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

Published: August 16, 2019 01:25pm | PUERTO PRINCESA CITY


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)

See Next Post


After farm destination buys palay in high prices, grateful Palawan farmers give away free rice

  • PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Paying it forward.

    Farmers in a rice-producing village in Narra, Palawan have expressed gratitude to a farm tourism destination here for fulfilling their vow to buy palay from them at higher gate price by giving away rice to neighbors.

    Photo by JM ZAP

    At least 21 farmers from the village of Burirao benefitted the palay buyout scheme by Yamang Bukid Farm which highlighted its campaign to help impoverished farmers in Palawan, which palay bought at double the current buying prices, according to Bro. George Maria, Yamang Bukid Farm Palawan (YBFP) vice president for community relations.

    Photo by JM ZAP

    “We were able to gather some 21 farmers and each of them brought with them five sacks of palay,” said Brother Maria, adding they coordinated with the local government of Narra and the Department of Agriculture in identifying small-time farmers who may want to sell their harvest.

    The buyout scheme, Maria said, was the culmination of the farm attraction’s advocacy to help palay farmers adversely affected following the steep lowering of palay prices since late this year. Last month, YBFP kickstarted its campaign by launching a fun run with the aim of generating awareness and support towards the plight of palay farmers across the country.

    That campaign dubbed “Run for the Farmers” generated massive support and a significant amount of money which was used for the palay-buying project.

    In buying the palay, Maria said they ensured those who can benefit were really poor, lowly farmers.

    “We challenged them to work hard and not view our initiative as a sort of dole-out,” said Maria.

    In a simple ceremony, YBFP’s chief farmer, Totong Arceo, gave the farmer-traders inputs on organic farming “which they received overwhelmingly,” according to Maria.

    “They even requested if we could come back in another time and share them more knowledge on natural way of growing crops, which we promised to do,”said the YBFP executive.

    The Farm bought a total of 105 sacks of palay at P20/kilo, double the current buying price, with the milled rice given back to the farmers.

    A mill owner in Narra, Norile Enriquez, agreed to give a 50-centavo/kilo discount to the farmers to have their palay husked and milled, which “helped significantly the farmers,” said Hope Alas, YBFP vice president for tourism affairs.

    Upon learning of Yamang Bukid Farm’s generous offer, the farmers were ecstatic that one of them, Felix Gonzales, even gave away portions of the milled rice to his non-farming neighbors, shocking even the Yamang Bukid personnel.

    “Mang Felix asked us to accompany him to his house where he repacked his milled rice and give these away to his neighbors, particularly those who do not own a farm,” recounted Maria.

    Other farmers also expressed intention to share their harvest to their community, in an apparent case of “paying it forward,” said Maria.

    “We are thankful to all who supported us when we started this endeavor months ago, particularly to the hundreds of individuals who ran with us and believed in our advocacy of helping raise awareness about the sorry state of Filipino farmers,” said the YBFP executive. “We are grateful that by doing business with a heart by living a life for others, we are now able to not just bring a message but enlist people who are willing to do the same mission as we’re in now, even if they come from diverse backgrounds,” Maria said.

    “Our farmers now are inspired that they have us who are their allies in their effort to improve their lives through agriculture,” added Maria, a former seminarian.

    (Juan Lim)
View Full Post

Palawan farm destination gets gov’t boost for dairy production

  • 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)
View Full Post

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)
View Full Post