By Eula Dee Lañada
Photos by Aeron P. Bermudez
An engineer and contractor by profession, Mr. Romeo Cordova never imagined to venture into farming in his whole life. Cordova shared that what urged him to build a farm was when he attended a particular training. He was invited to join a training on Climate-Smart Farm Business School (CSFBS) through the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and Villar Sipag Foundation in 2016 and since he had nothing to do, he relented. It turned out to be one of the best decisions and a major turning point of his life. Because of the training, he fell in love with farming. In fact, his farm became a learning site for agriculture (LSA) in March 2017.
Cordova encourages farmers especially the budding ones to venture or attend training and seminars. “Your market should be established first before you plant,” he said. He stressed that it is very important to have a market or buyer first before planting a crop, with this, your efforts will not go down the drain. He also highly recommends to make a business out of farming.
The farm is overflowing with various crops and livestock such as bahay-kubo vegetables, lettuce, corn, sorghum, as well as water buffaloes, free-range chicken, goat, sheep, duck, native pig, turkey, and horse. They offer a wide-range of interesting activities such as vegetable or fruit tree planting or urban gardening (whichever seedling is available) and the visitors get to take home a seedling after the activity, picking of vegetables, organic concoctions making, fishing of red tilapia, and the most recent activity, horseback riding.
As a TESDA-accredited training center, they offer training programs on Organic Agriculture (OA) NCII, Shielded Metal Arc Welding NC I & NC II.
The farm is also a competency assessment center of the following: OA NCII, Agroentrepreneurship NC 41, NC III, and NC IV, Heavy Equipment Operation for Wheel Loader and Backhoe Loader NC
St. Isidore “the FARMer” Learning Center Inc. has complete facilities and amenities, from restaurants, training/function hall, demonstration area, sleeping quarters or hotel, and huts. They also serve delectable Kapampangan dishes prepared with crops taken from the farm.
Conquer your fear of heights as they have a viewing deck which depicts a magnificent bird’s eye view of the farm. Another crowd favorite area is the floating restaurant, which is surrounded by waters sprawled with lotus, and filled with red tilapia. It is a perfect place for a small party with friends and family.
If you have no experience in farming, then this is a good place to start. When you leave the farm, you’ll surely bring home lots of experience. Make sure to avail their crispy mushroom chips, lotus ointment and soap for your loved ones before heading home.
This article was first published as St. Isidore “the FARMer” LCI in Vignette A Travelogue of Central Luzon’s Agritourism Sites from the Agricultural Training Institute Regional Training Center III.