Golden Anniversary of Laurel , Batangas: Personalized Stamp Issued by PHLPOST

Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPOST ) Southern Luzon Area IV office recently launched the personalized stamps featuring the town’s historic and famous places of Laurel, Batangas province.

commemorative stamps ( selling price is Php 150 )

Golden Anniversary of Laurel

The town marked her golden anniversary or 50th anniversary of founding.

Laurel Mayor Randy James Amo led the launching of the personalized stamps together with Municipal Administrator Engr. Ciriaco Calinisan, PHLPost Batangas Cluster Supervisor Emlyn Ticzon, and Acting Postmaster of Laurel Batangas Melvin Calauag.

Also present during the launching were PHLPost Area 4 Chief of Marketing Section Nena Panganiban, assistant marketing specialist Christian Gio Cosa, and Eleuterio Castillo, Postmaster of Tanauan Post Office.

 Anniversary Theme

The stamps bear the theme, “Kalahating Siglo ng Paglalakbay Tungo Sa Pag-unlad at Tunay na Pagbabago… Laurel Bayan Ko, ANG GALING MO!”

Laurel was formerly known as Barrio Bayuyungan (“Bayong”) which means a native bag made from the leaves of buri palm.

PHLPost said the personalized stamps feature the beautiful sceneries, historical structures and places of the town of Laurel.

The stamps feature the old Municipal building of Laurel, Taal Volcano, Malagaslas Falls, and Ambon-ambon falls.

The stamps, first day cover are available in Manila Central Post Office at Liwasang Bonifacio.

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Pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Batangas

A visit or pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina or Pambansang Dambana at Parokya ni Santo Padre Pio in Santo Tomas, Batangas is incomplete whenever a group travel to the famed town.

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National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio signage

The tour was  arranged by Jotun ( Philippines)and United Architects of the Philippines ( UAP Makati chapter) as part of the cultural, heritage, environmental architectural tour of the town. This is my second time to visit this shrine.

History

The property sits on a 1.6-hectare agricultural land in Barangay San Pedro which is almost a kilometer away from Maharlika Highway, Santo Tomas, Batangas was donated the generous couple Mr. Ernesto and Adelaida Gonzaga to the Archdiocese of Lipa, where a new and larger church would be built. Dr. Isabel Malvar-Villegas donated a 200-square meter parcel of land that would be used as a right of way from the barangay road leading to the site.

mary-mother-of-mercy-bellfry

Mary Mother of Mercy belfry

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), on their semi-annual Plenary Assembly in 2015, unanimously approved the elevation of the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Padre Pio into a national shrine.

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welcome arch

We left Jotun Paint Plant at past 2:30 pm, in three vans. The group arrived past 3:00 pm at the National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio.

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National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio 

There were not so many pilgrims when the group arrived at the shrine and was escorted to a private parking area ( parking fees is Php 30).

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Schedule of Mass and Healing Service

stalls

commercial stalls

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Saint Padre Pio half size statues for sale and healing oil

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Saint Padre Pio statues made from fiber glass, fiber resins

There were several stalls which sells Saint Padre Pio statues in different sizes. Small one cost Php 150 each while larger one sells between Php 400 to Php 500.

ambulant-vendor

ambulant vendor

An ambulant vendor sells candles, rosaries and sampaguita garland

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rosaries, beads, bracelets and key chains for sale

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Saint Padre Pio statue with donation box- right side is the office and  religious store

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Saint John Marie Vianney chapel

dedication-marker

dedication marker

Most of the chapels and main church architecture was inspired by salakot ( native hat ) Using steel, bamboos, wood, adobe stones, stones, sasa (Nypa fruticans ) or nipa leaves, sawali panels /woven bamboo strips and cement.

man-made-forest

man-made forest

jackfruits

jackfruits

The rector and parish priest Joselin C. Gonda envisioned this concept for the main church, to have a place of worship and prayer that is distinctly Filipiniana, eco-friendly and adapted to the tropical climate of the site surrounded by  green environment.

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Asplenium nidus / Pakpak lawin or Bird’s nest fern adorn trees

interior

interiors

side-view-interiors

devotees

altar

main altar

There were driftwood, bamboo panels and stones which are some of the materials used in the lectern, altar and seats. Ornamental potted plants like variegated dracena, bromeliads were used as live floral arrangements.

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San Padre de Pio relic with love offering

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Santo Niño with petition or love offering

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San Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila

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life-size statues of religious saints

seats

wooden benches

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Divine Mercy Sanctuary for Pilgrims

There was an ongoing free religious concert at the Divine Mercy Sanctuary for Pilgrims.

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main entrance

The 4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy in the Philippines held on January 18, 2017 attended by thousands of participants and pilgrims from all over the country and other parts of the world was held at this chapel.

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interior

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Chapel of the Saints and Baptistry

Chapel of the Saints and Baptistry is located at the back of the main church. There are several improvements on the compound within the past few years. The relics were given by Ermelindo di Capua, OFMCap, the only surviving Italian Capuchin priest in 2013. Few years before he died.

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chapel

The chapel is the place where baptism is held. One can also pray silently in this area.

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different religious statues

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religious statues

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Saint Padre Pio painting and other religious statues

There were different kinds of religious statues within the chapel. Some were donated by devotees or parishes. Materials range from hard wood, soft wood, eskayola ( plaster of paris), fiber resin materials.

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Relic of the Holy Cross 

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relic

devotees

devotees

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wooden processional urna

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Santo Padre Pio Bukal ng Pag-Asa / Saint Padre Pio Fountain of Hope

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handkerchiefs, rosaries, prayer beads, padlocks are tied at the fence made from wire mesh

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votive candles, padlocak and bottle of holy water can be purchase at this store

candles

red and white candles for sale

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Holy Water Sanctuary

Holy Water Sanctuary is another place to visit, pilgrims can throw coins at the fountain area.  Water is not potable.

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pilgrims

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chapel of saint padre pio chapel of lights

One can light candles in one of these mini chapels located within the ground.

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station of cross

The stations of the cross are neatly landscaped with tropical ornamental plants and ferns.

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Platycerium coronarium

rosary

The area had several pocket gardens with manicured lawns and mini man-made forest.

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San Padre Pio rectory

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vicinity map

There is a useful guide for those first time visitors and pilgrims at the shrine.

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walkway with chapel of the holy cross and belfry

There is a gentle sloping walkway going down to the man-made forest area. There are a lot of flowering plants, shrubs, trees, orchids and ferns within the property.

orchids

orchids attached on driftwood

bellfry-area

lower portion of the belfry

local-kakanins

local delicacies

religious-stores

religious and souvenir stores

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Saint Padre Pio relics

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Saint Padre Pio relics

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UAP Makati chapter

The group had a meaningful, solemn pilgrimage at the shrine. We left the shrine at around past 4:00 pm, with some participants buying some native kakanins and souvenir items.  One can easily make this a part of the holy week retreat.

One can commute via several bus companies which ply the route going to Batangas province. One must leave early in Metro Manila and  travel time take at least 2 to 2 1/2 hours going to the shrine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UAP Makati Chapter Visits Jotun Paint Plant

United Architects of the Philippines ( Makati chapter) members and officers had visited the Jotun Paint Plant located 27 Millennium Drive, Light Industry and Science Park III Barangay Santa Anastacia, Santo Tomas, Batangas province.

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Jotun Paint Factory premises ( photo courtesy of Jotun FB page)

The group met in Makati- Greenbelt 1 between 6:30 am to 7:20 am. Traffic was surprisingly light in Makati and the van took the Skyway flyover which made our trip smooth and fast. The group manage to arrive shortly past 8:45 am.

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Jotun (Philippines ) Paint Plant

Jotun Paint Factory

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safety guidelines and security manual

Security protocol and details were tight. Everyone knows that there were chemical and combustible items within the premises. Our group had a short photo opportunity and briefing was held at the administration building.

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briefing area- administration/ canteen area

UAP- Makati Chapter Presidents

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The plant tour were attended by former presidents Architect Nanette Segovia, Architect Ludy Gonzales, Architect Victor Limdico, Architect Architect Miko Carandang and the current president Architect Klari Limdico.

Jotun Company Profile

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administration building and water tower

Jotun is a Norwegian multinational privately owned paint company incorporated in 1926. Today it has established 40 production facilities, 63 companies and represented in over 100 countries across all continents. Jotun is ranked number 9 among the leading paint companies in the world. The company also hires 9,800 employees from all over the world.

jotun-introduction

Mr. Roberto Alonzo ( marketing )

Jotun (Philippines) employees, marketing and administration manager were on hand to personally welcome the group. The canteen/ briefing area had been decorated with festive buntings reflecting the fiesta culture of the province.

jotun-customers

list of some local companies which Jotun had projects/ customers

In the Philippines, it started through an agent in 1987 then became a branch office of Singapore operation in 2004. Jotun Philippines Inc. became fully operational in 2011 with offices in Sucat, Parañaque and in Mandaue, Cebu.

jotun-certificate

certificate of recognition, appreciation and awards

In 2013, it made a bold decision to invest in a local production. In 2017 , the company opened its paint plant / factory in Batangas. Currently they also have 11 dealers of their paint nationwide.

jotun-colors

Corporate Responsibility and Logo

jotun-penguin

 Penguin is a unique symbol for Jotun

The company ‘s logo had the same look used all over the world. The Penguin expresses the Jotun values: Loyalty, Care, Respect and Boldness.  It also expresses typical Jotun employees must embodied as: Cheer, Working, Inviting and Happy.

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location map ( Jotun Philippines) 

The factory sits on a 7 hectares property, but only 2 hectares are fully utilized.

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product familiarization and demonstration

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Jotun -Jota Shield Anti fade paint which can reduces surface temperature up to 5 degrees Celsius

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surface temperature testing device

saftey

safety signage

Safety and security were up to international levels. The company products had several international certification.

lunch

seafood sinigang, fried bangus

We got seafood sinigang, fried bangus, chicken inasal, fresh tomato, eggplant ensalada with bagoong, dinuguan and lechon with sauce ( Batangas style) with pineapple juice for lunch.

lechon

lechon, dinuguan and lechon sauce

Local Games / Palaro

pabitin

pabitin

participants enjoyed the pabitin with lots of goodies are tied on a suspended bamboo frame  with lots of chocolates, candies and portable car usb charger as prizes.

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hampas palayok

Architect Chris Aquino is blindfolded and was able to hit the traditional earthen clay pot called palayok which is  filled with goodies ( gummy candies,chocolates and kitkat ) the game is popular across the archipelago and is similar to Mexico’s piñata.

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UAP-Makati chapter

UAP -Makati chapter officers and members pose for a souvenir shot, Mount Makiling serves as a backdrop for the group.

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painting

Some of the participants were able to test their paints and learned some interesting tips on how to paint a wall surface.

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UAP Makati chapter -group photo

The group enjoyed the plant tour, trivia games, food, product selection and traditional games prepared by Jotun Philippines.

Note: I would to “Thank” Architect Miko Carandang, Architect Klari Limdico members of UAP Makati Chapter and Jotun Philippines for the warm hospitality and accommodation.

 

A Visit to DV Boer Farm : A Community Based Partnership

Mr. Dexter A. Villamin was a former OFW based in Thailand . His trail , hardship and lack of education did not deter him from reaching his ultimate success in the field of agri-entrepreneur .

Mr. Dexter A. Villamin and wife 

Hence the name DV Boer Farm was conceptualized . The number of people’s participation to  “Pa-Iwi System” taking care of one’s livestock which is a common practice in Southern Luzon provinces of Laguna , Batangas and Quezon . Unlike the usual pa-iwi system which relies on pure luck and honesty system .

DVBoer Farm 

Methodology 

This methodology were simple using an old system and integrating a new one ( which is already testing in many countries)  some features like livestock insurance. Currently the members  kept on increasing (following the series of seminars abroad aside from the occasionally scheduled on-line seminars or webinar). Hence, to accommodate the influx, DV Boer Farm had expanded by way of establishing satellite farms or sub-farms , Now they have farms located in Pangasinan which had a combined area of about 40 hectares and in Sorsogon province.

Lian , Batangas 

Lian is just a few minutes away from the beaches of Nasugbu and its rustic beauty and picturesque view of the surrounding agricultural areas are worthy place to visit, especially those who are keen in setting -up a new farm model  or just simple relaxation .

large nipa hut which can accommodate guests for overnight stay complete with modern day amenities like air-conditioned rooms and an area for meeting place or dining area which can accommodate between 30 to 50 people .

buffet table

The farm is self sustaining , they have a lot of homegrown vegetables . While the nearby mango orchard were also well taken cared -off .  Another nice feature about this farm is that they are also gearing-up for farm tourism potential .

suckling pig

Our group were treated to a lunch buffet which consists of rice, grilled pork liempo , kalderetang kabing , sinampalukang manok , sinigang na sabaw , grilled fish ( caught from the nearby Nasugbu area) suckling lechon with their own version of  sauce cooked Balayan /Lian style and their buko salad.

grilled fish and pork liempo 

The place had a nice topography , landscape features, magnificent views and farm life. They are also planning to add more nipa huts to accommodate the influx of local and well as foreign tourists. There was also some instances that their farm was also

Boer Goats

Boer goat is a breed of goat that was developed in South Africa in the early 1900s for meat production. Their name is derived from the Afrikaan ( Dutch ) word “boer”, meaning farmer. Boer goats are a popular breed for meat . The breed is carefully breed  with the local goats to achieve higher yielding meat . There is a growing need for goats in the country , in which local backyard growers cannot supply the market . That is “why” the price of goat meat is still relatively expensive .

Aside from goats, there are also sheep, cattle, pigs , different breeds of chicken ( heritage breeds) turkey, horses , and ostrich.

cattle

Unlike other farms, the animals are well-taken cared off , There are about 80 to 130 farm employees , which also provide  income opportunities to Filipinos . The farm also conducts a regular monthly seminars and training for those interested with their project.

group photo with media groups 

Community Partnership 

For those who are interested with their program and would like to replicate their Pa-Iwi system , one can try to reach them via at their FaceBook: Dv Boer Farm .

Websitehttp://www.dvboerfarm.com/

Address: Poblacion 1, Barangay Balibago , Lian , Batangas province.

Cellphone ( 0917-208-9388) / 9255323186

 

 

 

 

BAHAY BUFFET Exciting Farm Tour and Buffet Meal at MOCA Farm

Barangay Castillo ,Padre Garcia , Batangas province- Philippines

MOCA Farm buffet meal

BAHAY BUFFET  is a new out of the box concept  offering buffet meals .The word bahay ( house )  is capitalized to mean: Buffet At Home is Always Yummy. This new venture aims to introduce consumers to up-and-coming hole in the wall eateries, small farms, family style -resort , micro-entrepreneurs and other stake holders in the food industry.

opuntia cactus with minimal spines

We met at around past 8:00am at Hotel Intercontinental , Makati city and traveled more than 2 hours to MOCA Farm in Padre Garcia, Batangas province. We arrived past 11:30am .

The town of Padre Garcia is known for their several farms which are family owned , while some are owned by large and multi-national companies.

zinnias in bloom

We were treated with some late morning breakfast meal and (Kapeng barako/ baraco ) Batangas style brew which used Liberica coffee beans as the main ingredient.

Creamy Kalabasa Soup with Malunggay Flakes

Creamy Kalabasa Soup with Malunggay Flakes, MoCa Farm Seasonal Garden Salad ( which consists of (  alugbati leaves , fresh pineapple , katuray/ katurai -Sesbania grandiflora  and blue tertanea flowers  ) Clitoria ternatea. 

Basella rubra  is known as Malabar spinach, Indian spinach , Vine spinach  Alugbati ( Bisaya ) Grana ( Tagalog ) Arogbati / Arugbati ( Bicol )

Zesty Santol with Pork in Coconut Milk and Chillies \

  Cotton fruit or more popularly known as Santol  Sandoricum koetjape  ) in the Philippines. It is a seasonal fruit which ripen around April, May and June depending on the locality.

I have tasted similar santol recipes when we went to Quezon ( less spicy ) , Laguna ( less spicy ) and Bicol region.

There is a souvenir store where one can buy fresh produce and preserve chilli oil

The owner is from Bicol region ( Albay province )  Her recipe is authentic and very similar to Bicol express ( with the use of santol pulp, siling pansigang , pork  topped with finger chillies) . While the one that i have tasted in Quezon  and Laguna uses santol pulp , little ground pork / shredded fish ( tilapia ) and grounded black pepper with little or no chillies. It is a good way to use santol for cooking , since whenever there is an over supply of santol  fruit, prices tend to goes down and there are a lot of fruits that are gone to waste.

group photo Ms. Maria  Louisen Manuel, KM Sevilla, Edong Reyes and kuya Dodong-Edong’s driver, and Mr. Roman B. Mawis Jr. and Mrs. Dawn Bolus Mawis

Native Suckling Pig Lechon, Pinaputukang Tilapia  (stuffed with finely chopped onion , tomatoes)  wrapped in Galangal leaves, and Sapin Sapin Rice ( Tri-colored Rice )

Clitoria ternatea

Clitoria ternatea, common names including butterfly pea, blue pea,blue ternatea , Cordofan pea . ) This is popular among Southeast Asian countries as ornamental plant and it is being used as coloring for foods, juice , salads, and had been known for centuries as a memory enhancer, nootropic, antistress, anxiolytic and herbal remedies.

sapin-sapin or tri-colored rice

The tri-colored rice was made  from ordinary rice,  extract from luyang dilaw and blue colored rice extract  from blue ternatea

Hubad na Lumpiang Saging

This is a different style of lumpia /lunpia – Unlike others, this is presented using saba banana cooked in syrup and the wrapper is toasted / fried

Ms. Gigi Morris with her famed Santol Juice and Bignay Cider

The host for this month’s buffet meal and farm tour is MOCA FARM , a 1 hectare  family owned and managed farm which used to be an Indian mango orchard before Ms. Gigi Morris slowly converted the farm into what we see today. The farm is brightly decorated with sunflower tablecloth reflecting the sunny personality by the gracious host.

The farm is very quaint and had a charming atmosphere which can accommodate up to 50 person at a given time. ( appointment must be made weeks in advance)

The area is now slowly recovering from the onslaught of Typhoon Rammasun ( Bagyong Glenda) which struck the Southern Luzon provinces  only last year 2014. Trees that were toppled down during the typhoon were carefully festooned with flowering plants or designed into wooden chairs.

Tamales with sunflower syrup

 We were served with a late breakfast meal – Tamales ( Padre Garcia version ) with dried coconut latik and syrup made from sunflower seeds !  I have tasted different Tamales from different provinces  and this tamales had no stuffing like meat , shrimps and eggs .  It is made from sticky rice grounded  ( galapong ) and wrapped in banana leaves.

tamales wrapped in banana leaves

This is a different style and squarish .The coconut latik and syrup made from sunflower seeds made it quite different . This native delicacy had gradually evolved thru centuries from the original Tamales from Mexico.

There were also different kinds of coffee beans – Liberica ( bigger seed granules) –Excelsa , Robusta

Geodorum densiflorum

Geodorum densifolium is a common terrestrial orchid found in many areas of the country. I was able to spot a living orchid with seed capsules  I told the owner about the status so that they will not pull them off the growing area.

native pigs

The farm had native chickens, native pigs, Chinese silkie chickens, rabbits , vegetables , fruits and large Indian mangoes.

Chinese silkie chickens

After the hearty meal and a short farm tour. We left the farm around past 3:00PM on our way to the next venue place. I would definitely invite friends and tourists to the event hosted by Bahay Buffet and MOCA Farm .

BAHAY BUFFET facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bahaybuffet

MOCA Farm: http://www.mocafarm.com/

MOCA Farm Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/MoCa-Farm/144927215529014