FAMILY FARM IS ALSO A TREE SANCTUARY AND A HOME FOR RESCUED TAAL HORSES
Agriculture|November - December 2020
SOMETIMES, a farm isn’t just a place where crops grow. Sometimes, it can be a place of conservation and rejuvenation.
YVETTE TAN

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 MANGOES

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

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
RELATED STORIES

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.

6 mins read
Ocean Navigator
September - October 2020

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

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
August 10, 2020

IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS

Go slowly, look closely, and killer nudi shots could be your reward

3 mins read
Scuba Diving
July 2020

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.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
May 29, 2020

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.

1 min read
Flight Journal
June 2020

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.

3 mins read
Rock&Gem Magazine
March 2020

Family Camping

Make a Family Vision Board for the New Year

5 mins read
St Johns Parent
January 2020

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.

2 mins read
Faces - The Magazine of People, Places and Cultures for Kids
October 2019

She Tried To Smuggle A Baby In Her Baggage!

AMERICAN FACING LIFE IN PHILIPPINE PRISON OVER ADOPTION SCANDAL.

1 min read
National Enquirer
September 30, 2019

El mundo en 5 sabores

Sonoma, rutas culinarias. Manila, delicias agrias. Bayona, el arte de hacer chocolate. Papas fritas alrededor del mundo. Colombia, el poder del café.

7 mins read
National Geographic Traveler en Español
Abril 2019