YAMANG BUKID: FARM BUSI­NESS WITH A HEART

Palawan Daily News - - Feature - By Harth­well Capis­trano

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

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