When I started blogging 3 years ago, I didn’t think it would take me to places I never heard of, learn new things and discover the real stories beyond the magazine articles and TV shows.
Last July, I was fortunate enough to be included in the Organic Agriculture Farm tour to visit several farms in Cagayan De Oro Mindanao. It was an unforgettable experience-- informative, helpful and fun and we the “OA bloggers” toured five farms learning about their farming methods, their different products and more importantly experienced how it is to live in a farm.
I never expected that I would be joining another farm tour just after 5 months, as my friend, Ruth Floresca again gathered our group of OA bloggers. This time, the farms in Samar and Leyte were our destination. The tour was again made possible through the efforts of ATI's “KITS (Knowledge, Inputs, Technology Sharing) Journey: 8th Bloggers Event for Organic Agriculture".
On our first day, we landed at Romualdez Airport at 3pm. We hopped in to our vans that would take us on a four hour trip to Calbayog City. We passed by the iconic San Juanico bridge and we couldn’t resist taking photos of the beautiful bridge. I have a fear of heights but that didnt prevent me from taking our #OOTDs. Even if you can feel the bridge actually shaking a bit, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, that we just couldn’t miss. We would later learn that taking photos on the bridge was actually prohibited. The view was awesome from where we stood overlooking the ocean. The plus side is the fresh air.
We got to Calbayog at around 8pm and decided to call it a night at a nearby convent, to get some rest for the next day’s activities.
On our 2nd day, November 11, we woke to the chorus of church bells, which beats any kind of alarm clock—even if it was only 5am. We got dressed and left for our first destination The Mike Pedroso Farms located in Calbayog City.
We arrived at his farm 7am in the morning and met up with Sir Mike Pedroso and a group of farmers and its organization OMRO (Organikong Magsasaka ng Rehiyong Otso
We introduced ourselves as the OA Bloggers to the farmers and exchanged stories, where we learned about life at the farm their hardships and how they need more support from the government.
OMRO President, Olegario “Jun” Paredes introduced officials and members and shared their vision and wishing that the government would help them with the problems that they are having at the moment such as the lack of fertilizers for their crops and irrigation facilities for their fields.
After OMRO familiarization, we had our brunch with the farmers. They served us dried fish (tuyo) smoked fish (tinapa), fresh tomatoes and onions and salad and fresh fruit juices all sourced from the farm. We also had guavas and bananas as dessert.
Engr. Mike Pedroso was originally born in Baguio and discovered his love for farming soon after he left the corporate world. The trees that are abundant at The Mike Pedroso Farm besides the guava trees were the Jackfruit "langka" trees. Unfortunately, November was not Langka season, so we weren’t able to taste the fruits.
Mr Mike is proud to have planted the "langka" trees after basically experimenting on several ways before successfully making his trees bear fruit. He says there was a lot of "trial and error" involved as he planted trees around his farm and he says he learned a lot from it. He told us growing an organic fruit tree isn’t as easy as raising organic vegetables. Because you have to have a healthy soil which is the component to healthy trees, gardens and lawns as well.
Langka's origin is from the Western Ghats in India. It has become naturalized in many tropical countries, mostly in Southeast Asia where it is considered a major fruit.