I don’t know about you, but the days leading up to Christmas were crazy hectic for me! With work and social commitments piling up, and a never-ending amount of gifts to shop for and wrap–it was all getting a bit much (which also explains my extremely long hiatus from my blog)! I was starting to feel really overwhelmed, and honestly, I was also feeling a bit ashamed that I was forgetting what the real reason for the season is.
I am very fortunate, though, that the powers that be have a way of bringing me back to reality, bringing back my sanity, and enabling me to escape the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
How, you ask?
I took a road trip down to our farm 🙂
My Lola L, in her lifetime, purchased some land in Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija. Before, the farmers who tilled this land used to call it Lupang Sinumpa because the soil was very arid, and could not bear any fruit.
Today, however, to say that the land is productive is a complete understatement. Not only does our company grow most of the herbal plants that go into our products here, but this farm is also the first and largest organically certified farm in the Philippines! Galing, right? It is something I’m very proud of–and the farmers are as well. Not only do they now have a regular source of income, but they are living proof of how a useless piece of land can become a blessing through hardwork and perseverance. Their story is truly a wonderful and inspiring one to tell.
I can’t tell you how much I love coming down to our farm! I was so excited that the opportunity presented itself just at the right time when I was getting very stressed with work and life in general :(. I was there with my family to celebrate Christmas with the farmers, as well as to see the recent developments and new areas in the farm.
What I appreciate the most about LAC (which stands for Leonie Agri Corporation), is that the pace is slow, and time seems to be at a standstill. The air is fresh, and there is A LOT of greenery around. It’s difficult to not feel relaxed in such lush surroundings :). This was definitely what the doctor ordered :).
When my family arrived, we were immediately treated to a refreshing round of Tanglad Iced Tea (Lemongrass). I always look forward to this welcome drink because it always does the trick of quenching my thirst, and for some odd reason, it also makes me feel really comforted–kinda like wearing an old, familiar t-shirt. Weird, huh? But anyway, nobody knows the recipe of the iced tea except the LAC staff. It’s a well-guarded secret :).
After freshening up a bit, the farm general manager, Farmer A, took us on a short tour. We started out in the main area, where they planted an herbal and medicinal garden named after my grandparents. I noticed they also did some landscaping and made a fountain area and gazebo.
After this area, we boarded a kuliglig (or at least I think that’s what it’s called), which is a make-shift transportation hauled by a tractor, and went on to tour the rest of the farm.
Here is what we saw:
We ended our tour back at the main area, just in time for a sumptuous lunch of fresh salad, pakbet, fresh steamed lapu-lapu and organic lechon. It was very simple, but verrrrrry yummy fare :).
Lunch was followed by a short program by the employees, where they danced, sang and entertained to everyone’s delight. Seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces really made me think about my so-called “stressful” life, and suddenly, it did not seem so stressful anymore. When I saw how these people, despite their poverty, were so happy enjoying simple pleasures, it made me feel really ashamed of how I sometimes tend to take what I have for granted. It also made me think about simplifying my life and going back to the basics–God, family and health. Boy, do I have a lot of contemplating to do for the coming year!
Definitely, this experience was such a “kick in the bu_t”–the wake-up call that was long overdue. All I can say is, thank you, Lord, for making me see. I went home that afternoon feeling more relaxed and at peace than I had in a looooong time. Amazingly, I saw this on my way home as well:
God, truly, has a sense of humor :).