By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao

There’s a saying from Chinese philosopher Confucius that goes, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Even in agriculture, some people find farming to be a calling more than something that pays the bills.

Joy Ong, the CEO and Co-Founder of Fishers and Changemakers, finds that having a job in agriculture doesn’t feel like a job.

“I feel that this is what I’m called to do and I just feel that I’m just playing and I feel happy being with the fishers, journeying with them, and just looking at them, realize their dreams also, especially their kids. That alone is what makes everything really meaningful and worth it,” she said.

The same goes for mixologist Kalel Demetrio who forages for fresh and local ingredients for his drinks. 

Liquid chef and forager Kalel Demetrio.
Photo courtesy of Kalel Demetrio.

Getting involved in promoting local agriculture allows him to explore different places and widen his circle of friends. He also gets to try native delicacies available only at a specific place.

“You get to see what not everyone can see. Everyone can see the books but the heart and soul, you get it through travel. You get to really educate yourself,” Demetrio said.

Another thing Demetrio enjoys from going to different farms or using organic ingredients is the knowledge that he gets from and shares with others.

“I enjoy that I’m educating people, at the same time trading knowledge with professionals like hardcore farmers, soil scientists, food technologists,” he said.

Making a difference in the lives of others is one of the things that matter greatly to people who are fond of farming.

This is the same case for Teraoka Family Farm’s Chief Farming Office Raffy Dacones. 

“What matters to me is seeing the lives of my farmhand change because I can see [that] I’m helping a lot of people and seeing their relatives get into farming as well instead of just going to the metro and finding jobs,” he said.

Dacones is determined to give something back to his farmers because they are the “superheroes” that feed the people in the country.

But for some, the fun in the job comes from the way how it is done. 

(From left) Virgie Nazareno, Cris Panerio, and Aileen Bawet.

Nanay Virginia “Virgie” Nazareno, a MASIPAG member from Quezon Province finds joy in knowing that the people as well as her crops are free from any sort of chemical. 

“Ang pinakamasaya sa organikong pagsasaka ay siyempre yung tanim [at yung pamilya] ay ligtas sa anumang chemical,” she said.

She also shares that being a farmer is enjoyable and stress-free because people like her get to enjoy eating fresh produce while being able to help others.

Mark Mendoza Ocampo, the managing director of Auro Chocolates, feels the same. 

The reason why he loves his job is that he gets to enjoy the food and the connections he makes through it. It’s also a perk that the product he creates is also what he loves to consume.

Another reason that makes being part of the country’s agriculture industry worthwhile is that Ocampo gets to see the positive feedback he gets from showing what the world what local products can do.

“Because I think for us, it’s really about showcasing Philippines and making people feel proud, that something like this comes from the Philippines and it’s grown by Filipinos and made by Filipinos,” Ocampo said.

Whatever the reason they might have for loving what they’re doing, everyone in the country has a lot to gain as well as enjoy from agriculture. It’s just a bonus that our farmers, fishers, and entrepreneurs find happiness from their jobs especially from the positivity they receive from the people they work for.