March 18, 2016

Costales Nature Farms

Want to know which color are insects most attracted to, eat the most nutritious variety of lettuce, or see black gold for real? Why not try the Life at the Farm or Lakbay Aral tour of Costales Nature Farms, and experience the little but great wonders of nature in an idyllic farm setting.

Established in 2005 in the quiet and rustic town of Majayjay in Laguna, Costales is considered the first agri-tourism destination in the Philippines accredited by the Department of Tourism. It is a six-hectare integrated, sustainable, and certified organic farm, owned and managed by the family of Ronald C. Costales, a former Executive Vice President of a telecommunication company who opted to retire early from the stressful Makati corporate life to become a low-key organic farm entrepreneur.

The farm was initially developed as a family weekend getaway and a source of healthy and steady supply of organic vegetables and livestock for the family. But it was destined for something bigger. In 2009, it went commercial in growing organic produce and became the country’s biggest single producer of high-value vegetables and culinary herbs. In 2012, it was recognized as the Most Outstanding Organic Farm in the country by no less than Philippine President Benigno Aquino III.

Now, the farm is a favorite haven for wellness and nature advocates, as well as agri-tourists who want to know more about the importance of natural farming, the harmful effects of adding chemicals and preservatives in food, and the benefits of eating organic food for a healthy lifestyle. I think this is among the best actual Farmvilles I’ve seen that is not too far from Metro Manila. 

Costales is one big, unlimited green salad bowl. There are several greenhouses around the farm, mainly planted with different varieties of lettuce. Open field and greenhouse production ensure year-round supply of these healthy, high value crops.

They also have a variety of plants, fruits and herbs, which include papaya, suha, guava, dragon fruit, thyme, Swiss mint, cat whiskers, spring onion, lemongrass, and mushroom, among others.

Their animal farm is also impressive.  They have organic livestock - wild boars, free range chickens and ducks, and cute and adorable rabbits.

The farm is known for promoting zero-waste policy and imposing the loop system of agriculture. It is a process where livestock are raised organically with their manure being fed to worms. Eventually, the worms’ droppings or vermicast become the primary fertilizer for the crops. And to complete the cycle, excess and reject vegetable harvest are fed back to the livestock.

Their in-house restaurant serves, as expected, only healthy food sourced from the farm.

Green salad

Chicken curry

Sweet potato

Herbal tea

Nipa hut accommodations are provided to those who want to detoxify and immerse in farm life.

Regular workshops and seminars on Integrated Organic Agriculture Best Practices, Effective Microorganism Technology and Organic Hog Production, are also being offered in the farm to interested people who want to learn and practice organic agriculture. The Costales family hopes that organically grown food will become the mainstream in the next couple of years in the country.

And just for the trivia, which I learned during my tour at Costales, insects are highly drawn to yellow plants or flowers, Romaine offers the most nutritional advantage over other types of lettuce, and the black gold, well it’s just shit.   

Costales Nature Farms
Brgy. Gagalot, Majayjay
Tel. No.: 640-6864
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