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September 25, 2013

Negros Occidental: An Experience in the Organic Agriculture Capital of the Philippines (part 3 )

Visiting and experiencing the southern part of Negros Occidental is something that I've been dreaming to do really, and through the Organic Agriculture Bloggers Tour here in the Organic Agriculture Capital of the Philippines, I was able not only to visit and experience two of the most beautiful cities in the southern part of Negros Occidental, but as well as to savor their freshest and healthiest food that everyone will surely love.


Waking up early to leave May's Garden, our host here in Negros Occidental, head on to the southern mountainous side of Negros Occidental and discover two more organic farms that offer the freshest, healthiest and safest farm products in the province.


The first farm that we visited on the third day of our organic farm tour here in Negros Occidental is located at the cold and scenic Don Salvador Benedicto City. Two hour drive from Bacolod City, Don Salvador Benedicto City offers a captivating view of Mt. Mandalagan, a potentially active stratovolcano, which is actually juts like Mt. Fuji of Japan.

Anyway, with the city's low dense population and basically virgin forestland, the weather here is really perfect for farming sharing that adaptable weather condition fit for fruits, vegetables and the likes. Most of the roads that leads us to our destination are designed with these tall pine trees, that are lush and lovely we didn't realize we are already in the organic farm of Rapha Valley Farm.


Owned by Dr. Albert Jo, a doctor-farmer whose dedication to healthy living is way beyond anybody's expectation, Rapha Valley Organic Farm has been known to many local and international tourists who are seeking to live a healthy life.


Upon arriving at their farm, we were immediately welcomed by the unique healthy treats prepared by the resident doctor, farmer and health advocate himself Dr. Jo. The ambiance and the air surrounding the place was so welcoming that during his introduction about the farm, our eyes cannot help but to wander around.


It took almost an hour til we finally asked to wear the hats that they prepared for us and see the rest of their beautifully landscaped farm. Since this organic farm is located at the mountainous side of Negros Occidental, the landscape of Rapha Valley Farm tends to be hilly. So stepping up and down to see and to know their diverse organic plants was a bit of a challenge, but it was truly enjoyable and learning.

After checking out the rest of the place, our group's last destination here in Rapha Valley Farm is their beautifully designed restaurant. It was so beautiful that we didn't notice that our food is ready to eat.


In all fairness, I was amazed on how they made each of the meal they prepared for us looks and tastes unique and appetizing. Though I know that some people may have a problem with their dishes, I find most of them delicious and really worth a try.


with Dr. Albert Jo

After some more eating and chatting with Dr. Jo and his family, the group finally decided to bid goodbye for our next organic farm destination, the newest one - the R. Catiempo Organic Farm in Bago City, Negros Occidental.

Mr. Renato Catiempo

Owned by newly recognized organic farmer, Mr. Renato Catiempo, we were welcomed to his farm by his big smile upon seeing us. He told us that he and his farm isn't really prepared for this visit but he feels honored to be visited by us and with that, he led us up to his farm.

Catiempo Farm is totally different from the other organic farms that we've visited here in Negros Occidental. It's main crop is rice, so aside from the herbs that were intelligently placed around the farm, there's also a mini rice terraces, which look so nice and green and very relaxing.


From black, red to Mindoro 5 red rice, Catiempo Farm is practicing Integrated Farming System too, whereas alongside those rice plants are vegetables like lettuce, eggplant, tomato, ampalaya, bell pepper and the likes.

Mr. Catiempo also shared us a brief history of his farm and how he finally decided to switch back to this basic farming style - organic farming. He also told us how it gave him and his family a whole new meaning to health and life with this practice, and even though the income isn't still enough, he is happy that they are making life a top priority in this endeavor.

To be honest, I find his farm really great and has a potential on not only being a prime organic farm in this part of Negros Occidental but also an agri-tourism destination because of its breathtaking scenery that swept our feet away.


Our day here in Catiempo Farm and our organic farm tour here in Negros Occidental ended in a sweet way because despite of the somehow an unexpected visit, Mr. Catiempo and the rest of his family prepared us something that is totally new to our tastebuds, the Baye-Baye and Casava na Suman.


Promise, the Baye-Baye is a must-try for foodies here. Its a local delicacy that I never thought they have it here, so I'm glad that I got to taste it in this beautiful and relaxing organic farm.

Upon leaving, Mr. Catiempo promised us that on our next visit, expect more thing from his farm because he'll doll up it a little more for it will be picturesque and truly satisfying to see and to experience.

If these organic farms here in Negros Occidental are already the best, well, I cannot honestly wait what the Mindanao region has to offer to the health buffs of this nation. I must say that I was truly mesmerize to their practices and innovation, something that the government should fund to help more farmers - organic farmers in our country.


The inspiration and the love that they pored on creating and developing something out of the ordinary things surrounding things is really an achievement worth the title Organic Agriculture Capital of the Philippines.

Thank you so much, Negros Occidental for this amazing and unforgettable experience. I will never get tired visit your province, just like the way I'll never get tired having all your organic delicacies that sure made me think to go organic.

Thank you too to Department of Agriculture - Agriculture Training Institute for bring me here and choosing me again as your participant on this third leg of Bloggers' Organic Farm Tour. Kudos to all your endeavors! Cheers and God bless you all!




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