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Davao City, Philippines

Passion for farming

October 15, 2019 - Tuesday 3:10 PM by Judy Quiros

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DAVAO CITY -- A number of farm owners today have converted their properties into mountain resorts or industrial parks to find a niche in the market.

But businessman and lawyer Antonio B. Partozo, owner of 9-hectare Partoza Durian Farms doesn’t buy into the idea, saying he is firm that his property will remain a farm.

Atty. Antonio Partoza talks about his farm

The property, located in Barangay Biao Escuela, Tugbok District, Davao City, was opened to the public in August 2012 as an agri-tourism farm. That was at the height of the campaign of the Department of Agriculture for the development of potential farms into agri-tourism areas. 

 

Depart of Tourism 11 regional director Tanya Rabat-Tan is one of the guests at the launching of the farm as among Davao City ‘s premiere farm tour destinations 

The Partozas started to cater to educational tours and agri-education seminars. Since the farm was originally a durian farm, the family also offered packages to durian lovers. Since then, their farm became popular as the farm of the “King of Fruits” -- Durian.

The property is about 500 meters from the Biao Escuela High School and about 28 kilometers from the downtown area, or approximately 30 to 45 minutes drive, depending on the traffic.

Last October 10, Antonio and his wife Nelia and the entire family relaunched the property, offering the Partoza Durian Farms as one of Davao City’s premiere farm tour destinations.

Nelia Partoza elaborates on farming techniques for fruit trees and herbs

In an interview with reporters at the launch, Antonio said they offer day tours for visitors who want to see the farm and learn what farm life is.

“Hindi pumasok sa isip ko na gawin itong resort kasi sanctuary ko ito. iI’s peaceful and quiet. As long as we are alive kaming mag-asawa, this will remain as a farm,” Antonio said.

(It never crossed my mind to turn this into a resort because this is my sanctuary. It’s peaceful and quiet. As long as my wife and I are alive, this will remain a farm.)

For decades, the farm produced one of the best quality durian fruits, winning the “Best Introduced Cultivar and Best Native Variety” for two consecutive years during the Kadayawan Festival.

As the years passed, aside from the Thailand and native variety of durian, the family grew additional durian varieties like Arancillo and more up to present.

The farm also expanded to grow other fruits like Longkong (a variety of lanzones), mangosteen, jackfruit, mango, coconuts, cacao, and many more. Since the harvest for fruits is seasonal, the family decided to grow lakatan, a variety of banana, to address the needed monthly financial obligations, including salaries for the farm workers.

Nelia also developed portions of the farm as garden of herbs (miracle berries, rosemarie, blue ternate, peppermint, kerie lemon lime, cilantro or Chinese parsley, etc.) and garden of flowers, including the famous Waling-Waling which is also known as the “Queen of Orchids.”

Kerie lemon lime, one of the special plants at the farm

And because a farm is not a farm without animals, the property has chickens and goats.

Antonio said the hilly sides of the vast farm are planted with almost extinct trees like molave, kamagong, and yakal. These trees stand tall at the cliffs of the farm while others are newly planted.

The family's vacation house was converted into a bistro-café which serves their version of Filipino food. Nelia, who has a knack for culinary, manages the food preparations at the farm, especially for groups who opt to eat at the farmhouse.

The lounge at the Partoza farm house

Passion
Antonio, a lawyer by profession and businessman by occupation, bought the farm in 1984 as an investment but for three years didn’t visit it for security reasons. It was only in 1987 after the People Power Revolution that he was able to visit the farm and started to develop it.

According to him, his passion for farming led him to learn the field through self-readings and study, seminars, and practice through the guidance of some agriculturist friends.

“Ginawa ko lang parang libangan ang farming pero naging passion ko na ito hilig ko lang talaga kaya interesado ako nag basa-basa and natuto sa mga farmer and agriculturist friends ko,” he said.

(Farming was just a hobby at first but it became my passion. I was so interested that I researched and learned from farmers and agriculturist friends.)

Finding peace and happiness in the farm, Antonio concentrated on the field and even visited other places to learn more techniques about farming. Given his years of experience in farming, he said he humbly considers himself successful in the field.

He recalled he experienced the dark side of farming when it was hit twice by long drought. That was the time when hundreds of his durian trees died and he had to replant. He recalled that the farm originally planted more than 700 durian trees but due to the long dry season, the number dwindled to only over a hundred. That, however, did not dampen his interest and love for farming.

He has been so successful that he has been featured twice in magazines and he has been helping neighboring farmers on how to make IMO (indigenous microorganisms) to have extremely fertile lands.

Antonio said he has shared to other farmers what he has learned from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on how to make IMO so they could come up with better production in their respective farms.

“Aside from helping other farmers, this is one way to help the government’s thrust towards agri-tourism,” he said.

The farm

Learnings
From the tour, visitors, students, and friends leave the farm bringing along with them significant learnings on the basic planting procedure of durian, how to grow herbs and their uses, and other basic learnings about farming. Nelia usually facilitates the farm tour that starts and ends with sharing information about durian, flowers, herbs and practically the basics of agriculture and farm life.

 Part of the vast herbs garden

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