Saturday, June 27, 2015


Farm caretaker, Willy,testing the harrowing machine at the farm

The rainy season has begun and farmers are preparing the land for planting. In our farm in Pila, Laguna, the farm caretaker,Willy, is seen testing the newly overhauled harrowing machine. The site is near Laguna de Bay where  conservative farmers like me, are not inclined to plant rice`aggressively. Though it is now the "El Nino" season where we expect less rain, we are still wary about the floods wrecking havoc in our farms.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is giving assistance to farmers by way of subsidized seeds from the local government. The certified seeds are bought at 50 percent off the usual price, with the municipal government shouldering the other 50 percent. They also farm out 5 cavans of organic fertilizer per hectare. With the high costs of planting (being an unirrigated land), I can only afford to plant in two hectares. Work has started in the farm, and the pumps were repaired prior to being reinstalled and use.

Willy and the mechanic, Aldrin, are testing the harrowing machine

The harrowing machine is used twice prior to planting. It comes after the "kuliglig" which is use to plow the field. It will then be harrowed after a week, and leveled after another week. We have to call the mechanic since there were problems in starting the engine. He found  grease in the fuel tank. My guess is that, the caretaker must have erroneously put in the "toti oil" in the fuel tank --- so,it had trouble starting. 

Sidekick, Manang Belen with farm worker Lando at Barrio Mohon, to get the grasscutter

We have to go to the nearby barrio of Mojon,to get the grasscutter from Lando,a  vegetable farmer from the area. He is  an Igorot from the Mountain province, who married a local lass from the region. Talking to him, is my 70 year old sidekick, Manang Belen. She is an Ilocana, but is now a resident of Pila, Laguna.

Young mothers, Jomalyn and Maple, both infanticipating

Young ladies in the barrio tend to marry early and have one or two kids before they are  20. These two girls with their tiny tots in tow are always around whenever I am in the farm. Jomalyn (left) married a Bisayan from Dumanguete named Teteng, and Maple (right) married an Igorot from the Mountain Province named Tommy. Both are happy seeing their growing family with two more babies expected this year.

Cleaning the dikes using the grasscutter

The dikes need to be clean so rats don't dwell on them. The grasscuter, cuts down the costs of cleaning by as much as 70 percent. When the rains come, the fields will be plowed and the dikes  repaired to cover the holes in the innermost pockets. Cleaning will include the canals  so as not to hamper the flow of water during the rainy months.

Cleaning the dikes is important so farm rats don't burrow on it

The dikes are cleaned up at both sides to ensure that we don't get infested by rats. Cutting the grass would cover the outlying areas that needs trimming and cutting (shrubs and cogon). Again, this ensures that there will be no habitation for farm rats in the field.

Barangay Road at Barrio Mojon

The town of Mojon have concrete barangay roads that makes it easier to transport farm produce. Tricyles, as shown, ply the area. Children are seen with their mother, as they go to the nearby public school.

Freshly picked guavas from the farm

Life in the farm is simple and the perks include having a snack of ripe and semi-ripe guavas, straight from the tree. I better plant other fruit trees so I will have my fill of snack foods when I am on the site.
The church is always  the center of any locality.

The catholic faith is ingrained in the Filipino that you can find churches /or chapels in the smallest towns and barrios. This small church in Mojon is one of the bigger churches in the locality.

Kamoteng kahoy are used as perimeter fence and food

Vegetables like eggsplants are planted alongside the other vegetatable crops like okra, kalabasa, dahong sili, and kamote

One year old baby enjoys being rocked in the hammock

This one year old tot never fails to visit his grandma on weekdays. His father works as stone mason in the next town. He is adorable and friendly with all the people around him.

Bananas ready for picking in a month's time

Another perk of being in the farm is having fruits that are in season. These bananas are ready for eating in the next few weeks.  I look forward to that!


Life in the farm is never easy.You are faced with myriad of problems everyday -  spark plug giving in, fan belt breaking, farm hand not showing up, and all the teeny weeny problems that confront harried and tired farmers. However,the little perks--- fresh air, simple lifesyle, fresh fruits, and the company of barrio folks, still far outweigh the difficult side of running a farm.


Other Articles from the Author:

Philippine News: A Shot from the Hip
Copyright © csmiravite™. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, June 21, 2015


The  Department of Agriculture office at Pila, Laguna
When I went to Pila,Laguna recently, I was informed by other farmers  that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is giving out certified seeds (40 kgs) at P1,500 each with free sack of urea fertilizer per hectare. I went there before going to our farm and was saddened that it has all been filled out. 

Experimental seeds grown at the compound of the DA office.

They gave me an option to go organic, and select the certified seeds that I want to plant. That costs me P680 per 40kg. sack with, free five sacks  of organic fertilizer (dried chicken manure)  per hectare. This is a program by the local municipal government to help farmers during the rainy months.

Irrigated waters now flow into the fields

I bought three bags of certified seeds and got my 15 sacks of organic fertilizer. I am not going to apply additional chemical fertlizer, unless needed. Our farm is near the bay area and the soil does not need much inputs. I might be able to get additional fertilizer from the DA, or buy from them at a discounted price of P25 per sack.

Organic fertilizer at the DA office

That is all that I have to do for now: plow the fields, prepare it for planting, and plant the seedlings after two to three weeks. I don't intend to spray chemicals unless necessary. I'll go organic, if I can help it. There is no need to spend more, and kill myself by eating toxic rice.

Certified seeds for planting --- RC 216 / 110 days

The DA Department Head, Ms. Jasmin Bondad, invited me to a farmer's seminar, every Wednesday, at the Climate Resiliency Field School. I am a lead farmer at our place and will go along with the government program on  organic farming. I might try to get some free seeds too and see if I can go into organic veggie farming as well


The DA office is situated alongside the  irrigated farm fields. Our farm does not have irrigation, so we rely on diesel fuel to water our fields in the summer months. During this season, I may use water pumps for land preparation and let the rain waters take care of the fields up to harvest time.

We till, we sow, and plant. We then leave the rests to God!


Philippine News: A Shot from the Hip
Copyright © csmiravite™. All Rights Reserved