The “Andap”-A A +A
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
THE least that should happen is for people to romanticize the frost now happening in some of Benguet’s upland farms. The nippy weather indeed in this part of the country has become an enticing tourist come on for it’s as if the atmosphere has become an uninterrupted air conditioning system. But the pleasure must end there.
What I mean is that we should not wish for frost to come. That would mean disaster for our farmers. It would be unfair for them that while they pray that their farms would be spared from the “andap”, there are those who get excited when it occurs.
My sources have told me there is now frost in Paoay and Cattubo in Atok. Also in parts of Buguias and Kibungan. But let’s not get worried because they only happen early in the morning and only in farm lands not well lit by sunrise or found along slopes difficult for the wind to pass by.
Sometime in January 2009, I joined a team from the Provincial Agriculture Office led by Lolita Bentres, provincial agriculturist, to an early morning trip to Paoay, Cattubo and Englandad in Atok to find out if there was frost in the farms. I joined the group because I was very much interested to learn how frost damages temperate vegetables right in the farms and experience how biting the weather was in those places at 4:30 in the morning. I was surprised that upon reaching Paoay, we saw a television crew which camped in the area overnight in a bid to be the first to broadcast that there is now frost.
Admittedly, the media for sometime got so curious about frost that it became the subject of a hunt for news at daybreak. The frost practically ignited a race for reporters. The battle was for a scoop. What happened was the unwelcome news – the frost became frostbite and the frostbite became a thick blanket that swept the farms. Then the exaggeration or speculation as to the damage on vegetables followed.
I was there when an outfit asked former Atok mayor and now board member Connie Balao to describe the extent of the frost. The good official, without the intention of becoming inaccurate, guessed that up to three inches of frost could have swamped the town’s upland farms. The statement hit the national news and alarmed agriculture officials. Then agriculture Sec. Arthur Yap took a hurried trip to Atok to personally inspect the damage as reported. There was damage to vegetables alright. But he was relieved to find out that it was not in the same magnitude as the news described the situation.
This is sometimes the folly of getting excited about an event media wanted to be the first to report. In fact, I understand why Sir Mondax raised his eyebrows when it became apparent that media seem to be selling the frost as a phenomenon everyone must see. Today, the occurrence of frost has again become a piece of the news. I hope we don’t fall into the same mistake.
Maybe Jonathan Llanes of NBN 4 should go to Paoay and be there at 5 am. Do a frost hunt, my friend. But I dare him to take a bath there. I will bet he could not. His balls would shrink.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 23, 2013.