PALAWAN FAVORITE GATEWAY OF SHOWBIZ CELEBRITIES

For actor-athlete Derek Ramsay, Palawan is definitely “the most beautiful place on earth.” “I’ve been all over the world but I just love Palawan,” said the Filipino-British model host, and former VJ. While fellow celebrities might prefer Boracay and its white sand beach ideal for endless partying and a lively night life, Ramsay said he’s more into peace and quiet, a refreshing break from the frenetic pace of show biz. “Boracay is beautiful and fun but I’ve never gone to Boracay for a holiday. I only go there for either a competition or work. I like the beach, but I prefer peace and quiet.”
Apparently, Palawan is also the top choice as local getaway among 50 local celebrities, according to a quick survey conducted by Inquirer Entertainment. Twenty-six named Palawan the best place to relax and unwind this summer season, with Boracay coming close with 24 votes. Also on the list of top three local summer destinations with their respective scores are: Baguio (10), Bohol (7), Batangas, Cebu and Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte (6), and Batanes and Quezon (4). Tagaytay, Laguna and Aurora are in 7th spot with 3 votes each.
Siargao in Surigao del Norte, Davao and Puerto Galera in Mindoro have two votes each. Also mentioned as favorite summer destinations are Zambales, Cagayan de Oro, La Union, Pangasinan, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Bataan. “We go scuba diving and fishing in Palawan. We also play games, eat and just chat,” Ramsay said. “And I wouldn’t lie to you,” he added. “We do a lot of drinking. We’re just a bunch of light-hearted people …. We just do whatever it is we can think of.” READ MORE...

ALSO: This is not just a farm in Palawan

While some of my friends took in the view of a Tuscan vineyard and thought about the romance it evokes, a voice behind them declared: “It’s just a farm.” For Jill Sandique, any place that grows anything, whether plants or animals, is really just a farm. She herself has fruit and rubber tree farms in Cotabato. Farms require hard work. You are at the mercy of nature and sometimes, rebel groups. Going to a farm has always been an educational adventure for a city girl like me. At Jill’s family farm I learned how rubber is tapped and processed, and how you can tell the number of seeds a mangosteen has by counting the petal-like formation at the bottom. There were two farms in Palawan that we toured, both growing organic vegetables and raising animals the proper way—with simulation hills, for instance, for the goats. There was also the Davao cacao farm, rehabilitated by the Puentespinas, and their goat collection that gives Olive Puentespina raw material for her excellent Malagos cheeses.READ MORE...For tours or overnight stay, contact Costales Farm at tel nos. 0939-9640808 and 49-5763824. E-mail the columnist at pinoyfood04@yahoo.com


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Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities

MANILA, APRIL 21, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Jodee A. Agoncillo - For actor-athlete Derek Ramsay (photo), Palawan is definitely “the most beautiful place on earth.”

“I’ve been all over the world but I just love Palawan,” said the Filipino-British model host, and former VJ.

While fellow celebrities might prefer Boracay and its white sand beach ideal for endless partying and a lively night life, Ramsay said he’s more into peace and quiet, a refreshing break from the frenetic pace of show biz.

“Boracay is beautiful and fun but I’ve never gone to Boracay for a holiday. I only go there for either a competition or work. I like the beach, but I prefer peace and quiet.”

Apparently, Palawan is also the top choice as local getaway among 50 local celebrities, according to a quick survey conducted by Inquirer Entertainment.

Twenty-six named Palawan the best place to relax and unwind this summer season, with Boracay coming close with 24 votes.

Also on the list of top three local summer destinations with their respective scores are: Baguio (10), Bohol (7), Batangas, Cebu and Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte (6), and Batanes and Quezon (4). Tagaytay, Laguna and Aurora are in 7th spot with 3 votes each.

Siargao in Surigao del Norte, Davao and Puerto Galera in Mindoro have two votes each. Also mentioned as favorite summer destinations are Zambales, Cagayan de Oro, La Union, Pangasinan, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Bataan.

“We go scuba diving and fishing in Palawan. We also play games, eat and just chat,” Ramsay said.

“And I wouldn’t lie to you,” he added. “We do a lot of drinking. We’re just a bunch of light-hearted people …. We just do whatever it is we can think of.”

The actor owns a generator-powered house in the island that’s almost finished. The place does not need a lot of landscaping because it’s on the beachfront, he said.

Being in an island of 300 people, most of them from indigenous tribes, is an awesome experience, said the actor who spent his birthday and New Year on the island by throwing a party for kids and holding a medical mission. He also stayed for two years at Miniloc and Apulit islands in El Nido Resort.

“The farther we are from the city, the happier the Ramsays are. We don’t miss (city life) at all,” he said. “We have cable TV so there’s still a link to the city, but we want to leave a lot of that behind.”

Like Ramsay, Carmi Martin finds solace in Palawan. “Apart from Palawan and Boracay, I’d rather stay home and chill.”

Prodded on other “must-see” places, she added: “Coron Island is just magnificent.” Visiting Coron meant hiking up to Kayangan Lake, jet skiing to the twin lagoons, Barracuda Lake and Siete Pecados, and ending the day tour with her family watching the sunset and sharing a sumptuous meal at La Sirenetta.

Martin also island-hopped from Busuanga to Calambuyan, Pass, North Cay, South Key, Pamalican and Black.

The historic Culion Island (once a leper colony) is a must-see as well. The perfect place to be, she said, is Puerto del Sol Resort nestled in Busuanga, where guests are pampered.

Palawan is easily the most star-studded island this season, with celebrities finding their spot in Amanpulo, Pamalican Island, Coron, El Nido and Puerto Princesa City. Among them are Ai-Ai de las Alas, Mark Meily, Glaiza de Castro, Jeffrey Jeturian, director Louie Ignacio, Giselle Sanchez, Janice de Belen, Aiko Melendez, Fabio Ide, Erik Santos, Manny Castañeda, Andrea del Rosario and Yassy Pressman.

“Palawan is still pristine. It looks and feels natural. It still possesses natural beauty that no manmade creation can ever surpass,” Castañeda said, citing spelunking, sleeping on the beach inside tents and overall beach bumming as his favorite activities on the island.

De Castro was inspired by her underground river experience in Puerto Princesa and the Sabang Beach after shooting the indie film “Madaling Araw, Mahabang Gabi.” She recommends a visit to the house of her friend, director Dante Garcia, who has a massive art building in Puerto Princesa.

Film producer and actress Evelyn Vargas said she can never forget the beauty of Puerto Princesa where the award-winning film “Kalayaan (Wildlife)” was shot. The film is about solitary Filipino soldiers who watch the disputed Kalayaan Islands in the Spratlys. The Adolf Alix film won the Netpac Award for Best Asian Film at the Warsaw International Film Festival.

Also on Vargas’ bucket list are Camarines Sur and General Santos City, where Salamindanaw International Film Festival was held.

Movie star and former beauty queen Maria Isabel Lopez listed Coron as her favorite getaway for its corals, hot springs and raw honey from the Tagbanua tribe.

As for Japanese-Brazilian actor and comedian Fabio Ide, there are only three places he would recommend for a holiday: “Baler for those who love surfing, Boracay for those who love to party, and El Nido, for couples in love.”
With reports from Marinel Cruz, Bayani San Diego Jr. and Allan Policarpio

This is not just a farm By Micky Fenix Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:25 am | Thursday, April 17th, 2014


AGRICULTURE Undersecretary Berna Puyat harvesting eggs

While some of my friends took in the view of a Tuscan vineyard and thought about the romance it evokes, a voice behind them declared: “It’s just a farm.”

For Jill Sandique, any place that grows anything, whether plants or animals, is really just a farm. She herself has fruit and rubber tree farms in Cotabato.

Farms require hard work. You are at the mercy of nature and sometimes, rebel groups.

Going to a farm has always been an educational adventure for a city girl like me. At Jill’s family farm I learned how rubber is tapped and processed, and how you can tell the number of seeds a mangosteen has by counting the petal-like formation at the bottom.

There were two farms in Palawan that we toured, both growing organic vegetables and raising animals the proper way—with simulation hills, for instance, for the goats.

There was also the Davao cacao farm, rehabilitated by the Puentespinas, and their goat collection that gives Olive Puentespina raw material for her excellent Malagos cheeses.

It was in Iowa where I learned that much of the corn and soy growing in the farms we passed on the highway were not for human consumption but for animal feed; and how United States government agencies at the time were still sorting out what makes for an organic farm.


TABLE centerpiece of vegetables and edible flowers

In New Zealand, it’s standard procedure to locate the farm where the kiwi was grown and where it was packed—as indicated in the barcode of the products.

In Napa Valley, California, a vineyard isn’t just a farm but a tourist destination. Wine tours are well-established there and, of course, wine tasting is the more attractive prospect than gazing out into rows of gnarled grapevines.

Costales Nature Farm

So, it was a no-brainer to say yes to Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Berna Romulo Puyat’s invitation to visit Costales Nature Farm in Majayjay, Laguna, about two hours from Manila.

The cool air and constant water supply from mountain streams serve as the ideal environment for a farm. The hard work is demonstrated—preparing the ground, planting, natural fertilizing with the help of worms (vermiculture), cleaning up the place especially where the pigs, chicken, rabbits and fish inhabit.


COSTALES lettuce growing in rubber pots

Visible at once are vegetables growing everywhere such as recycled plastic jars.

Ruben Costales, his wife Josephine and son Reden are part of the endeavor. They give lectures and tour visitors around the farm.

For the Costales family, a flock of tourists is good but what’s great is when visitors buy the veggies. The farm has partnered with major restaurants and shops. The team-up has been successful, and the Costales family says there is a supply shortage due to high demand.

Before walking around, we had our lunch of salads, lechon from organic pigs, pancit, and tilapia cooked in coconut milk. We were refreshed with a cucumber drink.

Many greenhouses bear family names because the farm welcomes partners who supply the structure; then the farm and investor split the earnings of the produce.

We helped out in the chores such as making the composting materials called bokashi mudballs, mixed with a product called “Effective Microorganism.” They clean up fishponds and can even be used to clean restrooms. We fed the rabbits with kangkong; underneath their cages were containers to catch their waste and to feed worms. But perhaps the best part was the harvesting.

Fat organic chickens were running around in a contained area. We were told not to stress them, which probably meant we were not to run around with them.


Salad of organic vegetables and fruits

We placed their eggs into trays; later we bought some of the eggs we harvested, thinking of having poached eggs for breakfast the morning after.

At one greenhouse, we were told how to pull out the lettuce properly. We placed romaine and green ice in our bayong. Then we went to the tomato vines and those of us tired from all the walking just asked the assistants to get some for us. It was like a point-and-harvest game.

The family offered to bring us to Majayjay Falls if we wanted a dip in the cool waters, but the city people we were found the exercise already worth a whole week of physical activity. So we went home through that long, winding Laguna road with our harvested prize.

I can still hear Jill’s voice telling me, “it’s just a farm.” The adventure is for the visitors, but those who work there have to deal with day-to-day backbreaking work. Yet, if what they do inspires visitors to do the same, even if only one of them participates, then the farm would have achieved its mission—to spread the good news.

For tours or overnight stay, contact Costales Farm at tel nos. 0939-9640808 and 49-5763824. E-mail the columnist at pinoyfood04@yahoo.com


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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