Bittersweet

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Created on Wednesday, 07 May 2014 Published Date

miguelaHer eyes were still wet with tears as we interviewed her- the loving memories of her husband who just passed away in an accident a week earlier was still fresh and keep coming back like a touched wound.

This was the agony that pierced the heart of Miguela Tinagan, widow of Region 7’s nominee for the Farm Family Category of the GawadSaka Search 2014.

The thought of losing a loved one at the age of 49 makes life a lonely experience with three kids left for her to raise. Her 24 years of marriage with Marlon were the best years in life, she reminisced. It was the time when she learned how not just to live and sustain life but to make the best out of it.She realized her experiences prepared her for another chapter in her life.

The greatest joy and achievement for her is having children who are agricultural achievers, siblings who followed the path of her husband, who had been tilling the soil since their marriage. He never gave up on farming and left a legacy of excellence in farming to his kids.

Raffy, now aged 23, eldest of the siblings, recently, passed a scholarship of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) under the Young Filipino Farmer Training Program in Japan (YFFTPJ) and is bound for an 18- month training. The fact of passing the rigid requirements of the program is enough proof of his passion for farming. Raffy has been a model young farmer among his peers as he was a member of D’ Excellent 4H club in Bajumpandan, Dumaguete City. Since his elementary years he was already a farm buddy of his father. He earned a certificate of recognition as adaptor of organically-grown crops, fish and livestock in his barangay. His acumen in farming, earned him an award for his commendable performance in organic fertilizer preparation and demonstration contest during the 21st Regional Farm Family Congress last April28-29, 2011 and his rare skill in vegetable crafting makes him an asset to the 4H club.

Like his father, Raffy is a good conversationalist which makes him an excellent resource speaker to some youth programs. In 2010 and 2012, he was nominated Outstanding Young Farmer in Dumaguete City.

He juggled farming with his studies and his part-time job. Miguela recalled it was a trait he inherited from his father as his father never tires of work and has always been a good provider to the family. Raffy’s feats reversed the overwhelming grief of the family.

The other siblings are regularly helping in thefarm during weekends such as, watering and weeding the crops, as well as in feeding the animals.

plantation 

 


Miguela has always been proud to be a farmer’s wife. In fact, remorse for being so, never entered into her mind. Their house needs to be finished, but providing an extended family is a priority. With their income, they accommodate others who are in need. Her octogenarian mother and septuagenarian mother-in- law are living with the family. Aside from the two elders, the family adopted a nephew who lost his mother 12 years ago. ‘Other people think it’s a waste of money to raise an extended family but having a good relationship with them brings joy and fulfillment,’ Miguela said.

The family organically grows crops and livestock as well. They maintain a compost pit, produce their own organic fertilizer and are into vermi-culture.

Their farm gives the family a sense of accomplishment, as their income is highly dependent on production but so far, their farm income has provided the family’s basic needs. In 2012 alone, net income for crops reached more than P29Tand income for livestock was around P 33T. The succeeding year gave them a more profitable net income of morethan P33T for crop production, and around P27T for livestock production. Other sources of income are from food processing.

As a raw chocolate tastes bitter but after it is processed becomes sweet, so is farm life for the Tinagan family. They went through pain and joy--perfect ingredients for a successful farm family life.