Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Alomah’s Place: Organic Farm / Adventure Farm

Outdoor adventures are the reasons why Trails Unlimited was born because I love sharing the various outdoor stuff that I do to encourage more people to be active and seek a healthier lifestyle. Years ago, when I was still as strong as an ox, I would climb mountains with friends almost on a weekly basis. Those were the days where I can load my pack filled with 35 kilos of equipment and carry it on my back for hours while hiking. Truly, the journey going up to the summit is as good and enjoyable as reaching it.

The water fountain at the middle of the fish pond is gravity fed that comes from the mountain...

Alomah's Place is a Two-hectare Organic farm land...


Now that my life has become busier, hiking gigs also became less and less. I really miss going on those kinds of trip. Form packing up gears, sleeping in tents for days, and cooking food high up in the mountains, these moments were priceless. During these times I often wish I could bring my kids with me for them to experience it too.

Fresh pick with the morning dew...

Located at Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon
Last month, I was invited to a blogging event that featured five organic farms in Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental. It was organized by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) of the Department of Agriculture as part of their public campaign on food safety and food security. In this trip, I was able to bring one of my sons, Gab, along so he can write a story for Family Matters magazine where he is a contributing writer. I’ve been to this part Mindanao before and I knew it will be high up in the mountains. So, I guessed this was the adventure trip I was wishing for in a long time.
Del Monte Pineapple Plantation covers 14 kilometer long...
At Alomah's Green house Nursery. Lettuce seedlings ready for transplant...

Preparing for this trip brought us sheer excitement and joy indeed. I even bought Gab a new pair of trekking sandals and parka shorts to complement the adventure trip. I also gave a few tips in loading his pack so that he will not strain his shoulders in carrying them. Our flight to Misamis Oriental was pleasant and we arrived at Lagundingan Airport where ATI's van was standing by, ready to shuttle us to Bukidnon.

Varieties of fern trees and pine trees are also abundant in the farm...  

The African Night Crawlers (Earth worms) are essential for the Alomah's Place in producing the best natural Fertilizers.
 Our destination is the Alomah’s Place and it is located at Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. On our way there, we passed along Camp Philips, were the small community of staff and employees of the world famous Del Monte Pineapple plantation live. Soon after, we passed by the vast farm of Del Monte which stretches up to 14 kilometers long. Both on our left and right sides were acres and acres of pineapple plantations. Our van driver, Kuya Ren, told us that planes are used in pesticide dusting the entire place. I can’t help but imagine the tons of chemicals that are being dumped and absorbed by the plants and the soil every time they do that.

This is Cyclone. He already won eight trophies in Horse-Show Competitions...
Gab was euphoric because he was able to drive the horse all by himself...
 After an hour of trek driving, we reached Alomah’s Place. This farm is one of ATI’s learning sites that feature organic agriculture. But more than just an organic farm, it is also a tourist destination where guests can avail of its awesome outdoor adventure activities that everyone in the family can enjoy. To start with, Alomah’s Place has several horses which one can get some horse-back riding experience. These are not the usual small horses being rented in Baguio or Tagaytay, where the handler would asses a rider first if he or she is too heavy for the horse to carry

Catch fresh organically grown Tilapia at the pond...
Some of these vegetables are replanted on plastic pots which are for sale...
 These fine horses are actually much bigger and already won numerous awards in Horse Show competitions. The farm owner, Mr. Benjohn Mahistrado, is a skillful rider who allows daring guests to ride these fine horses with him along the steep valleys and along shallow river beds of in and around his farm. This definitely gives one the ranging cowboy experience. For some who wish to have a more relaxing and laid-back nature tripping, the fish pond is filled with organically grown tilapia, and one can enjoy catching them on a bamboo raft. These tilapia are fed with lettuces and duck weeds that make them healthy to eat.

Fresh Romaine Lettuce ready for harvest. The ones that didn't pass commercial quality are fed to the Tilapia...
Free-range chicken that are also organically grown...
 Moms will also have their share of adventures as they can experience harvesting lettuces, bell pepper and other vegetables which are grown free from chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. These vegetables are so fresh and safe to eat, one can tear a leaf from the plants and eat them where they’re planted. Alomah’s Place also feature different kinds of herbs such as 16 different types of mint! It was my first time to see and taste how a bubble gum mint and choco-mint taste like and they're quite amazing! In addition, the Tarragon, Spearmint and Stevia Tea is one of Alomah’s signature welcoming drinks which is very soothing and refreshing. And the preparation of these drinks is also very interesting.

Peppermint is just one of 16 varieties of mint
These are just among the 16 different kinds of mint herbs...
In a mug of hot water, put four to five leaves of Taragon, Spearmint and Stevia to make a soothing fresh herb tea...
 The accommodation of Alomah’s is another part that made this trip quite exciting. It features various types of sleeping styles, depending on the level of adventure one seeks. The farm offers Cabin / dorm types that accommodate  four to six people, outdoor tents that are securely pitched on the adjacent camping grounds and, of course, the “Tent-Floor”, which is located at the second floor of the Octagon Bamboo Pavilion. It’s for those who wish to experience sleeping inside the tent but under a bamboo roof. Gab and I braved to sleep in one of the tents outside to really feel the true camping experience; something that I really missed doing. At this time, the temperature was like 16 to 18 degrees Celsius with zero-visibility of fog all over the place. Yes, it’s cold because Dahilayan is situated 1,163 meters above sea level. It is almost as high as Baguio (1,500 meters).

Nipa Hut Cabins good for 4 to 6 people... 
Feel the true camping experience with their Tent accommodations...
Octagon Pavilion. The second floor holds the "Tent Floor"...
The Tent Floor offers five dome type tents Each tent can accommodate two persons comfortably...
 A few minutes from Alomah’s is the famous adventure park in Northern Mindanao which is the Dahilayan Adventure Park. During warm seasons, people from all over visit this adventure park that offers some of the best rides such as various types of ziplines from a novice 350 meter leisure lines, Flying Lizard Canopy glider, Python Roller Zipride to Asia’s longest dual Ziplines with its heart-pumping 850 meter length 100 meters above ground. There are more to experience in this park for a reasonable fee. However, accommodation rates may not be as friendly for some. That is why many who visit Dahilayan Adventure Park stay at Alomah’s Place where there are more affordable lodging rates.

Dahilayan Adventure Park's signature ride. Asia's longest Dual Zip line. (Photo credit: www.coconutinsider.com)

enjoy the rides or just relax with positive vibes being emitted by the vast pine tree forest in the park
But for people who prefer the “Farm adventure”, Alomah’s has more than enough to offer. Because it allows guests to be exposed to the beauty of organic farming. Mr. Benjohn, his wife Grace and son Diego are hands-on owners of the whole property. Many guests often mistaken them to be servants of the farm because they are the farmers themselves.

Alomah's Place is owned and managed by the Mahistrado family. Seated are Sir Benjohn, his son Diego and wife Grace...
For those who wish to visit Alomah’s Place and want to learn more about organic agriculture, you may reach Mr. Benjohn Mahistrado at 09177153560 or 09088972466. To learn more about other ATI organic agriculture learning sites, visit www.ati.da.gov.ph

A dream come true Camping trip for me... :)
Given a chance, I will definitely visit Aloma’s Place again, bring the whole family, and insist everyone to sleep in the tents.


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