By Masipag Mindanao

In Bukidnon, a young girl shows her passion towards agriculture at a very young age. Eleven-year old Diding is a rice breeder, when most girls her age are doing other things than being an agriculturist.


At the age of 6, Lourdes Geraldo or Diding has successfully bred her own rice line making her the youngest rice breeder in the Philippines, and probably in the whole world.

As she turns 11, she is now producing her rice lines with her father and siblings in their 4-hectare DIFS (diversified) farm in Sitio Tomigbong, San Luis in Malitbog town.

Walking around their sloping and misty farm early in the morning, one can get the feeling of being at the vineyard scenes of the academy award-wining movie “walk in the clouds.” It’s worth reflecting to observe how the plants and the diversity of life rhymes in full harmony with nature.

Diding’s 4 rice lines are proven adaptive to their local climatic condition which made their farm more resilient to the changes in the weather patterns happening nowadays. But aside from rice breeding, Diding is also growing vegetables, root crops and flowering plants because she knows how useful it is to have a diverse genetic resources.

But how did this happen?

Diding was taught on rice breeding by her father, Mr. Eugenio “Eunie” Geraldo, one of the steadfast farmer leaders of MASIPAG Mindanao responsible for the expansions of organic agriculture in the far-flung communities in Northern Mindanao which are left behind by most government extension workers. Eunie is very passionate in educating people and in empowering his fellow farmers.

Eunie addressed one of the challenges faced by the organic farmers – passing on their knowledge to their children. So he taught Diding at her young age together with his children to ensure that his knowledge, practices and principles will live on to the generations to come.

Five years before he becomes a senior citizen, Eunie has a smile on his face and full of hope in his eyes that his children will sustain and broaden what he started: a sign of fulfilment that not all farmers enjoyed.

Diding brings a lot of hope not only to her family, but also to the entire Filipino farmers.

Sounds like Japanese? It actually is.

Fermented organic matter or Bokashi is a popular bio-fertilizer in Japan, using from-plate-to-farm concept.

A community in the island of Leyte use food leftovers from the kitchen as garden fertilizer, through this natural process. They have been producing organic vegetables for their daily consumption, and even for the local market.

For this month’s Sapat Dapat winner, we are pleased to present a community in Tanauan, Leyte: barangay Magay.


Rebuilding back better with scraps

Barangay Magay has been using this technology for almost 2 years. In such a short time, they have already a list of success stories because of this bokashi

Bokashi is the new “kitchen scrap disposal system” for the memberes of Magay community. They collect food leftovers, such as peelings, expired food, and the likes,  and process these using their Bokashi kits, in order to raise healthy organic vegetables in their communal garden.

Bokashi is often referred to as a type of ‘composting,’ but it is actually an anaerobic fermentation process, resulting in a much different end product than that produced via composting.

Nothing is wasted. The solid parts become organic soil fertilizers, while the liquid part, called the Bokashi juice, is used as foliar fertilizers (sprayed on the plants leaves).

This initiative aims to build the capacity of the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda in Tanauan, while providing them with sustainable livelihood that is eco-friendly.

After the devastation brought by the super typhoon, the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation assisted rebuilding the community through its relief and rehab projects in partnership with other organizations. The Bokashi Project is a fruit of their projects' phase transition, from rehabilitation towards recovery, capacity-building and preparedness of the community by providing them with sustainable livelihood.

“We started this project in December 2013,” said Sr. Zaida Villareal, an Augustinian nun. “We actually started from scratch, from scraps: what mostly were left after the whole island was ravaged by the storm.”

She added that Bokashi can be done in small all large scale, but the product is very useful.

“Unlike composting, this can even be done by urban dwellers as it does not produce odour,” Sr. Villareal added. “Aside from that, you get to re-use your food scraps, instead of throwing them somewhere else.”


Bokashi 101: What is it exactly?

Bokashi HQ defines Bokashi practice as a composting method of quickly breaking down organic wastes. Unlike conventional composting, Bokashi makes use of Effective Microorganisms (EM) that are added to the organic waste stored in a Bokashi bin.  It is more of a fermentation process than a conventional composting process.

Air is not required for the organic matter to ferment. Because of this, the process is odour free and makes for a perfect kitchen compost bin.

The system can be completely sealed, which removes any worries about insects or animals making a nuisance of themselves.  It was introduced by Dr. Teuro Higa, a professor from University of Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan, around 1982.


Living with Bokashi, living healthy

Two years after, the community is not only living healthy. Bokashi practitioners are also taking care of the environment, without the use of harmful chemical for their gardens and farms.  Alongside the practice of s, the community also promotes proper waste segregation. Because of this, recylcing is easy.

The leaders of barangay Magay are also selling Bokashi kits and implements. They also provide educational session for people and other communities who want to learn the practice.

To know more about the practice, visit the website of the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation.

Noel Batario, a native of Candelaria, Quezon is the eldest son of 8. He was under the care of his stepmother who had to accept laundry services within their neighborhood to earn a living. This situation of the family made Noel realized the importance of hard work, ingenuity and preparing for the future.



Noel's first work was an "extrador" in a construction firm. It was enough to say that his income was small that his family lived in ‘hand to mouth’ daily existence. With his siblings whom he had to send to school, life was not easier.  Noel lost his source of income when the construction firm ended its contract in Noel’s hometown.  But this never put his spirits down, he took odd jobs to help his family.

When Superstar Coconut Products, Inc. mounted their factory in Quezon, Noel was one of the very first who was hired by the company as a machine operator. It was also the time that he realized that he has a knack in ‘understanding and operating machines’.  He got promoted and  transferred to Davao  where he worked as a machine operator for producing export products.  He was also tasked to teach and train his fellow workers on how to operate specialized machines.  

After a few years, Noel was again promoted to the electronics department. His work experience, enthusiasm, and determination to learn more made the promotion beneficial. It also inspired Noel to pursue his knowledge of electronics academically which he later earned a national certificate for computer technician from Mindanao Master Institute.

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Precycling is about reducing waste by avoiding items that will generate it, or selecting certain items that will generate less, or acquiring items that can be reused for something else.It’s just another way to lighten our environmental footprint thatcovers amyriad of possibilities, but being an avid precycler can also save you money too.

Here are things you can do to start precycling:

1. So many magazines and newspapers are now online. While it takes electricity to view them, the amount of energy involved is less than the paper based product, plus there’s nothing to throw out once you’redone reading.Make the Internet part of your paper reduction diet!

2. Plastic wrap is a great invention, but one that haunts us once we’re done with it. Some forms can be recycled, but others wind up in landfill where they’ll slowly decompose for decades if not hundreds of years. A sturdy container with an airtight lid can take the place of plastic wrap in some cases.

3. Choose a product with the least amount of packaging. Store brands and generic brands often use less packaging and will save you money as well.

4. Purchasing rechargeable batteries will keep household hazardous waste out of landfills and save your money. 

5. Try to choose durable, reusable products. Although durable products or long-wearing products may cost more at first, they will save your money in the long run. They save the environment by producing less waste and bring more pleasure to the user with better quality.

Information in this article was written with the help of

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