By VINA MEDENILLA

It is the most difficult times that make us fall hard and rise stronger. Climasenrose Farm in Bauang, La Union is a thriving grapes farm that has experienced hitting the bottom before reaping the rewards of its success today. 

The farm first came into existence in the 1980s. Due to financial difficulties, its founders had to close the business in 1994 and allocate the money for the sustenance of the family. After 23 years, what was once Calica’s Grape Farm now sees new life as Climasenrose Grape Farm. It is a 3000sqm grape farm owned and developed by the family’s patriarch, Rosendo Calica, and his three children. 

Calica, a widower, has built a strong bond with his children and has taught them a lot about resilience and the importance of valuing relationships. 

From left to right: Clifford Calica, Rosemarie Calica-Claessens, and their father, Rosendo Calica.

The farm’s name is a wordplay that represents the names of the family members. “Cli” stands for Clifford, his only son, “Ma” for Mary Ann, his eldest daughter, “Sen” stands for his name Rosendo, and “Rose” for Rosemarie who is his second daughter.

Climasenrose Grape Farm was re-developed as a pastime for the family’s patriarch Rosendo and as a means of support for his son Clifford, who settled in the country to take care of Rosendo. 

The revival of the agribusiness stems from the idea of giving Clifford a source of livelihood since he takes care of their father while his two sisters, Rosemarie and Mary Ann, are working abroad. It is, in a way, a form of dedication to their father who still pursues his love for farming in his golden years. 

At present, Clifford manages the farm under the supervision of Calica. They started with 120 grape cuttings and added more than 500 cuttings a year after that. The father-son duo keeps the farm running and personally tends to the vines. They only ask for help from their relatives when needed. Rosemarie and Mary Ann, who are both based in Qatar, also help in marketing the products via social media. 

The sisters, Mary Ann Mueda (left) and Rosemarie Claessens (right), posing in the grape farm during their vacation in the Philippines.

Their family grows red cardinal grapes and is now in the position of expanding their growing space for other grape varieties like black ribier and white malaga.

Challenges in growing grapes

The rainy season is the toughest period for them as grape farmers. “We tried putting a shade on the grapes, but it attracts more insects. So in the end, we opted to leave it as is. If we are certain that typhoon season is coming in, we do not prune our grapes. We leave it as dormant in preparation for the next pruning.” 

The Calicas sell most of the grapes they produce, but do not limit themselves in getting some for personal use. The grapes are mostly sold to fruit vendors, merchants, and farm guests. The farm also offers cuttings, pick and pay, and grape farming assistance to their clients. For pick and pay, they charge P250 to P300 per kilo of grapes, while for merchants, a kilo of grapes costs P120 to P150. 

Right timing is an integral part of grape farming. For the family, not following the pruning stage of other farms is also beneficial. Set the harvest period when the demand is high, especially if the supply of grapes is abundant in your area. Considering or anticipating the rainy season in the planning stage is also a must to reduce possible problems. 

Climasenrose Grape Farm offers free entrance for guests who’d like to visit the farm and pick their own grapes.

Without the pandemic, the farm can earn a net income of P200,000 or more for every harvest and another P40,000 to P50,000 from selling cuttings. 

Grape farming has been part of their family for a long time. Not only does it support the daily expenses of Clifford and Rosendo, but farming life gives them happiness and fulfillment.

Eventually, the family plans to take their products and services to the next level by processing their grapes into wine and building a recreational area for small gatherings. 

Read how their family earns money from growing grapes in the next part of the article.

Photos from Climasenrose Grape Farm. 

For more information, visit Climasenrose Grape Farm.