Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Escape to Antique

View of the sea, the house, the garden, and the restaurant at Alpas. Photo by Dada Mercado.
First of all, our trips to 12 permaculture sites around the country is finally over! We've been on the road since August 31. For the next 20 days we will be in our "office" processing all the data we have collected. There's quite a lot. And we're excited to work on this phase of the project. Plus we have to catch up with the blogs, there's 5 more site including this one. It's just about sharing our experiences, no scientific data to share yet. You have to wait for that in 2019!

We went to Antique via Iloilo last October 15-16. It was all our first time in this place, specifically in Tobias Fornier (formerly Dau). Our Antique respondents, Kim and Ken, have been helpful with promoting our research endeavor on social media in the months leading to this visit. Prior to this trip, we haven't been to a permaculture site on a beach! It was either in the middle of a rice field or a peri-urban area.

We arrived safely in a place called Alpas. Super thanks to Kim for making all the arrangements. Alpas is Kim and Ken's project to provide people with a place where they can just be themselves and experience the peaceful beach, good food, and great company...and also the cute dogs. When we got there, the couple and their staff were working on their all-bamboo restaurant which, by the way, will open on December 1! So if you're around the area, be sure to give them a visit and experience Ken's cooking. 

Studying this site was our closest to having a vacation. The pace of life was slow and relaxed. True to its name, Alpas, it was a place to get away and be free. Maybe the sight of the sea helped us relax. We toured the small town of Tobias Fornier, ate local food, walked on the beach, played with the dogs, did some hiking, and data gathering, of course. 

The town is an agricultural community. People here are either farmers or fishermen. But only a handful practice organic farming. So hopefully Kim and Ken would be able to influence the community by making Alpas a source of inspiration and ideas. They've been here for only a year but we love their energy, enthusiasm, and hope for the local community.  Wishing you all the best!

We would also like to say thanks to Feedspot for compiling all the best permaculture blogs around the world. We're happy we landed at number 26 out of 50 blogs! So we would like to thank all our followers on Facebook and Instagram, our subscribers, and our readers here on Blogger. We're hoping to post at least 1 blog article a week to generate more content on the local permaculture movement.

If you're a permaculture designer from the Philippines, please do send us your story at Thank you!

Fishing boats docked on the beach. Photo by Jabez Flores.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Permaculture in the City

The eco-house and it's open-air dining area. Photo by Jabez Flores

All of the permculture sites we've been to so far are in rural areas. This gave people a wrong impression that permaculture design can only be applied in rural farms. On the contrary, the Eco-house in Marikina, Metro Manila is not a rural farm. It's not big and it's in the city! 

Located in a 250 square meter residential lot, the Eco-house is the home of veteran permaculture designer and educator, Bert Peeters--a respected figure in the Philippine permaculture movement. And true to its permaculture design, the multi-purpose structure also houses the Philippine Permaculture Association (PPA) head office, a bamboo bike workshop, and a backyard garden. 

During our short visit in the eco-house, we were able to talk to the PPA staff and talk about food and the permaculture movement in the Philippines. 

We would like to thank Bert and the PPA team; to Sandino and Olga for touring us around the house and showing us its design features. Looking forward to see you guys in the 2nd Philippine Permaculture Convergence! 

Sandino Guinto and Olga Marquez of PPA photo by Dada Mercado

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Aloha from Palawan!

Photo by Dada Mercado

We've been on the road since early October, I didn't have time to write a blog about our Palawan trip. But now I have a couple of hours write a short piece before we leave for Zamboanga del Sur later this morning. 

Oh yes, Puerto Princesa, Palawan (finally)! We were greeted by the friendly staff of Aloha House when we arrived then we were introduced to Keith Mikkelson. He was teaching a vermiculture class at the moment. 

Aloha House, a Christian ministry, is the first orphanage in Puerto Princesa. The urban farm design grew out of the need to have healthy and nutritious food for the kids and the staff. Eventually, the property was transformed into a 2800 square meter foodscape. Everywhere you look there's plants, trees, vegetables, and even livestock! The property was so dense with activity one would be confused where to look first.

The highlight was the aquaponics system that Keith designed using permaculture principles. We noticed that he was very methodical in how he grows his crops. His activities and experiments are all well-documented and he is very generous in sharing what he knows. 

He operates Aloha House together with his wife, Narcy, Aside from being an orphanage and urban farm, Aloha House is also a bed and breakfast where visitors can stay and eat good food. 

A 40-minute drive from Aloha House is another property called Aloha Ranch and Organic Farm, the site of his eco-village project. It's still in a work in progress but a lot of things are happening there like this rammed earth house that they are making (see photo below).

Keith and Narcy are quite well-known in Puerto Princesa for their social and environmental advocacy. We wish them all the best and we hope to visit again soon!

Want to visit them? Checkout the links below:

You can download Keith's book, Sustainable Agriculture in the Tropics, for free by clicking the link below:
Free e-book

The PRPH team with Keith at Aloha Ranch and Organic Farm. Photo by Keith Mikkelson.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Permaculture in Sixty Minutes

"Permaculture in Sixty Minutes" is a casual conversation on what permaculture is all about and how you can immediately apply it once you get home.

It is also our way of sharing to the public our learnings and experiences in the field.

The activity will serve as a good appetizer if ever you plan to take a full 7-day Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course in the future. There will be one in Bay, Laguna in November 8-14, see link below:

To be more fruitful, only 10 slots will be available per session (first 10 FB confirmations!). But don't worry, we plan to do this activity on a regular basis (on Saturdays) so more people can start practicing permaculture design in their living and work spaces. 

Special thanks to Sierreza - Los BaƱos Community-Supported Agriculture for providing a venue plus food and drinks for the event.

Proceeds will be donated to Permaculture Research PH (PRPH) to fund more research on permaculture designs in the Philippines. 

To know more about (PRPH), please visit our website at

If you want to donate to our research, you can visit our crowdfunding campaign here:

Friday, September 28, 2018

Lorenza's Garden & Food Forest Farm - Isabela's Hidden Gem

Photo by Jabez Flores (Shot by DJI Ryze Tello)

After 11 days of rest (we had to reschedule a couple of our trips due to Typhoon Ompong), the PRPH team was on the road once again, this time travelling to a start-up permaculture farm in San Manuel, Isabela. Joining us for this trip is Erickson Tabayag, a birder and graduate student from SESAM, UPLB.

Lorenza's Garden & Food Forest Farm is a unique study site for the research because work in the farm just began this year (2018). Compared to the first four sites we visited, this is a very young design with small projects peppered here and there--a vegetable garden, a peanut patch, a small house, a nursery, etc. Though the obvious advantage of this place is its location: upland with a nice view of a lake; a thick forest edge protecting the perimeter of the property; a small creek trickling below; and and a rich biodiversity of plants and animals (Erickson was able to ID at least 10 endemic species of birds during our first day in the farm). And the farm is conveniently in the middle of a sloping forest clearing!  

Blue-headed Fantail (Rhipidura cyaniceps) spotted in the farm. Photo by Erickson Tabayag

Enrico Navea, a graduate of the basic and advanced Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course at Cabiokid Foundation (2017), is the designer of the property. The overall theme of the design is DIY EVERYTHING! From their house to the garden to the food they eat, the plan was to really do everything by hand and learn as many skills as possible (as evidenced by his NC-II in Organic Agriculture and Food Processing to go along with his PDC certificates).

We finished early with our data gathering so we volunteered to help with some chores around the farm. We mulched some raised beds using bamboo leaves and cogon and also constructed a berm made out of branches and banana trunks. Enrico also asked us to plant tree seedlings before we left as part of his advocacy to reforest the entire property. He named each seedling after each PRPH team member! 

We would like to extend our thanks to Enrico for sharing his life in the farm with us! For the full story, you have to wait for the vlog in 2019! But we will post original and exclusive content on our Facebook and Instagram pages every now and then. Please follow us at @permacultureresearchph.

Enrico showing the team around the farm as Jabez does his vlog while Brian shoots his documentary film.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Home-scale Permaculture Design in Jubileeville, Bay, Laguna

A small fishpond serves as a habitat for diverse flora and fauna.

The second and last site of our Laguna leg is in Jubileeville, Bay. Unlike the 3 previous permaculture projects, the Bonita-Foronda household is an example of minimal work, home-scale permaculture designed for a small family of three and a household of around 5 people. 

Perennials were their primary long-term design investments (most of the trees were planted by Edu's father-in-law) but for the meantime they benefit from the land by foraging berries, mushrooms, and bamboo shoots. They also have a small vegetable garden and fish pond in Zone 2 and a series of swales in Zones 3 & 4 designed to control erosion, catch water, and slow down the flow of water before it heads out to the nearby creek. 

Though Edu hopes to spend more time improving the site to fully sustain his family, the current design (4 years since his PDC in Cabiokid) is still able to produce food with minimal work. Thank you for sharing your home (and your swimming pool!) with us! We wish you more success.

A series of swales designed to catch and store water in the ground.

Tara Farms - Home of the Nu Wave Farmers and the Baeboys

An herb garden in Zone 2 provides herbs for their bottled sun-dried tomatoes.

Tara Farms is the first permaculture site of our Laguna leg. Founded in the 1970s by the Sandoval Family, the farm is now managed by Paulo Sandoval (a 3rd generation Sandoval) of the Nu Wave Farmers together with his uncle, and also organic pig raiser and chef, OJ Gomez. 

The permaculture site serves as the home base for "Baeboys" and venue for the Farmers' Field School for sustainable pig production of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI). Tara Farms is also home to the Nu Wave Farmers, an agri-youth movement co-founded by Paulo. 

Tara Farms will host a permaculture design certificate (PDC) course in November in cooperation with the Philippine Permaculture Association as a prelude to the 2nd National Philippine Permaculture Convergence to be held in UPLB.

Organic native pigs became the focal point of their design system upon its introduction last year.

Escape to Antique

View of the sea, the house, the garden, and the restaurant at Alpas. Photo by Dada Mercado. First of all, our trips to 12 permacultur...