Artana Farm & Eco-Sanctuary is one such place. Located in Iba, Zambales, Artana is a family-owned, non-commercial agricultural estate that includes various planted crops, farm animals, a guesthouse for rent, an area dedicated to the preservation of native trees, and various farm tourism activities.
“Artana is a portmanteau of our parents’ names, Arturo and Ana Achacoso,” says Beng Achacoso-Pascua, freelance voice talent and retired network executive who owns the farm together with her mom and seven siblings.
“All our lives, we had always referred to our farm as ‘Zambales,’” she says. In 2014, after our father passed on, my seven siblings and I came together to vote on an appropriate name for our farm-which we all acknowledged as the retreat we all loved, and our parents’ legacy.”
At that time, the farm had been in a state of neglect as the Achacoso patriarch had been in and out of the hospital since 2008. The siblings decided that reviving the farm would stand as a “collective tribute to our parents, who both instilled in us a profound love for nature, conservation, stewardship and sustainability.”
The farm, which is situated right by the Calauangan river, a tributary that opens out to the West Philippine Sea, has been in the Achacoso family since the early 1900s.
“It started as a small but prolific riverside farm lot developed by my great-grandparents, Pelagio Achacoso and Jesusa Morales,” Achacoso-Pascua says. “The river was well known to the locals as very fertile fishing grounds. In fact, barangay folks, up until the early 2000s, had no reservations about [unlawfully] entering the property to access the river. This property was bequeathed to my grandfather Exequiel, passed on to an uncle, and sold from brother to brother until my father Arturo bought it, along with two adjacent properties that included fish ponds.”
The current combined farm area is about seven hectares. “The farm has been in our family for almost 40 years, but was only in the last eight years that our generation started hands-on agricultural experiments with various crops to determine feasibilities and best fits for our respective spaces’ natural features,” Achacoso-Pascua says.
Zambales is known as one of the best mango producing provinces in the country. Artana is known for its mangoes, which have been harvested annually for the past 20 years.
“There are about 200 mango trees, but only about 60% are fruit-bearing so far. These are sprayed alternately, yielding about 150250 crates of Damulag and Pico mangoes once or twice yearly,” Achacoso-Pascua says. “At 24 kilos per crate, that’s 4000-6000 kilos [per harvest].”
Since all the Achacoso siblings are Manila-based, they rely on a third party to handle the mango trees from start to finish—” that is, from the first nutrient spraying, and all the way to the post-harvest cleanup.”
“Because we are Manila-based, having a third party handle our precious harvest has been the most convenient for us, though certainly far from ideal. All expenses for fertilizers and pesticides are shouldered by the chosen partner team, and they receive 70% of the yield. We only receive 30% of our harvest, which is easily distributed to our friends and family who anticipate the Artana mangoes year after year, many of whom have standing reservations and commitments to purchase,” she explains.
“In the near future, when one of us is ready to stay at the farm permanently, then we can consider taking on the mango venture entirely upon us. For now, we are glad to have finally found a trustworthy local team to partner with.”
The family’s share is brought to Manila, where they are segregated according to size and sold for between P160-200 a kilo. “The Zambales mango season, mid-March to mid-May, coincides with all other provinces’ mango harvests and there is always an abundance of mangoes to choose from, with prices ranging from Php66 to P250/kilo,” Achacoso-Pascua says.
“Luckily, the reputation of Zambales mangoes precedes us, and we are usually able to fetch a premium price for our mango harvest from Artana. The sweetest mangoes in the world, after all, according to the 1995 edition of the Guinness book of world records, are the Carabao mangoes grown in Zambales, beating Guimaras and Ilocos Region mangoes.
“Further, in 2003, a comparative study conducted by the Bureau of Agricultural Research of the Department of Agriculture found that the Sweet Elena variety of Zambales is the sweetest Carabao mango strain. This is one of the varieties of carabao mangoes we have at Artana Farm,” she adds.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
HOW NOT TO OVERPAY FOR YOUR PLANT BABY
FARMING FAMILY LIVES THEIR LIVES AROUND NATURE AND AGRICULTURE
THE PHILIPPINES used to be largely agricultural, with most couples raising their family in the fields. Nowadays, it’s the opposite, with many families opting to live in towns and cities. The Hospitals are backing this trend, however, choosing to live as close to the land as possible, be it in a bahay kubo in Taguig, or in the field of whatever province their work takes them to.
DISPLACED EVENTS PROFESSIONAL TURNS TO FARMING AFTER THE CLOSURE OF HIS BUSINESS
SINCE COVID-19 has put face-to-face gatherings to a halt, the events industry has continuously been suffering from the effects of the crisis, adding to the rising unemployment rate in the country.
GRADE THREE TEACHER IS ALSO A WEEKEND FARMER WHO EARNS FROM GROWING PINEAPPLES
THE ENVIRONMENT AND EXPERIENCES that we are exposed to are commonly where our passion and interests rise from.
FAMILY FARM IS ALSO A TREE SANCTUARY AND A HOME FOR RESCUED TAAL HORSES
SOMETIMES, a farm isn’t just a place where crops grow. Sometimes, it can be a place of conservation and rejuvenation.
ORCHARD IN WESTERN MINDANAO GROWS FIGS AND OTHER EXOTIC FRUIT-BEARING TREES
FIGS IN THE PHILIPPINES
BUSINESSMAN BUILT AN URBAN FARM BY UPCYCLING OVER 1000 PLASTIC BOTTLES
PERMACULTURIST SHARES SPACE-SAVING TIPS FOR A SMALL GARDEN
SMALL SPACE GARDENING
EASY RECIPE FOR SAUERKRAUT
FERMENTATION is the process of converting carbohydrates into alcohol or organic acids with the use of microorganisms, such as yeast and bacteria, in unaerated conditions. This is used in creating wine, cheese, and more.
AIRLINE PROFESSIONAL TURNED HER PARENTS' IDLE LAND INTO A FARM TOURISM DESTINATION
FARMING has always been a lifelong dream for many Filipinos because of the Philippines’ background as an agricultural country. That is why from a young age to twilight years, people have dreamed of living on or owning a farm where they can grow fresh produce and enjoy nature while earning a good income.
10 tools cruising sailors bring to the stay-at-home table
On March 19, as Jon and I finished setting the hook in Corong Corong Bay, Palawan, we were approached by the Philippine coast guard and told to leave. The enhanced community quarantine was newly in effect, and we were unwelcome.
THE COLA CONTEST WITH 600,000 WINNERS
DECADES AGO, PEPSI’S NUMBER FEVER PROMOTION CAPTIVATED CONSUMERS AND PROMISED TO END COKE’S DOMINANCE IN THE PHILIPPINES. BUT AN ERROR AT A BOTTLING PLANT LED TO DISASTER
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS
Go slowly, look closely, and killer nudi shots could be your reward
CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC CLAIMS ANOTHER VICTIM: ROBOCALLS
Have you been missing something amid the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders? No, not human contact. Not even toilet paper.
A good landing is one you can walk away from
No, this is not a scene from any movie where the hero staggers away from a “good landing” on Mindoro, Philippine Islands, after being shot down by a Japanese Zero; it is an actual photo of Lt. S. F. Ford walking away from a virtually new Lockheed P-38L-5-LO Lightning that he crash-landed, probably some time after January 1945.
The Philippines Faces Fiery Volcano Eruption as Year Begins
Shortly after the New Year began, on January 12, the 1,020-foot high Taal Volcano near the Philippine capital of Manila let loose.
Make a Family Vision Board for the New Year
The Chocolate Hills of Bohol
Wait, did you say, “Chocolate Hills?!” If you have mouth-watering images of mounds of chocolate ready to be munched, your taste buds will be sorely disappointed.
The Friendly Fighter
Mighty Mouse, otherwise known as the record-breaking MMA champion Demetrious Johnson, drops in for a chat with us.
She Tried To Smuggle A Baby In Her Baggage!
AMERICAN FACING LIFE IN PHILIPPINE PRISON OVER ADOPTION SCANDAL.