IT STARTED with a dream.
Victoria Sandidge vividly recalls how it all began as she looks back with fondness on how a budding business she started about 15 years ago into the thriving entrepreneurial venture it is today.
She owns and manages the Bohol Bee Farm Resort, a booming eco-tourism destination ensconced in a wooded coastal enclave that not only offers the idyllic look and feel of tropical countryside living but also provides the kind of service that lends itself to organic, sustainable lifestyles and work environments.
Located on Panglao Island, Bohol, the approximately six-hectare nature-inspired hideaway takes pride in its rural charm accented by a tree-covered landscape; niparoofed, wood-and-concrete-walled chalets; and a majestic seaside cliff along the south periphery of the resort premises. Down the rugged perch of the cliff sits a rustic restaurant inviting visitors and guests to indulge in the unique taste of its healthy green cuisine against the backdrop of breathtaking vista of Panglao’s pristine waters.
A DREAM FULFILLED
Sandidge is a nurse who made good money in the United States. Once a little girl who dreamed about the joys of living a bucolic life in her sleepy village in Panglao, she spent 40 years immersed in what she thought were the “grander” pursuits in life, nearly burying her original dream.
Realizing, however, that material fortune was not all there was to life, she decided to return to the Philippines, against the protests of many, including her parents. “I came back because I still believe that, in our own country, we can still do something. We have to start believing. This is the way to go,” says Sandidge, who took her two children—then 12 and 10 years old—with her when she flew back to the country.
She started small at the farm in 2002, with a restaurant in a canopied cottage and a modest two-room vacation inn manned by only four workers. An organic gardening hobbyist, she used the eatery to showcase the recipes for her organic spreads, pastries, delicacies, and other food items she made from the produce of her organic garden.
As the business grew over the years, many new organic food items, along with other homemade commodities, were produced to give customers a wider array of products to choose from. Soon, she needed to increase the production volume of goods as well as to ensure proper preservation and packaging of food products to extend their shelf life to address the growing consumer demand for them.
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