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Seeds of Promise BY BLANCHE RIVERA-FERNANDEZ PHOTOS BY RAM LEE If pili nut kernel oil were a child, its birthplace would be a bus station in Albay, where Victor Ramon B. Goyena, a licensed civil engineer, ate his pride and became like any other itinerant vendor, offering passengers his homemade pili nut candy. The experience brought him a good amount of self-pity. “It was really hard to sell, even through consignment. I thought, ‘I could not do this.’ So I left the bus station and remembered what the Japanese said. I decided to try it,” Goyena says. The “Japanese” was a consultant Goyena had met in one of the seminars sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology, and “it” was that Japanese expert’s advice for Goyena to focus on the production of pili nut kernel oil instead of the pili nut candies common in Bicol. Pili nut oil can be developed into pharmaceutical and cosmetic grades, both big moneymakers, the Japanese told him. A month later, Goyena abandoned his packets of sweets and went for the pot of gold. Goyena has a three-hectare land in Daraga, Albay, which he got through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program’s voluntary transfer scheme in 2008. He planted it to 350 pili nut trees because he knew the value of such farms. What he did not know was the difficulty of farming.

HOW CAN I GROW IF I DON’T INVEST? I ALWAYS LOOK AHEAD.

Oil can be extracted from pili nuts in three ways—pulp oil from the bark, manila elemi oil from the resin, and kernel oil from the raw kernels. (The raw pili kernels in this photo were from the farm of Jocyclyn and Ralph Lee inMagallanes, Sorsogon)

BACKYARD BUSINESS His first venture on the field was a failure. After leaving the pharmaceutical industry in Metro Manila, where he spent years in the corporate scene, and moving back to Albay in 2007, Goyena tried to grow vegetables on the one-hectare land left by his father to the family. It did not work, but he pressed on. When he got the three-hectare land under CARP, he germinated pili nut seedlings. In 2009, a relative who worked at the Department of Agrarian Reform in Ginubatan invited him to a seminar C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 1 0


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S T A F F B O X EDITORIAL DIRECTOR EDITOR DESIGNER EDITORIAL COORDINATOR REGIONAL COORDINATOR

HUGO YONZON III BLANCHE RIVERA-FERNANDEZ ADRIENNE RAE PONCE PINKY ROQUE NORMA PADIGOS

Department of Agrarian Reform All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the department.

Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines

dar.gov.ph@gmail.com

(+632) 928 7031-39

www.dar.gov.ph

Farmlands safe from conversion Agricultural lands are now protected from wanton conversion to residential, industrial and other non-agricultural uses after the Department of Justice declared that irrigated and irrigable farmlands cannot be the subject of an application for exemption from coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). DOJ Opinion No. 43, issued at the request of the Department of Agrarian Reform, also applies to farmlands that have been classified as commercial, residential or industrial before the CARP was launched on June 15, 1988. “This is a significant departure from the earlier issuances of the DOJ, such as Opinion Nos. 44 and 81, series of 1990,” Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes said in a statement. Both issuances, used excessively by landowners to exempt and protect their landholdings from CARP coverage, state that only an exemption clearance from the DAR is needed for all agricultural lands that have already been classified for non-agricultural purposes before June 15, 1988, when the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law took effect. Delos Reyes said DOJ Opinion No. 43 fulfills the intent of RA 9700 or the CARP Extension with Reforms (CARPER) Law to “ban any conversion of such agricultural lands.” “We welcome this development as it assures the accomplishment of the national policy on self-sustainability and food security,” he said.

Numbers 182

working days needed to complete land acquisition and distribution under the DAR’s simplified process

219,069

hectares of land distributed during President Aquino’s first two years in office (as of June 2012)

178 sacks of palay harvested from a one-hectare demo farm in Biliran, Leyte that used Palay Check System, a new type of rice crop management that expects more than double the usual farm yield

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2.18 BILLION PESOS EARMARKED FOR PROJECT CONVERGENCE IN MINDANAO

agrarian reform matters

Condonation proposed for delinquent borrowers The House of Representatives is discussing a proposed measure that will allow farmer beneficiaries who are delinquent on their loan payments apply for the condonation of the interests, surcharges and penalties on their unpaid loans. House Bill 5783 or the Agrarian and Agricultural Credit Condonation Act of 2012 was recently approved by the House committee on agrarian reform. It lists several credit programs under the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Reform that will be covered by the measure. Under the proposal, only farmers, fisherfolk and agrarian-based organizations that have already paid five percent of their principal loan amount may qualify for the condonation program. “The primary objective of this program is to help the farmers, fisherfolk and their organizations regain access to government and commercial credit facilities by improving their credit worthiness,” COOP-NATCCO Rep. Cresente Paez said in a statement. Paez, who authored HB 5783 with Rep. Jose Ping-ay, said the condonation program would be open only to those who are unable to pay their debts due to force majeure, market aberration and faulty project design. The government has released around P3.7 billion in loans (inclusive of interests) to target beneficiaries like farmers and fisherfolk, but it has collected only Php1.3 billion as of December last year.

The government is extending credit assistance to farmers who have no means to develop the land they acquired through the CARP. Photo: DAR

P1-B credit aid set aside for farmers The government has set aside Php1 billion for credit assistance to agrarian reform beneficiaries as part of its efforts to boost support services and discourage the beneficiaries from selling the lands awarded to them. Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes said the Department of Budget and Management has released the fund, which will be available to all organized farmers who have received lands under the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

He said famers should form themselves into working organizations so they can apply for credit assistance. Around Php300 million of the government’s credit fund, or 30 percent, will be apportioned solely for beneficiaries in Negros Occidental. Negros Occidental still has 128,887 hectares from 9,790 landholdings for CARP coverage, the largest land acquisition and distribution (LAD) balance among all provinces in the country, primarily due to resistant landowners and the vast sizes of the lands. “To the landowners here, I hope you give to the people what is rightly for the people,” La Castellana Mayor Alberto Nicor Jr. said in an interview with the DAR during the awarding of 28 hectares of agricultural land to 51 beneficiaries.

“Support services are very important so that the beneficiaries do not sell or lease out their land. That is a big problem here because the farmers don’t have enough capital to cultivate their lands,” he said. The two-term mayor, himself an agrarian reform beneficiary, speaks from experience. He, too, had to lease out the six hectares of land awarded to his family more than a decade ago because they did not have the money to cultivate it. His family was able to get back their land after 10 years, when his children who are working abroad sent money to recover the farm. Today, their six hectares are planted to sugarcane and rice. “Take care of your land,” Nicor tells his fellow farmers. “This will mean a big thing for your children’s future.”

Valuation questions won’t stop Luisita distribution Hacienda Luisita will be given to the legitimate farmer beneficiaries by May next year, and that’s that. Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes made the bold declaration as he sought to assuage Luisita farmers who are concerned that the question on the real value of the hacienda will hamper the acquisition and distribution of the controversial landholding, owned by the family of former president Corazon Aquino, President Benigno Aquino’s late mother. “The farmer-beneficiaries will get their land regardless of the value pegged by the DAR Adjusdication Board or the courts,” delos Reyes said.

“We can proceed with the land distribution even if the valuation is contested by the landowners or the farmerbeneficiaries. That is the law,” delos Reyes said. The Landbank of the Philippines determines the value of coverable lands. The Department of Agrarian Reform is finalizing its masterlist of Hacienda Luisita beneficiaries. Some 8,500 farmers had applied for inclusion in the masterlist, but this will be trimmed down to about 6,200, as stated in the Supreme Court decision awarding the sugarcane plantation to its farmers. Delos Reyes said the preliminary masterlist, which will be open to the public for scrutiny, should be out this month.

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IT’S HARD TO TEACH OUR FARMERS, BUT ONCE THEY LEARN AND THE WEATHER COOPERATES, THEY GET GOOD RESULTS

Honey, I blew up the veggies BY IÑAKI GARCIA

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agrarian reform matters

(OPPOSITE) Eggplants of the Israeli variety grow to as big as two kilos per piece; (TOP, FROM LEFT) Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes inspects one of the Picat farms in Nueva Ecija; Giant vegetables that thrive in Israel’s desert farms are also planted here. Photos: DAR

Would a two-kilo eggplant do for your fritata? In the farmlands of Central Luzon, agrarian reform beneficiaries are raising giant vegetables with special seeds from the Holy Land—and they’re making big news in town. “They’re excellent to showcase in your garden. I grew eggplants that weighed a kilo,” said farmer Rey Hilario of Talavera, Nueva Ecija. The seeds require only small plots of land and little watering, unlike some local vegetables. The first garden for this big idea was the Central Luzon State University in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, where the Philippine-Israel Center for Agricultural Training (Picat) was launched in December 2010. The Israeli government provided seeds for giant eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuces and onions, while the university developed “protocols” for farmers to follow in growing the vegetables. The Israelis wanted to know if the agricultural technology to grow vegetables in their desert farms could also be used in the Philippines. “They wanted to see if their produce could also be transplanted here. They wanted us to try these new varieties,” agricultural technologist Gionvanni Tomas of Llanera, Nueva Ecija, said. There were initially 10 farmer-participants in the Picat project during the first planting. The next planting, another set of 10 farmers were taught the protocols. “Unlike in the past when farmers grew their produce haphazardly, these farming protocols guided them on the correct amount of water and fertilizer to use,” Tomas said. Fertilizers are carefully measured for the Israeli vegetables to grow. Farmers were encouraged to use organic fertilizers although I S S U E

commercial fertilizers were acceptable. They were also taught drip irrigation, a method that saves water and fertilizers by having water slowly drip into the roots of the vegetables. Tomas said participants who closely followed these farming protocols saw their profits increase by 25 percent to 50 percent. “It’s hard to teach our farmers, but once they learn and the weather cooperates, they get good results,” he said. Besides the experiment on giant vegetables, Picat also had a separate component that focused on training agrarian reform beneficiaries to closely follow better farming practices to improve their harvests and cut production cost. “We also had a commercial project that used local varieties of vegetables like tomatoes and ampalaya (bitter melon) and it was successful. Our customers were our local government units,” Tomas said. After the initial planting of the Israeli varieties, the onions and eggplants literally grew to their potential—about four times the size of the local variety of eggplants, or around two kilos. “That was the biggest that we got. But of course, the ideal (for local buyers) is just 700 grams or less than one kilo,” Tomas said. Agriculture officials are still exploring how to market these large vegetables—the Galil onions grew as big as knuckles—since initial buyers were apparently deterred by their size. After all, just how much eggplant omelet can one eat? Still, Tomas is hopeful that there is an untapped market for the giant vegetables. “I’ve seen vegetables as big as those in supermarkets. Maybe there’s something in that,” he said. N O .

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Your land is my land BY BLANCHE RIVERA-FERNANDEZ

T

here are almost a million hectares of land left for acquisition and distribution under the government’s extended agrarian reform program, and there’s one question the Department of Agrarian Reform would like to ask its field officers. “Who has Facebook?” No, Nestor Bayoneto does not want to add you as friend. The DAR Management Information Service (MIS) director wants to assess the provincial and municipal agrarian reform officers’ access to technology across the country, a crucial element in the government’s drive for the accomplishment of goals under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) by 2014. “The challenge is for them to be more mature in terms of computer literacy. We need to train the staff. There has to be a paradigm shift because even if you have a system, if they don’t know how to use it, it will go to waste,” Bayoneto said. Every month, each provincial office submits a list of landholdings that were covered and those that are still for coverage. The MIS division at the DAR central office then consolidates these reports using MS Access. The provincial offices are instructed to use the same software when doing the listings,

but many still rely on spreadsheets, Bayoneto said. The DAR is banking heavily on two things to boost its compulsory land acquisition efforts: technology and outsourcing.

THE CHALLENGE IS FOR THEM TO BE MORE MATURE IN TERMS OF COMPUTER LITERACY. WE NEED TO TRAIN THE STAFF. THERE HAS TO BE A PARADIGM SHIFT BECAUSE EVEN IF YOU HAVE A SYSTEM, IF THEY DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE IT, IT WILL GO TO WASTE. PICKING PRIORITIES “Everyone has access to the Internet but in varying degrees,” Bayoneto said. “Some have office or home connections;

others like Mt. Province make do with a dongle or prepaid card for lack of infrastructure. As an organization, we want to make it uniform.” The DAR has contracted the services of private companies to set up the network, develop applications and push the institution toward a web-based system, where all DAR offices have access to the same database. And they want this done by December so the provincial, municipal and regional officers can start training on the new system. The DAR has 100 field offices nationwide: 84 provincial offices (the most problematic provinces have two DAR offices) and 16 regional offices, all of which must have access to the Internet so that the LAD-CARPER balance can be constantly updated and the proper strategies employed for coverage. “We just can’t do it all in one go so we have to prioritize the 27 provinces with a huge LAD balance,” Bayoneto said. (See list) The 27 provinces account for around 70 percent of the remaining landholdings for coverage, with Negros Occidental alone counting 128,887 hectares to be covered from 9,790 landholdings. STATUS UPDATE Since the beginning of President Aquino’s term, the DAR has covered 219,069

Carper LAD Schedule PHASE

PHASE

PHASE

PHASE

PHASE

2009 JUNE 2012 private landholdings above 50 hectares, corn and rice lands under PD 27, all idle and abandoned lands, and those voluntarily offered for sale

2009 UNTIL JUNE 2012 private lands measuring 2450 hectares that have already been issued NOCs on or before Dec. 10, 2008, landed estates, settlements, and all government-owned lands

JULY 2012-JUNE 2013 all lands measuring 24-50 hectares

JULY 2012-JUNE 2013 private lands measuring 10-24 hectares; 217,639 hectares total

JULY 2013-JUNE 2014 private agricultural lands measuring 5-10 hectares, plus all remaining LAD balance; 187,959 hectares total

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2B

3A

3B

hectares under the CARPER. As of last June, the LAD-CARPER balance stands at 961,974 hectares from 107,639 landholdings. Of this, 93 percent are private agricultural lands. According to the DAR, a large portion of lands covered under the CARP since 1988 was government-owned, or if private, was covered through voluntary land transfer and voluntary offer to sell, which makes them “easy” acquisitions. Today, 62 percent (596,036 hectares) of the total remaining landholdings will be covered through compulsory acquisition, which is a challenge because of resistant landowners and problematic titles. The CARPER or RA 9700, an act amending certain provisions of RA 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, effectively extended the government’s agrarian reform program by five years from 2009. It did away with the option for voluntary land transfer and scheduled the coverage of the remaining lands in several phases (Phase 1 to Phase 3B), depending on the size of the landholding. The DAR is currently issuing notices of coverage (NOC) on lands covered under Phase 1 to Phase 2A. (See calendar). TECHNOLOGY AT WORK To facilitate land acquisition and distribution, the DAR has adopted outsourcing for all activities that are outside DAR’s competencies but which eat up the time of DAR employees, especially those on the field. “We’ve done outsourcing before but it was limited to (land) surveys. We used to be highly dependent on the sketch plans submitted by landowners,” DAR Undersecretary Narciso Nieto, who heads field operations, said. Today, the DAR is outsourcing not just surveys but research on problematic titles, sketch plans, connectivity/network set-up, web-based app development, archiving and even training. In fact, 70 percent of the system needs of the MIS as set by the DAR Information and Communication Exchange (DAR ICE) will be outsourced. The DAR ICE is the information technology road map adopted by the department beginning this year. Nieto said that based on his observation, outsourcing has cut the LAD time by 50 percent. “Technology plays a very big role, especially with the titles that we submit to the Land Registration Authority (LRA). Provincial agrarian reform officers used to go to the different Registry of Deeds in their areas and request the titles one by

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one. Now we go straight to the LRA... There is now very close coordination among the agencies (involved in agrarian reform),” Nieto said. The DAR and LRA signed a memorandum in December last year that would require the annotation of “Notice of Coverage” on all lands covered by CARP to prevent illegal transfers. The DAR central office has already sought from the LRA the Certified True Copies of titles covering 100,443 hectares of coverable land. It is also requesting the CTC of titles for some 10,000 landholdings that will be covered in Negros Occidental. When the requested CTCs are given to DAR by the LRA, the central office immediately sends these to the provincial officers so they can bring them to the local Registry of Deeds for annotation as soon as an NOC is served on the subject land. It makes a big difference that the LRA has computerized because it’s easier to track any titles.

Priority Provinces for Coverage

Cagayan, Isabela, Quezon 2 (covering the Bondoc peninsula), Camarines Sur 1 and 2, Albay, Masbate, Sorsogon, Capiz, Iloilo, Negros Occidental 1 and 2, Negros Oriental, Leyte, North Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Saranggani, Agusan del Sur, Antique, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, Western Samar, Northern Samar and Davao del Sur

MASS REVIEW AND PROCESSING “Now we’re having a revalidation. We’re checking if the listed landholdings are really coverable or not because during the initial validation process, all you see is the title or tax declaration. You won’t see if the landowner holds an exemption order or if the land was reclassified before 1988 (when CARP started),” Nieto said. “When you send the NOC, that’s the time you’ll know the truth. The landowners may hold evidence that the department does not know about because as you know, data in the Philippines are not up-to-date and often need verification,” he said. For the first time since the CARP started, the DAR is reviewing all claims folders at the central and provincial offices to identify the status of each covered landholding and the possible stumbling blocks to LAD. As of April, it was found that 18,617 hectares have titles with encumbrances or pertain to a location different from what is described in the title while 11,249 hectares were for research. This, too, will be outsourced by the DAR. “The direction of the Secretary is really outsourcing. He has a passion for technology, how we can maximize it for DAR… He wants everything transparent, complete and accessible,” Nieto said. And by that, you know that the department has brought its campaign for agrarian reform to Facebook.

The DAR provincial office in Negros set up one-stop shops in different farms in the province to educate farmers on the process of land acquisition and distribution under the CARPER. Photos: DAR

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Learning from the land BY IÑAKI GARCIA

Farmer Exequiel C. Bahalla has been toiling the soil since he was barely 10 years old. He has worked it as a son and still works it as a father. It was a piece of earth that was bound to be his. The three-hectare farm in Bohol tells the story of Bahalla’s life. As a young boy, he had to quit school to help his father work the land. Years later, when he had his own family, the same farm enabled him to send all of his five children through college. “I started helping my father in the fields when I was still in Grade 3,” Bahalla, now 54, recalls. He was not even 10 years old then. He had wanted to be a soldier, but life was tough and all hands were needed in tending the crops. He had to stop schooling. He was able to finish only sixth grade of elementary education. “In the past, we had carabaos and other animals helping us in the farm. Now, we use machinery,” he says. The tipping point for this life-long farmer came in 2002, when he was able to acquire through the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) the three hectares of rice land that his family had been tilling for decades. He obtained the land from some relatives of his wife Teodula, whom he married when he was just 17.

In the 1970s, the young couple planted palay, camote, banana, cassava and vegetables, depending on the season. They also raised livestock. In 1993, when their barangay was clustered with other nearby villages, Bahalla and his fellow farmers formed the Katipunan Multi-purpose Farmers Cooperative. His membership in this group would later become his ticket to learning. “I married early. So, when we got the land we used it to send our children to school and make sure that they finish college,” Bahalla says. “This October, my youngest will be graduating with a degree in hotel and restaurant management.” Although he himself I HAVE THIS finished only PRINCIPLE elementary education, I BELIEVE Bahalla has attended so IN–THAT IN many seminars FARMING, on agriculture that other THERE’S NO farmers began RETIREMENT. I calling him the “farmer WILL GO ON scientist.” He has gone WORKING. through trainings such as Rice Seed Production and Seed Certification with Post-Harvest Technology, Farmer-led Extension Delivery Planning, Corn Seed Production, and Retooling Course for Rice Seed Production. Bahalla’s successful farming method has become well-known that even farmers from other barangays come to him for help to improve their harvests. In 2008, he was cited as Magsasaka Siyentista for his contribution to his community.

“I tell them that my crops have special elements in the fertilizers I use,” he says. He gives his fellow farmers advice on what fertilizers to use depending on the season. They had seen better harvests because of this. “The harvest of crops using these special elements is bigger. Normally, one hectare would yield 80 to 120 bags of palay but that would increase to around 200 bags, with 40 kilos per bag,” he says. An assistance program from the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Department of Science and Technology provides Bahalla’s community with potable water. Besides the three hectares of rice land that he acquired through the CARP, Bahalla is now also renting from his neighbors six more hectares of land planted to rice and 600 coconut trees. He can afford the rent with the help of his children who are now professionals. Three of them are now working abroad: the eldest is a nurse in Saudi Arabia while two of her siblings are sailing the world’s oceans like thousands of other dollar-earning Filipino seafarers. Another daughter has decided to stay put and serve their community as a local high school teacher. “The agrarian reform program has been such a great help for me and my family as it improved our lives,” says Bahalla. He now grows seedlings of high-yielding rice varieties that the provincial government buys for distribution to other municipalities. He also conducts lectures on viable farming techniques. “I have this principle I believe in– that in farming, there’s no retirement,” Bahalla says. “I will go on working.”

-- With a report from Merly Bantugan, DAR-Bohol

BAHALLA’S SUCCESSFUL FARMING METHOD HAS BECOME WELL-KNOWN THAT EVEN FARMERS FROM OTHER BARANGAYS COME TO HIM FOR HELP TO IMPROVE THEIR HARVESTS.

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(From the top) Bahalla uses a special fertilizer to grow his crops; The couple has been farming together since they were 17 years old; Bahalla now sells seedlings of high-yielding rice varieties to the government. Photos: DAR.

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CONTINUED FROM COVER

F E AT U R E S

Sound Suggestion:

Victor  Goyena  (above)  tends  to  his  pili  farm   in  Albay.  Check  out  his  pili  oil  products  at   the  Bicol  trade  fair  at  the  SM  Megatrade   Hall  on  Oct.  4-­7  or  visit  his  site  at   WWWCANARIUMTHEÚRSTVIRGINCOM

on pili nut processing and development. This is where Goyena was first introduced to the concept of pili nut kernel oil. It turned out that a few entrepreneurs in Bicol were already involved in pulp oil production from pili nuts, but no one had yet pursued kernel oil. “I did some research but couldn’t find much information online on kernel oil, so I just experimented with manual extraction. The bottom line is to squeeze out oil from kernels. Then I have to cook the oil in low fire for a long time; otherwise, it would go bad,� Goyena says. “I really started from scratch,� he says. His wife, who was then working as a teacher in El Salvador, supported him and his two children financially. It took him six months to nail down the process. From a kilo of pili nut kernels, he can now extract 90-150 ml of oil, which he turns into products like moisturizers, cream, soap and facial toner. His first product was the plain pili nut kernel oil. “I was the guinea pig,� Goyena says. “I used the oil on my body. Who else will believe in my product if not me?� He sold the oil to neighbors and people he met at seminars. They said it easily dried pimples, whitened skin and thickened hair. Curious about the effects, he had the kernel oil tested at the DOST’s Industrial Technology Development Institute. It was found that the pili nut kernel oil was rich in omega 6 and omega 9, which has an anti-inflammatory effect, making it work against acne.

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agrarian reform matters

SO CHANEL He says other countries are more aware of the health and cosmetic benefits of pili nuts. In France, the use of manila elemi oil from pili nuts is already popular. International brand Chanel, for example, sources its manila elemi oil, an ingredient in some of its beauty products, from Quezon and Bicol. “This reinforced my theory that pili nut oil really is good for the skin, so I experimented again, mixing manila elemi oil and kernel oil. Since nobody buys kernel oil or manila elemi oil from me in bulk, I decided to come out with new product lines like toner, soap, etc.,� says Goyena. Pili nuts are also being sold in Hong Kong and the United States by brands like Stephen James Luxury Organics, which market pili nuts as the having the highest Vitamin E content among all nuts. The fatty acid profile of pili nut kernels show that it is composed of 47% oleic acid, 26.5%, palmetic acid, 14.9% linoleic acid, says Goyena. Today, Goyena is seeking a loan from the DOST to help him expand his business. He has loyal customers from as far as Baguio, while some satisfied customers in Metro Manila have become dealers. He has also set up a website for his line of products, which he branded Canarium. “How can I grow if I don’t invest?� says Goyena, president of the Albay Pili Industry Federation.�I always look ahead. I know that my decision to go for kernel oil was right. I’m the first. It’s a competitive advantage.�

MEMORIES ON TWO STRINGS DIWA DE LEON Php450 His name may not be familiar to mainstream audiences, but his music is, being all over radio, TV, the movies and the Internet. In fact, Diwa de Leon has a cult following on Youtube. The arranger/composer is fiercely committed to the hegalong, a two-stringed boat-shaped guitar native to the T’Boli tribe of Cotabato. Akin to India’s sitar and Japan’s shamisen, the hegalong is the centerpiece of de Leon’s two-CD project, with 25 pieces of techno, jazz, trance, chill-out, pop and rock. For more conventional listeners, it includes a natty love song with Cooky Chua, and collaborations with Zab Reyes and Charanjit Wasu, infused with a world-music feel.

Book Report: LINAMNAM: EATING ONE’S WAY AROUND THE PHILIPPINES CLAUDE TAYAG AND MARY ANN QUIOC, ANVIL PUBLISHING Php395 “There is more to (Filipino cuisine) beyond the adobo and the lumpia.� With this in mind, Claude Tayag and Mary Ann Quioc journeyed across the archipelago to reacquaint themselves with Filipino food. Hailing from Pampanga, the Tayags, of Bale Datung fame, take several bites of the best examples of regional cuisine, whether in finedining establishments or hole-in-the wall eateries. Linamnam can be best described as a culinary travel guidebook that celebrates food diversity, and ultimately strives to debunk critics’ notions that Pinoy dishes are too salty, too sweet or too oily. Addresses and contact information of their fine finds are thoughtfully provided at the end of each entry.

The Green Light

Weekend markets are sprouting all over Metro Manila, supporting a healthier and more eco-conscious lifestyle. Name your need, set your price, and go forth. There’s no artisanal invention that’s too hard to find. Just wake up before the throng does.

BY RHOEL FERNANDEZ

AANI ORGANIC MARKET FTI COMPLEX, TAGUIG CITY Saturdays, Sundays, 5 a.m. – 6 p.m. “Fancy� would be the last word to describe the Agri-Aqua Network International (AANI) organic market. Rather it is a farmers’ market with a wide-ranging selection of fresh and organic produce. First-timers should be prepared for the freefor-all jostling by seasoned buyers dead set on getting bargain deals. Better bring your haggling face to this party if you want to emerge victorious.

LEGAZPI SUNDAY MARKET THE CORNER OF LEGAZPI AND RUFINO (FORMERLY HERRERA) STREETS, LEGAZPI VILLAGE, MAKATI CITY Sundays, 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

This is what Sunday morning shopping is all about–a leisurely stroll around a community market where everybody seems to know everybody else. You can find more than a hundred vendors selling everything from artisan handicraft, art work, organic produce, gourmet stash and fresh seafood. There is also a veritable host of food stalls where you can enjoy take-outs of Filipino, Japanese, Thai, Korean and Spanish cuisine, which make this bazaar perfect for get-togethers. Let your nose lead and your body will follow!

SIDCOR MARKET ETON CENTRIS WALK, EDSA CORNER QUEZON AVENUE, QUEZON CITY Sundays 6 a.m. – 2 p.m.

In what has become a cherished Sunday institution in Quezon City, the Sidcor Market continually attracts residents looking for quality finds at the right price. The greenand-white striped tents of this strategically placed flea market has gathered traders and their suki since 2000 for assorted goods sourced from all over the country. There are sections for dry goods, organic food and produce, seafood, plants and even pets! The dining section has an extensive array of goodies ranging from native delicacies, pastries and carinderia-style fare.

SODERNO@MOLITO LIFESTYLE CENTER THE CORNER OF ALABANG-ZAPOTE ROAD, MADRIGAL AND COMMERCE AVENUE, MUNTINLUPA CITY Saturdays 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. (lifestyle market), Sundays 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. (organic market)

Touted as bringing “the best the South has to offer,� Soderno doubles as a fashionista and foodie destination on Saturdays, where the lifestyle market is the place to enjoy fashion, handicrafts, dry goods and food. It transforms into an organic market on Sundays where stalls go green and organic with their products. Shoppers will also appreciate the free wi-fi and pet-friendly environment.

Eat Log: SEGOVIA’S 28 Gen. Vicente Lim Street, Little Baguio, San Juan City (632) 725 2849, 727 4616

Tucked in a 1950s-era house on a side street in Greenhills, San Juan is a mom n’ pop place that combines good eats and a charming feel. Segovia’s Cakes and Recipes evokes a quaint and cozy atmosphere akin to visiting a dearly loved aunt on a quiet afternoon. Must-tries on the menu are the relatively inexpensive “cloud-bread� sandwiches (Tuna, Php80; Sirloin Hamburger, Php130) and pasta dishes. If you want to look like a genius to your family and friends, bring them Segovia’s oh-so-soft cheesy mamon (Php35 each). Just order the mamon as soon as you arrive because they only bake a limited batch each day and quickly run out.

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Rodrigo Realubit Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer, Camarines Sur A

I’M STILL IN THIS JOB BECAUSE I’m young and vibrant, happy with my work, and I believe I am in an organization that has a socially and economically relevant program for the development of the Philippine countryside. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR ME TO DO RIGHT NOW IS to work and perform with zest, manage stress and pressure, and enjoy a week of blissful vacation. IF MONEY WERE NOT AN ISSUE, a lot of things could be resolved. There will be fewer problems, and people in government service would be very effective.

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agrarian reform matters

Photos courtesy of Rod Realubit

This 2001 Outstanding Employee has spent 15 years fast-tracking land distribution in one of the most difficult regions for agrarian reform. A true-blue Bicolano, Rod Realubit lives in Guinobatan, Albay and completed his undergraduate and masteral courses at the Bicol University, where he is currently doing his doctoral dissertation. He has a graduate diploma on Development Economics from the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Yet, for all he’s trying to accomplish, this man seeks nothing more than time—for a good, long vacation.

THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN MY AREA is working with so much pressure and high expectations from my bosses that we’ll deliver our targets and turn around a seemingly sluggish organization whose people—let me emphasize that it involves only some— are seemingly feeling burned out. MY DAY AT DAR CAMARINES SUR WOULD NOT BE COMPLETE WITHOUT coffee and pan de sal, and a clutter free table at the end of the day. AGRARIAN REFORM, TO ME, SIMPLY MEANS an opportunity to effect change in land structure, land to the landless, and better life to the farmers.

WHAT WE NEVER HAVE ENOUGH OF IS time, and the ability to be content with less. WHAT OTHER PEOPLE IN GOVERNMENT DON’T REALIZE is that public service is a virtue. I WAKE UP IN THE MORNING AND I THINK of my mother, and that God is good. Then I think of my work and the life I will have for the day. I COULD DO A LOT MORE IF I WERE Superman, always at my best.


Agrarian Reform Matters #1