Saturday, February 21, 2009


That reads like a tagline you see all over Davao City. Except for Durian, we didn't really do the usual tourist areas, but we still see the trip as WOW.

When we learned about the Philippine Veterinary Medicine Association Convention in Davao City, I excitedly used the opportunity to schedule a Durian galore/farm visits. Doc Rey may go to his PVMA thing, while Zac and I will enjoy our own schedules. And, a seminar for Raising Sunshine Chicken was also set. This was our kick off for the seminars in key cities.

We've heard a lot about Andry and Joji's naturally grown pigs fro, Tere and Armand of Earthkeepers. Zac Sarian met them in Gen San, but it was in passing and there was no chance to really discuss about the Korean method they had been applying and advocating. So I texted Tere. She contacted her friends and then texted me a schedule that started at like 7am, 1hr after we flew into the city. We not only got Andry and Joji's farm, we also got to meet and visit Dante and Tigbaw. Yup, he is named Tigbaw :)

Andry, Joji and Dante got us at the hotel. I cautioned them that there were three huge US. They said its ok, Dante and Tigbaw were midgets wehehehhe...just Andry who was big but he gets his own seat as the driver. We arrived at Dante's house for breakfast. Parking was at the highway as you have to walk to his house, balancing through feet roads. On the way, he talks about sustainable farming. While walking, we were met at what seems to be "one way" road, by his wife and daughter who were going to her school. Such a happy mother and daughter pair, who was glad to see father's visitors. What greeted us as we walked into Dante's property was exactly what he was talking about. A farmer may grow his own consumption. He had a little of everything! Even had rabbits. I thought the breeders rabbits were producing rabbits for commercial meat. Nope, petshops bought them. There were even bird's nests in not too tall trees just beside the house. And this was very near the main highway.

Breakfast from rice to hot chocolate and fruits came from their labor. That was the start of our all eating out vacation.

We walk back to the highway and cross the street to Redzki restaurant in Los Amigos. This is co-owned by Dante and Tigbaw. The large integrated farm surrounding is also a corporation/team up with Tigbaw and Dante, with Tigbaw's siblings. Before we started to walk, Joji made me drink her FFJ of 3Cs: Carrots, Cucumbers and Celery Stalks. I like the champoy juicelike taste. She said it is an energy tonic when taken during the day and makes you sleep like a log after taking it in the evening. After my golfing days like maybe 15yrs ago, I hardly walk. And walk walk walk we did, under the hot sun, balancing ride paddies and streams. You see fish rice paddies, well thought of backyard fish hatcheries, vegetables, ornamental fish farming farm inputs. Dante and Tigbaw were such passionate farmer guides.

Lunch was sinugba pork from Andry's farm ( teaser 0f what we are to see), broiled hito from the paddies we just walked through, vegetables fron Joji's plots and her great salad dressing. Doc Rey joined us when there was hardly any left at the plates. He opted to meet his friends earlier and had lunch with us inbetween meeting up with vets. Veterinarians, not veterans :)

Headed to Helen's Farm of Andry and Joji. You are first greeted by workers working in the fermented plant and fruit juices. Another group, blending the rice bran and corn with the fermented juices. Another team working on the Cacao harvest. The number of workers are least, you won't believe it, in the piggery houses! Just before you walk in, Andry makes you eat the blue flowers that bloom from the vine as you enter the piggery. So you enter walking and talking about the taste of the flowers, laughing and loud. Then you see the somewhat make a double look as you can't be around all these pigs...NO SMELL. NO NOISE... sleeping, not wanting to budge at your intruding! Even communal nurseries...Doc Rey has to go back there.

We went around the veggy plots. No farm inputs, no green houses, just yellow plastic bags, split and painted with used cooking oil to attract the insects. Toured the area where chickens may have a new place.

Next stop, we went to Malagos Resort. Mrs. Puentespina was so happy that Zac Sarian was around and going to stop by her farm. We toured through Cacao trees, solar driers, fermenting tanks, as they are in production for export to a US chocolate company. We were treated to taste the production of good tasting 70% Cacao, that had a sugar cane after taste. Packaged in old look vintage design, you will be glad you were able to partake of it as it gives you pride that it is sold as a premium chocolate elsewhere. Goats were happy, and the cages were clean. They also followed Andry and Joji's recommendations on natural farming. We were treated to a hot chocolate drink and goat cheese.

A friend of Zac invited us for dinner. Thank you that Andry and Joji came as it was a noisy chinese may have been uncomfortable for me if they weren't around. Time to stand...good! On the way back to the hotel...Joji may have read our minds and asked if we wanted Durian. YES! Timing that Doc Rey was just around the corner from Magsaysay Park and was really headed back to Grand Regal. So, we all met for Durian.

Next morning I was good and worked for the seminar. Stayed in the hotel and liasoned for the presentation. Zac was off to a breakfast meeting and Doc Rey had his own too. Seminar that day went fine, well attended...we even had to open up the next room so we will have proper spacing like when brooding chicks :) We have to thank Dante Delima for coming to attend the seminar as their group is planning on raising Sunshines. He ended up giving a talk on natural farming after Doc Rey, w/c the participants were most thankful for. A golden bonus.

Larry, who we meet a lot during AANI activities and is very involved for the Mindanao Fruits, invited us for dinner and durian buffet in his restaurant, D' Farmers Market, known where corporate accounts take their visitors for Durian. The gift Andry and Joji again. They came by and joined us. It was agreed that we all go to Larry's farm early next day with a trip to the pig farm again as this time Doc Rey will join us.

I have to remember to mention that we had been sleeping well inspite of being overly loaded with food. We have to credit Joji's FFJ 3Cs.

The 20th, our last day...I request for a late checkout and thankfully was granted as we wanted to be able to take a shower after the farm visits. Doc Rey was so awed at Andry's farm. Asking the typical vet questions :) Then off running to Larry's farm for the Durian buffet of really fresh off the trees, just harvested that morning, fruits!

By 2:30pm, we were at Waterfront to meet up with some vets, and to see the convention as it was our main alibi for flying to Davao.

Thank you for this trip, there were gift of friends, knowledge and Durian and FFJ. Walk with us..

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