Silay: Your organic sojourn

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


WE EXCEL in organic farming! Silay City agriculture is a grand slam champion in the “Best Food Security Corner” of Panaad sa Negros Festival 2011, 2012, and 2013. Silay is now in the Hall of Fame.

Elinita C. Alarcon is the most outstanding sugarcane farmer of Western Visayas in 2013. She received the Gawad Saka award. John Eric V. Bernabe is the most outstanding high value crops farmer of Western Visayas in 2013. He also bagged another Gawad Saka award. The biggest (and the model) public high school in Silay City, Doña Montserrat Lopez Memorial High School wins first place in the “Gulayan sa Paaralan 2013” regional level. Silay is not lifting its own chair. Silay simply wants to prove that if it can be done, it can be done.

Our city agriculturist, Jason Benedicto, works closely with the independent farmers and fisherfolk to bring down organic farming in the community based on the flagship program of Mayor Jose L. Montelibano. Our organic farming is also our community-based tourism and it is backed up by upland reforestation program, mangrove rehabilitation project, and sectorial agricultural development ventures of Ikaw-Ako Japan-Negros Partnership for Environmental Protection with Mari Kurata as project coordinator and Leo Canson as chairman, with yours truly as assistant director.

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If you would dare visit Panaad sa Negros Festival, don’t miss the Silay City Pavilion in the Third District Area (near Balay Kalamay). Dane Cobrado, our media coordinator, will present the Silay brochure and she will tell you that Silay took the challenge to produce healthy and appetizing food without damaging the environment. The city strives to take part in sustainable development through organic farming because its environmental and health benefits represent hope for the future generation. Please believe her. She is not just promoting tourism. She is a nurse.

The staff of Agriculturist Jason Benedicto will take visitors around the pavilion to show off the traditional farm implements, the post-harvest facilities, the vegetables, root crops, potted herbs and seedlings, fruit trees, poultry products, marine resources, staple food and other organic products of Silay. Patag organic farmers association is bringing the best of the upland agriculture from their ISF (Integrated Social Forestry). Patag is a premier eco-tourism destination in Western Visayas.

Silay Pavilion is also teeming with fresh harvest from Fresh Start Organic Farm managed by Chin Chin Uy. It specializes on green and red lettuce. The products could be found in Restaurant 1925 in Silay and in high-end malls of Bacolod. Fascinating herbs to enhance the taste and quality of food are also organically grown in this farm. Silay has also the display of the preserved products (tea, pickles, seasoning). Are you looking for organically grown rice? It’s in Silay Pavilion. Our farmers in Silay are assisted by Tractorco Company Inc.

Tractorco is looking forward to the future of organic farming through the use of tractors like Massey Ferguson, Ford, and John Deere. It has other implements that could be used in sugarcane loading, machinery for cattle farming, equipment for cane, and rice trash collection for biofuel production. Tractorco is also providing free operator training with the purchase of every machine. For organic farming, good service costs less. We can start with Tractorco. A demonstration farm in Silay is available to interested parties.

Hawaiian-Philippine Company in Silay is also producing (the best) muscovado sugar. It is traditionally cooked under the supervision of a “maestro.” We have available brochures for guests who want to know more about the technology. The interior of the Silay Pavilion is giving you the ambience of organic Silay. Our traditional dining room offers products that are organically grown, and our sala reminds you that life in Silay is sweet and the past is forever.

Savor culture and tradition at its best. Meet Gerle Sulmaca, Francess Dane Cobrado, Susan Velez, Panoy Corteza, Armin Paredes, Leo Canson, Arbella Decierto, Ging-ging Belonio, Edmar Villanueva, and Councilor Neil Solomon Locsin. They will tell you what makes Silay the “Paris of Negros” at the turn of the century and what makes it now “the seat of arts, culture, and ecotourism.” Marissa R. Montelibano, the first lady of Silay and president of Hugyaw Silay Inc., has inspired the working force that Silaynons’ best effort should blend with the “Negros First” program of Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr.

Join the Silaynons with Mayor Oti Montelibano and Vice Mayor Mark Golez in improving health and living through sustaining nature’s best.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 01, 2014.

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