TOFARM Finalists Named for Farming Inspired Music and Film Creativity

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After Levi Celerio’s classic “Magtanim Ay Di Biro” (Planting is No Joke), the time has come to find a present-day take on uplifing music that celebrates the life of a farmer. Not just in music, but in film as well. The search for a moving story about the farm life has wrapped up as well for 2017 with six finalists selected in a variety of genres. This, together with the ten finalists for the TOFARM Songwriting Competition was presented last February 8 at Novotel Hotel in Cubao.
The event allowed media to interact with the finalists and ask more about how they came up with their works and what was their inspiration. Clearly the music presented by the 10 finalists were rich in melody and thought-provoking in lyrics, and at this point all of them were winners already. Whoever will be announced as the final winnner in April 9 will just be a formality. The same goes for the six finalists of the film category. They are already winners as they were selected from the numerous entries. The theme for 2017 centered on “Planting the seeds of Change”.

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Capturing Lives of Farmers In Music

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14393838_10154042699992956_183480229_oWhat an inspiring theme to focus our songs on— farming and nature. To bring to mind a farmer’s toils, beauty of nature and plants, life in a farm, beauty of a tree, songs in praise of God’s works, these are some wonderful musical directions wherein we can focus our songwriting talents. Songs that share positivity and hope are great songs to sing along to with friends, listen to while traveling, working, or relaxing.
The opportunity to portray lives and everyday experiences through songs was a brilliant idea that Dr. Milagros How, Executive Vice President of Universal Harvester Inc, embraced and acted upon to help create awareness and recognition for the hardworking farmers and other workers in the agricultural sector.

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Trekking Mt. Kitanglad, Capping the Bukidnon Farm Experience

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SAM_2292Before I wrap up our Bukidnon Farm Tour with the final activity in our Bukidnon itinerary, let me recap my first 3-day Mindanao farm experience.
After landing in Laguindinang airport of Cagayan de Oro, we went straight to t13235513_10153755580477956_7505641769590644436_o (1)he Cervantes farm and enjoyed an organic feast of homegrown harvests while learning new insights and ideas from the enthusiastic farmer Honorio Cervantes. We proceeded to Alomah farm to spend the night in a cool, rural-type accomodation amidst the fresh chilly night air . . . forget airconditioning.

Our group had a chance to view the Delmonte plantation an13268055_10153758103052956_5578190313695357916_od take some souvenir photos on our 3-hour long trip to Jaya Secret Garden. Another feast of healthy lunch awaited us there which included home-made herbal beverages and home-harvested vegetable,fish and duck dishes. After filling our tummies, our mind was filled with information and new farm method discoveries.
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Rebuilding Forests at Binahon Farm

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SAM_2176With the destruction of our forests caused by excessive logging and resulting in calamities like flooding, drought, and low food supply, it’s time to find a solution fast.  Who you gonna call?

SAM_2219You can call Binahon Agro Forestry Farm or BAFF for their expertise on Forest development. BAFF owners Henry Binahon and his wife have been long in the business to know the most efficient way to rebuild a forest. A mix of studies, experience, and common sense, these couple would be our country’s version of forest whisperers.

SAM_2232After spending lunch and an afternoon at Jaya Secret Garden, the group proceeded to Binahon Farm which was a bit of an uphill climb.  Our vans could only take us to a certain point before we had to trek a kilometer to our destination.  After we settled in with our luggage at our designated rooms, we SAM_2262proceeded to the meeting room for a briefing and a taste of their specialty carrot juice and carrot bread for snack.  We were welcomed by BAFF owners Henry and Perla Binahon who shared their love story and their dedication to agriculture development. More

A Secret to an Organic Lanscaped Garden Revealed

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Moving on to the third farm, we come across a smaller but beautifully landscaped 2,100 sq. meter farm where every space is maximized. The sloping land area was transformed into a beautiful garden of organic vegetables.SAM_1963

As we entered Jaya Secret Garden, we were welcomed by the owners Junah Bayag and his family with lunch: a meal of blue rice, fish, veggies, cucumber cooler, lemongrass juice, orange with chilli refresher—freshly harvested from the garden. Blue rice was made with a  flower called blue ternate, which has anti-ageing, energy-enhancing, fertility increasing properties.

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During his daughter Jaya’s tour and his lecture, Farmer Junah constantly acknowledged his family’s contribution and support in developing this visually appealing, photogenic landscaped garden. Landscaping is their main income source, followed by catering, and the sale of their organic produce such as cabbages, lettuce, herbs, chilli, fish, and duck among others. Diversified backyard gardening he explains is a key element to his thriving place. More

Welcome to the Land of Salad and Rodeo at Alomah’s Place

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Farm Tourism is on the rise. How could it not be? Who wouldn’t want to take a break from traffic, work stress, junk food, air and noise pollution and try  living in a farm? Refresh the body, mind and soul for a few days with fresh air, organic dishes, peace and quiet surroundings. Be far away from the stress of daily living and be one with nature. One such place is the cool mountain hide-away of Alomah’s Place.

SAM_1812The second organic farm we visited gave us a feel of the farm life as we spent a welcome chilly night at Alomah’s Place.
After lunch and tour at Cervantes Farm, we took 3 hour trip, give and take, to this rodeo-like farm at the end of the Delmonte plantation road. Almost the only 2 vans on the road on our way to the farm, our convoy of media bloggers crossed 3 vehicles at most as we neared our destination. It felt like an isolated road on a rainy afternoon but we took the opportunity to take a quick nap before arriSAM_1918ving to our second farm.
We were welcomed by the owners Ben John and Grace Mahistrado, who served us a healthy snack of fresh tea leaves and salad as they briefed us on the history of the place. Spearmint, stevia, and tarragon leaves steeped in hot water , no sugar or tea bags, was how we took our tea.  How fresh and natural was that. We had to forgo the tour until the next morning because of the rains. More

Cervantes Brings Organic Farming to City Dwellers

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SAM_1784As we travel to our fifth organic farm tour series, this time around in Bukidnon, with the tireless support of the Agricultural Technological Institure or ATI Northern Mindanao team, we once again share with you the learnings and developments from the organic farming sector as part of ATI’s advocacy for a healthier tomorrow.
SAM_1788Our first visit upon landing at Cagayan De Oro airport was a two-hour trip destination to Cervantes Farm in Bukidnon. We were greeted with a rural-type of feast for lunch inside a typical nipa hut farm structure owned by Honorio Cervantes. Fish, pork, vegetables, piled on rice surrounded by mangoes and bananas in a heap on top of the table covered by banana leaves. Buko with blended coconut meat for beverage was rich and filling For plates, we used sturdy banana trunk layers with plastic utensils, which we skipped and instead used our reliable and efficient hands. It was a refreshing sight to behold which made us smile because of the practicality and convenience of such a set up. Everything was biodegradable and could simply be returned to the soil as enrichment, minus the burden of dish washing and cleaning. (see video)

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