Saturday, October 22, 2016

Terra Verde: A Diversified Organic Farm and More...

After building an academic empire with more than 12,000 students in 10 campuses all over Cavite and Metro Manila, the Atanacio family already created a legacy that is significantly making a positive impact in society, especially among the underprivileged youth. Mr. Emerson Atanacio, a 2013 TOYM Awardee in the field of education devotes his skills and God given talents in the academic scene. But, little did he know that less time was being spent for his own well-being.

OA Bloggers Coordinator, Ruth Floresca, ATI Region 4A Information Officer III, 
Sir Olan Maningas with Brothers Emer and Erick Atanacio
After being diagnosed with a thyroid condition along with mild depression, Emer's attending physician prescribed him to engage in other endeavors such as farming to relieve himself of the stressful demands of being a school president. With practically zero-background on agriculture, Emer, with the loving support of his brothers Eric and Erwin and the rest of the family, ventured out into a farming project.

Organic Agriculture (OA) Bloggers,  ATI Staff and with the Atanacios...
Starting with a hectare of land they acquired in Maragondon Cavite, the brothers sought the help of other farmers and experts from the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) to teach them about appropriate vegetation for planting. A big part of their awakening in organic farming is an experience with a farmer who grew vegetables where those for human consumption are different from the one he sells commercially. That’s when they learned that majority of the vegetables being sold in the market are drenched with toxic fertilizers and pesticides. From then on, they decided to pursue organic agriculture and called their farm Terra Verde or Green Earth.

All the vegetables mentioned in "Bahay Kubo", they have it...
Pepper...Just a few of Terra Verde's Organic produce

Terra Verde Ecofarm & Resort began as a family weekend getaway place where every member takes part in the development of the farm. Emer recalls a lot of Christmases, New Years, and special occasions they spent there as a family. The Atanacios are a closely knit brood who enjoyed opening the farm for extended families of in-laws and friends. Today, the place has grown into a 15 hectare farm land and is already an ATI learning site which agriculture students and aspiring farmers can visit to learn about its best practices.

From a one hectare land becomes a 15 hectare vast organic farm land...
Fresh harvest... Farm's Native berries...
Last week, I was part of a group of social media influencers and bloggers that visited Terra Verde. We were welcomed by Naomi and Abi, the wives of Emer and Eric, who manage the farm enterprise while their husbands tend to their other businesses. The open space of Terra Verde encompasses a well-trimmed rolling grassland with a wall of bamboo trees and other fruit bearing orchards.

"Mulching" to prevent the growth of weeds and for moisture retention...
"Ube" -- A typhoon resilient root crop...
It also has a cluster of “kubins” (kubo huts turned into cabins) that can accommodate up to 27 people while tent accommodations are also available for those who wish to experience camping adventures. A few meters from the kubins is a stream with two carabaos they consider as pets, one of which is an albino. Tisay, as she is called, is already part of the farm's attractions as guests can have a carabao-driven tour around the place.

They also offer Tent Accommodations...
"Cubins" - Kubo turned into Cabins...
Terra Verde is one the most diversified farms I’ve visited. They plant practically every vegetable mentioned in the folk song “Bahay Kubo” and more. They also feature organic livestock raising with pigs, free-range chicken, and other poultry like geese, peacocks, and the Bengala fowl which is a natural predator of certain types of insects that destroy the vegetation.

The "Alpha male" among the flock of geese...
Terra Verde's resident Carabaos...
There are also additional attractions in the farm such as horses, monkeys, and an ostrich. Adjacent to Terra Verde is another five hectare land that is being developed into an adventure park where guests can experience riding ATVs, cruise along the mountain bike trails with some river crossing, and a refreshing shower from a waterfall. Certainly, a day at Terra Verde wouldn’t be enough to fully enjoy the place.

Organic wild hogs...
One can either ride the Carabaos or take the ATV to move around the farm...
Terra Verde is located at: Km. 89, Alfonso-Maragondon Road, Pantihan 2 Maragondon, Cavite. For reservations, you can visit their Facebook page :  https://www.facebook.com/TerraVerdeEcofarmandResort or you can call them at: 09175223637.


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