Lunch beside a pigpen

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Saturday, July 19, 2014


YOU wouldn’t imagine eating anywhere near a live pig. But we just did, and weren’t even bothered. Make that eat lunch right beside pigpens, a distance away from live Peking ducks, and right above a hito pond.

Not retching at the odor because there was no odor associated with pigs and their poo was fascinating enough, but the most fascinating is… there was not one single fly.

Now, imagine eating very fresh farm produce the main dish of which was very lean grilled pork liempo beside an odorless pigsty with not one single fly bothering you.

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That’s the experience in the Penalosa Farm in Victoria City, Negros Occidental, which happens to be in a residential area.

The Penalosa Farm visit was among the places visited during the Department of Tourism 6 media familiarization tour last Thursday.

Ramon Penalosa, the owner, said the farm started eight years ago is a certified micro integrated organic farm.

You go there to eat and learn, but needs pre-booking.

For lunch, we had salad, probiotic organic pork liempo, fried lumpia, and a dessert of mango sago in cream.

For salad dressing, you get the choice of red onion vinaigrette or lemon mustard. For sawsawan of the fried lumpia, you get red onion vinaigrette.

Flowers are ubiquitous… in the salad and in the fried lumpia. Blue ternate and begonia.

The food is good, very good. Except that, be warned, they’re Ilonggos of the sugarlandia. This means, their tastebuds are inclined toward the sweet. Ergo, the dressings and sawsawans are on the sweet side and the kitchen doesn’t have siling labuyo. But if you like, you can walk around the garden and pick the chili pepper you want. No, make that very sweet side. Thus, go slow with them. The big surprise is that the dessert isn’t. Yeps. The sweetness only comes from the ripe mango and nothing else. It was a surprising respite.

Don’t settle with just the food though. Penalosa Farm is about compact urban organic farming. The moment you enter, you know it’s all about space maximization and understanding how a piece of land can become a full-fledged farm.

“Ito ang farm na ginawa lahat ng bawal,” Penalosa said. “Bawal of piggery at poultry sa subdivision, bawal raw ipaghalo-halo ang mga farm animals, bawal walang bakuna, bawala walang toxin binder. We don’t have any disinfectant, what we have are co-infectants. We don’t use antibiotics, we produce probiotics.”

It’s the probiotics that has stopped the piggery and duckfarm from emitting odor. The greater surprise being that they use an open septic tank where you can stand right beside it and not sniff a hint of the sewery odor.

If you think talking about live pigs and septic tanks doesn’t go well with having lunch, then you just have to visit Penalosa Farm to understand that the offensiveness of the topic is because of the stench that go with it. Remove the stench, and you have a healthy discussion.
Penalosa Farm is at #7 Quirino Street, Victoria City with telefax number (034) 399 2847.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 20, 2014.

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