Agriculture is a way of life in Negros Occidental, and so, at the height of the country’s wet season in August, Negros Season of Culture takes a look at what’s turning up lush beyond sugar.
Towards the mountain, in the town of Murcia, a farm of naturally grown vegetables has now opened its gates to Saturday diners. Vientos de la Granja by Twenty-Six Herb Garden is the advocacy of Dr. Anabel Villanueva. In “The Teaching Farm”, visitors come to pick vegetables from the garden and right there have them prepared for healthy meals. By buying at source, cooking at source, and dining at source, they eat fresh and reduce their carbon footprint, thus closing the loop of farm-to-table dining.
The Manila Galleon Trade (1565-1815) brought cacao from Mexico to the Philippines. “In Search of Heritage Cacao” is a rare chance to sit down and learn from one of the world’s leading cacao farmers, Cris Fadriga. Cacao trees have thrived well in his farm in Bago City. For years he has relentlessly sought specimens of the rarest type of cacao dating back to Spanish colonial times. His travels up and down the archipelago searching for sample trees has gained him a treasure of knowledge that now he wants his farm to be a learning center.
In our story, “There is Always a Better Way”, we feature Herbanext Laboratories and its innovative leader, Philip S. Cruz. The company’s botanical farm in Bago City and several satellite organic farms, all planted to Philippine medicinal herbs, provide Herbanext a cornucopia of raw materials, including banaba, bitter gourd, cat’s whisker, five-leaf chaste tree, ginger, green chireta, roselle, wild tea, and turmeric. Herbanext works with various research institutions to develop herbal extracts for the manufacture of health supplements, functional foods, fitness beverages, even cosmetics. Indeed, from pastoral plants come sophisticated solutions.