Agritourism has become a trend in the tourism industry lately, and for good reason. Apart from stirring up rural economic activity and boosting our farmers’ incomes, it lets people experience a simpler, slower pace of life. To complete our three-day Bataan road trip, we went to a unique farm in the municipality of Orion which advocates organic and sustainable farming.
Spearheaded by the Diaz’s patriarch, Reynaldo, the Diaz Agri Farm is an integrated family farm that advocates chemical-free farming. He originally inherited the two-hectare farm from his father, and has been practicing traditional agriculture since the 1970s. At first, he didn’t expect it to grow, but as the years passed, he saw the need for natural products, which paved the way for his family farm’s growth. They started to produce rice as their main product then eventually added other crops. Apart from being one of the main suppliers of the town’s public market, Reynaldo continuously educates his fellow rice farmers through his training center that offers different agricultural workshops about organic agriculture, specifically in producing natural fertilizers and pesticides. Promoting sustainable and environmentally-friendly agricultural practices, he was recognized as outstanding rice farmer in the national level by the Department of Agriculture.
Guests are welcomed with refreshing drinks made from Blue Ternate, a native flower that has memory-enhancing, antibiotic, and anti-stress properties. There are drawstring hats provided should you wish to visit the farm in the afternoon. You’ll be amazed with the variety of plants growing on the farm, ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables, rice, and even herbal medicines. Plants have signs identifying them, as well as a few useful facts, for a little learning while you’re at the farm. To name a few, you’ll find Tsaang Gubat, Green Tea, Black Pepper, Ginger, Pechay, Strawberries, and Madre de Cacao in their backyard garden. According to Reynaldo, they offer learning tour packages that start from PHP 150, which allows people to harvest vegetables on their own for an hour. Reservations should be made two weeks before the trip.
Situated among mango trees, you can rest and stay at the two nipa huts in the middle of the rice field in case you get tired of roaming around the area. Since seafood is a specialty of Orani, visitors may add an additional PHP 100 for upgrading their lunch with crabs, or PHP 150 for crabs and shrimps. Some healthy items in their menu come right from the farm itself, so you can be guaranteed of its freshness. In fact, almost all of the vegetables mentioned in the song Bahay Kubo can be found in this agricultural paradise. Among the breeds of rice that can be found in the fields of the farm are NSIC RC 160 and NSIC RC 218 SR, all of which produce 200 sacks of rice per harvesting season.
Just a few meters away from the hut, Reynaldo toured us to their small koi ponds, and freshwater tilapia ponds. There are also two duck farms nearby which belong to him and his brother, Alex, who also received recognition from the Department of Agriculture. Apart from organic salted eggs that they supply to the public market, they also sell balut and penoy.
Sir Reynaldo is more than grateful to see how far his farm has come, and his desire is to influence other people to live healthy through it. As a proud Filipino farmer, he continues his legacy in sharing his knowledge to his fellow farmers in Bataan through his training center. He personally thinks that camaraderie helped him to reach his goals. ”Nagtutulungan kami rito ng aking buong pamilya para kami ay kumita sa pag-fafarm. Nakapagtapos ko din ang aking mga anak dahil dito,” he proudly shares.
Daily from 7 AM to 5 PM
For reservations, please call:
09422902024 / 09165448210 / 09420474630
Words by Jewel Sta. Ana | Photos by Caes Soriano
Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE April 2019