The experience was simply the best!
More than what has been happening around the 47-hectare property, the man and his precise vision and mission matter most in our exposure to Barangay Nagpan, Malunogon, Saranggani Province, the home of Rio Vista Farms and Forest, a 218-kilometer ride from Compostela to be exact, in an about 5-hour private vehicle ride last week, February 9-10, 2016.
My very roles in that trip were just a tour guide and do a little documentation upon my personal gusto. I was included, unofficially, of the official delegation from the local government unit by way of the Sangguniang Bayan of Compostela. We were 10, including three SB members who represented their respective committees and together with their respective office staffs. Leading the crew was Konsehal Danny Pelgrino, the chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, Konsehal Roger Econar who chaired the Committee on Appropriation, and of course my very good friend whom I sincerely called “Bossing” Engr. Alan M. Calalas who is the chairman of the Committee on Zoning and Community Development.
The primary purpose of the exposure was on agriculture and small farmer development. Although we experienced first-hand best theories and practices in agriculture, organic agriculture to be exact, we were taught, more than what we were expecting, on various subjects and concerns;
from LGU governance to corporate governance,
from data management to strategic planning,
from macro-economics to micro economic activities,
from small farmers’ educating, organizing and mobilizing to corporate conglomerate organizational re-engineering,
from common local practices in value/food production to collective cultural change,
from a less than 500-pesos egg incubator system to incubation of ideas and knowledge for practical purposes in small farms,
from shifting the focus on mineral/steel-based industries development paradigm to agriculture-based industries which the Philippines has the competitive advantage (this has its own special opinion-feature in the next postings),
from home/family values to social principles and philosophies,
from traditional and patronage politicking to informed political choices,
and many, many more.
The two-day stay at Rio Vista were mixtures of casual conversation and experiences sharing sessions, formal lectures on best farming (organic) practices, acquaintances among the delegation and the host family, very good foods- mostly were organically-grown, conducive and feel-at-home accommodation, ocular visit to farms and man-made forests, hand-on activities to some farm practices, collection of plant items as souvenirs and materials for planting back home, photo opportunities, among others.
Kudos, the delegation of municipal councillors, who were the superstars of the trip, left the place not empty-handed. It is safer to assume that what they’ve got from the exposure has been on their top of lists priorities in term of translating the lessons learned into a profound, landmark and viable local legislation and policy recommendations. I believe, without doubt, the three elected officials are in for a mission; agricultural advancement and productivity, and uplifting the lives and living conditions of the small farmers of their beloved town of Compostela and other businesses toward genuine people’s participation and good local governance.
On a personal note, I express my warmest gratitude to the family, headed by the good man who possesses a vision and dreams for a better world utilizing the best cheap resources found all around us every day. Not all of us have known that he loves to trace some his and his family’s roots in a place they fondly considered one of their homes, COMPOSTELA, from their more or less two-year stay, when uncle Ed was the administrative officer (of which his then Executive Vice President “boss” Carlos Domiguez, now the secretary of the Department of Finance) and auntie Lilyn was the company nurse of Davao Fruits Corporation (DFC) Plantation 5 way back in the early 80’s.
Taking the task in behalf of all of us, THANK YOU very much, uncle Edmundo Cejar, auntie Lilyn Cejar, daughters and grandchildren.