Exploring Organic Agriculture Practices in Southern Tagalog: Terra Verde Ecofarm and Resort
My journey towards loving things organic goes back to the time when I was pregnant with my son in 2004. As I read through books on preparation for childbirth, I was made aware that there are several potential dangers a mother can get in contact with during pregnancy. My resolve was to have nothing to do with toxic chemicals that may harm my then yet unborn ‘love.’
Here are some of my minute attempts to grow our home garden. Given that we have little space to begin with, let alone a legit plot to cultivate my dream green arena, I made use of pots and have tried my shot raising herbs and plants. I have also practiced composting for years now. We all should. Composting will not just keep wastes (vegetable and fruit scraps, which are valuable soil resources), out of the landfill but also promote natural growth and decay as microorganisms decompose dead plant matter, thus providing nutrients that plants need to thrive.
Eleven years since, we have grown in this aspect as a family. So it was with great pleasure when I was invited by the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Training Institute to explore the Organic Agriculture Practices in Southern Tagalog. I have loved organic farming for so long but never really had a real encounter with organic farms. The closest I got are the organic farm videos I see on my Facebook feed. My dream of sustainable living!
Our first stop was the Agricultural Training Institute Region IV-A in Trece Martires City
We toured the mini farm within its grounds and first learned about how Sustainable Pig Farm is now feasible within one’s backyard. This means no foul smell that are often considered a “given” when one has a pig farm.
Terra Verde Ecofarm & Resort
Terra Verde Ecofarm History
We soon trooped to Terra Verde Ecofarm & Resort, which is a 15-hectare organic farm, an Extension Service Provider (ESP) of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI). The birth of Terra Verde is a very interesting and impressive one. This sanctuary started as a family retreat place and was born out of a doctor’s prescription for a family member’s illness. To get away to somewhere serene, away from the hustle and bustle of the city turned out to be one of the best decisions the Atanacio family made.
Here’s a short clip of our interview with brothers Ericson and Emerson Atanacio as they recall how Terra Verde came about.
Even as I watch and listen to this interview, the choir of birds singing serves as the perfect background music, so conducive to enjoying a laid-back weekend or every single day, if it were up to me! Haha!
The Atanacio family champions the 3 Es in their advocacy: Entertainment through agri-tourism, Education and Enterprise development.
1st E: Entertainment through Agri-Tourism
I posted this on my social media account and got close to 100 likes in less than 4 hours! If you ask me, that tells a lot about how people long for a beautiful place like Terra Verde to getaway to and escape the crazy grind in the metro.
Oh the lovely place Terra Verde is just about covers the first E in the Atanacio’s 3E’s Advocacy: Entertainment through agri-tourism.
The second E in the family’s advocacy is Education The Atanacio family also champions to support farms as they help educated them how to commercially produced food that are free of pesticides.
The concept of Bahay Kubo in Terra Verde is plenty interesting. This plot is dedicated to grow all the vegetables and fruits mentioned in the song “Bahay Kubo.” Sir Ericson even let us in on a trivia that about this song that I only realized true in my 4 decades of existence. The plants in the songs are ingeniously categorized: legumes, fruits, vines, herbs, etc. I sang away, and I agreed, “true enough!”
3rd E: Enterprise Development
As the Atanacios gear towards education farmers on the value of organic farming, they encourage Enterprise Development as people are made aware of its sustainability and the current high demand for organic produce.
Terra Verde Ecofarm Accommodation
Terra Verde Ecofarm opens its doors and is able to house 27 persons in its “Kubin.” A word play kubo+cabin. “Kubo” because it used to be built like that of a typical kubo until the termites took office and ate the wood away. They had it since rebuilt like a cabin.
This beautiful place is also able to accommodate 60 people on camping tents.
Visitors can enjoy a guided tour and welcome drinks at the farm for only P299.
As the Atanacios continue to develop Terra Verde Ecofarm, the plan is for a children’s play area and a zipline for additional recreation for visitors.
As I recall with fondness the organic farms we visited, I have come to love the tenacity and passion of all the farm owners. Each farm has its own personality but one thing for sure, it’s impossible to leave each farm unchanged.
This tour sponsored by Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture further intensifies my heart towards organic farming. Do check out the ATI website and e-Extension for further information.
Terra Verde Ecofarm & Resort
Address: Km. 89, Alfonso-Maragondon Road, Pantihan 2