Why Igorots in Metro Manila directly source goods from farmers

Two pesos a kilo for cabbage. Four pesos for cucumber.

After spending money to bring their produce to the nearest vegetable trading post in the last week of July, Cordilleran farmers were given a cruel rate, crushing their hope of raising cash to buy seeds for the next harvest. 

A Sad Story for New-Gen Farmers

Shereen Umayat and Jessica Dapliyan, two young farmers from Sagada, had a cheaper option for their next maturing vegetables- let the plants rot in the farmland to stop having additional expenses. 

Asked how much she has spent for her cucumber, Umayat computed it to be at least P40, 000.

While there are active programs like Sustainable Sagada and Rural Rising organized to help ease the situation, not all produce in the remote Mountain Province town can be accommodated.

Dapliyan, a former innkeeper who shifted to farming following travel bans, started giving away her cabbage produce for free in September after unsuccessful attempts to sell what her family has been working since community quarantine restrictions were implemented. 

Trying the Metro Manila Market 

For generations, farmers in Sagada and other towns of the Cordilleras have been trading in marketplaces within the mountainous region and going to the lowlands is not part of their regular routine. But as they run out of options, they are forced to seek help outside the highlands.

Tapping Metro Manila-based Cordillerans or Igorots was the first move. Upon learning about the crisis, Christian Aligo, a Marketing Communications practitioner living in Quezon City, started the “The Sagada Harvests Project” on Facebook. 

With the assistance from Umayat, Menchie Buking of the Department of Agrarian Reform Mt. Province (DAR MP) and other concerned locals, The Sagada Harvests Project is able to sell out about three tons of produce in its first two runs.

Alongside Aligo are other Metro Manila-based Igorots including Luisa Gay Pugong, Jenny Lyn Likigan, Bing Podes Laguipen, and Hector Ngales who transformed themselves into vendors after their day job to help address the crisis.

Joining the force is the couple Atty. Pio and Noemie Jeanet Daoas who now spend their weekends on vegetables. With the help of dedicated riders, the couple deliver the goods within Taguig City at only P20. 

A Trade Friendlier to Farmers

As agreed, it is the farmers who set the price of their produce. Currently in marketplaces, it is the multi-level middle-men who dictate the price and get a bigger portion of it.

When the rate at the La Trinidad trading post for cabbage was P2 per kilo, The Sagada Harvests Project purchased the vegetable at P20 per kilo-- as dictated by the farmers.

To further assist the Igorot vendors, DAR’s Sagada Linksfarmers Consolidation Center opened its doors to help screen quality produce prior to shipping. 

Recently, the regional office of the Department of Agriculture (DA) also offered transportation assistance to help lower expenses.

Meanwhile, local food producers Gabay Wines and Food Preserves and Masferre Country Inn & Restaurant have been doing experiments for delicate items like wild blueberry, wheat bread, and goat cheese products to check on the shelf-life of the products when offered in places with a warmer climate.

To know more about The Sagada Harvest Project and a list of Igorot vendors who directly source their goods from farmers, contact Aligo at 0956-174-8464 (Globe) or visit www.facebook.com/sagadaharvests now.



HOME OFFICE MAKEOVER : How To Maximize a Small Office Space

    We decided to DIY our home office makeover. Maximizing a small office space is quite difficult if you are do not know anything about designing and engineering. But with the help of these suppliers, we were able to pull it off.

    Check out my latest vlog below.




My Dream To Become A Disney Princess Finally Came True

Every little girl dreams of becoming a Disney Princess. I just made my dream a reality by doing this song cover from the Disney animation Little Mermaid.  

I learned a new skill while doing this cover. First, I learned how to do audio mixing and editing. It was indeed a challenge since I am only using my mobile phone.

Second, I learned the use of the green screen in video editing. Using this effect, it felt like I am really the voice behind Princess Ariel.

Please take the time to listen, and I hope you enjoy watching it.



Affordable Hotel Accommodations in Japan

This video was taken last January 2020 before the pandemic. I am looking forward going back to travelling soon.



My 2020 Winter Wonderland Trip in Japan

1 Country, 2 Regions, 9 Prefectures, 8 Days

Our 2020 Winter Wonderland Trip to Japan is one for the books. It's my first winter, and my hard core D-I-Y Trip. 

Buhay tren ba ! It was exhilarating yet tiring !

I am sharing with you our itinerary plus our expenses. I am proud that we spent only this much considering the number of days that we stayed in Japan plus the number of prefectures we visited.

Day 1 (Osaka)
Arrival at Kansai Airport
Shop / Groceries at Don Quijote Osaka

Day 2 (Nagoya / Osaka)
Toyota Kaikan Museum
Toyota Factory Tour
Osaka Station Malls

Day 3 (Kanazawa / Kobe)
Bought Tickets to Kanazawa for a later date (fully booked buses bound to Shirakawago on this date)
China Town, Kobe

Day 4 (Biwako Valley / Kyoto / Kanazawa)
Biwako Valley Ski Resort
Gion, Kyoto
Overnight Stay at a Kanazawa Hotel 

Day 5 (Shirakawa)
Shirakawa-go UNESCO Heritage Village

Day 6 (Fukuoka)
Hello Kitty Train bound for Fukuoka (Kodama Service Shinkansen)
Canal City

Day 7 (Nagasaki)
Nagasaki Ground Zero
Nagasaki Peace Memorial Museum
Huis Ten Bosch

Day 8 (Hakata)
Explore Hakata
Fukuoka - Manila

EXPENSES (in Peso)

Tickets (CenPac)        3,800.00
Visa (Discounted at JTB Travel Fair)            950.00
Travel Tax        1,620.00
Extra Baggage 20/20        1,200.00
JR Pass with free SIM via Klook     14,029.00
Hotel Mikado South Namba (5N)        1,800.00
Kanazawa Hotel + Tourist Tax (1N)        1,750.00
Residence Hakata 14 (2N)        2,800.00

Bus Tickets to Aichi Loop RT                                  423.00
Bus Tickets to Shirakawago RT                           1,786.00
Train Tickets to Hotel outside JR Pass                   216.00

Nagasaki Museum                                                    94.00
Huis Ten Bosch                                                    2,350.00
Kyoto Loop Bus                                                       217.00
Bus To Biwako Valley                                              160.00
Ropeway/Entrance to Biwako Valley                         1,410

Total      34,605

+ Food        7,000  (711, Family Mart, Yoshinoya, Ippudo, Baon)

I did not include na pasalubongs and souvenirs, because that varies from one person to another.



My First Winter : Biwako Valley Ski Resort

Welcome to the most popular ski slope in Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe and thanks to its superb view.

Biwako Valley is located in Otsu City in Shiga Prefecture by the western shores - and affording fine view of Lake Biwa.  At just 40 km or so from Central Kyoto, it is the nearest ski hill from the city.

The Biwako Valley Ski Resort has been operating since 1965.  The Ropeway and attractions are popular for sightseeing throughout the year.

The fast ropeway takes people from the base car park to the slopes.

How To Get There :

1. From Kyoto Station, take the Biwako Line to Shiga Station
2. From Shiga Station take the Shuttle Bus to the entrance of Biwako Valley Ski Resort
    (Shuttle Bus Fare : 340 yen / 10 minutes ride)