Last week, for our group’s second field work, our group visited the President of Samahan ng mga Magsasaka sa Paanan ng Bundok Makiling (SMPBM), Mr. Segundo Laspunia. Unfortunately, according to his wife, he was unavailable given that he was still at his job at that time. We then visited the stall of SMPBM which stood by the foot of Mount Makiling, as Mrs. Laspunia informed us that the Vice President of the organization, Mrs. Myrna Ubaldo, was most probably present there.
As we approached her stall, she seemed uninterested at first. But after mentioning that we were Development Communication students who were tasked to gather information regarding organic farming, she warmly welcomed us. She mentioned how her daughter was a graduate of our course as well, which explains why she felt at ease conversing with us.
To further add to her comfort, we reassured her that all information that would be gained from her would strictly be used for classroom purposes only. After that, we started recording her as we continued to ask her questions. One of the highlights of our conversation with her was that their association had never been featured by Los Banos Times or by any other publication at all. With regard to issues and concerns in their internal and external communication set-up, they had no access to internet at all. The members had no other means to contact one another than through verbal communication such as passing of messages through their neighbors who were located by the foot of the mountain. In describing their external relations, besides not having internet access, they had no Facebook page as well. Also, in visiting and contacting the Municipality of Los Banos, it was observed that they had no official spokesperson or head of external relations whatsoever.
Now, after we asked her if we may invite or feature her and her organization in the Los Banos Times, she immediately told us that she would first have to consult with her organization members before making a decision given that she avoids making decisions on behalf of the whole body.
After our encounter with the Vice President of Samahan ng mga Magsasaka sa Paanan ng Bundok Makiling, Mrs. Myrna Ubaldo, we then travelled to Malinta in hopes of discovering the Los Banos Association of Organic Vegetable and Food Growers, which we did find. After walking for almost thirty minutes long, we finally found the house of Ms. Emily Alforja, the Secretary of the association. As a jolly person, she laughingly answered our questions. However, she shared one traumatic experience she had with a certain student in the past. She narrated how that particular student called her in the middle of the night to ask for permission if it were possible to have an interview with her during that time of the night. In telling that story, she simply reminded us not to do the same thing to her in the future. But in general, to our group’s joy, she was willing to participate and be featured in the Los Banos Times. One factor that may have caused this is because she was once a writer for LB Times in the past. She explained how she had already written a few articles regarding their association, and because of this, she willingly entrusted us to feature them for our project.