I have to admit–prior to working on projects with local government units in Davao, my perspective of any kind of government was very far from what it really is. I’m really thankful to have gotten to work with government units in the past, for the experience was an eye opener for my youthful idealism.
The first government unit I worked with was the Department of Trade and Industry, where I contributed to their Asenso Ka! magazine. The Department of Agriculture is the second.
I spent most of October and November 2016 working with the Department of Agriculture. I was scriptwriting for a video production that Visual Insights Multimedia (VIMP) won the bidding for the Department of Agriculture.
I met the studio’s owner, Sir Kenny O’Bajo, maybe around February 2016. My singer-actress friend Jizella Dea Formilleza brought me with her as she auditioned a piece for a video commercial that VIMP was making for Davao Light. We talked about some stuff and he seemed interested when I mentioned that I’m a writer. He gave me his email and asked to see some of my previous works.
Fresh out of college at April, Sir Kenny contacted me and offered two jobs: this project, and if maybe I’d like to be trained in VIMP. I took the project, but decided to go corporate. Here’s a recap of my first job experience. 🙂
Although I’ve sort of freelanced when I was still in college, I still consider this as my first, partly because it’s the first time that I was able to dedicate all my time to without worrying about school.
Christmas and new year is getting closer as I write, so I know for sure that this project was one of the best, most memorable and enjoyable experiences that I had this 2016. Or maybe I should get out more often? 😀
Anyway, this project is a series of success and tech/instructional videos featuring Department of Agriculture XI programs.
I wasn’t able to take photos in all our shoots, but I definitely had fun in all of them! I love traveling. Seeing Mindanao’s rural spots is amazing.
This was during our first meeting, a story conference.
This was mostly planning, though. The storyline for the topics were simple enough to understand and execute.
Gulayan sa Paaralan Program
Never underestimate the power of small-scale agriculture. In a move to curb the growing malnutrition rate in the country, the Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the Department of Education, implemented the Gulayan sa Paaralan Program in all public schools nationwide. This program seeks to support vegetable gardens in schools, the produce of which will be used to feed the school children.
*The Department of Agriculture wanted to feature the schools with best gulayan sa paaralan program in Mindanao.
Bala, Magsaysay Elementary School is one of the most charming places I’ve been to. The school teachers had gotten the whole community to pitch help in cultivating the mini farm that the school had because of its wide area. Everything they grew was organic. They basically had everything–even a fish pond!
Some of the produce are sold, and the money is meant to buy school materials. Most of the produce, however, are used to feed children for a twice-daily feeding program. Because Bala is situated in a very rural community, there are students who, the teachers told me, would go to school in the mornings and go home at 12 noon because they didn’t have any food to eat.
There were zero absences and tardiness after they implemented the feeding program, they added.
Gulayan sa Paaralan Program
All About Bananas: Fusarium Wilt Control Measures
In 2012, following the surge of Typhoon Pablo, a deadly plant disease called Fusarium Wilt, also known as Panama disease, spread across banana plantations in Mindanao–causing many to shut down operations.
Research and funds were released to mitigate the disease. Already, the disease has caused severe, almost irreparable damage on banana growers and banana imports.
Some growers opted to shift crops to cacao, and others decided to avail of the new variety of bananas called GCTCV218 and 219. GCTCV stands for Giant Cavendish Tissue Culture Variant, which is immune to the panama disease.
Although growers are vocal about their preference of the old variety compared to the new one, they are also greatly appreciative of the GCTCV218 and 219. Otherwise, the losses would have compelled them to throw in the towel and walk away from banana growing.
Philippines is one of the top growers of banana in Asia.
Rehoboth Cacao Farmers Association
Davao del Norte
We interviewed a small association, the Rehoboth Cacao Farmers Association, who had found hope in the cacao that they grew.
Formerly a religious group, it is now an association of dedicated cacao growers. Rehoboth translates to “Well of Blessings.”
Cacao is one of the most in demand crops now, as it is the source of coffee and chocolate. The demands of chocolate and cacao are met with a threatening low supply. Philippines is eyed to be one of the top cacao growers in Asia.
Malita, Davao Occidental
This is a tech process. The Department of Agriculture has a team of researchers and pathologists who reach out to farmers to give trainings on proper production processes, and etc. The cacao tree, although it can grow for more than ten years, has to undergo rehabilitation in order for it to continue producing good yield.
Dynamic Vegetable Growers Association (DVEGA)
Davao del Norte
The Dynamic Vegetable Growers Association is a group of farmers who have united in order to support each other in producing more yield and working with a more organized system of production and harvest.
Marilog District, Davao City
Subangon Dumang Makers
A story of Filipino resilience
In 2012, Cateel, Davao Oriental was hit the hardest by the Typhoon Pablo. The typhoon destroyed their homes and their crops, their only source of living. For weeks and months after, people described Cateel’s hills as na kalbo, a local term for bald, because the trees and lush greens that adorned the hills were all washed away by the strong storm surge.
But people were quick to find a new means of earning money. Chili grew faster than most crops, so they opted to shift. The Department of Agriculture provided financial and production support.
We interviewed the Subangon Dumang Makers, the top chili processing facility in the town.
BEMWA farm is not a farm that operates on money, it operates on love and equality. I had a great discussion with one of the owners, Mr. Marlo. He sells his vegetables at a very cheap price in order to bring healthy living to middle and lower class households. For him, healthy ain’t just for the wealthy 😄
He also helps his farmers. His farmers, about 60% of which are lumads, or natives, all receive free board and food at the farm. I talked with one of the farmers too, she said that they (owners) also extend financial assistance when they need it.
For Mr. Marlo, he views BEMWA and agriculture as a platform to bring change. One of his advocacies is to educate Filipino farmers about sustainable farming.
BEMWA is a vegetable farm located at Marilog, Calinan District. They sell mainly lettuces. The climate and strawberry picking gained BEMWA popularity. This introduced the concept of #agritourism to the owners since BEMWA is now a tourist attraction.
I tried to wrap all things up here in one blog post because I can’t disclose much details as of now (the project is ongoing).But my love for stories has never died.
Until the next post! 🙂