If you’re an OFW wanting to find a business in the Philippines, then why not go into farming, organic farming?
This is what Joel Frago, a former migrant worker, and his wife Myrna put up upon retiring from working abroad. The Frago couple started the Forest Wood Garden, a 5-hectare property in San Pablo City, Laguna that was once an ornamental garden.
During our visit, the Frago couple had us taste first their three famous delicacies that Forest Wood Garden is serving: the Pansit Kalabuko, Plantsado Lamang Lupa and Balol.
The Pansit Kalabuko is like stir-fried noodles, only this is made of coconut, squash, gotu kola, mushroom, papaya, and other vegetables that makes it a guilt-less food pleasure.
The Plantsado Lamang Lupa is a native delicacy wherein rootcrops relative to cassava, locally called as “Toge,” is cooked using a hot old flat iron. According to Joel, if not cooked properly, this can cause itching.
The Balol on the other hand is made of native pig meat blended with herbs and spices then smoked.
After the sumptuous meal, Joel Frago toured us in their farm that best exemplifies an integrated diversified organic farming system (IDOFS). This system maximizes the space of the farm as it puts together plants and animals together to live in an ecosystem that sustains each other.
Each plant or animal serves a purpose in this type of system. Like the wild boars which help fertilize the land with their digging and their feces.
In general, this system promotes the basic cycle of nature where the plants and trees serve as food for the animals, while the manure of the animals serve as fertilizers for the plants.
Also, both the animals and plants became attraction to guests who are not into farming. In our case, we get to pick from the rambutan trees that are is in season. As a bonus, we also saw the group’s favorite, Judge the stud, an 8-year old boar.
Forest Wood Garden is open to the public for guided day tour with dining experience for only Php 350 pesos. They also host seminars and teachings about integrated diversified organic farming system, organic farm inputs, agripreneurship and local pig farming.
Personally, I hope that many OFWs will look into organic agriculture as their business in the Philippines, instead on investing into tricycle, taxi or jeep. Going into agriculture secures food and income for many people, only you have to work the land so eventually it will work for you.
Forest Wood Garden
Address: Brgy. Sta. Elena, San Pablo City, 4000 Laguna
Phone: (049) 246 0814
For trainings and learnings on organic farming, contact the Agricultural Training Institute for teaching sites near you.
Agricultural Training Institute
ATI Building, Elliptical Road, Diliman
Quezon City 1100 Philippines
Trunkline: (63-2) 9298541 to 49
Fax no. (63-2) 9209792
1800-10-982AGRI (or 1800-10-9822474) – for provincial toll-free calls
02-982-AGRI (or 982-2474) – for Metro Manila