Exploring Finca Verde: The Farm of Organic Greens and Herbs of Dos Mestizos

Entrance to Finca Verde

Entrance to Finca Verde

That was one sunny morning and we were at the busy Caticlan Jetty Port heading to Nabaoy, where the farm is situated.

In less than an hour, we get off from a tricycle in front of an open bamboo gate. All you can hear was palpable  silence except for the sound of gentle wind through the bamboos and birds chirping in the background.

It was like nobody was there. Suddenly, there was this white furred little thing crawled out under the two-story nipa hut. This cute little one barked at us strangers!

Related: Visiting the Demo Farm of Mr. Esemple in Zambales – the 66 year-old Organic Farming Specialist

In a few minutes, a caretaker came out from behind the house too , olala my heart almost dropped! Popping out from nowhere of the puppy and the caretaker actually took me by surprise. He smiled at us coyly. He asked us to wait for his boss and took the cute puppy inside.

We relax ourselves as we waited and in no time Binggoy, in white polo shirt, khaki pants, and farming shoes welcomed us warmly. He toured us around and here are the pictures we took to share with you.

What to Find at Finca Verde

Farm’s To Do List

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This is an attention catcher and this is a must-have to any farm.

The Herbs

Herbs at Finca Verde

Herbs at Finca Verde

Arugulas in this bamboo greenhouse are newly harvested. They trimmed the leaves off, leaving the main plant to regrow leaves. On the further left is a row of coriander. These herbs are used to add to the dishes served at Dos Mestizos in Boracay.

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Coriander, arugula and tarragons.

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The herbs in the farm’s nursery at germination stage.

The pathway

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I loved these giant fern leaves as a canopy. It’s refreshing as you walked through this stone path under the sun.

Labyrinth

 

This lead us to where the labyrinth of tarragons and other herbs. There are nipa huts for the guests who would like to stay for a night or two. Near it, is the river.

The River

Binggoy himself and guests enjoyed tubing up and down the river especially during summer. They also hold picnics in one of the areas in the farm and on the other side of the river.

Binggoy himself and guests enjoyed tubing up and down the river especially during summer. They also hold picnics in one of the areas in the farm and on the other side of the river.

The Animals

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Saw these free-range ducks roaming around. At the right, is the ducks’ house. This is located at the other side of the farm, away from the river. Binggoy said that he wanted to raise chickens again and pigs later on in this farm.

The mountain behind it is planned to fill with a variety of wild and local orchid collections. Can you imagine the lush green mountain with blobs of multi-colored orchids in bloom?  Soon, that would be an awesome nature backdrop to behold!

Other Plants

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This kind of pepper is hotter than cayenne. The birds just dropped the seeds at the farm and it just grew there on its own. Binggoy noticed that once this hot pepper is planted near eggplants, the veggies are pest-free.

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At one glance, this bush looks like an eggplant especially the appearance of the leaves. But the yellow fruit tells you it’s not. This is not edible, but it can serve as another attraction to your farm. Name of this plant? Mickey Mouse. Such a vibrant mouse in the farm!

Vermi Bed

Binggoy showing his vermi bed.

Binggoy showing his vermi bed.

Binggoy here showed us the vermi bed with vermicasts ready to use for his plants. When I asked, where can we buy the ANC (African Night Crawlers, he referred us to an Organic Farm expert named Paul Henares.

The Improvised Carbonized Rice Hull (CRH) Burner

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The farm’s caretaker is seen here with his Carbonized Rice hull burner. CRH is produced through slow burning of rice hull or what we call “ipa”. CRH is used to enrich the soil the organic way.

It was a quick farm tour and we are happy to share it away with you. To those whose interests lies in farming related activities, hope this post helps.

By the way, Finca Verde also accepts visitors, to those of you who are interested, please see contact details below:

Finca Verde
(by reservation only)
Brgy. Nabaoy, Malay, Aklan
+63 998 545 7279
beachadventurer@gmail.com

Thanks for reading!

Let us feature your farm on Farmers Notebook Farm Visit Series! Do send us an email via farmersnotebook(at)gmail(dot)com and we hope our next post is all about your farm!

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The Mestizo, The Resto, and The Farm

Jose Carlos "Binggoy" Remedios (R) with Andre Malarky (L)

Jose Carlos “Binggoy” Remedios (R) with Andre Malarky (L), Binggoy’s nephew and Restaurant Manager of Dos Mestizos. Photo: Dennis Rito

This post has long been overdue, but finally, our Boracay farm and resto adventure is here now for you. But before we proceed to the farms, let me bring you first to Boracay’s famous Spanish restaurant – Dos Mestizos and meet the owner, Jose Carlos Remedios popularly known as Binggoy Remedios.

Binggoy’s career started and  revolved around the Food & Beverage world abroad, apprenticed once with the owner of Santis, speaks several languages including Cebuano dialect; and together with his late cousin, they put up their restaurant in the island. Later, he built a farm that grows organic vegetables in Nabaoy, Malay, Caticlan for their family use and for his restaurant.

To know more about his journey on the food business, here is our conversation with him:

FN: How long have you been here in Boracay?
BR: Not too long, 18 years. And maybe more..

FN: And, what’s your previous career?
BR: Well, I worked in the US, Europe, Middle East. I was in the embassy. I was more working for airline catering and that’s the real kitchen. So when I quit my job I came back to the Philippines.

FN: Were you already a Chef by then?
BR: No, I was not a Chef but I was a Kitchen Production Manager. I learned how to cook also. You know during my time, there were no culinary schools, so we worked in the kitchen.

I don’t know if you know Santis – the owner, si Werner Berger? I used to be his apprentice in his kitchen about 30 years ago. He is a Swiss-German who owns Santis now… so I continued with that abroad.

I worked for Philippine Airline Inflight Catering and he was our Executive Chef. So I trained in different departments including the kitchen. Then Philippine Airline assigned me in San Francisco, then Dubai, then Pakistan.

FN: And… are you Spanish?
BR: No, I’m Filipino. I’m mestizo and half Bisaya. And I grow up in Mindanao, so I speak Cebuano. My mother is a Filipina from Mindoro and my father is Spanish Portuguese. We live in Agusan, in Mindanao, Davao then Cebu.

FN: So, how old is your restaurant now?
BR: This one here in Boracay is about 8 years old and in another location for about 4 years…So we’ve been in the business for about 12 years.

Dos Mestizos at Night

Gusto y Gusto, Dos Mestizos’ Deli section at night. (Photo: Dennis Rito)

FN: And why Dos Mestizos?
BR: Dos Mestizos kasi dalawa kaming mestizo (Its Dos Mestizos, because two of us are mestizos). We started it 20 years ago, me and my cousin who past away long time ago, so nag iisang Mestizo na lang ako (so I’m now the lone last standing Mestizo.☺) His name is Jose Ramon Nieto.

FN: Is Paella your best seller?
BR: Paella is the main … but we are very popular with the tapas. I don’t know if you know the background of Tapas ‘no. In Spain kasi (in fact) when people get out of the office, they all hang out in the bar and eat pica pica lang (and only eat hors d’Oeuvres or finger foods). Then for their dinner, they go to a restaurant. The restaurants will not open the dining area until 9 o’clock.

So tapa works very well here also, because its very quick to make. And for the visitors in the island, they’re swimming all day, pagod sila (they are tired), they want to eat right away, di ba (right)? So they ordered Paella at the end…

FN: How about your salad, is it all organic?
BR: No. Well, we grow our own lettuce and all that ‘no in our farm at Finca Verde, but I cannot, honestly tell you it’s a hundred percent organic because when we run out, we have to go to the market ‘no and buy. But hopefully, next year we can probably push organic.

Rows of organic herbs being grown in Finca Verde. (Photo: Dennis Rito)

Rows of organic herbs and vegetables being grown in Finca Verde. (Photo: Dennis Rito)

FN: So, what can you tell us about going into organic food?
BR: Ah… you know my wife is more into it than me, so, as you can see I’m drinking Tanduay, not very good, you know….

But, I find it very healthy ‘no a…like for example, talong. Talong absorbs a lot of chemicals like kangkong (water spinach/ Ipomoea aquatica). So we grow our own kangkong, we grow our own vegetables as much as possible. You know, and I think people are starting to learn the value of eating organic food because of the toxins.

FN: Any plans to market your food as organic?
BR: No, we don’t advertise as organic. We just provide organic food. Whether they have to eat or not, its organic. Yeah, we’re not trying to sell the restaurant as an organic restaurant. It’s not easy to sustain. For example like, where will I get organic potatoes, tomatoes, you know, ang hirap e (it’s not easy). But for a few items, yeah we use organic stuff. Its only because we plant it… and we have it!

Read our post on Dos Mestizos Restaurant and Finca Verde