Costales is the son of Ronald and Josie Costales, the couple behind Costales Nature Farms, the first recognized agri-tourism site in the Philippines. Now 29, Costales admits that he considered working in other industries with the hope of earning money. However, he realized that he actually didn’t need to venture far to work in a job he loved and earn from it, too. “In agriculture, you produce food. Food is a necessity, and if your product is a necessity, the demand is always high, if the demand is high, that should earn more right?” he says.
He focused on learning the technical aspects of farming, as well as the intricacies of running a successful business. After graduating from college in 2011, he immediately began working on the family farm, which just started operations and was supplying vegetables to several restaurants in Manila. “Working alongside my mentor and my dad and the rest of my family is the best motivation I could get to be in this industry. Having your family support you really is one of the defining factors of success,” he says.
COSTALES NATURE FARMS
Costales Nature Farms was first featured in Agriculture magazine in 2015. It has kept its reputation as one of the most popular farm tourism sites in the country.
“(This was) thanks to the efforts of my late father Mr. Ronald Costales, who was also called the ´father of farm tourism in the Philippines.´ We are the first farm tourism destination in the Philippines. But to stay relevant after all those years since 2012, I would have to say that our ´secret sauce´ is our harmonious partnership with our regional Department of Tourism. With exemplary leadership, the DOT region 4-A have promoted us, assisted us and provided us with support in multiple ways,” Costales says.
“Aside from the government’s support, It is also important to keep track of trends, techniques and best practices. The perfect balance and implementation of these aspects would certainly alleviate any farm tourism destination.”
Another reason the farm has stayed on top of its game is because it places importance on expanding to suit its and its clients’ needs. Before the pandemic, the farm constructed a 300 sq.m. convention hall where it conducts training and seminars and holds special events. They acquired additional land to serve as parking space and a second entrance for buses, as their original entrance was too narrow. “All to support our growing tourism demand and influx of guests,” Costales says.
Alongside this, they expanded their farm tourism offerings to cater to different tourist types. “Whether you are a nature lover, athletic, chill, thrill seeker, adventurous, etc., we have tour packages for you,” he adds. Of course, they haven’t neglected what got them started in the first place: growing vegetables. “On the production side, the type of vegetables or crops are mostly the same, but the difference between then and now is the size. We have acquired an additional two hectares of production area due to an increase of demand,” Costales says.
FROM FARMER TO INFLUENCER
Costales is the man behind the YouTube channel The Agrillenial, where he talks about running a farm as a business. Videos include planting tips, how to make natural concoctions and fertilizers, and how to care for livestock.
He says that it was mainly frustration that made him decide to become a vlogger. Other reasons include, “the lack of quality instructional content on the agriculture industry, motivation for would-be farmers and inspiration for the younger generation (Millennials and Gen Z) to go into farming.”
He expounds: “I was frustrated due to the lack of free and high quality content on the internet that focuses on agriculture that is based in the Philippines. Whenever I want to learn something, research something, looking up anything agri-related, the ones that would pop up first are technologies from the states or from Europe. I don’t mean to discredit them but their technology is not applicable to us (mostly). So where are the great minds of the Philippine agriculture? And even if I do find an article in the Philippine setting, it would be too complicated and too technical that a simple farmer wouldn’t understand. I was fed up and I have to do something about this.”
In short, he took one of Costales Nature Farms’ greatest strengths, that of finding a problem and turning it into an opportunity, and applied it to information and social media. “I saw the need for these kinds of content so took up the challenge and started my channel on youtube. My approach would be a young millennial guy talking and teaching about farming techniques and technologies in Tagalog so that our marginalized farmers would be able to absorb what I am talking about, at the same time, motivating and inspiring other startups and younger generations to take up farming. Basically I am repackaging and reframing agriculture and giving it a ‘sexier’ look.”
He defines what he means by “agrillenial:” “By my definition, agrillenial refers to a person who belongs to the millennial generation or in general terms, the youth, who are involved or engaged in agriculture. Given that term, which is a mass noun, I want to be recognized as ‘the,’ as in the first, the one and only and the original agrillenial. Aside from that, it is (also) part of my repackaging and reframing techniques to give farming a new, cooler look.”
Created on July 31, 2019, the channel currently has 89,300 subscribers and is the fifth title to appear on YouTube when searching for the term “agri.” “It was an amazing growth. I cannot believe it myself. I am blown away at how this thing got big so fast,” he says.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.