Sowing Life and Hope at Daila Farms
A sanctuary in Tagaytay City that offers a place to unwind, enjoy different lifestyles, and reconnect with nature
Text and photos by REGINE SANTELICES
I’VE ALWAYS CONSIDERED MYSELF as a backpacker who loves adventures and spur-of-the-moment escapades that unleashes me from the chains of the urban setting to the serene and calming sound of nature.
The thrill of it all leaves my heart pounding in my chest pumping adrenaline all over my body, completely detaching me from all the responsibilities and stress the busy city gives.
But what I thought was another pumpedup adventure has significantly turned into something that is definitely worth telling.
WELCOME TO DAILA FARMS
Daila FARMS (Farmers’ Agricultural Resources and Management Services), the land located along San Francisco Highway in
Tagaytay City reaps not only agricultural goods and herbal products, but also plants seeds of hope to its people and instil in them knowledge of modern practical living.
“Not all journeys were cut out to be hyped and stirring, some were quests that would inspire and give you the most important lessons in life – living life to the fullest using and appreciating every resource you’ve got”
It was a pleasant day when we set out on a journey to attend the farm’s opening; the almost two-hour ride from Manila to Tagaytay caused me to snug on my warm hoodie at the backseat of our van for a good nap.
But, my senses came to life as we finally arrived at the two-hectare land that had me gawking at its vast landscape. It was picturesque, a reflection of how Mother Nature used to be.
Aleli Pansacola, the President and CEO of Daila Herbal Community Enterprises (DHCE), the brain behind Daila Soaps and the internationally acclaimed Victoria Laundry Powder – which has been labelled as a one of a kind product for its pure, natural composition, is also the brains behind Daila FARMS together with her business partner, Milton Huang.
The main concept of the farm was to give local farmers an outlet or a market where they can showcase, sell, and expose their products to tourists and farm visitors to generate extra and reliable income.
We huddled up at the farm’s Bamboo House as lunch was prepared. I was so overwhelmed by the totality of the farm and how it was so close to being a sight out of a classic movie scene. But the rumblings in my stomach made itself known when I had a glimpse of what we’d be having.
A variety of food was served that made our mouths water: baked muscle, shrimp, galunggong, kakanin, sweet corn, and a lot more! And the best part was, there, in that very farm, they serve blue rice! Who could have thought rice could be blue? However, Aleli sealed the blue rice ingredients with a laugh when we asked her how it was made.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
“It was a hobby, it was an outreach program that soon became a business because there was a need,” Aleli said, whose original advocacy was to teach traditional hilot healing and build herbal gardens in poor provincial communities where health was a luxury people couldn’t afford.
The purpose was to teach people practical solutions that would address their needs using their own natural resources. Aleli was determined to help people improve and develop their own sense of practicality. Perhaps, it was frustration in the interminable poverty that drove her to wage a demanding yet satisfying challenge to educate these people in what she described were at the bottom of the societal pyramid.
Fortunately, they saw the opportunity to make use of the two-hectare farm as a showcase to expose these small, local entrepreneurs to the market.
What started out as a genuine advocacy had blossomed into a business that opened opportunities to small communities – Daila FARMS has continued their mission promoting re-purposed materials found in nature.
Daila FARMS is now a sanctuary, accessible to everyone who comes from the metropolis. It is a place to unwind, to enjoy different lifestyle, to reconnect with nature.
To appreciate its beauty and everything it has done and has provided for us. It is a place for reconciliation from all the commotion.
Daila FARMS maybe didn’t set out to be an adventure that would make my heart race and get me all perspiring, but my experience there made me realize that not all journeys were cut out to be hyped and stirring, some were quests that would inspire and give you the most important lessons in life – and in this one, it’s living life to the fullest using and appreciating every resource you’ve got.TP