Yamang Bukid Farm rules in Subaraw Float parade

Published: November 12, 2019 01:25pm | PUERTO PRINCESA CITY


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—-After nearly making it last year, Yamang Bukid Farm finally bagged the grand prize in the floral float parade of this year’s Subaraw Biodiversity Festival. The entry of the farm tourism destination in Barangay Bacungan was adjudged winner of the Grand Float parade that highlighted the anniversary honoring Puerto Princesa Underground River as a world heritage site for biodiversity.

Designed by the Farm’s architects and artists using indigenous materials, the colorful and jaw-dropping eight-meter float virtually represented Palawan as a haven of biodiversity, according to Bro. George Maria, YBFP vice president for community relations. .

“Yamang Bukid is proud of Palawan’s biodiversity. Our float embodies our call to all to help protect and preserve Mother Nature and its rich biodiversity,” Brother Maria said.

Sitting on a Isuzu light truck, the four-by-eleven-meter float is adorned with replicas of Palawan’s natural landmarks as well as endemic and threatened species of plants and animals.

“Our inspiration in making the float is the richness of Palawan,” said Benjie Monasque, YBFP resident architect who conceptualized and designed the contraption.

Forming as centrepiece of the float was a huge tree from which all organisms emanated, from the black ants and honey bees to the balintong or Palawan pangolin (Manis culionensis) and tandikan or the Palawan peacock-pheasant (Polyplectron napoleonis).

“We designed the tree as the very foundation of the float so once it is disturbed or destroyed the entire contraption will fall. Much like what is in real life, when our (forests are ravaged), there will be an imbalance in biodiversity,” said Monasque, adding YBFP’s scientist-consultants provided input on the float’s overall concept and design.

Helping put color on the float are the Farm’s resident artists J-joy Umambong and brothers Julio and Adonis Opiala.
The float also made use of ornamental plants cultivated at the Farm such as sunflowers, amaranths, among others.

It was bedecked with species of dapo fern (Asplenium nidus), manaog ka irog (Dischidia oiantha)—a type of hanging vine—-as well as bonsai balete (Ficus variegata) and magkuno or ironwood (Xanthosthemon verdugonianus).

Among the Palawan landmark replicas on the float are the PPUR with several monkeys and bayawak (water monitors) guarding its mouth, and Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park with butanding or whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) and sea turtles basking.

To represent Palawan’s natural wonders as realistically as possible without violating environmental laws, Monasque said farmers who took part in building the float used painted sawdust as sands in the PPUR and Tubbataha replicas.

“For us, winning the competition is only secondary. What is important is really about bringing the message of protecting biodiversity, that taking care of our environment is really a duty of all,” Maria, the YBFP official said.

He said portion of the P500,000-prize will be used for medical outreach missions to indigenous people (IP) communities in Palawan during the Christmas holidays.
Astoria Palawan resort won the second prize while BPO (business process outsourcing) firm Sitel Palawan was awarded third prize.

Yamang Bukid Farm last year was the second prize winner, getting P300,000 cash.
(Juan Lim)

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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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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.
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Working mom strives to send husband to school

  • She symbolizes the changing role of a modern woman. Like most mothers, Arlyn Villawala prioritizes her family above else. That’s why it was painful to her to leave home for months, away from her husband and their baby daughter to prepare for the licensure exams for agriculturists.

    “I could not help but cry when I hear her voice over the mobile phone every time I call home. I terribly miss them,” Arlyn said, holding back tears during an interview at the University of the Philippines Los Banos recently.

    Arlyn, an employee of farm-tourism destination Yamang Bukid Farm in Puerto Princesa City Palawan, and fellow employee Daniel John Zabala, are sent by their employer to the UPLB for the rigorous months-long review, preparing them for the biggest day of their careers yet.

    A graduate of agricultural economics at Palawan State University (PSU) in Puerto Princesa, Arlyn is a young aspiring agriculturist who used to work for the city government.

    Among her tasks was to conduct surveys in the city’s villages in relation to the local government’s programs. During one of those trips, she dropped by the Farm, observed and learned how the former community of illegal loggers there was transformed into nature lovers with the introduction of the farm.

    Before long, Arlyn joined her colleagues at the city government who worked at the farm. “I was given an offer I could not resist,” she said in Filipino. “The pay was good and the working environment was perfect for me who loves farming.”

    At the farm, Arlyn is assigned in helping oversee the sprawling estate’s vegetable, herbal and ornamental gardens. She is among the farm’s young agriculture experts who teach former illegal loggers the scientific way of farming and of conserving nature. Her good pay is not only helping meet her family’s basic needs but it afforded her the luxury of paying for her husband’s school.

    Working as a mall security guard during the day, Arlyn’s husband goes to school at night, taking up criminology at one of the city’s private colleges. “I’m working for them. Even if it’s hard to be away from my little girl, I’ll just bear it,” Arlyn said.

    Due to their tight review schedule, she can only call her husband and daughter at least once a week.

    She said she would persevere so her husband can finish his schooling, adding she was very proud and happy when he told her of his desire to go to college. Arlyn was grateful to Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. (YBHPI), parent company of Yamang Bukid Farm, for the support it extended for their review. Aside from review fees, the wellness products manufacturer also shouldered their food, board and lodging and other expenses.

    She said she would try to make most of the time in the review to learn as much as she could and get herself well-prepared for the board exams. “I will give my best to pass in the board exams. This is for my family. They are my inspiration,” she said.
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