Former illegal loggers
reconcile with nature

Published: April 22, 2019 07:00am | Puerto Prinsesa


Yamang Bukid Farm’s observance of Earth Day 2019 took an inspiringly ironic turn: Former illegal loggers –over a hundred of them —led the whole day tree-planting event on April 22.

Leading representatives of Palawan-based NGOs, local officials, including Palawan coastguards, the illegal loggers-turned-farmers vowed to take care of a thousand saplings of various species they help plant.

Organized by the Yamang Bukid Farm, the tree-planting event in Barangay Bacungan, Puerto Princesa, began a Holy Mass attended by hundreds of participants.

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Life-changing
tales at YB farm community

  • GMA Network host Drew Arellano recently traveled to Puerto Princesa, Palawan to visit the Yamang Bukid Farm in Barangay Bacungan for an episode of his travel show "Biyahe ni Drew."

    Aside from marveling at the property's all-natural farming methods and wide selection of produce, the TV host was given a peek at the life-changing stories of YB's farm workers.

    Yamang Bukid only used to have 20 farmers but eventually tapped around 200 former illegal loggers and helped them mend their ways by introducing them to an alternative, stable, and sustainable source of income through crop and poultry farming, as well as agro-tourism.

    One such farmer was Ronnel Espino, who told Drew how Yamang Bukid not only helped his family financially but also — and more importantly — trained him and his fellow farmers how to do agribusiness with a heart, having a reoriented mindset to protect the environment.

    But Drew's trip to the Yamang Bukid Farm would, of course, not be complete without him trying out the farm's all-natural produce — from healthy pasalubong options to meals made form ingredients freshly picked from the plantation.

    Watch Drew help himself with one of Yamang Bukid's most popular treats, "sumbulo" or suman (rice cake) sa "bulo" or kawayan (bamboo). — YB
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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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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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