Sunday, July 29, 2007

Women and Ecology

Last week, I was at the Women and Ecology Wholeness Center in Mendez, Cavite. It was a great alternative place where we had our workshop. I believe it was very apt for a group of conservationists, environmentalists and fisher folk alike to have our training workshop. I've always loved spending time in a farm. I guess that is why I took up Agricultural Business in college is for that particular reason. I want to spend more time outdoors surrounded with plants specifically fruit trees. I love santol and sampaloc (tamarind). When I was young I thought, I don't want to spend my time inside an office. I want to be outdoors. I guess this led me to where I am now loving and taking care of the environment. It was great to find this place. I love the idea of women and ecology. I was happily surprised that it is a farm, a venue for meditation and retreat, and workshops like ours.

According to Sis Itty, the girl with the apron in the picture, the idea of women and ecology as the name of the place comes from the similarities of the two, both are oppressed. They are both treated by some the same way. With purple color in most of the rooms, I guessed that these are for activist women's group and yet, this very place is one of St. Scholastica's venues for their women's studies.

The place would not allow us to use any commercially made soap. Only biodegradable soap and shampoo can be used in the center. The reason is that they re-cycle the water use in the bathroom to water the plants. Commercially made soap contains things that can hurt plants. They also have a biogas where all the kitchen wastes and poop goes into an underground digester. They have some pigs to help produce more manure to help hasten the decomposition. No, the place doesn't smell. I was amazed that a place like this exists in Cavite indeed. They said the the old biogas model is cuter because it is above ground with several pools and the digester above ground where a person can actually help rotate. Then at the end pool there are plants and fishes just to illustrate that clean water can actually sustain life after the whole process. But since they encountered some problems, the past years they moved it underground. There is a shack where they illustrate that the biogas can actually generate gas used for cooking.

They also tried wind energy but since wind comes from all directions in Mendez and several storms had them picking up the blades everywhere, they took it down.

We had a short tour of the farm. It used to be an old coffee farm. But now it has a variety of crops which includes, string beans, corn, lettuce, and pechay. They also grow all the herbs you can think off. Cilantro, rosemary, tarragon and peppermint. I bought a small peppermint plant for P50 only. It survived the heat of travel in the van. Thank God it's alive.

We helped ourselves to santol. Sis Itty said they just give it away. Because the last time they sold it, its P8 per sack! Haay! can you imagine.

The food we had was great. All natural hand picked from the garden or fresh from the market. Junk food not allowed in the premises. We had brown rice all the time for all meals. it reminded me of Veda's comment "white rice, my favorite". More on that in another post. We had kutsinta and nilupak and turon for snacks. Then at meal time sinigang and lots of different vegetables. I also learned a new recipe--- pechay salad. Ang sarap sobra specially when it is organic hindi mapait. I will post the food items in my other
blog Pinay Mountain chef.

Sulit is the proper word for it. For three complete meals and two snacks and lodging we only paid 700 pesos per participant per day. Great deal. The beds are soft and rooms clean. Although it was a shared bathroom, there were two in one floor. We are also encouraged to use a different slipper inside the rooms and function areas which they provided. I realized it is really different to use a slipper that is not yours even if you used it for 3 days. it doesnt feel right in a way. I guess the idea that the inside of the house is a sanctuary. It is also very Asian to remove one's footwear when going inside.

Indeed it was a good experience. Sad that I wasn't able to bring Tatay and Isay this time.

Ah yes, the roof and windows are designed that way to better collect water and for the air to go inside the rooms.

I want my own farm and garden filled with herbs. Haay.

the 3 photos above by Jane Continente. The Photo below by Daisy


Anonymous said...

been there for a planning session! dapat bumili ka ng pesto sauce nila! asteeg sa sarap! ;)

Daisy said...

HI Pie!

yes i tasted the pesto sause on snack time it was served to us. did not know it was for sale as well. :)

Thanks for visiting! I hope Ok ka dyan Hang-on sis!!! He is with you. Di ko rin nalilimutan yung promise ko sa iyo!

We love you!

God bless!

Anonymous said...

hi sis! thanks.. hold on to that mail muna. i still dont have my papers here kasi, and my visa expires august 8. 3 working days na lang, i dunno if the tokyo immigration people could deliver but I know God will! He knows what's best. He knows the yearnings of my heart. Hindi ko talaga alam what will happen. If uuwi na ba ako by Aug 8.. si God ang may alam what's for the best. ;)