ALista’s Rancho Domingo’s scenic vistas
By Anthony A. Araos
Are there really ranches in the upland Cordillera province of Ifugao? I keep on telling my friends in Metro Manila and abroad the answer to this query is in the negative. I’m not aware of one in existence until a few months back.
So, there is one and it is located in the predominantly farming town of Alfonso Lista. Yes, there is Rancho Domingo out there in Barangay Namillangan. Obviously, it is a major attraction of a town more commonly called ALista by many. Well, it’s a mere abbreviation or a shortcut of Alfonso Lista. But that’s another story to be unfolded in the near future.
Rancho Domingo is an extraordinary place for local and foreign tourists to visit in the remaining months of this year and beyond. It is owned by Jesus Domingo, a regional organic farming (in the cattle category) awardee of the Department of Agriculture. Thus, there is no need to question why the ranch is well-planned and well-designed to raise cows. It is even so timely to visit Rancho Domingo at a time the Philippines is embroiled with the dreaded African Swine Fever (ASF). The message, to my mind, is to go for corned beef or beef steak. Until everything else on the pig problem has been fully settled by health and agriculture officials, the time to eat pork barbecue is at a standstill.
Rancho Domingo truly provides scenic vistas. The list of other wonders and benefits of the ranch is long and seemingly endless.
Rancho Domingo and the town of Alfonso Lista itself are very accessible to travelers. Alfonso Lista is nearly an hour away from Santiago City in Isabela.
Rancho Domingo certainly offers a rare opportunity for visitors to experience a unspoiled surrounding that genuinely represent the tales of the people living in the past and present. In a couple of hours, one make a forecast of the future of the agriculture sector out here and the officialdom’s handling of the sector’s direction.
Chances are there are but a few ranches in Ifugao and so it leaves me nothing but to recommend Rancho Domingo for tourists to consider for a visit this coming Christmas season. I can’t help asserting that Rancho Domingo has all what it takes to attract high-end tourists from Europe and North America.
Each time Councilor James Talib plunges himself into a political battle, he is fully aware that the challenges are enormous. Interestingly, he comes out each time a winner.
In Kiangan, where 11,671 voters live, Councilor Talib has a strong political base. At the Sangguniang Bayan, he is working hard to ensure that the young, women and farmers are well protected.
Talib was elected recently as vice president of the Philippine Councilors League (PCL)-Ifugao Chapter. Surely, he deserved the position. The vote and strong support of his colleagues from the 11 towns indeed showed that they backed his commitment to push for transformative leadership among the so-called “Young Turks.”
It is hoped that Councilor Talib shall now pursue with vigor the plan of putting up the PCL Legislators Academy campus or branch in Ifugao. I’m also praying that he also endeavors in the field of attracting investors to the province. There are number of trade and investment opportunities that Ifugao can offer to businessmen from other provinces in the Philippines and even from other countries.
Reaching out to businessmen and investors outside means formulating an innovarive strategy to aggressively market Ifugao as a destination for investments and ultimately solve lingering problems on poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment.
The problems of those who are in the agriculture sector are still one too many. One such problem is on credit. Access to credit among farmers and fisher folk is extremely difficult. For instance, in 2014 the Land Bank of the Philippines provided only 6 percent of its PhP386-billion loanable fund to this mandated sector. That is simply unthinkable and horrible, to say the least. Urgent steps should be taken by Congress to allow Landbank to extend significantly more of its funds. Well, the government should even subsidize farmers and fisher folk. It is the primary duty of the government to help those who are feeding the nation.
Agriculture employs 27 percent of the Philippine labor force. Farmers also comprise a large chunk of the 25 percent of Filipinos who live on $1.30 (PhP64) a day or less. These are facts and subsidies to farmers and fisher folk, therefore, are desirable in order to strengthen the agriculture sector.
A huge part of the expenses of farmers comes from the purchase of fertilizers. There are other expenses to worry about. If farmers are engaged in three cropping a year, they are in essence burdened by high production costs throughout the year. Farmers would each earn only $468 (PhP24,336) a year.
Believe it or not: farmers and fisher folk themselves are buying their rice and fish, respectively, for their families at the table. In other words, they are also consumers. Unbelievably, they are also victims of hunger. To be freed from hunger, congressional leaders should ensure that they are adequately protected at all times. Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives should listen to their legitimate grievances. Act on these recommendations post-haste!
All these, factors truly make a huge difference, as I always quick to point out in my meetings with farmers’ organizations and officials.
So, I said many times in the past it was just a no-brainer to attract the young into farming.
This is a situation that is very familiar to many in the Department of Agriculture (DA) and even in Municipal Agriculture Offices in the country. Pronouncements from top DA officials to show empathy for stakeholders in the agriculture sector are admirable. But in all cases, these officials are better off extending actual and sufficient support to impoverished farmers and fisher folk.
ITTAG Transport Service Cooperative has a new van terminal in Baguio City. It is conveniently located at Il-Ilengan Café at Rimando Road. It is just beside Baliwag Lechon Manok. If you still can’t find it, the terminal is in front of the ABCR Barangay Hall. ITTAG Transport Service Cooperative offers daily trips from Baguio to Lagawe and Baguio to Banaue, and vice versa. First trip is at 7:30 a.m. and the last one is at 7:30 p.m. Drivers are friendly and courteous. Most of its vans make a meal stopover at Bokod, Benguet.
Blooper in Ifugao: It doesn’t take long to understand what’s wrong somewhere with these folks. Following the announcement of the van driver that he was opening the air-conditioned unit, an elderly woman said: “No, I just want the window opened. I want ‘fresh air.’ She prevailed. Ten minutes into a heavy traffic along the road enroute to Banaue from Baguio, she and the other passengers were coughing. Black fumes from a nearby vehicle made their way to the windows of the van. I hope you would say that is an isolated case. No, it is almost a daily occurrence. But the test of nerves just gets tougher with these incredibly hard-headed people.
For our food delights corner: This time I’m going for a delightful meal of adobong talong (eggplant), java rice, fried bangus (milkfish) and white beans with squash flowers soup for another memorable dinner.
As its main item at the table, make sure the following ingredients for the adobong talong are around: soy, onions, garlic, salt, sugar and vinegar. Go get freshly-picked medium-sized eggplants. Buy pesticides-free eggplants from your supermarket. Mind you, this meal is great during the rainy season.
For appetizers and dessert: Caramel sundae, chocolate cake and this time around honey lemon iced tea. Make it an extra special meal treat for the family or loved ones by also having a plate of onion rings. What a yummy dinner and unforgettable treat for them just a few months before Christmas day. Don’t forget to pray for all these blessings and more to come.
Congratulations to the organizers of the just-concluded ALista Mini-Food Fair held at the municipal covered court gymnasium. The activity showcased the best cuisines of the town. Mayor Edralin Alipio should be lauded for the conduct of this highly-successful endeavor. It was the first-ever event of such kind. Therefore, I see the pressing need to conduct more of these in the coming months or so.
Alfonso Lista is a third-class municipality in the second geographical district of Ifugao. It is even more progressive than the capital town Lagawe. I am just wondering why there is no cooperative for the municipal government employees. Thus, these personnel are being deprived of the benefits a cooperative may give.
A cooperative serves as a tool in improving the lives of its members. Most of them are living below the poverty line. Over the years, the quality of lives of its members has been uplifted through the various services offered by cooperatives. Take for example LMDC, IPSMPC and LAGSADECO among others.
It is high time for Alfonso Lista municipal government employees to find time and create an opportunity to form their cooperative to advance the goal of upgrading their conditions. To my mind, the best time to make the first move is this month. Considering that October is no less than the Cooperative Month. It’s as simple as that.
Did you know? Organic lemons are also raised in certain towns of Ifugao as well as in Baguio City, Benguet and some other towns in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). A friend of mine in Mayoyao has been selling lemons for quite some time. Currently, his organically-raised lemons are selling at PhP40 a kilo. Another friend is doing well with her business solely focused on lemonades. Lemon juice is full of minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin C, which helps strengthen your immune system. It also helps digestion and mineral absorption and aids weight loss. Take my word, lemonades are better than beer.
Finally, here are some thoughts for our readers: “A truly beautiful woman is always good to others and to people in general. She rejects rivalry, intrigue and dirty tricks.” American actress Sharon Stone
“An excellent plumber is infinitely more valuable than an incompetent philosopher. The society which scores good plumbing in plumbing because it is a humble activity, and tolerates shadiness in philosophy because it is an excellent activity will have neither good plumbing nor good, neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water,” Former U.S. secretary of health, education and welfare John Garner**