

“I like it here, you can meet new people everyday,” he says, ringing the pink feathery trinket around his right wrist.

A resident of Puerto Princesa’s Cabayugan village, comes from a fairly large family where tolerance has been the norm as it is love.

His father is a farmer and his mother is an enterprising housewife who hawks everything, from cosmetics to homemade delicacies.

“I used to join my mother sell polvoron (a powdery sweetened confectionary), karioka (a type of Palawan delicacy) and Avon products near the entrance to the (Puerto Princesa) Underground River in Sabang,” the youngest of nine siblings recalls. “She is not a spendthrift. She is frugal.”

During his elementary days, Sabie found his hobby of designing clothes, particularly gowns. He practiced it well, until his classmates noticed his talent and asked him to design their toga during their high school graduation.

After secondary school, Sabie took up a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management in one of the tertiary schools in Palawan where he met and became friends with Professor Melissa Olit, a consultant for Yamang Bukid Farm.

Professor Olit hired him and several other students to help at the farm’s restaurant part-time. Into his third year in college, Sabie was offered by the farm management a scholarship until he got his degree.

As a way of paying it back, Sabie decided to apply for a full-time job at the farm. He says his work entails meeting people and attending to their needs while guiding them in their tour around the sprawling agri-tourism destination. “You should give the guests full service. You attend to them in a cheerful, friendly manner. That’s my mantra in my job here.” Sabie says, adding his crackling laugh is also an additional asset.

“Sometimes guests would also join in my laughter. i hope they won’t get irritated, but that’s just the way how I laugh,” he said. The farm tour guide, who openly admits being gay, says he gets respect and acceptance from fellow workers like that of his family’s.

“They love me even if I’m Sabie,” he says, once again letting loose his infectious guffaws. He first learned liking girl stuff when he was still in kindergarten. But despite being effeminate, Sabie says his family accepted him whole-heartedly. He never heard being mocked upon, much less condemned, in their home. He was allowed to freely express himself.

He says he is grateful Yamang Bukid Farm is not only a place that values its employees by giving them competitive pay and its customers by extending them excellent service. The upland paradise has become a place of tolerance for him and other members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.

The farm does not discriminate against workers just because of gender or sexual preferences. It supports that diversity, instead. The most striking feature of the farm related to this is its multi-gender washroom or toilet, in which it built four separate toilets for male, female, gay and lesbian guests.

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Food, Pinoy fun and advocacy for farmers highlight Yamang Bukid’s 5th Agros

  • PUERTO PRINCESA CITY——Delectable food, festive mood and rich upland Filipino version of fun are in store as Yamang Bukid Farm pays tribute to the farmers and their highest sacrifices for the country in Saturday’s 5th Agros Festival.
    The second of such event this year by Palawan’s emerging farm tourism destination, Saturday’s festivities seeks to highlight the role of farmers in nation-building despite various challenges they are currently facing such as plummeting prices of palay.
    Kicking up the day-long festival is a five-kilometer run for a cause dubbed Takbo Para sa mga Magsasaka.

    Photos by JM ZAP

    The charity run that ends at the marker of Yamang Bukid Farm at Purok Candes III is expected to attract at least 1,000 runners whose registration fees will be used to buy palay at higher prices in the farms of Narra town, the province’s rice granary, where farm gate prices of the staple grain have plunged to less than P15/kilo. Farmer-employees of Yamang Bukid Farm will then go gyrating and shaking their calories away in a zumba exercise following the 4 a.m. fun run. before the festival proper goes underway by 9 a.m.

    Drumming up the festival were mall tours and appearances at the Palawan provincial capitol of the Agorot Hunks, an all-male Cordillera performing group known for their good looks.
    Back at the Farm, guests as well as local and foreign tourists will be enthralled by various dance performances of the Farm’s 200-plus workers, most of whom are former illegal loggers.

    There will also be a long table covered with banana fronds where sumptuous Pinoy dishes will be feasted on in a “boodle fight.”

    In the afternoon, it will be all fun as the Farm is flooded with colors from dozens of elaborately-dressed carabaos that, together with their owners, will do the catwalk, errr, the carabao walk for the title of the most beautiful buffalo on the planet. The fun and games continue with authentic Pinoy games such as palosebo, sack race, tug-of-war as well as endurance jousts like tuba-drinking contest.
    (JL)
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Yamang Bukid Music Video

  • This beautiful music video production by lead singer Jake Carolino Quicson, speaks of Yamang Bukid as a gift to the community and to nature-loving souls whose footsteps strayed on paths leading to the farm to stay a while.

    Pondering on nature’s blessings –the scenery, the flowers, the trees, the crops, the birds, the insects, and animals that live in harmony with the community –the composer could only speak of the YB farm as a paradise nestled in the hilly landscape of Barangay Bacungan and cupped in nature’s loving embrace.

    Backed up by Miss Milcah, Jake renders the song in the most passionate and original way. The duo are both scholars of Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. (Video produced by Aris Leoven)
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Yamang Bukid Farm Palawan to be showcased in PH biggest tourism expo

  • Yamang Bukid Farm-Palawan has been invited to join one of the country’s biggest tourism travel and trade fair in Pasay City.
    The invitation to the Philippine Travel Mart was extended by Elizabeth Maclang, superintendent of the Puerto Princesa Underground Subterranean River National Park (PPUSRNP), Puerto Princesa City’s world renown landmark.
    It will be held at SMX Convention Center from Aug. 30-Sept. 1.

    Photo by JM Zap

    Maclang said the trade and tourism expo organized by the Philippine Travel Operators Association (PhilTOA) is among the Philippines’ biggest.
    “In line with this, we would like to solicit your support by joining us in the said travel fair and by showcasing your products and conducting free taste and giveaways to increase foot traffic,” Maclang wrote in a letter to Yamang Bukid Farm management.

    The PPSNRP-PAMO will head the delegation of tour operators from Puerto Princesa. The invitation marked another opportunity for Yamang Bukid Farm to showcase to industry leaders and to tourism community its products and amenities as an emerging farm tourism destination in Puerto Princesa and Palawan. (JL)
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