Off To The Farm!!!

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 🙂

Road Trip!!!

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.

Welcome to LAC!

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 :).

Healthy and Refreshing Tanglad Iced Tea

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.

Herbal Plants

Medicinal Plants

Looking at this fountain makes me feel really serene

The shady gazebo can be used for picnics or for employees who want to take a break

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.

All aboard!

Here is what we saw:

I love the vibrant color of this flower. So happy!

Aside from herbal plants, we also grow organic vegetables and sell them exclusively at SM. This is the area where we grow our lettuce.

Most of the areas in the farm are named after Biblical passages. There is great spirituality amongst the people who work here. Yet another reason why I love this place.

Doesn't this tree look like it came straight out of a horror movie? True enough, the older farmers would recount stories of seeing a white lady by this tree. Spooky!

A front view of our "ride".

This is one of the main attractions of the farm. It's called Salmo Uno (Psalm One). It used to be thick with talahib (tall grass) until one day, as the farmers were digging, they found a well spring and the ground started filling with water! They were so amazed at the abundance of water that was gushing from the spring because for so long, the land was extremely cracked and arid.

Because of LAC's success, many have tried to replicate its business model. The farmers and management have so generously made it a point to "give back" and train other farmers in the area so that they can learn organic farming. These are the kubos where they house the trainees.

Signs of progress and development everywhere!

We also raise organic animals in the farm--goats, pigs and wild boars 🙂 According to Farmer A, organically raised animals are clean, quiet, and tame.

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:

It's a sign!

God, truly, has a sense of humor :).

 

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