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Henry Motte-MuĂąoz Point and Purpose
JA N U A R Y 20 17
Living in Light For a while, I stopped making resolutions. But I realized in 2017 I want a lifestyle change; I want to live light. I think for a long time I have been so goal-oriented that I lost the ability to just chill and really put things into perspective. When doing the magazine, I focus too much on the deadlines, and forget to truly be inspired by the purpose driven people we feature. Our cover, Henry Motte-Muñoz, moved from finance to starting up Edukasyon.ph. Something he said he did when he started “questioning” what he was doing. I find that most of the time it is much easier to go with the motions because once you start thinking, you may find you’re really not happy where you are, and this realization entails some action. But the ones who have “questioned” are the ones who have found their passions. Something we should really all strive for. 2017 has just begun, I hope it becomes a year of “light” for everyone, literally and figuratively.
ACQUIRED 8 Wallets that are more than just cash keepers
DEVOURED 9 Seasonal dishes you can find in Manila
ATTIRED 12 Shoes you’ll wear til day’s end
ADMIRED 18 Henry Muñoz on making his mark in the world
Happy New Year, from the RED Team!
2017 beauty trends making waves
EMPOWERED 24 Interior designer turned farmer talks about his career change
THINKPIECE 26 Reviewing the environmental state of the world On the cover:
Photography Joseph Pascual This page: PICCOLA LVCEA watch, Bulgari, Greenbelt 4.
Inquirer RED Magazine is a monthly luxury magazine published by Hinge Inquirer Publications. RED is available at Fully Booked for free. For subscription inquiries, please contact 0917-5854870 or visit go.hip.ph/subscribe. Group Publisher Bea Ledesma Editor in Chief Ria Prieto Creative Director Nimu Muallam Copy Editor September Grace Mahino Editorial Assistant Tisha Ramirez Staff Photographer Patrick Segovia External Relations Officer Liza Jison
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ON THE RADAR
Counting down hours, minutes, and seconds with these designer timepieces
2016 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer The 2016 Oyster Perpetual Explorer now sports a Chromalight display, with the three, six and nine numerals, hour markers, and hands emitting a blue luminescence to increase the dial’s visibility in low light. Though the hands’ movement and the Oyster bracelet remain the same, the addition of the blue glow makes this watch fresh and visionary.
Breguet Reine de Naples 8958 There is no better way to ring in the Year of the Rooster than with the Breguet Reine de Naples 8958. Its dial displays a cameo of a rooster engraved on layers of seashell. The watch also features an 18-carat white gold case, a diamond encrusted bezel, a white alligator leather strap, and a natural shell dial.
WORDS TISHA RAMIREZ
BVLGARI Piccola Lucea Bulgari offers active women an alluring new model of their iconic LVCEA watch: the Piccola Lucea. Its case size has been redesigned and made daintier at only 23 mm. paired with a distinctive bracelet.
Omega Speedmaster Man on the Moon The official watch of NASA since March 1965, the Omega Speedmaster Mon the Moon has a special place in history. As the only watch to pass all of NASA’s space tests, it was worn by Buzz Aldrin as he stepped onto the lunar surface in July 1969. In addition to its historical significance, its stainless steel case, 42 mm conograph, and SuperLumiNova-coated hands make this timepiece truly out of this world.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold To celebrate the 40th year of the women’s Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet unveils the iconic watch design in white and pink gold. The timepiece’s shimmering sparkle is its defining feature, achieved through a hammering technique. Made in collaboration with designer Carolina Bucci, the Royal Oak’s case and bracelet were redesigned by beating the gold with a diamond tipped tool.
Okada Manila Casino
Above and below: MGM Grand Las Vegas Casino
Above and below: The Venetian Macao Casino
Card Sharp Staking out some of the best casinos from around the world WORDS TISHA RAMIREZ
Okada Manila Okada Manila, a $2.4-billion entertainment complex, is the newest gaming hub in the Philippines. With over 3,000 electronic gaming machines and 500 table games, it’s perfect for casino veterans and newbies alike. Table games include Samurai War, an effortless card game where the player and the dealer draw one card each and the card with the higher value wins. With the electronic games, classics such as Blackjack, Roulette, and Horse Racing are available for betting. The Venetian Macao Located on the Cotai Strip in Macau, The Venetian has the largest casino in the world, with 3,000 gaming machines and 870 card and table games spread across four different themed areas: Golden Fish, Imperial House, Red Dragon, and Phoenix. The casino offers exclusive access to their VIP guests through the Paiza Club, where high rollers are provided with a butler as they enjoy private gaming rooms, lounges, and restaurants. MGM Grand Las Vegas The casino in MGM Grand Las Vegas not only features gaming machines and table games but also a 24-hour lounge called Whiskey Down. What sets
this gaming lounge apart from the gaming floor are its plush leather sofas and the whiskey selection that help people escape the madness of the casino floor for a few enjoyable rounds of Blackjack and video poker. The Baden-Baden Casino Located in southwest Germany’s Black Forest is The Baden-Baden casino where popular games like Blackjack and punto banco can be found at its casino floor. But another venue in Baden-Baden offers guests a different gaming environment: one of the city’s most popular party venues, Club Bernstein creates a cozy atmosphere for guests who want to imbibe the drinks of their choice as they get their game on with poker and roulette. Crown Casino Crown Melbourne is a resort complex with three hotels, entertainment facilities, and a casino that has hosted several poker tournaments such as the Aussie Millions Poker Championship and the World Series of Poker AsiaPacific. Its VIP guests not only get to experience competitive gaming but also enjoy events like the Australian Open Tennis Championships and the F1 Grand Prix.
Mark your calendar for this year’s art events
Art Fair Philippines, Feb 16-19 Since 2013, Art Fair Philippines has provided Filipinos with a convenient venue to admire local modern and contemporary visual art. Held at The Link Carpark, it conversely gives exhibitors more than enough space to play around with to provide the audience a true sense of the art being displayed. Attending Art Fair Philippines has been a great way to support local artists, with visitors discovering talent they have never heard of before. This annual exhibit has a little bit of everything that everyone can enjoy, from sculptures to videos and even interactive art. artfairphilippines.com
WORDS TISHA RAMIREZ
Photo London, May 18-21 Somerset House is an outstanding neo-classical building set to host the third edition of Photo London this year. Established in 2015, the exhibit’s aim is to give London’s photography community a venue to showcase their work. With its first two editions, Photo London fast became a platform for international photographers to display their work to dealers, exhibitors, and the public. photolondon.org
APR Art Brussels, Apr 21-23 For its 35th edition, Art Brussels will bring together 142 galleries for the show “From Discovery to Rediscovery.” This will be held at Tour & Taxis, a former industrial site in Brussels, with the exhibit sectioned into three parts: Discovery will focus on young and emerging artists who have released works from 2014 to 2017; Prime will be dedicated to modern and contemporary displays by established artists; and Rediscovery will allow visitors to admire under-acclaimed art made between 1917 and 1987. As the theme promises, visitors can expect to discover new art and rediscover forgotten ones. artbrussels.com
Art Fair Tokyo, Mar 17-19 Back for its 13th year, Art Fair Tokyo is a perfect introduction to Japanese contemporary art. With the theme “Art is Alive: Getting Closer to Art, Art Getting Closer,” this year’s exhibit, set to be staged at the Tokyo International Forum, will focus on media, art, and society. Visitors can expect to see how media uses art to cross different fields and reach all types of people, and how art has caused social innovations. artfairtokyo.com
JUN Photo Basel Switzerland, Jun 14-18 Photo Basel will be Switzerland’s first art fair solely meant to exhibit photography-based art. For their first edition, they want to bring an authentic environment to the photography community, from collectors to visitors. To be hosted by Volkhaus Basel, Photo Basel’s vision is to create a space where photography can be nurtured and progress with time. photo-basel.com
Paris Photo, Nov 9-12 Held annually since 1997, this photo exhibition will be back for its 21st edition later in the year at the exhibition hall and museum complex, Grand Palais. Through the years, Photo Paris has united artists, galleries, collectors, professionals, and enthusiasts with its displays and accompanying programs. Its wide selection of photographs from different genres, borrowed from private collections, attract visitors from all over the world. Photo Paris also fosters discussion on the future of photography by organizing forums, debates, and presentations that explore important questions about methods and the medium. parisphoto.com
JUL Market Art + Design USA, Jul 6-9 Market Art + Design, held at The Bridgehampton Museum, merges two creative outlets in a social and laid-back setting, with modern and contemporary art dealers coming together with jewelry and design specialists for the Hamptons’ younger crowd. For this year’s edition, exhibit-goers can expect to indulge in an incredible cocktail program while viewing displays from galleries such as The Hole and ACA Galleries. artmarkethamptons.com
ART-O-RAMA France, Aug 25-27 Held every last weekend of August in Marseille, ART-O-RAMA is a contemporary art fair that hosts 20 international galleries. Set in the Friche la Belle de Mai, an old cigarette factory, the end-of-summer exhibit is visited mostly by French collectors passing through Marseille for the weekend. Aside from the gallery displays, there will be a special program, “Platform”, that will be set up at the event to be dedicated to a fortunate artist who would get the opportunity to show an aspect of their work either through a talk, a performance, an exhibit, or a film screening. art-o-rama.fr
OCT Art Taipei, Oct 20-23 The longest-standing art fair in Asia, Art Taipei, will be back this year for its 23rd edition. To be held at the Taipei World Trade Center, the 2017 exhibit will also display recent pieces from established and emerging galleries. A must-see event for art collectors from all over the globe, Art Taipei also taps the educational aspect of art through different programs and forums. art-taipei.com
Positions Berlin, Sep 14-17 With over 70 galleries participating in this year’s Positions Berlin, one can expect a multitude of modern and contemporary artwork from international artists. The exhibit, to be staged at the Arena Club, will represent their progress and allow visitors to discuss the current state of the art scene. positions.de
Art Basel Miami, Dec 7-10 Since 2001, Miami Beach has been the base for North America’s international contemporary and modern art fair, Art Basel. The Miami Beach Convention Center will be home this year to a showcase participated by over 250 galleries from 31 countries. A diverse selection of modern and contemporary art will be presented in the exhibit, such as paintings, sculptures, instillations, photographs, and films. Visitors can also expect large-scale artworks at the nearby Collins Park and SoundScape Park. artbasel.com
Eyes on the Money
Wallets worth splurging on PHOTOGRAPHY PATRICK SEGOVIA
Card holder, Valentino, Homme et Femme, 8 Rockwell; woven wallet, Bottega Veneta, Greenbelt 4; camouflage wallet, Dior Homme, Homme et Femme, 8 Rockwell; card case with pockets, HermĂŠs, Greenbelt 3; wallet, Hender Scheme, Univers, One Rockwell; card holder, Gucci, Greenbelt 4.
Timely Dining Each season has its own set of delights to enjoy WORDS ANGELO COMSTI
In every season of the year, a fresh harvest and the best dishes to make out of them are rolled out to deliver exactly what the people would need: warmth from winter soups, freshness from a spring salad, and cool comfort from the frozen treats of summer. Wherever in the world you may be, seize the moment and take advantage of what the season has to offer food-wise. Besides, it’s one very efficient way of getting to know the place you’re in even better. Winter As a generations-old ritual, the Japanese traditionally greet New Year’s Eve with a hot bowl of Toshikoshi soba, also known as the Year-End Soba. Eating buckwheat noodles is believed to bring good fortune and prolong one’s life; in fact, the longer the soba, the better. And they enjoy it in a variety of ways as soba allows for customization. Some would have it simple, with just broth and fishcake, while others go fancy with the addition of vegetables and raw egg. In Manila, many Japanese restaurants let guests indulge in soba noodles, either warm or cold. Minami Saki in Astoria Plaza offers a cold green tea version while Komoro Soba has a warm bowl topped with tempura.
Above: Toshikoshi soba is a Japanese traditional noodle bowl dish eaten on New Year’s Eve. Left: Bondi & Bourke’s Australian Beef Pie.
Spring The Polish celebrate the end of Lent by having a feast. After weeks of denying one’s self, the Catholics break their fast come Easter Sunday by having a festive meal typically comprised of smoked or roasted meats, hard-boiled eggs, sausages, horseradish, and a traditional Polish yeast cake called babka, a rich pastry that comes shaped like a bundt cake, flavored with rum, and drizzled with icing. Babci Kuchnia is a popular Manila-based food company selling a range of Polish dishes, including pierogis (dumplings), pierniki cookies, and Polish biala kielbasa. Summer Whenever the sizzling sun is out, people usually turn to ice cream or cold beverages for refreshment. The Koreans, however, rely on the bingsu, one of the most popular summer desserts in their country. It appears like a snow-capped mountain made out of light-as-a-feather, finely shaved ice, then decorated with sliced fruits, sweet adzuki beans, and milk. It’s a delicious thirst quencher that many Filipinos have grown to love too. Cafe Seolhwa Bingsu in Bonifacio Global City, Caffe Bene in Eastwood, and Magpie Cafe along Maginhawa St. in Quezon City are some of the places where you can enjoy this icy treat. Autumn When the weather starts to get cooler again, people warm up with dishes that make delicious use of a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and game. They usually come in the following forms: a comforting bowl of pumpkin soup, pot roast, classic meatloaf, apple crumble, and the all-time American favorite chicken pot pie. Celebrating familiar fall flavors in a single dish, the chicken pot pie is not only easy to make, it also allows for customization. If time and your pantry won’t allow you to make one, then head on over to Bondi & Bourke for their Australian Beef Pie. It is not quite the same as a traditional chicken pot pie, however; it’s better. •
Practical Persuasions Antonia Martel designs no-fuss pieces for women who make a lot of mess WORDS OLIVIA ESTRADA PHOTOGRAPHY PATRICK SEGOVIA
Dresses and trousers from Antonia Martel’s latest collection.
When creating a collection, Antonia Martel thinks of the busy but stylish woman. “I am not into trends, I’m into functionality. I create clothes with a woman who does a lot, from fitness training to business meetings in mind. She’s doing a lot of things and can’t be bothered about thinking about her outfit. But she still looks good.” It’s a tall order but Martel delivers. Her latest collection features basics like pants and jackets but with thoughtful details. She proudly declares how the soft silvery pants she made with cloth sourced from France has a secret pocket. A black jacket features fine details, almost as if it was embossed on the cloth but is designed to be a practical bomber jacket, easy to pair with any outfit. On the other hand, a white sleeveless top she has is both breathable to layer with or wear even to the beach. When it comes to the color palettes, it’s nothing outside the comfort zone. “I like working with simple colors because they can be easily integrated with what you already have in your closet.” The woman that Martel thinks about when making her designs isn’t boring at all, however. Like the bubbly designer, she has attitude. What plays in the background as she works is some Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, and Kate Bush. “Music and how it makes me feel (or not feel) plays a massive role in my life and my design process.” •
Antonia Martel’s Five Favorite Things GET TO KNOW THE INNER WORKINGS OF HER CREATIVE MIND 1. Diptyque Patchouli candle “I like it because it’s not too soft or too harsh. I just like the smell of it and I bring it around with me because it’s travel-sized. I want something relaxing, close to a lazy Sunday.” 2. Chanel volumizing mascara “I just believe that if I was stranded, it might be one of the things I would ask for. I don’t need to wear eyeliner with mascara.” 3. Bleeker Street from Bond No. 9 “I like it because it’s a grown-up version of CK One. It’s unisex and doesn’t have any boundaries.” 4. Tom Ford sunglasses “I use them to hide the night before. It makes the day a little softer. Everyone seems to love it so much and I get it but I find it too much.” 5. Dries Van Noten boots “My favorite designer. They are the perfect height and I wear them everywhere. I collect black boots, those are my favorite things in the world.”
4 3 1
12 Above: Heels, Aquazzura, Rustan’s Makati. Right: Heels, Christian Louboutin, Rustan’s Makati.
Shoe Shenanigans From high heels to comfy sneakers, pairs that will take you places PHOTOGRAPHY PATRICK SEGOVIA
This page: Top and pants, both Poe, Rustanâ€™s Makati. Opposite page: Top, Comme des Garcons, One Rockwell; shorts, Ricardo Preto, Rustanâ€™s Makati.
Top, Kolor, Univers, One Rockwell; pants, Cos, www.cosstores.com; shoes, BCBG Max Azria, Greenbelt 5.
Heels, Kurt Geiger, Rustanâ€™s Makati; sandals, Mansur Gavriel, Univers, One Rockwell; pumps, Kurt Geiger, Rustanâ€™s Makati.
Above: Flats, CÃ©line, Homme et Femme, 8 Rockwell. Below: Sneakers, Kaanas, CommonThread, Power Plant Mall.
Above: Heels, Marni, Univers, One Rockwell. Below: Flats, Aquazzura, Rustanâ€™s Makati.
Henry Motte-Muñoz wants his life’s work to be about helping the youth find the educational and career opportunities worthy of their dreams
BEYOND BARRIERS WORDS OLIVIA SYLVIA ESTRADA PHOTOGRAPHY JOSEPH PASCUAL
There is a bit of an old school charm to Filipino-French Henry MotteMuñoz. His firm handshake, paired with a sincere greeting and a polite inquiry of the time needed for the interview, is refreshingly traditional, to say the least. Asking for a second to answer a text seems to be his only concession to a world gone mad over multi-tasking through the internet. Otherwise, his answers are measured and thoughtful, with a certain cadence. Motte-Muñoz, 30, neither has Twitter nor Instagram. However, he still is as millennial as they come. “The most millennial thing I do is having a sense of purpose. We like to think that we are some kind of unicorn, that we are special,” he half-jokes. Like most of his peers, he has broken away from the narrative that his parents’ generation has lived by: find a job, settle down with a partner, create a 2.5 family, buy a home, then retire quietly in the suburbs.
While working in finance, Motte-Muñoz got to take his MBA at Harvard University on a company scholarship. It was a turning point in his life. “It was there that I realized I wanted to do something fulfilling. Finance was intellectually challenging, but it’s a career; I wanted to do something with more impact.” Following the fabricated trails of lines and textile For this search, he hewed close to home and observed that a cousin of his P H OT OGRAP H Y PAT R I C K S EG O V I A in the Philippines found it difficult to inquire about courses he was interested in and to enroll in a school. “In Harvard, the system is very streamlined, and with the internet around, there’s no need to line up just to enroll. I don’t think anyone has to resort to asking a cousin randomly what a course is about; the answers should be easily found online.” The result of Motte-Muñoz’s advocacy is the website Edukasyon.ph, which
â€œThe most millennial thing I do is having a sense of purpose. We like to think that we are some kind of unicorn, that we are special.â€?
PRODUCTION DESIGN GENIE RANADA-BABISTA
STYLING NIMU MUALLAM
Pocket square, HermÃ¨s, Greenbelt 3; sunglasses, Linda Farrow, City of Dreams; belt, Paul Smith, Greenbelt 5; card holder, Gucci, Greenbelt 4.
“We are very passionate about certain causes. We are not just passive activists simply clicking ‘Like’ on Facebook; we talk about different causes that resound with us and find ways to work together and make a difference. And that is just great.”
features a directory of schools and universities across the Philippines. “It’s [like] TripAdvisor for schools,” he says, the analogy telling of his online knowhow. His work is proof that he belongs to the generation he was born to: like people within his age range, he likes to find ways to make something better. “Students shouldn’t be asked a lot of information about themselves first before they can make an inquiry about the course they’re interested in. There’s a tendency for students to be limited in exposure to the opportunities that they can have,” he explains. For the long view, he wants more avenues where people can talk specifically about their education and their careers, and to have more schools be open to queries and applications—more ways of getting things done other than having to approach an admissions department physically. But Edukasyon.ph is more than just a listing of schools and courses. It also features profiles of different people and their professions. “We have a section called ‘Discover Careers,’ which is just about discovering yourself [and your career interests]. Here, we have people like Rajo Laurel and Mitzi Borromeo talking about their work. This is to help
people understand different professions and see if these resonate with them.” Motte-Muñoz is adept at mathematics and his father works in finance. The social enterprise he’s created is quite off the track, but as he explains, “Though I like finance, I never questioned it.” Believing there’s got to be more to life, he looks back and sees how seemingly simple life choices can turn out to be more complex. “It’s different when you say you like working in finance because you can do it versus saying you like it because you know what a consultant does, you know what a journalist does, and what other professionals do, and yet you still want to do finance.” He would have gone into the start-up industry sooner if he had more access to information on it, but “I would still have worked in finance for two years. It’s good training for what I do now.” When asked what he thinks binds millennials and defines their generation, Motte-Muñoz says, “We are very passionate about certain causes. We are not just passive activists simply clicking ‘Like’ on Facebook; we talk about different causes that resound with us and find ways to work together and make a difference. And that is just great.” •
Trends After Tomorrow
A loose prediction of this year’s beauty fads sans the all-knowing crystal
Beauty is like a box of chocolates. It keeps us digging till the same saccharine high gets tiring enough to make us grab a different assortment. The same goes with last year’s trends: A storm of vampy lips, multi-colored highlighters, and blunt bangs has swept across the crowd, leaving behind a flood of fad and gimmicky products. Now we’re reigning in a new year, with it comes a slew of new beauty trends. Seeing them stay or fade is part of the thrill, but nothing beats the small victory of calling out their shelf life before others saw them coming. Shining, Shimmering, Overdid A slippery slope started by last year’s strobing trend, the assault of glitter and holographic makeup continues till early this year. Summer (at least in Fendi, DKNY, Rodarte, and Marc Jacobs’ runways) will welcome both outlandish and muted sparkle—think reconciling a disco party’s glam code with the daintiness of a tea party. Experts (a.k.a. Youtubers and your regular beauty junkies) say it’s an ode to the flashy ’80s and the rebellious ’90s; I think it’s a case of nostalgia simmering down as soon as the deaths of greats like Prince and David Bowie have fully sunk in. We’ve
WORDS CHRYSSA CELESTINO
gotten jaded by flat, matte looks once; it’ll soon be time we run out of glitter once the reminiscing is done. Slick and Span Blunt cuts have taken center stage, and its friendly neighbor, the slick side part, has come to play. This year is going to be about refined silhouettes on the mane—no misbehaving foolish hairs, no flyaways sneaking in peek. A mannish side parting has been seen on the S/S 2017 stages of Dries Van Noten, Prada, Givenchy, and Kenzo, all of them clearly embracing the trend. This hairstyle has more timeless wearability. After all, neatly parted hair isn’t just a trend; it’s almost always a requirement in the prim and proper department. It’s not always high maintenance— having awkwardly growing bangs changes the story, however— and it only needs hairspray, some clips, and a comb to keep intact. A lot of people will be on trend without them even knowing. Fantastic Probiotics It’s counterintuitive to dab on bacteria when, after a full minute of washing, the point of cleansing is to eliminate dirt and grime. This year—and the next—is changing all that. Taking cues from Korean skincare’s obsession with fermented everything, Western skincare like La Culture and Vichy are picking up on their benefits. Fermentation is said to help make ingredients more potent and effective, and aids hydration, too. For the adventurous, it’s a fascinating possibility that has yet to prove itself. For the doubters, it can be a fad offering solutions others have already given. For everyone else, we never know until we try. •
Raffy Dacones becomes the voice of local farming INTERVIEW TISHA RAMIREZ PHOTOGRAPHY JOSEPH PASCUAL
Living in the city, people tend to fall into routine from commuting to work and getting stuck in traffic to cramming to meet deadlines. Eventually feeling like a miniscule part of a system, not really achieving anything great. Raffy Dacones felt the same way while he was living in Japan. Tired of the city life, he decided to move back home without really having a clear idea of what he was going to do. Little did he know that he would eventually start something that he is now extremely passionate about, Teraoka Family Farm. Have you always been into farming? No. I used to live in Tokyo, where I worked for three years at an interior design firm before I got tired of the city. Even if it was wonderful, I got tired of doing the same exact thing, of city life in Tokyo and commuting.
I tried to find out what I wanted to do, and decided to come back to the Philippines. It turned out that my family had land in Pangasinan that wasn’t being used. It was a farm with lots of mango trees, but no one was taking care of them. I then realized how farmers make a good living in other countries, especially in Japan, but not here. When I came home, organic farming was just becoming a trend in the Philippines and people were starting to get into organic produce. So I thought, why not start a farm? I took a leap and resigned from my job in Japan so I could get into farming. I hadn’t expected how hard it was going to be. Considering I had no background whatsoever in agriculture, I had to do a lot of research and ask advice from other people. Everything was pretty much trial and error in the beginning, but it has been two years and I’ve been doing well so far. What
“Farming is like going to school: I learn something new every single day.” really kept me in farming was the relationship I built with a lot of farmers. They are so simple, very down-to-earth, and they’re the ones who feed us yet city people look down on them. Their work is seen as unprofitable when, the truth is, farming can generate income if you could just find the right market for your produce. Farmers don’t have access to the market, though. We have a lot of organic farmers in the country but no one knows where to find them, so I became their voice. They bring their produce to me and I buy them at a really good price; sometimes, I help them grow their crops as well. I want to remove the middlemen so the farmers can earn enough to continue farming and encourage their families to continue working on their land instead of going to the city. The Philippines has so much neglected potential in agriculture. We don’t see the importance now of what farmers do, but who is going to feed us in the future? We need to encourage the youth to get into farming as well, given that the average age of farmers here is 57. People think that farming is an industry of the poor, and I want to change that perception. Take us through a day on your farm. My farm is 200 hectares big, but only five hectares are used for organic farming. My daily routine consists of waking up early at three or four in the morning, doing all the hard work, then going to sleep at seven in the evening. I like doing the
Above: Nursery in Teraoka Family Farm where seedlings are planted Right: Teraoka Family Farm in Pangasinan
hard work, such as making my own plots. Whenever I’m stressed, I go to the nursery and germinate seeds. Farming is like going to school: I learn something new every single day. There are so many variables, like weather, the climate, and even the people I work with, but I think it’s better to keep on learning than sticking only to what you know. I’m also in Manila three or four times a week since the market is here, but I want to spend as much time as I can at the farm so I travel back and forth. Has the local perception of farming improved somewhat since you started working in agriculture yourself? People are more aware now of organic farming and are more healthconscious. They want to know how their food is grown and where it comes from, so that helps the current movement toward organic agriculture, which the Department of Agriculture is working on. There are also private institutions doing the same thing. Because of the growing awareness, we now see organic sections in the supermarket and small outlets like Healthy Options. But there’s still much to be done: we still don’t grasp how much pesticides and chemicals are used to create perfect-looking produce, and despite the huge potential in the Philippines, organic farming remains mostly that. The demand is there but the supply is scarce. At 29 years old, what are you bringing to the table? I’m encouraging the youth to learn or get back into farming. In 50 years, if things don’t change, we won’t have anything to eat. I want to be a role model for the youth, I want to show them that there is money in farming, and that it’s fun; they just have to work hard. I enjoy what I do, so in a way, I want to make the image of farming look cool, too. •
State of Nature Looking back, acknowledging the present, and planning for the future WORDS NASH TYSMANS ART NIMU MUALLAM
26 When I was little, my grandparents would often take a detour to the Baguio City Market after picking me up from school. We would go section by section, filling a small bayong with pieces of meat wrapped in paper and vegetables encased in plastic. I already knew then that those green, leafy things I was made to eat were called plants. I also knew that we consumed them because they were healthy. But if I were shown the same vegetables outside the market setting—like maybe growing in someone’s garden—I wouldn’t know my beans from my potatoes. Out of the darkness of soil, seeds sprout, hungry for some sunlight. This made sense in my tiny third grader’s mind, but I soon learned the frustration of planting 10 mongo seeds in a water dipper. Thankfully, my lola had a green thumb and was able to come to my rescue. “Put some soil into the pot, bury the beans in a line, water them a bit, and place it in an area that receives enough sunlight. Then, let it be. Go play. Come back to it tomorrow morning.” I tried my best to follow her instructions despite feeling mildly betrayed by both my science book and the vendors at the city market. How could they have forgotten to inform me that plants need time to grow? As far as I knew up to that point, one simply went to the store, and voila! Instant beans! That was pretty much my understanding of nature then. Potted plants in neatly arranged rows for landscaped gardens were also aplenty in our gated subdivision, but how many of my neighbors really grew their own food? Or allowed their plants to express their natural wildness? It seems our appreciation of nature goes only as far as we could capture it, either for social media, our own consumption, or our income generation. With
the ongoing tourist boom, we offer local and international travelers alike the chance to commune with nature, but first, we clear out forests to pave roads and build malls; what is a nature trip if you don’t have a souvenir to prove you went on one, right? After we’ve taken a selfie with a beautiful natural backdrop, after all the likes, loves, and “Wows” have come in, we return to our usual lives, grateful to have seen something beautiful but feeling removed from it. Back in our “real” world, success is measured by how much we are able to acquire, so it’s no surprise that natural resources are treated as something that can be bought and owned. An ancient tree and the birds living off of it have corresponding monetary value, with a piece of paper to prove so—but isn’t paper a product of trees, too? I have long come to appreciate my grandparents’ wisdom. They always bought only what they could consume, and in the early mornings and late afternoons of my childhood, I would catch them puttering about in the garden, removing weeds to ensure there was space, light, and space for things to grow. They made me dig my fingers into the soil and touch the roots found within it, if only to illustrate that I too belonged to the world and that all of nature—from birth to death, from budding to withering—is the stuff of life. This year, how about we tap into that connection again and treat the environment with rightful reverence? Who knows: We might find that a simpler, more deliberate life lived in harmony with nature could make us richer than we ever imagined than when we’re occupied keeping up with the corporate rat race. •
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