YAMANG BUKID: FARM BUSINESS WITH A HEART
Puerto Princesa has its share of local and foreign tourists. And many of them flock not to the beach or Underground River, Viet Ville or Baker’s Hill these days. They troop to a farm in the outskirt of the city that is managed by illegal-loggers-turnedfarmers. It is called Yamang Bukid.
The verdant scenery envelops the surrounding mountain scape, perfectly intertwining with the breeze of fresh air and the flourishing vegetation that could detoxify and renew wearied souls from the urban life. Strawberries, sunflowers, turmeric, insulin plant, stevia and other medicinal plants are grown.
Behind the success of Yamang Bukid are stories of blessings and opportunities to the residents, especially to the farmers and workers who are now working fulltime in the farm, including its 39 scholars in the tertiary level.
“Naging maayos na ang mga farmers. Karamihan sa kanila mga nag-uuling dati, nagkakaingin. Binago ni Yamang Bukid [ang kanilang buhay] (The farmers are okay now. Most of them were illegal loggers. Yamang Bukid transformed their lives),” said Kagawad Daniel Anjan, manager of Yamang Bukid Palawan.
Inside the farm is an “honesty store” where you can buy anything on display. It’s called as such because no one is watching over it. All you have to do is to choose what you like to purchase and leave the payment in the counter. It wants to promote the value of trust and honesty to its guests.
The sunflower plantation is what drives most people both local and foreign tourists to visit the farm.
“At first, we only focused on the farming of turmeric, but when we have the sunflower plantation. Almost every day, we have around 200 to 300 visitors,” said Benje Moñasque, the in-house architect designer of Yamang Bukid, who also designed the LGBT-friendly toilet with “Girl, Boy, Bakla and Tomboy” cabins.
The farm is filled with lush greenery where synthetic chemicals and pesticides are not used. “We do not use chemicals for our plants and vegetables, instead we use organic solutions,” Mr. Moñasque shared. The farm also grows ashitaba, which is a green leafy vegetable that acts as a detoxifier of cells, therefore, a very good option for detox. Amazingly, this herb has been used for centuries in Japan for the consumers to have a healthy liver and kidneys.
There is also an insulin plant that is believed to lower blood glucose levels of diabetics. Yamang Bukid also produces papaya, kalamansi, tsaang-gubat, and many more.
Out of the organic vegetables produced in the farm, Yamang Bukid will be manufacturing a “Palawan Energy Drink,” which is made up of camote tops, honey with kalamansi.
Yamang Bukid Palawan, a four-hectare wide farm, which is celebrating its first anniversary in two months, is now very popular in Puerto Princesa City. Most of its customers are wholesalers from restaurants and resorts in Palawan, and their products are available in malls and grocery stores in the city.
While visitors are encouraged to be responsible to the cleanliness when visiting the farm, they can help and support the scholars, farmers and partners of Yamang Bukid by buying their products sumbulo or suman sa bulo, including their medicinal plants and organic herbs and plants.
Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Incorporated received five international awards in Tokyo, Japan, awarded by the prestigious Asia Pacific Excellence Citation (APEC) at the Philippine Food Expo in Tokyo.
“Nagpapasalamat din ako dahil continuous ang pagtulong ng Yamang Bukid sa mga tao,” Kagawad Anjan said. “Sa hindi nakapunta dito, yung pupunta pa, sana tulungan nyo po kami na talagang maipagpatuloy namin ang adhikain para sa mga farmers na maging sustainable po ang trabaho. Para maiangat natin ang antas ng kahirapan dito sa atin (I am very thankful of the continuous help of Yamang Bukid to the people. For those who have not yet visited us, please help us continue the advocacy for us to have a sustainable work for our farmers).”
All we hear from the people working in Yamang Bukid is gratefulness, joy and happiness. They are not only working for Yamang Bukid, but they themselves are considered family members and are empowered members and staff of the company. Indeed, Yamang Bukid is doing business with a heart.
To know more about Yamang Bukid, they can be reached through their Facebook Page https:// www.facebook.com/turmerictea.baguiocity, or website at http://yamangbukidfoodproducts.com.
Photos taken by: Sev Borda III/PDN