Perhaps no love could surpass that of a mother for her child. That is how REFMAD Dragon Fruit Plantation and Resort in Burgos, Ilocos Norte started.
REFMAD (which stands for Rare Eagle Forest Marine Agricultural Development) was the brainchild of Nanay Edita Dacuycuy, also known as the dragon fruit lady of the North. She started out with just a small backyard garden of dragon fruit for her daughter Kate who is afflicted with cerebral palsy, a neurological condition that affects physical and brain activities. Some of the indications of the disorder are constipation and problem in bowel movement. The scaly bright pink exotic fruit reminiscent of dragon scales, proved to be good for the digestive problem of her daughter, that she eventually expanded her property to plant more of the vine-like epiphytic cactus. With the help of her late husband and other daughter who studied dragon fruit technology abroad, REFMAD now covers a total area of 30 hectares, and thus became the first dragon fruit plantation resort in the Philippines.
I am glad that my work assignment gave me the privilege of meeting Nanay, who is really down-to-earth and very hands-on in managing the plantation. She is also helping and technically assisting several other dragon fruit growers nationwide. That’s how selfless she is.
The multi-awarded Nanay Edita
The store and showroom of dragon fruit products
Dragon fruit is not only sweet and luscious but also very nutritious. It is rich in fiber and contains high levels of vitamin C, calcium, phosphorous, and antioxidants. In fact Nanay said that the fruit had also helped her in combating breast cancer.
Nanay is internationally acknowledged for her innovative work in developing food, health and beauty products from the fruit; my favorite among them is the sweet dragon fruit ice cream.
Dragon fruit ice cream
Dragon fruit wine
Dragon fruit energy tea
REFMAD has cottages for those who would like to stay overnight or longer to witness the midnight blooming of dragon fruit flowers, experience life in a farm or participate during the dragon fruit harvest festival.
Other amenities also include swimming pools and a viewing deck overlooking the whole plantation area, as well as the wind pump that sustains the growth of the fruits even on summer months.
There is also a man-made pond teeming with tilapia.
Being near mountain ranges and surrounded by so many plants, guests are rewarded with fresh air and beautiful scenery.
with Nanay Edita
The last time I checked the official tourist map of Ilocos Norte, I was surprised to find that REFMAD is already included on it. Well, Nanay’s hard work and ingenuity eventually paid off. After all, she has made her home province one of the pioneers when it comes to farm tourism.
REFMAD Dragon Fruit Plantation and Resort
Paaya, Burgos, Ilocos NorteTel. No.: 0920-2757940