By Nikky F. Necessario

Want to get away from the city and have a spiritual break? This farm in Lubao, Pampanga can serve as a premiere eco-retreat for you and your loved ones.

Founded by the Gutierrez family in the 1970s, Prado Farms was once a sugar plantation, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) refilling station, and a warehouse for the family’s chain of department stores. It was due to an unfortunate event that the farm was built. The warehouse burned down, which prompted Amada and Victor Hugo Gutierrez, Prado’s household heads, build a chapel and a retreat house. Friends of the family became interested in staying in their facilities, which led to its upgrade to an agritourism venue.

The children of Amada and Victor were the ones behind the birth of Prado Farms. With their combined interest in business, love for travelling, and appreciation of the arts, they helped Prado Farms rise from the warehouse’s ashes. Following the philosophies of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, Prado practices biodynamic and sustainable farming.

Prado Farm’s chapel where you can renew yourself spiritually.

Today, the eco-resort is headed by Reimon Gutierrez, one of the children of Amada and Victor. Being equipped with a Waldorf education and a background in biodynamic farming, Reimon integrated ecotourism into their farm. To this day, he makes sure that the farm maintains a sustainable environment.

Prado practices the farm-to-table system. They plant the crops they use as ingredients in the meals of their guests. Their organic garden includes lettuce, kangkong, arugula, as well as herbs like basil, oregano, and lemongrass. Just recently, Prado established its own mushroom farm, as well. They ensure that the farmers that grow their other ingredients share their same view about food, which is, “it isn’t just food, it’s nourishment.”

Prado also grows their own livestock. They have ducks and pigs raised for consumption – both the main ingredients of their signature dish, lechon con pato. There are also cows, carabaos, rabbits, and goats raised on the farm, but not for eating purposes.

Arugula-fed pigs raised for Prado’s signature dish, lechon con pato.

Other than being a sustainable farm, Prado is also about how people can connect with oneself physically, mentally, and spiritually. They aim to educate their guests on the different ways they can care for the Earth and respect the individualism of one another.

One of their initiatives in making these objectives possible is by having a weekly ‘Hacienda Day.’ They use this activity to introduce the idea of healthy and sustainable living to their guests. They promote eating fresh food, repurposing garbage, and the use of organic materials. Other activities in Prado Farms include swimming in their salt water swimming pool, riding vintage bikes, riding carabaos, farm tours and demos, pig feeding, and camping. Activities like rice planting and harvesting and obstacle courses are offered seasonally. Prado is also open as a venue for photoshoots, retreats, weddings, and other events.

Prado Farms believes that they provide people with new ideas to explore. “As such, we hope that this option creates an interest in agriculture, which will eventually evolve into a choice of following an agricultural lifestyle,” said Reimon.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s October 2019 issue.