Saturday, September 24

Costales Nature Farms

I have always eyed visiting this farm located in the rural town of Majayjay in Laguna. And I was glad that I finally got the chance to do so with my friends. We spent three days here and I must say it was one of highlights in my current traveling year. I have now ticked another Laguna destination off my bucket list. 

Costales Nature Farms is not the usual bed & breakfast. What makes it a standout is its practice of organic farming, thereafter promoting a better and fitter lifestyle. And more importantly, their advocacy of supporting the success of local farmers. 

Costales Nature Farms is the first Department of Tourism accredited farm tourism destination in the Philippines. It is farm destination that conducts ecological and balance farming techniques, which aims to promote sustainable agriculture, healthly lifestyle, and environmental diversity through organic farming.*

Organic is defined as made or grown without the use of any forms of artificial chemicals or synthetic materials. The farm has successfully developed sustainability. Almost all the ingredients of the dishes served to us were harvested right on location. Sustainable farming is one of the best ways of describing it. The farm showcased to us the processes involved in maintaining a place like this. 
Our first day was spent meeting with the Costales family. The family-run farm is located in the cool and hilly town of Majayjay in Laguna. We met Mrs. Josephine 'Josie' Costales, chairman of Costales Nature Farms, her daughter, Angelica Costales, President and CEO of Costales Foods Phils, Inc. and Red Costales, President and CEO of Costales Nature Farms. We were well taken care of for three days by the courteous and well-versed staff of Costales Nature Farms.
After being given a very warm reception, we were herded into a dining kubo (hut) and were served lunch. Over lunch, Mrs. Costales shared to us how she and her late husband, Mr. Ronald Costales, started with modest dreams and ended up with big achievements. 
The couple grew up in simple communities, with memories of humble life in the province and in the city, thereby nurturing the love for a simple life in their childhood years. They met and fell in love while in the university and each discovered the great attributes of each which led to a lasting and wonderful love story. 

Mrs. Costales shared the joy of seeing her two children being greatly involved in the business she has started with her husband. And the contentment she has in heart is reflected on how she is being treated by her staff, her family and guests alike.

Guided Farm Tour
In our tour around the farm, we were guided by the knowledgeable and hospitable personnel of Costales Nature Farms. Our farm tour was not the usual where they just showed us the different amenities and facilities. It is admirable on our part that these ladies and gentlemen actually know what they are talking about and could answer almost any questions we asked. They explained deeply, demonstrated well and highly encouraged us to participate in the different activities they prepared for us. 

The farm accommodated us for a 3D/2N Wellness Tour wherein we were able to experience a varied set of farm activities. I volunteered in the Tupig-making activity (which I enjoyed very much) and tea-making under culinary activities. I bonded with the farm animals when we visited the rabbitry, hog and poultry farm and had a grand time feeding the buffalo trio at Farm B. Soon the farm will raise their own goats for their in-house cheese production. I'd say I can't wait to hear the goats or cattle screaming around!

We also experienced vegetable harvesting, seed sowing and transplanting. After eating that much, it was time to return the favor of feeding the earth. 

Baby lettuces at the nursery. 
They will stay here for a few weeks before being transplanted.

Greenhouses, tilapia ponds and strawberry pods
A couple of dining huts will greet guests atop the fish ponds

Tupig Making
Mrs. Josie Costales narrated that her late husband was an Ilocano and that his favorite merienda is Tupig. Since he would always request the staff the prepare one for him, they thought of just including Tupig-making in their farm activities. 

Tupig is a native Ilocano delicacy (from Pangasinan) made from ground glutinous rice and coconuts strips wrapped in banana leaves cooked over charcoal. After one of the farm tour guides demonstrated the process, I volunteered to try it and I instantly became an expert in Tupig-making. It was very quick and easy. Watch me in the video below. I was very delighted with my accomplishment. :)

Farm Activities
Aside from non-stop eating and food-tasting, I truly enjoyed the different farm activities specially the meet and greet with the farm animals. I am an animal lover and if I could just take them all home I would!

Vegetable Harvesting

Egg Harvesting
The farm raises different types of chicken. The chicken produces varied sizes of organic eggs which are being used for the kitchen. The ones being sold are the larger ones at 15 pesos each. 

Animal Feeding


Seed Sowing
It is very commendable that the farm is able to grow and harvest their own products. Over time, the farm has begun supplying fresh organic produce to supermarkets and restaurants. From vermiculture to animal raising to waste recycling, the farm has consciously been promoting environment preservation and conservation, sustainable farming and supporting local enterprises.


Transplanting
Marlene showing us the correct way of transplanting baby lettuces

Culinary Activities
Salad Making


Tea Making


Honey, Tarragon and Spearmint leaves

Pizza Making
Organic Pizza Overload

One notable technology that the farm has adapted is called the EM Technology. EM stands for Effective Microorganisms which was developed by Dr. Teruo Higa of University of Ryukyus in Japan. Basically, EM promotes good bacteria, enriching the soil. 

As also shared by Mrs. Costales, establishing a Bokashi spa is also in the plan to be setup in the farm premises. 

Sample Dishes Served


Costales Hotpot
Tilapia with Aragula and Tomato

Pork Tocino
Turon ala Mode

My three-day stay in the farm was more than enjoying the delicious food and reconnecting with Mother Nature. The experience has given me a deeper appreciation of what our farmers are capable of sharing. I also developed a better understanding of the benefits of supporting organic farming, both from the producers' and consumers' end. More notably, the story behind this farm's success is worth emulating. That humble beginnings coupled with modest ambition can really lead to big accomplishments.

How To Get Here



L-R: Jherson, Claire, Mai, Me, Karl Mrs. Josie Costales and Lana

If coming from Calamba, you can ride a van at SM Calamba terminal to Lukban. Fare costs at P 120 with a travel time of two hours. There is also a Lukban-bound van from Festival Mall Alabang, fare at P 150.

From Sta. Cruz, ride a Lukban jeepney. From San Pablo City, hop in a jeep for Liliw, proceed to Majayjay then transfer again to a jeepney going to Lukban. Vans from Lukban going to Alabang will also pass by the farm. 

Don't forget to mention to the driver to drop you off at Costales Nature Farms. 

Current Rates and Packages*






*As provided by Costales Nature Farms as of posting date.  Please contact the farm for updated rates.

_____________
Costales Nature Farms
www.costalesnaturefarms.com
inquiries@costalesnaturefarms.com

2 comments:

  1. Costales adventure is one of a kind. Its truly an amazing experience. I hope more farms will be copy the costales way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is! And I got fat after all those staycation! haha!

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