There are a few things that will never grow old on me, one of which is visiting organic farms. I recently had the sweet privilege of being sent again by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) of the Department of Agriculture. This time we flew to Region 12, SOCCSKARGEN.
1st Stop – Sebul Farm: Exploring Organic Farms in SOCCSKARGEN (10th Season)
The quote of Eliot Coleman, The New Organic Grower, resonates well with me..
“Organic farming appealed to me because it involved searching for and discovering nature’s pathways, as opposed to the formulaic approach of chemical farming. The appeal of organic farming is boundless; this mountain has no top, this river has no end.”
The Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), which I have been mentioning within my organic farm tours posts, is the extension and training arm of the Philippine Department of Agriculture. Over the years, I have seen first hand, the department’s passion in cultivating an “organic” mindset in our local farmers. This is not an easy task, considering that majority’s default is to use chemically derived pesticides and fertilizers. With each visit, I am encouraged as I witness the growing number of farmers embracing the thriving world of organic farming, and their selfless hearts to impart their learnings to fellow farmers. Currently, ATI has 15 regional training centers and 1 international training center on pig husbandry, located in Batangas.
Our arrival at Sebul Farms was welcomed by a sumptuous feast prepared by the Queen of Sebul Farms herself, Ms. Mayette Sy.
The majestic view overlooking Lake Sebu from our room accommodation cannot be more breathtaking! I entered the terrace and nonchalantly sighed, “I can totally live here!” Did I mention the Sebul Farm climate is hands down the best? Per Wikipedia, Lake Sebu’s elevation is 3,280.84 ft. Go figure! It was such a refreshing, welcome change from the unforgiving Manila heat.
Lake Sebu is a natural lake located in the municipality of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato within the Alah Valley region. The Philippine government has recognized it as one of the country’s most important watersheds. Lake Sebu is one of the many bodies of water supplying important irrigation to the provinces of Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato.
The villages around the lake have been turned into an independent municipality called Lake Sebu after being a former village of Surallah. – Wikipedia
This is just one of the rooms that Sebul Farm has, and it can accommodate up to 10 people each room at only P3,000/night. Hooray for Farm Tourism! Where else can you get such dreamy backdrop for a vacay, with doses upon doses of negative ion, from the air you breathe to every nano particle you are surrounded with.
Blue rice, colored with Blue Butterfly Pea Flower a.k.a. Blue Ternate (Clitoria Ternatea)
After years of trying to cultivate a potted garden, and failing every time, I had the hubby plant for us seeds from a Blue Ternate pod, our dear friends Eric and Carla gave us weeks back. Unfortunately, our neighbor’s helper planted tomato seeds in it, thinking that they were bare pots.
This time around, I planted the seeds and stuck the pod in each pot, just to remind anyone who might mistake it for a bare pot, that a seeds are waiting to germinate. I find myself once again giddy over these shoots saying hello. Regardless of the many times I have failed in my pot gardening journey, I shall never give up! 🙂
No food shot I took of our farm tour will do justice. The above photo is the tastiest and sweetest sweet potato I have ever tasted. They call it the Marawi Sweet Potato (kamote).
Mr. William Sy, introducing the purple corn and its antioxidant powerhouse.
Purple Corn health benefits:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Kidney health
- Eye health
The daredevils of our crew took a plunge and tried the Centro Ultimate Water Tubing in Barangay Tasiman, Lake Sebu, located near Sebul Farm.
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First Stop 🛑 #Season10 #Exploring #OrganicAgriculture Practices and #FarmTourism #SebulFarm 🌳 Sebul Farm is located in the charmed municipality of Lake Sebu – the #tourism capital of South Cotabato Province. 🌽 Sebul Farm is a certified Learning Site of the Agricultural Training Institute – Regional Training Center (ATI-RTC) XII that yields an abundant array of #organic crops, flicks, and fish. 🌱 Got to wear a #handwoven T’nalak – cloth woven by women from T’boli tribe, and #suwat – a T’boli #supportivefriends #headdress made of wood and glass beads native to #SouthCotabato 😊 #OABloggerAko #GoOrganic #Organic #OrganicFarming #GustoKoOrganiko #FarmTourism #itsMoreFuninPhilippineFarms #ATI12 #ATIsox #ATIfotos #iShareKnowledge #ATIinspire #soccsksargen #SOXisNext #VisitSOX #SouthCotabato #Cotabato #SultanKudarat #Sarangani #GeneralSantos
T’nalak: The T’boli Tribe considers this piece of cloth a sacred one. Traditionally, this was woven by T’boli women of royal blood. Ms. Mayette mentioned that women are forbidden to be intimate with their husbands when they are in the process of weaving a T’nalak.
Suwat, on the other hand is the T’boli tribe’s headdress.
The T’nalak and the Suwat were recently on spotlight as our very own Catriona Gray wore them when she visited South Cotabato. Photo Credits: GMA Network and Philippine Star
My wee attempt of channeling the T’boli culture during our Sebul Farm visit. Thanks to my dear friend, Melody Co of GuiltlessGetaways.blogspot.com for the candid shot.
Thank you so much, Mr. William and Ma’am Mayette Sy, for the unforgettable experience! We did not just learn a lot, we also had loads of fun. Your hospitality and warm welcome, your super fun spirits, I will fondly be reminded of Sebul Farm. 🙂
Another highlight of my Sebul Farm experience is when Sir William toured us around. While the oohs and aahs are usually a given, I walked down each path of Sebul Farm encouraged, even as I saw why Sebul Farm is well known for its “square foot gardening.”
Philippine lemon – we were told that these are babies! Can you imagine how they’d look if they become ripe for picking. 🙂
If you live in the metro like I do, it’s easy to ditch the idea of farming, because come on now, how many in our population actually have space within their properties nowadays? Our default thinking might as well be, farms, for the most part, belong to the provinces.
Arugula galore! “Tis sweet to live in a farm!
Sebul Farm uses Ram Pump for their water supply. This hydraulic water pumping system makes use of the law of physics to pump water with no electricity. Talk about efficiency and letting gravity work its wonders to benefit the farm. Such wisdom!
The Sebul Farm Vineyard
Lush Blue Ternate vines everywhere! I’m in Butterfly Pea Flower heaven!
Nothing is put to waste. These cacao shells goes back to the soil to fertilize the ground.
Freshly picked cacao beans
The ever gorgeous queen of Sebul Farm is a former flight attendant of 30 years. I believe that her humor and beautiful spirit are the crucial keys to the farm thriving so beautifully.
Square foot farmer extraordinaire, Mr. William Sy. Thank you sir, for being instrumental to encouraging me back to do my wee share of sustainable living within our equally wee property here in Manila.
Just a few of Sebul Farms finished products: Raw Honey, Herbal Tea, Dried Blue Ternate Flowers, Coffee Grounds, and Chili Seasoning
Here’s to hoping that the efforts of ATI will further as organic farmers like Mr. and Mrs. Sy press on in their willingness to assist fellow farmers to learn that farming organically is sustainable, and for those of us in the metro to actually add in our itinerary a visit to organic farms, and see the beauty of the bountiful lands our country has been gifted with.
Sebul Farm is located in the charmed municipality of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. Sebul Farm on Facebook. Their contact number is 0908.9284360.