WARRIOR WITH A TENDER HEART
Taken from BAHANDI, A collection of inspiring stories in Farming.
He is a known warrior – looked up with either reverence or fear, whichever part of the spectrum one belongs. But to those who knew him, it takes very little to make Malic teary-eyed.
I first met Malic Macabato during the inauguration of the barangay health center donated by the Asisi Foundation to his Barangay where he sits as the Barangay Captain. There I saw the tough looking Malic giving a speech and holding his tears in bay. He later explained that for the longest time, they haven’t felt that they have somebody on their corner. They never even felt the presence of government agencies in their quest for survival. That is why any small help you extend is met with gratitude and tears. With partnerships established with Asisi Foundation, the Department of Agriculture, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and the full support of the Local Government of Kauswagan, Lanao Del Norte, Malic is very optimistic about the future.
Aside from the development in his Barangay, Malic’s farm is a testimony of how far he has gone. From an unproductive farm, his 1.7 hectare farm is now a hive of various farm activities. The P 300,000 assistance given by ATI were used to plant more crops, make fishpond and construct a one-bedroom cottage and one training hall. Under the coconut trees in the farm are crops such as upland rice, various vegetables such as lettuce, cauliflower, bell pepper, eggplant, cucumber, zucchini, tomato and many others. He also planted fruit trees like durian, mangosteen, lanzones, pomelo, kalamansi, dragon fruit and marang. He has also free-ranged chickens, goats, carabao, cow and even guinea fowl in his farm.
Reaping the Harvest
His 70 sq.m fishpond is filled with carp and tilapia. He has started giving fingerlings to another Barangay Official who went to visit his farm. He has even sold his fish catch at the Lanao del NorteAgri Fair, a yearly activity of the province. Malic together with his wife Tata is also regarded as one of the biggest single producer of organically grown upland rice. His rice produce sold like hotcakes when he displayed his produce at the National Organic Congress at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila. He is also earning from the fruit trees, coconut juice and various poultry and livestock. Harvest from his vermibeds were used as fertilizer in his vegetables.
Developments and Partnerships
His farm is also being developed by the ATI and the Municipal Agriculture Office as a Learning Site. Students of the Ladderized course conducted by the DLSPA (a School teaching Practical Agriculture), the People’s Development Foundation and ATI spent 15 days in his farm for practicum. There Malic and Tata taught the students on how to plant various crops, how to feed poultry, livestock and fish. His farm also became the Farmer Field School site showing the Palayamanan concept. Palayamanan is an integrated farming concept, the improved version of the “Bahay Kubo” as it incorporates livestock, fishery and other components in the farm. Malic is also proud to say that almost everyday, visitors come to his farm- farmers, local officials and government officials.
Malic also attended a lot of trainings and exposure trips conducted by ATI and with full support of the Local Government Unit. These trainings and exposure trips has opened his eyes to development opportunities. The learnings that he gained were applied in the development of his Barangay and his farm. Unlike before where he never viewed farming as a good income earner, now he regard farming as his ticket to good fortune for himself and his family.
For all his successes, Malic attributes to ATI, Asisi Foundation and the LGU to have played a significant part. He is keeping his fingers crossed that his good fortune will continue in the years to come. Who would have thought that a mere Grade 2 drop-out would have come this far?
A DIFFERENT KIND OF WARFARE
Taken from BAHANDI, A collection of inspiring stories in Farming.
Then and now, he is always at war. However, the big difference is that where bloodshed is common in the former, now his war is against laziness, mediocrity and ignorance. Kumander Ismael of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front has decided to go on a different warpath this time. But it is a war which is full of hope, enthusiasm and excitement. From leading his people to protest perceived or real injustices, he is again leading his people in an open classroom where he teaches them to become “learned” farmers.
It all started with the “Arms to Farms” program of the Agricultural Training Institute. The program is offering an alternative to rebels to give up their arms and go back to their farms. Tired of the endless battle and unresolved issues, Kumander Ismael in consultation with his men decided to give up their arms and partner with ATI. In the program, he was exposed to successful farms in Bukidnon. He was envious because he realized that his area is much bigger and flatter with good water source. He began to see possibilities like he never did before.
One stumbling block that he saw is their lack of technology. The ATI staff who went to his farm in Lininding, Munai were dismayed by the low level of technology that they observed. For example, he transplants his rice seedlings in 30 days without using markers, applies fertilizer anytime depending on availability, and since he has abundant water, his ricefield is also full of water from transplanting to harvest. Seeing all this, ATI invited him to a Training of Trainers on Rice Production with emphasis on the PalayCheck System held at Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. Kumander Ismael leapt at the chance unmindful of the 7-8 hours travel time weekly from his farm. He leaves his farm passing by very rough roads on a Tuesday and going back on a Saturday. This he did religiously for 4 months or for the whole training duration. After the 4-month training, the whole class visited successful farms in Negros Occidental. It reinforced his drive to go back in his farm and apply all the learnings that he received.
Presently, Kumander Ismael has put to good use the P 150,000 help that he received from ATI. He has started to lay out his farm improvements, establish a seedling nursery and plant coffee and cacao. What he is most proud of however, is that he is now a facilitator of the Farmer Field School on Rice Production with his farm as the demonstration site. When he first joined the TOT, he complained that it is easier to fire a gun than speak in front of an audience. But the training helped him gain confidence. As facilitator, he now talks and even lectures infront of the participants, a far cry from his early days as participant. The training had his men and neighbors as participants.
The results of training further cemented Kumander Ismael’s conviction that he made the right decision. His ricefield which is a little less than a hectare usually yield around 30 cavans. After just one cropping cycle, his yield increased to 64 cavans. Even his participants were amazed. Neighboring Kumanders have even expressed willingness to undergo training in PalayCheck due to the result of Kumander Ismael’s training.He has high hopes that like him, his men would go back to their farms, armed not only with technical skill but a heart full of hope and dreams for a better tomorrow. He will soldier on and fight this new war. He will serve as the light to his men, bringing them towards prosperity through the provision of knowledge they needed in farming.
HUGYAW SA KADAGATAN 2014
The Municipality of Kauswagan, LAnao Del Norte is in the Road Map of Tourism Industry in Region 10 through its famous Annual Tourism Festival dubbed as HUGYAW SA KADAGATAN (festival by the Sea), festival showcases the bounty, preservation, and protection of the Marine habitat and held annually every April 24-25- Kauswagan’s Charter Day and Fiesta Celebration. Hugyaw sa Kadagatan Festival is one of the most unique festivals in the country today. It proudly showcases the bounty and beauty of KAuswagan town in Lanao del Norte.
A touch of religious culture that brings an exclusively unique festival the “HUGYAW SA KADAGATAN FESTIVAL” a sea raft dancing competition exhibition using sea creatures that offers a higher degree of excitement and thrill. Part of the Festival’s charm are cultural dancers combining artistry and balanced while performing on the fabricated bamboo raft called “gakit“. the dance is accompanied by gongs, cymbals and other indigenous instruments adding its diversity.
Visitors come by the thousands and joins local to witness the colorful fluvial festival of the hugyaw sa kadagatan festival in the crystal clear waters of the Bay. The fluvial parade features contingents from the different Barangays competing in several categories.
Mabuhay Kauswagan, Lanao Del Norte! A blooming and Peaceful Muncipality in Northern Mindanao today. SIKAD PA KAUSWAGAN!