Bong Alvaro & Fiona’s Farm

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

THE Lenten gloom has given way to the rejoicing of Easter. Among the blessings in this season of grace is the renewal of friendship and shared amity.

It was in this spirit of joy and affection that Dr. Irineo “Bong” Alvaro Jr. Ph.D. has entertained several media friends in a modest “salu-salo” at his countryside enclave called Fiona’s Farm.

Dr. Bong’s farm is a 1.5-hectare resort cum retreat house nestled in the lush rice lands of Barangay La Paz, a sleepy village northwest of Magalang town.


With Deng Pangilinan as guide, the place is a 20-minute ride from Marquee Mall. Here the 54-year-old businessman and gentleman of leisure spends his weekend and holidays with family and friends. At times he is a speaker before company or school groups in their workshops.

Dr. Bong was city councilor of Angeles for three terms. He holds a distinguished record as local legislator. He was the author of landmark ordinances and significant resolutions on the local economy, peace and order, health and education among others.

After his last term, he was persuaded by newly elected city mayor Francis “Blueboy” Nepumuceno to serve as City Administrator.

He had helped Mayor Nepo in streamlining all city departments’ operations, formulate budget plans and programs. He also served as the mayor’s able front line defender against political attacks.

As is inevitable in a new collation of forces, the city administrator fell victim to internecine fighting and intramurals in a deadly power play at the city hall. He resigned his job and returned to attending to family enterprises.

Dr. Bong occupied his time serving his community church, hosted a widely patronized TV program while establishing contact with investors with interests at the Clark free zone.

Today, the former city executive is the only former civil servant in Angeles City and Pampanga who is a locator at Clark. His strongly enterprising nature, his virtues of hard work, determination, and entrepreneurial talent led to the founding of Sky Eagle Corporation, a big name in online services.

His farm resort, named after the Alvaro couple’s daughter Fiona who died when she was only six months, is a work in progress. Fiona bought immense good luck to the family, he said. Farm development work began in 2008.

A second swimming pool is currently being constructed. The first one, a children’s pool, serves adults as well when they immersed in water therapy or merely for relaxation.

There are three villas, all air-conditioned, with first class bedroom facilities. A tree house is the children’s attraction while a well-furbished Coffee Bar, built atop a tiny manmade lagoon, has amenities and ambience conducive to group talks over coffee.

Dr. Bong is a man of culture and refinement. This impression comes quite easily with his sense of good taste. Piped-in music surrounds the whole compound that is well shaded by mango trees. The frontage has a section for various orchids. At the back is a small vineyard where the doctor raises grapes.

Guests and workshop-seminar participants are comfortably accommodated at the multi-purpose hall complete with air-con working full blast, Wi-Fi connections, a huge LCD TV set. Adjacent the room is a modern mini-kitchen where newly cooked food is sourced, the soup and boiled rice steaming hot. A band of male residents, most likely Bong’s political leaders and “barkada,” tended to the cooking and in the five-hour roasting chore.

Our lunch was Dr. Bong’s special treat for friends – a roasted lamb. It went well with sinampalukang manok, broiled talakitok from Zambales, and “pako salad.”

Dr. Bong, originally from Concepcion town, spent most of his professional life in Angeles City. Now with the Fiona’s Farm in Magalang as his other legal residence, his name is fast shaping as a future public figure in the 1st District of Pampanga.

My favorite “doctor” is not a young man in a hurry though. After three years, he will be 57, an age which raconteur Perry Pangan says, “is just ripe and in full bloom to be a congressional timber.”

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on April 16, 2012.


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