As told to Yvette Tan

Manay’s Farm is an integrated farm in San Miguel, Bohol that grows assorted crops and livestock and before the pandemic, also opened their farm to tourists. 

Read: Farming family turns Bohol coconut plantation into thriving integrated farm

Jeanette Pinat, who runs the farm’s business operations and is in charge of the farm’s design and social programs, started the Kaayo Project to help women and displaced farmers in their community. She tells us about it:

“Kaayo” is a Visayan word that means wellness or well-being.

Kaayo Project is a start-up agri-enterprise with a mission to improve and strengthen the social responsibility of our community especially the women’s group and displaced submerged farmers of Bayongan Dam by creating a sustainable alternative source of income. Our vision is to utilize wild, naturally growing local herbs to promote wellness and improve the overall wellbeing of the people by utilizing the natural properties of herbs and spices and offering effective, safe and reliable products.

Kaayo Project aims to address the lack of alternative job opportunities and a stable source of income for the farmers in San Miguel. The Kaayo Project will be processing dried herbs and spices. Initially, loose leaf herbal teas, then dried herb sets, followed by collection of essential oils for aromatherapy, salves, cream and more.

The project is currently operated at Manay’s Farm, with all ingredients organically grown here.  We are currently on Phase 1–Product Development of Herbal Teas. We have planted local wild herbs and have identified which ones to propagate further. We are starting by exploring multiple herb drying methods -air drying, solar drying, mechanical, to create a database of the information on which ones works well in preserving the potency as well as extending the shelf lives.

During scale up, Kaayo Project will be engaging with the community in the cultivation and sourcing of organically grown raw materials for our products. Smallholders will grow herbs and spices with instruction on recognition of naturally occurring herbal plants, already available in their area. The high value of these produce means a good financial return for the people possessing small plots of land.

We intend to market them to individuals (health conscious, tea drinkers), visitors at Manay’s Farm, cafés, niche restaurants and other pasalubong centers. We also plan to supply the dried raw materials to other processing organizations regionally and later on internationally.

We currently have three pure herbal teas and one tea blend. All ingredients are organically grown, sourced and processed at Manay’s Farm.

Freshly harvested and sorted organically grown tulsi that will be made into herbal tea.

Peppermint tea – Drinking peppermint tea has various health benefits including relieving headaches caused by stress. Their menthol content also helps fight sinus problems. Their cooling effect also helps soothe stomach muscles, which leads to easy and better digestion.

Globe Amaranth tea – this tisane contains essential vitamins and minerals and is known to be great for skin health, reducing dark spots, wrinkles, blemishes and the effects of ageing. They are also known to reduce fatigue and aid in enhancing vision.

Lemongrass tea –is used for healthy digestion and it’s disease-fighting capabilities. Lemongrass tea is a rich source of antioxidants and is also known to promote sleep, relieve pain, boost immunity and relive cold/flu.

Tummy detox blend –is a tea blend made of lemongrass, kalamansi and ginger. These components are known digestive aids with stomach soothing and diuretic properties that help flush excess fluids from the body.

I personally created the formulations. I use my tea drinking experiences especially from when I was traveling in other Asian countries, lessons I learned from the Herbal Academy short course I took and local preparations and herb handling knowledge from the community to guide me in creating our products.

Our tea products are currently available for purchase in the farm only. However, we provide scheduled meet ups and deliveries within Tagbilaran City.