OA Bloggers In Bicol Part 1 | Sonrisa Farm

I’m cradled on the bed as I write this, reminiscing my recent journey to a lush greenery with plenty of sun-soaking session involved, while sharing mouthful of healthy meals and laughter together with energetic people.
Is there anything better than running off to the rural lands of our beautiful country to witness the spectacular view of God's masterpiece? I just cannot wait to experience once more the stunning underrated outdoors of Bicol.
It was a trip to not-too-distant Region V that captivated me on my current agriculture appreciation. The attraction to its landscapes, food and culture left me absolutely infatuated by this suburb.
Sadly, we didn't get to fully know and appreciate how the locals live due to a short 3-day trip. So for those wanderlust out there, make sure to book and stay for longer period of time to explore the location as you’ll find that it has a lot more to offer.

The Bicol Region ( Region V ) comprises the southern part of Luzon, the largest island in the Philippine archipelago. They have six provinces, four on the Bicol – Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, and Sorsogon – and the offshore island provinces of Catanduanes and Masbate.
We were fortunate to see the wild beauty of the provinces of Albay and Camarines Sur, with Sir Michael Villezar as the guide on our trip.
I was able to dismiss in mind my typical during-takeoff-panic-attacks inside plane (credits to the smooth flying by PAL Express), making the ride much tolerable for an Aviphobe like me. Originally, the plan was to take the bus but just by thinking about the grueling 12-hour ride is already appalling.
The journey conducted by the great team of Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) Organic Agriculture relieved me from the days of devouring only junk food making my already weakend body unhealthier. It has been a challenge switching to organic food for a few days, the effect was immediate and astonishing but I-LOVED-IT!
Every dish on each farm - Naturally done and pesticide-free produce.
The afternoon at Sonrisa Farm has not only taught us ways on how to effortlessly grow and nurture crops right at the comfort of home but they've nourished our tired and unhealthy bodies with sumptuous and healthy lunch freshly harvested from their beautiful farm. Flourishing and eating organic food that are free of pesticides or chemical brimming with nutrition is the utmost priority for the good health and body of our children.
Ms. Cherry Lo, a breast cancer survivor and the owner of Sonrisa Farm in Camarines Sur graciously answered all our questions on different planting techniques. Bloggers left with first-hand knowledge of organic farming and gardening upon visiting their farm.
Sonrisa is a flourishing 3.5-hectre organic, integrated, and diversified haven sprawled near the foot of Mt. Isarog, graced by beautiful sunrises to welcome everyone with a warm smile. Home to a growing local vegetables, indigenous plants, high-value crops and livestock.
From brown to black, Sonrisa Farm produces varieties of healthy rice for the benefit of both consumers and farmers. I've tried to keep the white rice out of my diet  (I really have no diet), but to no avail. I'm a huge white rice eater. I'm into Basmati ( with loads of butter ) nowadays since we find Indian dishes tasty. At home, I usually go for white because it's quicker to cook and my kids need to eat rice for growth. I tried to prepare brown and black for the kids as the varieties contain higher amount of nutrients. We switched back to white.
As we all know, Region V has some delicious and spicy dishes of its own. Of course, the mind-boggling authentic versions of Bicol delicacies can be found only from kitchens of this Region.

Sonrisa Farm produces healthy food in abundance. Their baked Sweet Potato Buns outranked all the breads I've sampled in the 30 years of my existence. They've used Sweet potato as dough filled with Oyster Mushroom. No food coloring at all. Yellow color came from egg yolk.
Here are the organic dishes Ms. Cherry prepared for us : 
  • Baligang Square - Baligang or Jambolan Plum is a fruit comes in clusters almost similar to Duhat because of its purple to black color but differs due to its compact clusters. Slightly sour and an excellent source of  Vitamin C.
  • Guyabano Square 
  • Mango Square
  • Maja
  • Ube Langka
  • Ginataang Lumpia
  • Crsipy Kangkong Salad with PILI
  • Mighty Okra - Steamed and filled with different kinds of veggies with home made sauce. 
  • Spicy Dilis with potatoes and nuts
  • Fish Embutido
  • Suman Delisciosa - Rice cake topped with mango and cherry
  •  Vegetable Rice - With eggplant bits, bell pepper, beans and squash
  • Malunggay Puto  - Steamed sweet cake topped with Moringa leaves 
  • Rolled sweet potato - Sweet potato shoots used as wrapper, filled with veggies
  • Oyster Mushroom Pasta 
  • Rainbow Salad - Red Amaranth or Kulitis (good for the heart), Pansit-pansitan (Peperomia pellucida Linn) medicianl herb, Blue Ternate with healing wonders, Santan or Ixora Coccinea, Mansanitas, Alugbati or Malabar Spinach, Red and Green Rapid Lettuce

Sonrisa Farm have these little treasures here and there. A short walk from the picturesque entrance hall, you can see one of their gems in farm - Butterfly Central. A few butterflies can be seen flying around and Bhem of Sonrisa will identify any of the butterflies you ask about and tell you about them in great detail. Everything about the butterflies range, what they eat in each life-cycle stage, how long they live, and how endangered they are.

We also had a tour of the Mushroom House and got a glimpse of the mushroom's fascinating life cycle. When you want that meaty taste on your dish without using an actual meat, mushrooms are the way to go.  Mushrooms are a good source of potassium, a nutrient (found mostly in Bananas) most of us don't get enough of.
 If you are going to farm or garden organically, you need to put #Zinnias to attract beneficial insects.

 #Marigolds, on the other hand, are hardy annual plants which have a distinctive smell that repels plant lice, mosquitoes and even rabbits. You can use this at home,too.
 Lantara Camara - A wild backyard flower that has a tutti frutti smell with a pepper undertone which attracts butterflies. 

 Though it is bitter to taste, it has various therapeutic properties that have made bitter gourd one of the healthiest vegetables known to mankind. And organic produce of Bitter gourd can be found inside the farm of Sonrisa. 

 Organic Red Sugar Apple - "Atis"

Madame Cherry calls this Batwan in Bicol or Garcinia Binucao - another native tree is used in cooking Sinigang Visayan version. This may not be as popular as the usual ones but it's actually better than Tamarind as souring agent alternative.

After we have toured the majestic farm of Sonrisa and checking in CWC or CamSur WaterSports Complex, we explored just a bit to become familiar with the area around the spectacular resort and its fascilities.
While doing so, we discovered some of the yummiest snacks -- like the ultimate Laing Pizza! Laing is Taro leaves in coconut milk with lots of spicy chili peppers! I'm not really a fan of Laing and SILI but this pizza's the best!

This is only the first part of my wonderful 3-day trip to Bicolandia. Will share with you fabulous photos from my trip to Dacara's Farm and Gardens on my next post. Stay tuned!

At Sonrisa Farm, everything is organic.
If you're searching for the perfect place overlooking the natural beauty of an organic farm for your prenup shoots, family outings, weddings or special occasions, visit Sonrisa Farm located at Carangcang Road, Magarao, Camarines Sur as they offer the best of nature while serving you with delicious meals suited to your healthy lifestyle.

They will tour you to their Bee Farms with Stingless Bees, Mushroom House, Animal World and Butterfly House.

For more inquiries and bookings just call +63-917-329-3129 or +63-998-580-1082 or send an e-mail through hellosonrisa@gmail.com.

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