As promised, I am sharing here some pictures of my father’s farms. The farm above is a favorite of his. We call it Sibacungan.
Papa was known as Pai Eddie in town. In Bicol, “Pai” is a term of respect for elderly males while “Mai” is for elderly females similar to “Sir” and “Mam”. When my kids and I visited the farms we met up with the tenant farmers who took care of the farms for my dad. In the picture above you can see the heads of my kids and the profile shot of “Mang Dado”. This farm is currently planted to corn. Some parts have been left to fallow after the last harvest.
I know nothing about farming except for the basic animals and plant terms I picked up from our homeschool social studies classes. I’m truly starting from zero. My dad and I kept planning a trip “someday” to look at the farms but we never got round to it till he was gone. Indeed, life is short.
With some regret and painful lessons learned from the past, I resolved to do things differently with my own kids. I decided to bring them along and show them the lands they would inherit someday. This “field trip” was very memorable because this was the first time they went south of Metro Manila and off the island of Luzon.It was also the longest land trip they had ever taken – a total of 12.5 hours in all. And the first time they rode a “roll on- roll off” ferry (or ro-ro as we call them locally). In all the trip was about 15 to 16 hours by bus and ferry.
In case you happen to be in the neighbourhood and want to check out how we farm in this part of the world, drop me a line via email and I can give you instructions on how to get there.
This is the farm we call Aroyao. Its a small quaint farm currently planted to sweet potatoes. In the photo is the not-so-little-girl crossing to the outer boundaries of the farm.
This particular farm is nestled within other farms. My dad owned this one and shared an adjacent farm with his (now deceased) brother. That bunch with the corn at the end is the lot in question. Since our fathers have passed on, my cousins and I now manage that other farm.
I am slowly learning that farm management is not an easy job. I am also learning that tenant farmers come in different shades of characters. Running a farm is as much as about knowing the nitty-gritty of planting and harvesting to the relationship management side of the people involved in making farms work. Farming or farm management is not for the faint of heart.
The little hut in the last picture has a special story. A few years ago, my dad asked me to help him build a rest hut in the middle of his favorite farm. I sent him some money and this was the hut he built with the help of his farmhands. Of course, this was his favorite farm. We call it Solong. The farm itself has a sweet meaningful story.
My grandfather, a farmer himself, used to till this farm. My dad and his younger sisters used to help my grandfather care for this regular sized family farm. My aunts used to sit on the tiller as it was pulled by their carabao and guided by my grandfather. My aunt also told me they used to wash some of their curtains in the river next to this farm (that was back in the day when the river was really pristine). It was a picnic day then for them.
After he came back from World War II, this farm helped my grandfather recuperate from his dysentery and restored his health. The mature coconut trees you see in the background were planted by my granddad.
This was taken a week after my father passed away. The morning before he experienced his complete gut obstruction, he was busy working on this farm. It had not been tended for the two months he was in the hospital so you can see how quickly the weeds have grown. A carabao has also managed to enter the farm. My dad didn’t want them on the farm as they ate away the young shoots and seedlings he was cultivating.
While on the subject of his farms, I hope you’ll take the time to visit the FB page I created to help promote Pai Eddie’s Farms.
I’ll have more stories on the farm in the future. In my next post about the farm I’ll talk about “the farm that won my heart”. When things get serious about the farms, I will be starting another blog for the farming adventures we’re going to have in our homeschool…stay tuned!