Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Weekend at GK Enchanted Farm

I woke up to a beautiful Saturday morning, looking forward to a farm weekend in Bulacan and explore a new place, make new friends and learn something new.

Destination: The GK Enchanted Farm in Barangay Encanto, Angat, Bulacan.

After missing some turns and a long drive, Andrea Juan, Salve Antonio, Jun Baris (the guy behind Galang Pusa) and I found ourselves at the GK Enchanted Farm. 

It was a busy day at the farm. It was not just the bloggers who were being hosted that weekend but the social business campers as well. Plus there were around seven hundred Citibank employees who were spending their Saturday at the farm, too.

It was a crazy weekend indeed that our schedule kept changing. But thanks to the Tahiti-born French Clementine Turgeon of the GK Enchanted Farm, she always kept us in the loop on the activities for the hour.

First, we had to check in at our assigned room. All of the lady bloggers stayed in the 12-bed dorm type air-conditioned room with two toilet and bath rooms. Each bed has a mattress, bed sheet, pillow, blanket and towel. The room provided the basics for a sleeping quarter. Nothing fancy. And we stayed in the same block with the other volunteers, interns and families of the GK village. 

From our quarters, we went to the Hyundai Green Center for Innovation, a stone-glass-bamboo structure which symbolizes strength, transparency and resiliency. This was built by Hyundai for the GK Enchanted Farm and oftentimes serves as a convention hall especially during events when there is a large crowd. My only problem with this building was it was so hot inside, particularly on the upper floor. Even the sawali can't keep the place cool. 

Perky beats greeted us at the lobby of HGCI.

We attended three demonstration sessions that day: Chocolate Making by the Theo and Philo Artisan Chocolates, Cheese Making by Gourmet Keso and Stuffed Toy Making by Plush and Play. More of the demo sessions here.

We also had the chance to gather around the man behind Gawad Kalinga, every man's Tito Tony Meloto, under a canopy of trees while he gave us a background of the farm, talked about inclusive growth and inspired us to become better Filipinos. It was during this session where we had so many Tito Tony quotable quotes.

"People complain what is wrong but don't have the courage to do what is right."

"What we build in this farm is character."

"The poor are the rejected stones that will be the cornerstone of this country."

By midday, we had buffet lunch at the Grassroots Kitchen. This is literally your farm-to-table dining place since the ingredients of the dishes being prepared are harvested straight from the farm.

There were also food stalls set up by some of the social entrepreneurs, from burgers to smoogies and ice cream.

Just across the Grassroots Kitchen is the souvenir shop where you can buy an assortment of products. On weekends and on days where there are many guests at the farm, a "tabo" or marketplace is set up just outside the souvenir shop where everything from fruits and vegetables to bags and soaps are sold.

By sunset, we had a tour of the farm courtesy of Raf Dionisio. 

Arch Angel - GK Center for Arts and Culture

Bamboo Palace

Center for Bayanihan Economics

And it ended right here at the pool. Yes, this farm has a pool. How cool can it get!

Other accommodations in the farm located near the pool area.

On the second day, we woke up to a beautiful morning and had the traditional "painit" consisting of pan de sal and a cup of hot beverage before proceeding the feed the fowls with their organic power breakfast.

We also got the chance to interact with Frank Chiu and Cherrie Atilano who shared their journey so far at the GK Enchanted Farm, their triumphs against the many challenges that they had to deal with and the choices that they had to make (giving up high-paying jobs and a Fulbright scholarship) in order to help build the backbone of our country and make agriculture cool, improve the lives of the less privileged and inflame in the Filipino hearts the spirit of volunteerism.

It was indeed a fun an enriching weekend at the farm. And like I said during the processing session, I was like being thrown back to my childhood where we had plants and trees around the house (and we plucked what we would serve on the table) and raised goats, pigs, chickens and turkeys that freely roamed in the backyard.

So if you have a day or weekend free, do take time to visit the GK Enchanted Farm. As they say, it is no five-star resort but a five-star community where everyone helps one another.

A volunteer holding art sessions at the farm.

For farm package tours, please click this link.

Big thanks to everyone at the GK Enchanted Farm for the invitation and hospitality and to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers.

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Thank you for visiting Traipsing Chronicles. I hope you will continue walking with me as I wander and see the world. Cheers!

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