Last September 13, our group (Organic Agriculture farming) went to Barangay Malinta and Barangay Timugan to gather information about Organic Agriculture Farming and to know more about farmer organizations existing within the community. We first went to the Department of Agriculture Los Baños to gather information about the farmer vendors during Farmer’s market and one of the representatives from DA referred to us the president of an organization in Barangay Timugan which is the Samahan ng mga Magsasaka sa Paanan ng Bundok Makiling.
Unfortunately, we did not get to meet the president of the organization, Mr. Segundo Laspuña who happened to be on his work during that time. The wife of the president of the organization suggested that we should talk to the Vice-President of the organization which happened to be on her stall during our fieldwork.
(L-R: Sofia, Mrs. Myrna Ubaldo, Aira, Camille, and Clarisse)
As we approach Mrs. Myrna Ubaldo, she seemed hesitant to accommodate us as we approached her, but when we told her that we are BS Development Communication students from UPLB, her face lit up and we observed a change in her mood since her daughter happened to be an alumni of BS Development Communication in UPLB.
During our interview, we asked her about how their organization relay message to the members as well as how they are informed about the seminars and training offered by the Department of Agriculture and other partner organizations which is the DOST-PCAARRD. She also told us that besides practicing Organic Farming, they also practice Orchard Farming.
(L-R: Mrs. Myrna Ubaldo, Sofia, Aira, Clarisse, and Camille)
Mrs. Ubaldo told us that the community lives by a simple way of living. They have this ‘tagapaghatid balita’ which acts as their messenger of information whenever they will have an assembly meeting, event, or whenever an information needs to be communicated.
The community usually communicate through ‘face-to-face’ interaction and through text messaging. When asked about the the land ownership, Mrs. Ubaldo told us the story how his father was able to obtain the land although the land is included within the area of Makiling Forest Reserve. The community hasn’t been reached by Los Baños Times, the community newspaper. The group was able to ask for Mrs. Myrna Ubaldo’s contact number as she told as that she would inform us if the president and the body of the organization will allow as to feature them since they usually do not allow interviews unless otherwise allowed by the body of the organization.
After we went to Barangay Timugan, we went to Barangay Malinta being one of the top three barangays which actively practice Organic Farming. We went to Barangay Hall to ask for information. A barangay councilor accompanied us to the house of the secretary of the Los Baños Association of Organic Vegetable and Foods Grower, Mrs. Emily Alforja.
(L-R: Mrs. Emily Alforja, Chicco, and Clarisse)
Mrs. Emily Alforja accommodated us with a smiling face as she offered us seats together with the barangay councilor that accompanied us. Their organization, the Los Baños Association of Organic Vegetables and Food Growers was founded two years ago. This season, they are planting vegetables such as Kangkong, Okra, Sitaw or string beans, kalabasa or squash, and eggplant. They sell their harvest every Friday in front of Los Baños Municipal Hall and if the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) Community Hub requests for goods, they set up a stall in front of the Community Hub.
The purpose of the organization as stated by her is to form a livelihood that will benefit every organic farmer in the community. Unlike the other organization from Barangay Timugan, they have an access to social media since their organization have an existing Facebook Page which is ran by the Department of Agriculture in Los Baños and their community has been featured in Los Baños Times wherein Mrs. Alforja admitted that she already has written stories for the community newspaper.
The community also communicate and relay message to their members through text-messaging and face-to-face interaction.
When asked about the land ownership, she told us that the land they use is borrowed from the Eusebio Family.
After the long day of having fieldwork, we rested our feet as we came back to the campus and report to our professor what information we have gathered. Six hours seemed to be short for fieldwork and we decided to go to Bañamos since Mrs. Emily Alforja told us that Barangay Bagong Silang, a barangay in Los Baños which is the most active barangay in Organic Farming will have a booth and sell vegetables during the feast.
On Friday that week, September 18. I, Clarisse, and Aira went to Bañamos to interview the farmers from Barangay Bagong Silang who happened to have the most festive stall among other stalls with vegetables on the ceiling of their stall from the entrance to the sides of the stall with overflowing number of vegetables used for decorating the mini bahay-kubo .
Booths from Barangay Mayondon and Barangay Bagong Silang.
(L-R: Clarisse, I, and Aira)
We shared a selfie as a proof that we went to the festival and we honestly enjoyed the feast since there are lots of food stalls within the area.
As we visited the stall of Barangay Bagong Silang, the farmers who are busy selling good that time accommodated us as they referred us to Ms. Baby Jane Callao, and Mr Roberto Palis Dayang.
As we interviewed them, the members also relaytheir message to their members by face-to-face interaction and thru text-messaging. We are also told that seminars are conducted by PCAARRD-DOST where they are taught methods of Organic Farming and provided tools and manuals.
When asked about the usual problems in disseminating message with the members, they told us that so far they don’t experience having communication problems within the organization. Whenever the community will have problems about Organic Farming, the message is relayed and reported to the Gender and Development (GAD) Office in the Municipal Hall by the representative.
So far, the organization which is the Gender-Responsive Organic Vegetable Livelihood Enterprise for Los-Income Communities of Los Baños Laguna hasn’t been featured in LB Times. The organization is funded and supported by the DA-LB and DOST PCAARRD.