Palawan farm destination gets gov’t boost for dairy production

Published: February 13, 2020 01:25pm | PUERTO PRINCESA CITY


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Yamang Bukid Farm, one of Palawan’s most visited tourism destinations, is embarking on dairy production to help improve the nutrition of school children, especially those in public schools.

Photo by Br. George Maria

This after the farm tourism destination in the city’s Barangay Bacungan availed of a soft loan from the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) to raise imported and high quality breed of carabao that can be a good source of milk and other dairy products.

Some 11 Murrah buffaloes were initially given by the Nueva Ecija-based state animal propagation hub in a “public-private partnership scheme” to the Puerto Princesa City farm destination, according to Dr. Arnel del Barrio, PCC executive director.

Photo by Br. George Maria

“This is part of our carabao enterprise development wherein we help cooperatives, individual farmers (and) families by lending them the carabaos like a soft loan.
Beneficiaries like Yamang Bukid Farm repay it with another carabao which will be given to (another beneficiary),” Del Barrio said.

Ten female buffaloes (also technically known as cows) and a bull were received by Yamang Bukid Farm and were promptly shipped from Nueva Ecija midweek.

While at sea, one of the four pregnant buffaloes gave birth to a healthy female calf affectionately called “baby YB.”

Hezir Rabaya, one of the farm’s managers who fetched the herd said a concrete barn was built on a hill overlooking the sprawling farm to house the animals.

“We have enough facilities and personnel for this project,” said Rabaya.

The farming destination, Rabaya said, has several employees who underwent training on quality milk production at PCC recently. These Yamang Bukid employees are the ones who will help him in taking care pf the imported water buffaloes and in doing the milk production.

Del Barrio said PCC typically disperses 200 carabaos yearly on average and that Yamang Bukid Farm is among the “numerous applicants” to the program.

“Yours is exceptional. Your story of doing business to help others is inspiring. I also came to know that you are accredited (as a training center) by (Agricultural Training Institute). In short, you have everything PCC can hope for in a partner (in this project),” the PCC head said.

He said both PCC and Yamang Bukid Farm are on the same advocacy of helping provide livelihood to farmers and their families.

“The bottomline is to help alleviate poverty and give good nutrition to the schoolchildren,” the official said.

Del Barrio said Yamang Bukid can also include dairy and milk production a component to its ATI-accredited trainings and further boost its capabilities as a learning site.

The sprawling farm tourism draw, which attracts at least 5, 000 visitors weekly, is known for its well-manicured gardens of ornamental plants, succulents, among others and is into sustainable farming of vegetables and other crops.

It employs nearly 300 farmworkers, over 90 percent of whom are former illegal loggers and charcoal-makers who have since become protectors of the environment.
(Juan Lim)

See Next Post


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)
View Full Post

Agriculture flunker gets 2nd chance with Yamang Bukid

  • 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. He failed.

    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.
View Full Post

Palawan farm tourism site prides “toilets for all gender stripes”

  • A farm tourism destination in Palawan is raising the concept of gender sensitivity a stripe higher.
    For nearly two years now, Yamang Bukid Farm in Puerto Princesa City’s Barangay Bacungan has introduced a novel way of giving people the facility where they can answer nature’s call regardless of their sexual orientation.

    Guests pose outside the marked "gender-sensitive toilets" of Yamang Bukid Farm in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. The farm tourism destination at Barangay Bacungan is a place of respect, tolerance and equality.
    (Photo by Daniel Kat)

    Manned and maintained by elderly women, Yamang Bukid Farm’s comfort room has separate spacious cubicles for girls, boys, gays and lesbians.
    The round-shaped building is made of concrete and roofed with indigenous materials. Outside it has two porcelain tubs and faucets for washing hands. Inside each cubicle has a flush toilet and bidet hose for cleaning.

    Outside, one can easily see the markings on the top of each of the four white wooden doors. Emblazoned in white against a black background each of the doors are the words GIRL, BOY, BAKLA and TOMBOY.
    One may argue that bakla and tomboy (Filipino slang for gays and lesbians, respectively) are in fact derogatory but for Bobby Arzaga, a Palawan-based vlogger and receptionist for the Farm, the terms are mainly names that describe their sexual label and nothing else.

    “I’m not offended because that’s how I want people to see me. I don’t know with other gays if they’re offended, though,” Arzaga said, adding he uses the cubicle labelled for the gays more often than that of the boys’.
    A learning site for sustainable and organic-based agriculture, the Farm which is a subsidiary of health and wellness products-maker Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. (YBHPI), is advocating equality for all, embracing and respecting all guests of whatever gender stripes, according to the toilets’ designer Benjie Monegasque.

    “This is a reflection of doing business with a heart. Yamang Bukid welcomes and embraces all gender. The Yamang Bukid brand promotes equality, respect and tolerance,” Monasque said. (Juan Lim)
View Full Post