Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Bulacan Agricultural Farm Tour with Outreach at Basuit Elementary School

Basuit Elementary School in San Yldefonso, Bulacan
Working with kids is a very rewarding experience; however it is not without its challenges. I have had the privilege to work with kids before when I was invited by the Department of Education-Quezon City chapter to teach features writing to public elementary school children. I loved the experience of being a teacher for a day. So when opportunity knocks where I can be with children, I could never say no to that. Recently, I found myself in Bulacan where part of the Agri-farm tour was an outreach for public school children in Basuit Elementary School in San Yldefonso.

Purple Plum Fairy with her features writing students from different QC public schools back in 2011.

Prior to the Agri-farm tour and outreach day, I was informed by one of the organizers that we needed to gather school supplies because someone has pledged to give out school bags for public school children. Of course, the kids would be needing school supplies apart from the bags itself, right? So I randomly asked friends and posted on my social media networks if there's anyone who's willing to help us, even if on a short notice. Thank God for the outpouring miracles--things seemed to fall on their right places. A former client of mine immediately messaged me and asked how many school items do I need. It took a while before she was able to deliver it to our house because of the heavy rains. But she had to shop by herself just so she would be able to donate all the school supplies I had asked from her. As if her pledge wasn't enough, she also gave out boxes of chocolate bars and lollipop candies to give out the kids. 

Yes, my former client had donated all of these items!

By God's grace, another good Samaritan had messaged me, my former fellow writer at Psst.ph had also pledged boxes of crayons, pencils and papers. Woot! My good friend and fellow blogger, Dems Angeles had also made efforts to pool donations from her own network of friends. And alas, by the end of the week, we were able to pool out everything that we need and so much more. Other people also made their own donations, Ms. Jenny Sy also brought some 30 plastic envelope school supplies for the kids. Princess Amirah Shine R. Magdangal gave away 100 school bags while Ms. Cherry Castro and her family gave some umbrellas too so that kids had something to use during rainy season. Truly, God knew what we were doing were something for His glory. He made use of different people to become instrumental in making this community outreach possible. 

This is what I was able to pool out from donor friends.

A school supply drive is an easy way to have a profound impact on students and their learning experience. Make school a better place for both students and teachers by the simple act of providing school supplies. Many families are struggling. With high unemployment, and more than 30 million students enrolled in the free and reduced meal programs, many parents are unable to provide the basic school supplies their children need to be effective. In addition, schools across the country are facing severe budget cuts and lack the funding to purchase necessary supplies. We can help children in school by giving them the tools they need to succeed. 

Here are many great reasons to do this project, including:
  • Feel great about ensuring that children start the school year with the tools they need to succeed.
  • Help teachers by providing them with proper tools for their classrooms so they don’t have to spend money from their own pockets.
  • By providing school supplies, you are supporting students, teachers and your local schools.

It was raining cats and dogs when we left for Bulacan that Saturday morning since there was a typhoon within the Philippine area of responsibility, but that didn't stop us from doing our goal--to bring smiles to the kids with brand new school bags and school supplies. I had to thank all the bloggers who came despite of the heavy rains they had to endure and of course, it was a bit difficult to wake up on a weekend in a bed-weather. But there we were at the assembly venue all geared for the community outreach. 

Basuit Elementary School

Barangay Basuit is an agricultural community. Majority of the people here earn their living from farming, tricycle driving and other means of rural livelihood. The teacher we had interviewed also said that transportation in this area is quite difficult because they only had two jeepneys where senior high school and college students use as service while the rest of the students ride the tricycle because of it's muddy rocky hilly terrain.

The school bags are prepared for 100 students

Lakad Pamana, the brainchild of Mr. Gilbert Dino, along with online bloggers, civic leaders, joined hands to give joy to the public school students of Basuit Elementary School. The said public school had about 237 enrolled pupils from nursery to grade 6. 

Each backpack contains pad paper, two notebooks, fresh box of crayons, two pencils, sharpener, an eraser and chocolate bar.

Bloggers Dems Angeles, Daryll Villena and Mariel Pares smiles before my camera as they go on work packing the kids'supplies.

Tokens Of Joy for Children:

Purple Plum Fairy with some of the kids from Basuit Elementary School

Bloggers Dems Angeles and Mariel Pares with Mr. Gilbert Dino of Lakad Pamana

Umbrellas, bags and school supplies are given out as the students lined up

This community outreach project aims to help struggling parents cope with one of the most expensive responsibilities they face every school year. Buying new school supplies has been a burden to many of them and majority of the poor families find these school expenses overwhelming. 

Kids show their brand new school bags with umbrellas

Children smile with joy with their new school supplies

We also know how the sight of a brand-new bag and school supplies spark a child's excitement every school year. We were privileged enough to extend these tokens of joy to the poor children of Basuit Elementary school pupils to inspire as they gear up for another year of learning. 

Some of the kids seemed overwhelmed

Purple Plum Fairy hams up before the camera while Dems Angeles and Gilbert Dino were giving out pad papers.

The first objective of this outreach was to provide much needed supplies to students, thereby enabling them to better prepare for the academic challenges they would face in the coming school year. The second objective is to take the financial burden from teachers who used their personal funds to purchase school supplies for needy children. 

The pupils on stage sat for photo opps after receiving their new school bags

To everyone who helped and joined this community outreach, let's all give each other a pat on the back for all our hard work. I'd like to thank friends, Ms. Kriz, Vida and Dems as well as all the bloggers who came and participated. We are planning to do this again soon. So if you would like to extend a hand for our future outreach, please coordinate with me. Thank you guys and God bless us all!

Now, let's go on the Agri-Farm Tour...

Purple Plum Fairy, Daryll Villena, Mercedes Maata, Marian Torres, Jenny See and Gilbert Dino

So apart from the community outreach which I had shared above, we were able to tour four of the agricultural farms in Bulacan. Our group had received warm welcome from the different farm owners. Coupled with their knowledge and understanding of the agricultural industry, they are in a unique position to design and develop products which could be tailor-made to clients'specific interests. 

Duran Farms
One of the best stories to hear is that of Ms. Daisy Duran. She is the CEO and owner of Duran Farms. Her story is from rags to riches. She started out as a fishball vendor and gasoline girl who had always dreamed big for her family. Known as the "Seedling Queen of Bulacan"her Duran Farm got featured on Drew Arellano's travel show "Byahe ni Drew" aired on GMA NewsTV. A worker from an agricultural center gave her training on home-farming became such a blessing for her and her family. Daisy Duran started by planting tomatoes in her backyard and she found herself in such a bliss with farming that she educate herself on training more about agricultural farming. And as they say, the rest is history. Today, Duran Farm is one of the biggest agri-farm in that side of Bulacan. 

Ms. Daisy Duran, the rags-to-riches owner of Duran Farms

Free range Chicken at Duran Farm
Duran farm also houses its own agribusiness and training center. It specializes in providing small-scale farmers with seedling both from good agricultural project and organic farming. The farm is an authorized TESDA accredited training center that provides comprehensive training and workshops for novice farmers or those who wish to shift careers to become full-time farmers.

Duran Farm pond with live red tilapia

It was my first time to join such agri-farm tour and to tell you honestly, if it wasn't for the outreach thing at Basuit, I would've given it some hesitation at first. Why? Because I practically had no idea what to expect from an agri-farm tour! But in the end, I'm so glad and happy I did came. What's there to experience when one join an agri-farm tour and exposure such as what Lakad Pamana had organized? Well, for one, a tour will give you opportunities to meet farmers and people working within the agricultural world on a first-hand experience. It may include small-scale family farms, large-scale commercial farms/ranches; and specific commodity interests such as crops or livestock, dairy, forestry, fruit, vegetables, and horticulture along with a few talks and interviews in the agribusiness sector. 

Duran Farm

Duran Farm
Soak up the sunshine of North and journey through the countryside of  Bulacan to meet with farmers and gain an appreciation of the country’s diverse agriculture. With samples of the best loved sights and rich mushroom produce. It's a tour with something for everyone – it’s an absolute ‘must’! We were able to visit Teodoros Farm for an exciting backyard-type mushroom farm tour along with a chance to taste the best mushroom recipes and dishes. Mrs. Victoria Teodoro was such a gracious host. Her small-scale farm produces organic oyster mushrooms with rabbits, native pigs and vegetable garden. A former real estate person, Mrs. Teodoro had no regrets leaving the corporate world for devoting her time in her farm. Teodoro's Farm produces 100% organic crispy fried mushrooms in various flavors. 

Oyster Mushrooms at Teodoros Farm

Chicharon Mushrooms

Mushroom Dishes on the table to feast on

We also dropped by at Flourish Farms in Basuit, San Yldefonso, Bulacan which provides mushroom production training and quality fruiting bags for supplier's needs and mushroom farmers. 

Even more--you travel together with friends with the same interest with whom you can discuss and exchange your knowledge. 

Daily Bread Organic Farm

Last but not the least, we also stayed at the Daily Bread Organic Farm in Bustos, Bulacan. A farm cum resort, it has a man-made forest style landscape architecture. It has accommodations in cabana-style, duplex bungalow, nipa hut sleeping quarters and spacious two swimming pools (one is fresh water pool). Perfect for team building, camping and family gatherings, the resort can accommodate 100 pax. 

Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are 100% my own. 

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