Our last but definitely not the least in our recent SOCCSKSARGEN (Region 12) Farm Tour was Felicidad Orchard & Garden Organics (FOGO) Farm.
FOGO is a school for practical agriculture accredited by the Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture. FOGO is located in Brgy. Katangawan, General Santos City.
After Captain James “Bong” Reamon’s years of being a commercial plane pilot, he went on to “pilot” a whole new different department, that is, farming.
Within FOGO’s 15-hectare farm, is a wide array of fruit bearing trees, different crops, organic rice, edible landscape, organic rice, organic pig, poultry, and homey accommodation.
Considering that Captain Bong started farming after retiring from flying commercial planes, he sure has managed to more than just take off when he took on the role of being a farmer. He soared and is multi-awarded, at that. His awards include The National Science and Technology 1995 “Inventor of the Year” award. Might have something to do with his knack for blasting off all those years of flying? Possibly. 😉
Capt. James Reamon’s award-winning Rex Compost Tea Brewer will allow you to make your own organic liquid fertilizer for as little as P100/hectare spray. Imagine the savings a farmer gets as opposed to the usual synthetic chemical based ones, that are bound to hurt the soil and the produce in the long haul.
Captain Bong has garnered countless awards over the years, and for good reason. I love how he’s so passionate about farming that he is willing to share his knowledge to encourage more people to see and embrace that organic farming is possible.
FOGO is also pioneer of vermiculture in Mindanao, invented the impressive award winning aerodynamically-designed Gizelle windmill, compost tea, et. al. So much to say about this impressive farm in one go!
Captain Bong said that we were the first ones to break in their accommodation. Woot! Perfect timing and what an honor!
The cottage we stayed in was an air-conditioned one. Summer nights won’t be an issue in case you decide to visit during warm months.
While not every farm features an accommodation, considering staying in one that has like FOGO will sure be worth your while. I have been to a decent number of places, but these farm tours sure top my list. The negative ions, the beauty of nature, and the immersion in the organic farm atmosphere, and to play “farmville,” if you may, is made possible. There’s nothing like the real thing. It brings you to another level of respect for farmers, and their hard work. And if you happen to be a nature lover, this will surely be one for the books!
FOGO’s public toilet is the fanciest I’ve been in my years of visiting different organic farms. Plus, in the event that you come in big groups, this farm is able to accommodate up to 70 people.
FOGO’s award winning “Edible Landscape.”
Here’s my wee attempt to video document our very memorable FOGO Farm Tour.
Rex Compost Tea Brewer
Captain Bong on OA AKO Telemag on his Rex Compost Tea Brewer invention.
Got to love the passion in Kap’s voice as he explains how going back to basics makes a lot of sense. It’s been over a month since we visited but I’m no less amazed at such dedication, intelligence, wisdom, and drive to pursue his scientific inventions after retiring from flying. It’s not merely self-fulfillment he’s reaping now, he’s also been helping local farmers as his farm is used as a school for practical agriculture accredited by the Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture.
Another highlight of our FOGO visit is where we witnessed the actual process of vermicomposting. This is crucial to becoming an organic farmer. Because this is what you will use to ensure that your crops will grow and thrive.
- First off, three sacks of cow dung from grass-fed goat or cows is distributed within a 4 by 1 meter bed, that’s 8-inch deep.
- It is then layered with chopped banana trunks, for the needed nutrients that the African Night Crawlers to feed on – NPK, which stands for Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. These are essentials for the vermicompost.
- Layers of cow dung and chopped banana trunks are again placed atop the first two layers, before hosing water on the bed.
- Fresh Salviña or Madre de Agua leaves are spread on top of the layered vermicompost bed.
- A layer of banana leaves are spread atop.
- Final layer is that of dried coconut leaves.
- Last step is strategically placing at least a kilo of African Night Crawlers in every corner of the bed, ushering them to their feast.
Turn around time for the vermicast to be ready for use is around three months.
One of the first things Captain Bong told us to look forward to is to experience planting rice ourselves. This meant we will get our feet deep in the mud, and our hands dirtied too as we scramble for the sheaves of seedgrass from the nursery and transplant organic black rice.
And that we did! It was such an experience that’s for the books. The old folk song wasn’t kidding, when it sang, “Magtanim ay di biro.”
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Signs of life! ? This totally made my day. ? Last week, the #mulberry cuttings looked all moldy and sad. I covered them all again, prayed that they thrive, and they sure did! Thank you, Abba! ?? As for my #butterflypea – they continue to look promising, with a few late bloomers sprouting. ? Thank you, Capt. James and Mr. Sy for the mulberry cuttings and #blueternate seeds. #OABloggerAko #GoOrganic #Organic #OrganicFarming #GustoKoOrganiko #FarmTourism #pottedgarden
The first thing I did when I flew back home was to plant the mulberry cuttings Kap gave. It finally showed signs of life last week! I was so giddy I just had to post it on Instagram.
Thank you so much, Captain and Mrs. James Reamon, for the many organic farm learnings I came home with!
Learning Site/ Extension Services Provider/ A School for Practical Agriculture/ Farm Tourism Site
Here are some key information about Agricultural Training Institute’s (ATI)‘s ladderized approach to extension service which is focused on productivity-enhancing interventions directed mainly towards the development of the farmers and, subsequently, their agri-products/by-products.
This approach is grounded on these principles:
Experience is the best teacher
Farmer-to-farmer learning and problem-solving
Demand-driven and need-based curriculum
Learning by observing and modeling
Learning by doing
Participating and experiencing
Earning while learning
Farmer as an entrepreneur; farming as an enterprise
Learning Site for Agriculture (LSA)
The LSA is a farm practicing applicable agricultural technologies, employing doable farmingstrategies, and operating successfully. The farmer/farm family-owner is relatively advanced compared to other farmers. An LSA also includes a successful agri-products/by-products
processing enterprise owned by a processor who is not necessarily a farmer/farm family. A farm is certi ied as an LSA when it is privately owned or operated by a rural-basedorganization, an integrated, diversified, and specialized farm producing a specific commodity
in sizeable volume, has basic techno-demo farm facilities, and is accessible by land and other transportation facilities.
An LSA serves as a practicum area to complement classroomlearning; a venue for practical and hands-on learning for immediate use; a visit area for otherfarmers, rural community members, ATI training participants, and others interested in agriculture and agri-products/by-products processing; and on-the-job training site for ATI’s scholarship program grantees, beneficiaries of “Adopt a Farm Youth” program, and other interested agriculture students and individuals.
School for Practical Agriculture (SPA)
The SPA, on the other hand, is an upgraded LSA with enhanced training facilities and whose owner is trained for further competence, therefore called as “farmer-trainer” or “processor-trainer”. The SPA serves as a “training center in the field” to complement the ATI in the
delivery of training and extension services to the clientele. The integrated or specialized commodity farm (either crop-based, livestock-based, or fishery-based) is enhanced with additional commodities and/or increased area. Its farm activities cover production to
successful marketing. In addition to the basic demo farm/processing facilities, the SPAs have functional facilities needed to undertake live-in training and extension activities. Aside from training, the SPAs have information support, provides technical guidance, and implements complementary projects in preparation to becoming a Farm Tourism Site for accreditation of
the Department of Tourism (DOT).
Extension Services Provider (ESP)
Private ESPs are legitimate organizations such as non-government organizations, people’s organizations, outreach arm of institutions, and other private organizations with agricultural extension services or services that are relevant to agricultural extension. The LSAs and SPAs can become ESPs only if they are organized as a network. Both the SPAs and ESPs function as alternative/complementary training venues as they have the basic facilities for the conduct of a live-in training. Considered as full-fledged extension gencies, ESPs are better equipped as ATI’s partners in the provision of extension services to farmers/fishers and their organizations.
Farm Tourism Site (FTS)
The FTS, according to the DOT website, is a working farm producing and/or showcasing raw and/or processed products. They are categorized as a) Day Farm and b) Farm Resort. For a farm to be an FTS, it should be situated in a generally safe and peaceful location.
An FTS has the following facilities/amenities, or can also be available in the nearest service area not more than a two-hour drive from the farm, in addition to the existing facilities necessary for its regular operation:
1. Reception/Information Counter – an info counter or a reception area shall be designated where guests can inquire about the farm’s tour offerings, services or amenities. It can also serve as briefing area for the tour.
2. Parking – parking area with designated drop-off/loading area shall be provided for buses and other public as well as private vehicles.
3. Dining/Multi-Purpose Area – there shall be a dining, recreational and activity area for guests. Picnic grounds shall use outdoor fixtures made of indigenous materials in keeping with the farm setting.
4. Farm Guide – Farm guides shall accompany the tour group during the entire conduct of the farm tour. They shall provide information on farm operations, processes, products and other unique features of the farm.
5. Souvenir Shop/ Mini-Trading Area – There shall be a souvenir shop or mini-trading post to pro vide guests with a place to purchase the farm’s produce (fresh or processed) and/or negotiate for possible business partnerships or transactions.
6. Accommodation (for farm resorts only) – There shall be accommodation facilities which shall comply with the minimum standard requirements of an accommodation facility of the DOT.
7. Restaurant (for farm resorts only) – There shall be a restaurant or catering service within the farm resort’s premises to cater to the dining needs of visitors / guests.
Support infrastructure facilities are also in place such as road, electricity, water and communication.
Visit our Felicidad Orchard and Garden Organics Visit Album for more photos, on Facebook.