Don’t Let The Earth Die

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Dumping Ground

Plastics

Eye Sore

Water Pollution

Dumping

Burning

Sawdust

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Discovering “The King of Fruits”

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The simpliest way to define TOURISM is traveling for pleasure. It can be broken down into several classifications like ecotourism, adventure tourism, sports tourism, voluntourism, shopping tourism, medical tourism, agritourism, rural tourism, gastronomic tourism, and so much more. One of the emerging global travel trends today is rural tourism which is interrelated with agri-tourism. More and more people, including children, want to find out where their food comes from. Farms would be the major place of interest for this kind of tourists. Getting to breathe clean unpolluted air while educating oneself is the pleasure that agritourism offers.

The farms that target agritourists, also known as agrotourists, emphasize the value of utilizing organic methods of growth — natural environment-friendly methods, like composting, instead of relying heavily on toxic pesticides and fertilizers.

REFMAD Farmsrefmad farms, the first dragon fruit farm in the Ilocos Region, is attracting not just agritourists, but tourists from all walks of life. It is because this exotic “king of fruits” is known to be loaded with beneficial nutrients which are readily metabolized in the body. It is high in Vitamin C, dietary fiber and antioxidant properties. It is  believed to help control glucose blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes and a form of type 1 diabetes, prevent colon cancer, and is proven to aid digestion.

Mrs. Edita Aguinaldo Dacuycuy, the vibrant and resourceful owner of the farm, discovered dragon fruit by accident. Someone gifted Edita with dragon fruit she brought home from a trip abroad.  Because of the acclaimed nutritional  benefits of this rare exotic fruit, her generous friend wanted Edita’s daughter, who suffers from cerebral palsy, to try out this fruit believed to have medicinal properties. This led Edita to research for more information on the net. Later on, she noticed the  improvement on her daughter’s constipation problem which accompanies her cerebral palsy condition. This paved the way for the development of the refmad farms.

A new age farmer, Mrs. Edita Dacuycuy

A new age farmer, Mrs. Edita Dacuycuy

Today, the 2 and a half-year-old 5-hectare farm is one of the latest attractions of the province of Ilocos Norte. It is a welcome addition to the flourishing ecotourism and agritourism industry in the province. According to Edita, they are in the process of expansion. The challenge stems from the clamor of the local market and the influx of orders from several Binondo and Makati  fruit suppliers. She says, “We are challenged… we want the local market to have a continuous supply, and as of now, we are unable to provide  enough for the Ilocos demand.”

“Right now, our workforce is 100 percent from the community.” she says with pride. The farm is situated in Paayas, Burgos.  “My four children also help. I’m a hands-on manager,” she adds. She also talks about the other things she can do with the fruit.  “The skin pulps can be made as jam and cleansing drink, while the unopened flower buds can be added to dishes like chopsuey, lumpia shanghai and marrungay nga dinengdeng.” She also hints at  her company’s on-going product research and development.

The photoluminescent dragon fruit flower is also known as the "Queen of the Night", while the dragon fruit, or pitaya, is the "King of fruits"

The highlight of our visit to the refmad farms is the whole dragon fruit gastronomic experience. The red flesh has a texture similar to that of  kiwi fruit. It isn’t too sweet nor bland. It is refreshing like watermelon and strawberries. We’re definitely going back for more of this power-packed fruit. DETOXify!

Photography by Blauearth
Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The text and images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without written permission.

“GREEN is the new black.”

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love the earthIn the Philippines,  due to the current state of the environment, there are already consumers  who have started to be eco-conscious and finicky about the environment-friendliness of products they buy. I was browsing through the net and  stumbled upon several green and fair trade options which are locally available, making them doubly cool. I’ve listed them down.

  • Holystic Haven House of Healing products —  Bentonite clay cleansers, toner, moisturizer and scrub that are paraben-free and  phthalate free. There are no mineral oils, lanolin or petrolatum added. The company is proud that they don’t test on animals, and their products contain no animal derivatives and by-products. While going through their website, I discovered that the owner, Suzanne Jocson-Bangsil, is a former-classmate of mine… well, another case of serendipity. Knowing how exacting Suzanne is, she won’t promote and sell anything that she doesn’t believe in.
  • INDIGObaby — life-saving products to enrich mother and baby’s life. Products include stay dry cloth diapers (Say ‘NO” to disposable diapers!), all-natural bath and body essentials, chemical and deet free homemade cockroach killer, all-natural mosquito home spray, baby and pet pouches, eco bags made from recycled flour sacks, reusable bags, etc. Think healthy! Their Multiply site is worth a visit.
  • Ilog Maria sustainably farmed products. They are made from honey, beeswax, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, bee venom from their own honeybee farm. In their product catalogue, you can find beauty and health products, such as anti-aging soaps enriched with natural beta-carotene and Vit. A, Cinnamon Soap for acne, eczema, ringworm and other skin disorders, royal jelly hair oil, fresh frozen royal jelly, honey cider vinegar, extra virgin honey, propolis all-pupose ointment, propolis anti-bacterial throat spray and breath freshener, propolis bath salts with premium Dead Sea salts recommended for psoriasis (It is also an aroma therapeutic body, hand, and foot scrub). All their items are reasonably priced.
  • EchoStore products. Check out the first sustainable lifestyle store in the Philippines, located at Serendra, Fort Bonifacio Global City. They have fair  trade coffee beans, organic rice, natural personal care essentials, nutritional products, recycled products made by urban poor women, Messy Bessy biodegradable and non-toxic cleaning solutions, home decor, gifts, fashion accessories, books, music and so much more.
  • Greengrab eco-friendly handwoven recycled bags carefully made by urban poverty-stricken families. Each piece of recycled paper is tightly hand-woven and specially laminated to make them dust-proof, tear and spill free.  The bags and clutches are statement pieces and are fun and functional, as well. To order, check out  www.surprisehobby.mutiply.com.
  • BAGAY-BAGAY very hip one-of-a-kind quality bags, hand-crafted from old shirts, jeans, skirts, scarves, jackets, coats, and basically anything and everything that can be recycled in the world of textile.
  • BURT’S Bees products, available at Beauty Bar stores nationwide.  Burt’s Bees goes by the tag line, Earth Friendly Natural Care for The Greater Good. The company has won several awards in recent years.  Among their awards from various award-giving bodies are: Best Green Company, Best Business Recycling Program, Sustainable Packaging Leadership Award, Top 8 Most Socially Responsible Brand and Best Green Company for America’s Children. Their natural skin and hair products range from sun and outdoor protection to mom and baby care essentials. I swear by their Natural Remedy Survival Kit which contains travel size all-purpose Res-Q Ointment, Poison Ivy Soap, All-in-One-Wash, Hand Salve, Beeswax Lipbalm, and Therapeutic Bath Salts that is great for sore muscles — very effective and convenient for nature and outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Eairth sustainable eco-fashion, a combination of the elements earth and air. Interestingly, it is a love story between New York designer Melissa Dizon and The Filipino Culture. She used to be the head designer for Todd Oldham and Victoria’s  Secret’s Express line. The clothes are made from organic materials harvested by indigenous tribes, pigment from natural ingredients like coconut husks, talisay leaves and indigo, hand-woven fabrics done in old-style looms, and organic fibers such as pina, abaca, silk, cotton and wool finished with an artisanal touch. Eairth is for those who can afford sustainable luxury. When buying one of Melissa’s über-chic clothing, one gets to help rescue ancient artistic techniques from getting extinct, help preserve indigenous communities, and promote the use of sustainable fabrics and lifestyle. You can check out Eairth at a showroom, which she shares with her aunt, Yola Johnson (also famous for promoting natural fiber products), in Makati (Bormaheco Building, Zapote Street corner Metropolitan Avenue).

Save the Beach

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Pasaleng, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Don’t be a litterbug; keep the beaches and shorelines free from trash, including cigarette butts, which threatens the lives of birds and animals that might ingest it and get choked. When going outdoors, use reusable containers for food and beverages. Get into the habit of bringing reusable spoons and forks. Pack it in, pack it out.

Use waterproof sunscreens. Oily formulations leave a residue on everything, even on the ocean.

As they say, leave what you find. Don’t bring home souvenirs such as marine life, including corals, seaweed — even driftwood. Some habitats might just get disturbed.

If you love fishing and eating fish, choose only sustainable fish. Learn about marine species that are vulnerable, threatened or endangered like our sea turtles and dugong. Be sure not to tug too hard on snagged lines to avoid disrupting habitats below the surface.Respect the beach

Enjoy the beach, but keep a respectful distance from wildlife, especially at night, when animals may be nesting.

If you happen to be in areas with mangroves, avoid dumping waste by all means. Never cut trees for bonfire.

Encourage your family and friends to do the same, and get them involved in issues such as conservation.

Good stewardship starts from awareness. If you see someone destroying beach property, marine animal habitats, or disrespecting the environment, report the sighting to local authorities, or get in touch with the LEAD Movement.

[photos by blauearth]

 

 

Unchartered Territory: Linao Pond

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Linao Pond 952 m ASL, Adams, Ilocos Norte. Photographed by Lester Susi

Linao Pond - 952 m ASL - Adams, Ilocos Norte. Photographed by Lester Susi

Linao Pond
fungus

fungus

fungus

Radix

Radix

bloated bloodsuker

bloated bloodsuker

flora

Thank you to Lester Susi for these beautiful photos.

Mother’s Day is Mother Earth’s Day Too

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Learning from the Oidas: Working in harmony with nature

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A Mini Ecosystem

A Mini Ecosystem

surfers Mike and Alma Oida

surfers Mike and Alma Oida

Mike and Alma Oida of Kapuluan Vista Resort in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte are  synonymous with green. Their eco-design resort continues to attract the environment-conscious, the lovers of nature, healthy food, peace and tranquility. Now, they have managed to create their own organic garden. (Click to read related story)

On our recent visit to Kapuluan, we discovered great green gardening ideas that we need to share with you.

vermicomposting

vermicomposting

natural non-toxic fertilizers that don't smell or attract flies

worm castings, natural non-toxic fertilizers that don't smell or attract flies

cayenne pepper

cayenne pepper

swiss chard, also known as, silver beet or spinach beet

Swiss chard, also known as, silver beet or spinach beet

coriander

coriander

greenhouse gardening

greenhouse gardening

When we asked Mike what is the secret to raising healthy vegetables, he answered, “Basically, looking back where we left off… the classic style.” He and Alma grow sweet corn, cucumber, lettuce, spinach, chili, pepper, coriander and Swiss chard. Alma says, ” We are able to grow only for the restaurant, but that’s for now.” About the benefits of eating organically-grown veggies, Mike says, “It is believed to be more potent with nutritional values.” How does he deal with pests? “Gardening cooperatively with nature. Just leaving the pests alone.”

the green and delectable Hummus Burrito from Kapuluan's kitchen

the green and delectable Hummus Burrito from Kapuluan's kitchen

For the resort, we asked Mike what other eco-friendly practices  have they adopted lately — and he says, “EM, or effective microorganisms in organic waste management.” EM control odors, do all-purpose cleaning, reduce or replace all the cleaners, and recycle stuff like food leftovers, a good way to create a healthy environment. In gardening, EM cut on fertilizer costs, improve soil quality, soil health, and the growth, yield and quality of crops. These beneficial and effective microorganisms have many uses in other sustainable activities. “We’ve stopped using chemicals”, Mike added.

[photos by blauearth]

Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Click to read related post about Mike and Alma Oida

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