BONTOC, Mountain Province – The Layog Farm Center for Sustainable Futures, Inc. represented by Flor de Lina Layog received a certificate of recognition from the Provincial Government of Mountain Province during the celebration of the 118th Philippine Civil Service anniversary.
On August 24, the Department of Tourism represented by USEC Benito Bengson bequeathed another certificate of recognition to the same farm as the first Agro-tourism farm in the Cordillera Administrative Region at the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.
The farm was recognized due to its continuing works and contributions for the promotion of sustainable development in areas of agriculture and tourism using the Igorot cultural principles, knowledge and skills.
The Layog farm is a 27-hectare mountainous terrain located in Kayan West, Tadian, Mountain Province. According to Flor de Lina, the operations of the farm ceased for a few years when their father died but it was revived by family members to give due respect of their father’s statement, “Take care of the land and the land will take care of you.”
As related by Layog, the goal of the family farm was to encourage the youth to care for the environment and to train the foreign and local volunteers to be Igorot ambassadors worldwide.
It is a well-known fact there are negative impressions some people hold toward Igorots, such as: Igorots have tails; they are barbaric; they are headhunters; and they are short, stout, dark and have kinky hair, among others.
Aside from working in the farm, volunteers are exposed to the life of the Igorots by interacting with the people, attending festivals and weddings wherein they can join in the dancing and playing of gongs, eating using bare hands and using banana stalks as plates and using coconut shells or bamboo trunks as bowls, preparing and cooking traditional food, and traditional farming using non-mechanized tools and organic fertilizers and pesticides.
During the early stages, the Layog family started the propagation of fruit tree seedlings, organic fertilizer production and vegetable farming, native chicken, rabbit, goat and sheep raising, and growing dragon fruit, flowers, and bamboo.
Within the compound is small bungalow used as a chapel and conference hall. A wider conference room and sleeping quarters for guests are still under construction. Below the road is the “Farmacy” or café, and two buildings being utilized as sleeping quarters for guest-helpers.
The “Farmacy” was inaugurated on August 5 this year, and offers herbal pancakes, lemon grass tea, malunggay/dragon fruit cakes and organic vegetables.
Meanwhile, Layog Country Farm was the 1st in CAR to be accredited by the Cordillera Department of Tourism as an agro-tourism farm site. It is also certified as farm school and assessment center by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority of Mountain Province and accredited by the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Technical Institute as a training center for organic agriculture.
The farm was formerly and more popularly known as Layog Country Farm, but it was registered as a non-profit and non-stock corporation on June 27, 2018.
By Francis Degay