By Eula Dee Lañada
Photos by Aeron P. Bermudez

One does not have to travel far to experience what it feels like to be in a forest – lush greens and tall trees billowing in the breeze, shoes trampling over soil and mud filled with heaps of seeds and fruits of different plants, and chirping of birds and croaking of frogs crooning in the background. Head over to Cabiao in Nueva Ecija to experience this and satisfy your cravings for nature.

With 14.5 hectares dedicated as permaculture development site, Cabiokid is found in Brgy. Sta. Rita, Cabiao, Nueva Ecija. Established in 2002, its name is derived from the combination of the words: Cabiao, bio and bukid (farm). It is an integrated farm which bears rice, pinakbet vegetables, and fruit-bearing trees (mungbean plum, Bengal currant, bignay, duhat, miracle fruit, and mango).

Different fruit-bearing trees are planted in Cabiokid.

As guided by permaculture principles and ethics, it aims to develop agricultural ecosystems envisioned to be self-sufficient and sustainable (productive for generations). The farm is divided into 5 zones, which depicts the various degrees of human interaction with the environment from highest (zone 1) to lowest (zone 5). It is designed using natural principles which symbolize the exchange and productive use of energy among different zones.

Zone 1 covers the housing (huts) and administration building. Zone 2 comprises the vegetable gardens filled with indigenous ones, and flowers for aesthetic purposes. Zone 3 holds the rice land, which is free from harmful chemicals. Zone 4 is an area for forest trees and hard woods, while zone 5 is the wilderness, where the forest can be found with tall trees, undergrowth, possibly snakes and other creatures, coexisting in harmony.

Zone 1 covers the housing (huts) and administration building.

Cabiokid has also produced juices and jams from the fruits found in the area: mungbean plum, Bengal currant, duhat and bignay. In addition, they offer trainings on basic and advanced permaculture (4 times a year), as well as 3-day basic bamboo building. Groups as far as Mindanao and other countries visit the farm to avail of the said activities. The farm has also an area dedicated for camping which is a perfect place for retreats.

“Life in the farm is more holistic, relaxing and healthy, and if you will do permaculture, you can build the future of the next generations,” quipped Ms. Luzviminda Lopez, farm production manager.

She encourages others to adopt permaculture, which can be a key to preserve the environment for the future generations to enjoy.

This article was first published as Cabiokid Foundation Inc. in Vignette A Travelogue of Central Luzon’s Agritourism Sites from the Agricultural Training Institute Regional Training Center III.