Both­ered by what the for­tune teller told him

(Mem­oirs of an Agri Jour­nal­ist)

Agriculture - - Contents -

CARMELO “Milo” Ramos was a mem­ber of a crew of a res­cue ship that sailed around the world tasked with res­cu­ing boats in dis­tress. Like most sea­men, he en­joyed a big salary in dol­lars. He didn’t say it him­self but some­one sug­gested that he was mak­ing at least $1,700 a month. That was a big amount that the salary from a local em­ploy­ment could hardly match.

The pay was good, all right, but what the local for­tune teller had told him when he was a kid kept on both­er­ing him. Life at sea was not for him, ac­cord­ing to the for­tune teller. It was risky be­cause ac­ci­dents can hap­pen. The for­tune teller told him and his fa­ther that he will find his for­tune off­shore, on land, in other words.

Should he give up his em­ploy­ment at sea? It was a hard de­ci­sion to make be­cause he was not sure of what to do for a liv­ing if he re­signed. But when he was able to save enough to build a house af­ter nine years work­ing in the res­cue ship, he de­cided to heed the words of the for­tune teller. He gave up his job as a sea­man in 1999 and re­turned to his na­tive San Pablo City.

When he read about the Sinta Pa­paya de­vel­oped in Los Baños, he im­me­di­ately planted 1,000 seedlings be­tween young rambu­tan trees in the farm that the fam­ily owned. He was im­me­di­ately suc­cess­ful. He was able to har­vest 50 tons which earned him about R375,000 af­ter a year of har­vest­ing. He was greatly en­cour­aged by the good out­come of his pa­paya farm­ing that he de­cided to rent some land for ex­pand­ing his pa­paya plan­ta­tion. In Oc­to­ber 2013, Ric Reyes of East-West Seed brought me to Carmelo so I could in­ter­view him be­cause he had be­come the Pa­paya King in Lu­zon, plant­ing the seeds from East-West. He had, at the time of our in­ter­view, 18,000 pa­paya trees in three lo­ca­tions that were heav­ily fruit­ing.

The big­gest one was in Brgy. Soledad with 12,000 trees from which Milo was har­vest­ing 8,000 ki­los a week. About 7,000 ki­los of that was bought by a big Manila buyer at R15 per kilo. The big buyer alone paid him about R105,000 a week which was more than his monthly salary in dol­lars as a sea­man.

Of course, he also made ad­di­tional in­come from his two other plan­ta­tions. And what was good about Milo’s pa­paya project was that it pro­vided a source of in­come for 15 young men who worked for him as pick­ers of the ripen­ing fruits, pay­ing them R250 for half a day’s work.

Now you see, the for­tune teller was prob­a­bly right af­ter all in telling Milo that his for­tune was on land and not at sea. Or is it more apt to say that Milo be­lieved so much in the for­tune teller that he him­self made his good for­tune to be re­al­ized on land?

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