AFTER 30 YEARS, A FARMER NOW OWNS THREE GARDENS AND PROVIDES JOBS AMID CRISIS
Agriculture|January - February 2021
THERE’S NOTHING MORE SATISFYING than seeing the fruit of your hard work, especially after long years of failing and learning.
VINA MEDENILLA

Mary Ann Cogollo, 57, faced a lot of hurdles before she successfully developed her flower farm that has multiplied into three separate sites. Out of a love for plants and flowers, Cogollo established a farm and named it Dafalongs Flower Farm. The name “Dafalongs” was coined by her priest friends, and means “dapa ilong” or flat nose in Hiligaynon.

From being an educator, she now runs her three gardens full time. Cogollo took a rest from teaching due to an ectopic pregnancy and used the time to develop the property that her parents gave her.

“They were actually worried if we will stay at this place because at that time, it’s just the house and cogon grasses all over. No electric current, no water source, and few motorbikes are passing by our area,” said the farmer. When Cogollo saw the lot, she knew that there could be more to it than just cogon grass. “From the moment I saw the place, I remembered I smiled; there’s an instant connection,” she added.

Her late parents were both farmers. At 12, she helped in the farm and worked as a ‘kabo,’ a person who helps people in the sugarcane and rice fields. Her mother used to collect orchids as well, which is what influenced her love for plants, particularly for flowers.

In the beginning, she planted veggies and fruit-bearing trees, but she eventually filled the garden with flowers. “I plowed the place with the help of Rudy, a farmworker who’s raising our carabaos. From there, I started planting ‘tam-is’ (a variety of yam), gabi, and kamote. My husband used to fetch water 220 meters away from our house every day in the late afternoon,” said Cogollo.

A DREAM VENTURE

15 years ago, she had to expand her garden due to the growing number of propagated plants at home, so she established Dafalongs Flower Farm with the primary goal to provide a livelihood to mothers and wives in the community.

When asked what it was like when she was starting, she answered that it was tough because aside from limited resources, it was not an ideal location for a business; her gardens are distant from the city and national roads. The inaccessibility made her doubt the capabilities of the gardens.

There are days when there was no income from them, but the farmer didn’t stop and continued propagating. She attended flower shows and established good rapport with other gardeners who eventually bought plants from her. She also used her skills to style for events like fiestas, graduations, and weddings in their municipality.

Cogollo got the motivation to try landscaping as well after she attended a landscaping class together with her friends in Iloilo. Now, she doesn’t need to worry if the plants are not sold because she can use them for her landscaping projects. The income during the early days of the garden was R5000 per week, which eventually increased through the support of other gardeners and farmers from different regions.

A FLOWER ENTHUSIAST

Some of her first flowers were orchids, roses, petunias, and hydrangeas. Cogollo used to ask for orchids from her mother so she had something to put in her garden and fast forward to now, she’s the one giving and selling flowers and plants to others as her garden blossoms with thousands of them.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM AGRICULTUREView All

REMINDERS WHEN GETTING GOOD AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES CERTIFICATION FOR CORN FARMING

AS PER THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (DA), Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) is a set of guidelines to ensure safety and quality in fruit and vegetable production. A webinar series hosted by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) Central Luzon talks about these Good Agricultural Practices, particularly for corn farming.

4 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

FORMER SALES ASSOCIATE NOW RUNS HIS OWN SEEDLING BUSINESS WITHOUT OWNING LAND

AS OPPOSED to what many people think, one doesn’t have to buy a lot in order to start a farm business. Arnel Tandang, 50, operations manager and owner of AGT Seedlings Supply, proves that establishing an agricultural enterprise is possible even if you don’t own property.

4 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

SECOND TIME'S A CHARM: NORTH COTABATO FARMER FINDS PROFIT IN NATURAL FARMING

FARMING is one of the sources of income at Aleosan municipality, North Cotabato. Vicente S. Cornelio, Jr Tatay Sinon to friends, from Barangay Palacat is one such farmer.

5 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

PASSION FOR COFFEE LED A UK NATIONAL TO START A PLANTATION IN BATANGAS

COFFEE has become an important element in starting one’s day. A fresh cup can awaken the senses and help many face the day. Apart from this, the beverage has a wide range of flavors and aromas that people can change according to their preference. Still, the taste of pure, quality coffee can speak for itself even without sugar, cream, and other additions.

5 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

FARMING FAMILY TURNS COCONUT PLANTATION INTO THRIVING INTEGRATED FARM

THERE’S A SAYING THAT GOES, “the family that prays together stays together.” This can also be the same for the family who farms.

9 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

REVOLUTIONIZING PHILIPPINE FISH FARMING AQUACULTURE COMPANY GROWS TILAPIA IN INDOOR CONCRETE TANKS

WHEN ENGAGING IN BUSINESS, it pays to have a competitive edge or unique selling point to be able to rise above competitors in the market. These advantages can come in different forms such as products, services, and technology.

7 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

HOMEOWNER TURNS THEIR STORAGE AREA INTO A REFRESHING DINING AND GARDEN SPACE

A HOME holds a special place in Filipino culture. It’s both an area for personal relaxation as well as for entertaining guests.

2 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

TOUCHED BY THE SUN'S RAYS: BUKIDNON TRIBAL COOPERATIVE PRODUCES AWARD-WINNING COFFEE

THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF BUKIDNON have been growing coffee for a long time, but it wasn’t until 2017 that their efforts were recognized on an international scale.

4 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

A PRIMER ON FREE RANGE CHICKEN PRODUCTION AND MANAGEMENT PART 1: BREEDS AND HOUSING

CHICKENS are the main source of some dinner table essentials such as eggs and meat. To meet the large demand of products, most chicken farms breed their chickens indoors in wire cages or similar conditions to properly manage the layers or broilers.

4 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021

Farming In Times Of Pandemic

One of the most pleasant surprises of the pandemic is the sudden trend of urban gardening and backyard farming. The scarcity of some basic supplies, coupled with the “stay at home” policy has encouraged people to get interested in growing their own food.

4 mins read
Agriculture
March - April 2021