A Love Story That Gave Birth to Alomah's Place -- an Organic Farm in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon



Fifty kilometers away from Cagayan de Oro and two kilometers from Dahilayan Adventure Park lies a two-hectare farm called Alomah's Place. This beautiful property combines its owners' surnames: Grace Alombro (her maiden name) and Benjohn Mahistrado, a couple who acquired their land through years of sheer grit and hard work. 

Alomah's Place -- a must-see destination in Bukidnon
Grace quipped that Alomah can also stand for A Love of Mountains and Horses, which applies to everyone in their family. 

OA Bloggers with the Mahistrados
photo credit: Juan Manila
The Mahistrados warmly welcomed our group of Organic Agriculture Bloggers when we arrived there late in the afternoon of May 24th. It started raining at the time so we didn't get to explore the surroundings yet. 

Alomah's camping grounds
What excited us though was finding out we could still go "camping" on the tent floor (yes, not tenth) as the ground was too wet for us to sleep in the tents outside.

yes! we still got to sleep in tents!
Before dinner time, we heard their story and admired them for being able to develop Alomah to what it is today. They told us how they got married right after college and accepted work in other farms where they diligently saved their earnings.

beautiful rows of organic bokchoi
In 2008, the Mahistrados were finally able to buy their own property and chose to cultivate high value crops like lettuce, bokchoi, and herbs as well as other veggies. Organic lettuce, said Grace, is more expensive than regular vegetables because of high demand from those with health concerns. In addition, they have less competitors and are able to harvest all-year round through scheduled weekly plantings. 

view of the fish pond down at the valley
She described their lettuce as having no bitter taste and I can personally attest to that as I ate a lot of salad servings during our stay there! What's amazing, too, is that nothing is wasted in Alomah. The reject lettuce leaves are fed to the tilapia (yup, the fish are vegetarians!) grown in the big pond located down the valley.

rafting with Sir Benjohn on the pond
Part of their learnings from the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) was leveraging on value-added products such as the creation of Alomah's salad dressing (that tastes really good!) which sells for P75 per 330ml. The farm now also hosts conferences in a big session hall and have accommodations (there are cottages aside from the tents) for those who wish to stay overnight.

aromatic basil plants that made me want to cook some pesto pasta, pronto!
At Alomah, guests can find 16 varieties of mint (peppermint, marshmallow, strawberry, etc.), 7 varieties of basil (sweet, cinnamon, lemon, etc.), 5 varieties of oregano, and 2 varieties of lavender (French and English). Grace pointed out that planting these herbs through edible landscaping and container gardening lets them, "trim and earn at the same time."

waking up to this view was awesome!
After a very restful sleep, we woke up the next day before the sun rose over the horizon. Finally, we were able to see more of Alomah's Place and were delighted our the many discoveries along the way. 

Marlboro Country feels! :)
Aside from marveling at the rows upon rows of healthy organic vegetables, we got to ride a raft and even went horseback riding with Rifle, one of their prized horses. 

I love mountains and horses, too! :)
Alomah's Place is located in Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. They charge P100/head for a farm day  tour and lecture, which includes unlimited salad and Alomah's 3-in-1 fresh herb tea made of tarragon, mint, and stevia. I love, love, love this blend of herbs!

with Alomah's very inspiring husband and wife team
"We never thought farming would be a business but we discovered that you can really earn from it!" they admitted. Truly, Benjohn and Grace are living testaments that love, passion, hard work, dedication, and acquiring proper knowhow on organic farming will definitely help you find success in the long run.


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