25 Dec 2011

Agritourism on the rise

Outstanding Capiz farmer opens integrated farm training center

 By Niño Manaog

Extension Associate

Four years after venturing into integrated farming, Mr. Rodolfo Bibal was named the country's outstanding farmer in 2004, owing to his productive farming practices.Livelihood for the community, skills training and enhancement of integrated farming practices and promotion of agri-tourism in Capiz and Western Visayas.

These were only three of the many purposes of Mr. Rodolfo Bibal, 2004 outstanding farmer from Western Visayas, when he formally launched and opened the Bibal’s Integrated Farm and Tilapia Hatchery Training Center on December 1, 2011 in barangay Magubilan, Panay, Capiz.

Bibal is one of the proprietors of a sprawling 7.5 hectares of land where he grows rice and vegetables and raises tilapia and sizably profits from them. Ms. Yolanda B. Enero and Ms. Elvira Bibal-Barrios, Bibal’s sisters, are his fellow proprietors.

In these areas, Bibal practices intercropping, planting banana, ginger, alugbati, papaya, kalamansi, ampalaya, pepper, eggplant and string beans to maximize whatever area is left available. Currently employing some 15 farmhands assigned to the fish ponds, vegetable plots and rice fields, Bibal’s integrated farm is one profitable venture.

Starting on a small area of 176 sq.m in 2000, Bibal said he once felt hopeless when he lost most of his potential rice yield to the flood, [at the time the thing he best knew in farming]. But before he could lose hope, someone inspired him to take courage and move on. Then, he thought of diversifying into tilapia raising and planting vegetables (starting with ampalayaand eggplants). Two weeks later, this alternative step paid off when he saw the enormous growth and yield of said vegetables in the same area. In fact, the 280 sq.m planted to ampalaya yielded more than 1,700 kilograms, which told him that he profited more from the vegetables yield than from the rice production to which he invested much.

While they will say the rest is history, Bibal said that he worked hard and doubled his efforts, cultivating vegetables and still raising tilapia, until he gradually expanded into some 6 hectares with fish ponds which he was able to create only through manual and hard labor excavations. Without relying on heavy equipment, he employed his own barangay constituents to dig out the fish ponds. To date, Bibal’s tilapia hatchery and farms account for half of his total production area.

Bibal’s passion for farming which does not only concern rice production but more importantly integrated farming systems has inspired his efforts to do more. Not long after, his hard work was recognized when he was named outstanding farmer in the country by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in 2004.

For the award-winning farmer, farming is the most honorable of the professions, saying that the role of farmers is key to the survival of a given community. Dungganon ang pagpanguma [farming is honorable], Bibal said.

For this seasoned farmer, hard work and study are crucial to being successful in farming. Bibal urges farmers to be industrious and diligent and encourages them to take stock of the farming technologies that can best assist them in improving their farming and increasing production. Farming can best help the farmer if he only concentrates and starts to learn from a small farming area.

It is also best that he first study and learn farming technology and properly use it in his farms which can give him profit and make him self-reliant. He advocates that everything beneficial to man can be found in the soil, or agriculture. Above all, he points to the Divine Providence for his having achieved success in his production. Farming expertise or knowledge alone is not enough to sustain a farmer and make him productive, without confidence in God.

SIBLING REVELRY. Bibal's farm is owned by siblings Yolanda B. Enero, Elvira Bibal-Barrios, and Rodolfo Bibal.Based on these insights, Bibal said there is a need to launch the training center which will feature his best practices but also open doors of opportunities for the province. Such initiative of his family will not only show that agriculture is best practiced in this part of the world, but also open opportunities that will best benefit his community.

The completion of the training center was made possible by the partnership of the three siblings—Ms. Yolanda B. Enero, Ms. Elvira Bibal-Barrios and Mr. Rodolfo Bibal, who worked hand in hand to finish the construction of the said establishment.

Located at the middle of Bibal’s farm, the training center can accommodate some 200 persons at one time. The area also has a central view of the farm production where Bibal’s farming practices can be exhibited. In the near future, the center will also feature dormitory accommodations for farm tourists.

The launch was supported by no less than Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 6 Director Larry Nacionales, along with local agriculture and government officials of Panay, Capiz.

In full support of Bibal's initiative, DA Region 6 Director Larry Nacionales encouraged institutions and organizations to propose for projects that promote organic agriculture and the government's food sustainability program.In his speech, Nacionales commended Bibal for having opened the training center which will serve as the key venue for agri-tourism in the province and allow for more opportunities and initiatives in agriculture for the Panay Island.  Nacionales also said that Bibal brought prestige to Western Visayas when he was named outstanding farmer scientist in early 2000s.

Nacionales expressed optimism on bringing agri-tourism to Capiz, even as he stressed that agriculture and profitability can be found in the heart of Panay Island. He therefore urged that farmers can best profit from their own farms if only managed well, just like what Rodolfo Bibal has proven.

According to Techno Gabay Team Leader Eduardo Navarra of the Capiz State University, in coordination with Juanito Hecita, Jr., manager of the Panay FITS Center, Mr. Rodolfo Bibal is likely to be identified as the official Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) for the FITS Center, once the interventions with WESVARRDEC are in place.

19 Dec 2011

Activities become accomplishments

CapSU Techno Gabay team hosts yearend meeting

By Niño Manaog
University Extension Associate
Capiz State University

CapSU's Eduardo Navarra pans out essential
technological information to upland farmers during the
Sloping Agricultural Land Technology Training (SALT)
in President Roxas, Capiz in November 2011.
To monitor and update its member Farmers’ Information and Technology Services (FITS) centers on its accomplishments, the Capiz State University (CapSU) Techno Gabay (TG) Team led by Mr. Eduardo Navarra, university extension specialist, hosted the Fourth Quarter Meeting on November 29, 2011 at the Asis Food Court in Banica, Roxas City.

For the most part of 2011, CapSU's Navarra widely engaged in a number of activities of the FITS Centers across the year. During these activities, Navarra promoted the importance of FITS Centers to providing key knowledge and information to the smallest farmers which they can use to improve their crops and keep environment healthy and less hazardous. He also stressed the importance of organic farming practices, and echoed MS Penalosa's technologies in trainings and activities (see photo). 

CapSU's participation in the FITS Centers activities is notable, as is also documented by its extension arm. These involvements have seen promotion and publication online and in the Panay News.

Among other agenda, the meeting featured the success story of Dumalag FITS Center which was named Best FITS Center by WESVARRDEC during its first Regional Techno Gabay Summit and Technomart in May this year in Iloilo City.

Managers and representatives of FITS centers also reported and updated CapSU, the partner member agency, on their activities and accomplishments. In the past year, the six FITS Centers represented engaged in a big number of activities to benefit their target clientele.

Before the end of the year, the President Roxas FITS Center led by Mr. Leonardo Barcenas will lead the distribution of fish fingerlings and corn seeds to farmers, among other so many activities. Recently it led the Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT) training to upland farmers. In the same period, the Panay FITS Center led by Mr. Juanito Hecita, Jr. will undertake livestock distribution to farmers and participate in the Product Exhibit for the Sinadya sa Halaran Festival 2011.

Mr. Audie Belargo, manager of OPA Capiz FITS Center said that his office has compiled agriculture-related articles from national newspapers and publications which will soon be ready for access next year. Belargo reported that the OPA Capiz FITS Center has also helped high school students in the province in the plant identification for their Science Researches. Belargo likewise said that a library system in the FITS Center itself is in the works, which will feature an agri-fisheries database or directory, among others.

Ms. Remedios Llamelo, manager of Jamindan FITS Center, reported that Jamindan has also been busy the whole year with its regular activities for the farmers. Among others, Jamindan FITS Center conducted Palaycheck capability building trainings to barangays PAngabuan, Pasal-o, Lucero and Aglibacao. It also led Location-Specific Technology Development (LSTD) on lowland rice varieties.

Through the FITS Center facilities, they were also able to facilitate the assistance of farmers in the purchase of their abaca courms in coordination with FIDA. Llamelo’s office also helped distribute some 60,000 seeds of crops and vegetables for farmers representing 30 barangays.

According to Mr. Bernie Protacio, information services specialist of the Dumalag FITS Center, they have graduated some 50 farmers from the Farmers Field School (FFS) in partnership with the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI). Also, activities to sustain the engineered bamboo initiatives for Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) Randy Fancubila and his cooperative are also periodically held in linkage with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Capiz.

Mr. Ramon Penalosa, Jr., farmer scientist
of WESVARRDEC, shares his key
technologies to the farmers
of Dao, Capiz. The efforts to
 bring his expertise to this part
 of the province was led by
 Dao FITS Manager Susan Dordas
 (behind Penalosa), a staunch advocate
 of organic farming.
Ms. Susan Dordas, manager of Dao FITS Center, made a comprehensive report on the town’s Organic Agriculture Program widely bannered and supported by the local government of Dao, Capiz. Dordas reported that within the year, the municipality successfully passed an ordinance advocating organic agriculture for the locality.

The program has also set in place government priorities leading to the promotion and enhancement of organic farming practices, starting with the use of indigenous microorganisms (IMOs) being produced by its technology services specialist and a number of farmers. Dao has also requested and was recently granted by the Department of Agriculture equipment and infrastructure needed to sustain the said program.

In the September Farmers Congress, Dao featured the technologies of MS Ramon Penalosa, Jr. of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC).

In the same meeting, CapSU Chief Accountant Oliva Bataan led the member FITS Centers in learning the nitty-gritty of making budget and financial reports. According to Bataan, budgeting is crucial especially when officials are spending the government funds.

Bataan taught the participants on how to best maximize and realize the budget given to them by Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) or any other funding institutions.

Meanwhile, Dr. Cora Navarra, outgoing Regional Applied Communications Group (RACG) coordinator for the WESVARRDEC, briefed the participants on how the FITS Centers can maximize the opportunity with the consortium. Navarra encouraged them to promote and publicize their activities as they can help promote technologies in multifarious ways—using various media available nowadays including the print media and the internet.

According to Navarra, advocating the technologies in their respective localities this way helps promote and advance not only the indigenous technologies of the municipalities but also the thrusts and purposes of WESVARRDEC and PCAARRD.

CapSU Techno Gabay Team Leader Eduardo Navarra (center, in white shirt) regularly
coordinates with the personnel of Dumalag FITS Center led by Manager
Ronelyn De Tomas (seated, far left) in its activities and projects.
The partnership has afforded a number of major achievements,
including Dumalag's Best FITS Center award conferred
by WESVARRDEC in May 2011.

CapSU Roxas IT, eng’g programs hurdle second-level accreditation

“So far, so good.”

According to Dr. Editha Alfon, administrator of the Capiz State University (CapSU) Roxas Campus, this was the general feedback from the delegation of Dr. Thelma Lanuza, coordinator of the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities of the Philippines (AACCUP) who led the Level II Accreditation of three curricular programs of their Campus in Roxas City on November 16–18, 2011.

For three days, Dr. Lanuza’s AACCUP team evaluated the Administration; Vision, Mission, Goals and Objectives; Faculty; Curriculum and Instruction; Extension and Community Development; Support to Students; Physical Plant and Facilities; Library and Laboratories of the campus’s three programs, namely: Bachelor of Industrial Technology (BIT), Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BSEE), and Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME).

Dr. Constancio Verula of the Central Mindanao University (CMU) led the team that evaluated BSME; Dr. Romula Loreta Aleta of Negros Oriental State University (NOrSU) led the group for BSEE; while the team of Dr. Benedicto Militante of the Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU) evaluated BIT.

CapSU Roxas Campus Administrator Editha Alfon
(seated, third from left) leads her faculty in the preparation of their
documents for AACCUP accreditations.

The AACCUP team was composed of evaluators from these state universities and colleges (SUCs): Dr. Julito Aleta, NOrSU; Dr. Lorna Milly Navaja, CMU; Dr. Ronnie Parica of the University of Rizal System; Dr. Zosima Panares of Cebu Normal University; Prof. Concepcion Metille of the Naval State University; Dr. Zenaida Lucero of the University of Eastern Philippines; and Dr. Cecilia Javellana and Prof. Daisy Pedere of the EVSU.

According to Alfon, all preparations undertaken by the campus formed part of the efforts constantly being encouraged by CapSU President Editha Magallanes, in pursuit of quality education in the province.

While the official evaluation results have yet to be released by AACCUP around June 2012, the accreditation procedures drew a number of responses from both the evaluators and the members of colleges and departments concerned.

In conference with Engr. Rolando Francisco, coordinator for BSEE, Engr. Rolly Degala, dean of the College of Engineering and Architecture, said that they worked hard to prepare for the papers for evaluation, devoting extra time to package the needed documents for their college.

Francisco, who also packaged BSEE’s Area for administration, said that it helped that the college has taken pains to have pushed for improvements of their facilities. According to Francisco, the college has acquired a Php120,000 worth of electronics equipment and has also requested for an electro-mechanical energy conversion machine, a multipurpose laboratory equipment which he deems critical to the learning of their engineering students.

Francisco also took pride in the competence of their faculty members who dedicate themselves to producing quality graduates. Francisco has been teaching electrical engineering in CapSU since 1986.

Engr. Braulio Reyes, coordinator for BSME, who took charge of the Laboratory of the mechanical engineering department, made sure that the machines and facilities are regularly conditioned for the use of students. He also had the first-level recommendation considered, and this had to do with labeling the machines and posting operations procedures for the convenience and safety of their faculty and students.

Reyes added that CMU’s Dr. Verula, accreditation team leader for their college, particularly noted CapSU’s facilities to be a cut above the rest. Verula said that unlike CapSU, other SUCs do not have the facilities that CapSU has.

Reyes is optimistic about the evaluation results, citing the competence of their faculty. According to Reyes, a number of their teachers have graduate degrees in engineering while others have doctoral credits from accredited technological schools. Reyes also noted the consistently high passing percentage of CapSU students in board exams for mechanical engineers. To date, CapSU has obtained a passing percentage of 62%, which is higher than the national average (58%).

Meanwhile, Dr. Lucila Vipinosa, dean of the College of Industrial Technology (CIT), had to say how much “they prepared the voluminous documents” for the college. They also worked on weekends to come up with a comprehensive presentation, placing emphasis on the areas of faculty and curriculum.

Among others, Vipinosa noted the strengths of the college in the area of curriculum and instruction. According to Vipinosa, CapSU has maintained 100% passing percentage in competency exams for auto-diesel technologists and food technologists for the last four years. These were the competencies supervised by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

In the past, their IT students were also helped by their partnership with Cebu-based Mitsumi, where all their BIT students had on-the-job trainings (OJT). Vipinosa considered that they will need to beef up their linkage and networking efforts to explore similar agencies or companies that can help students finance and facilitate their learning.

Vipinosa said that “we have learned that accreditation is a day-to-day commitment to continually improve the quality of learning for our students.” Teachers must also pursue further studies in their respective fields, as also constantly being promoted by CapSU President Editha Magallanes.

CapSU Roxas administrators likewise had similar impressions on the accreditation and its results. Mr. Johnny Dariagan, administrative officer of CapSU Roxas, expressed optimism on the results of the evaluation, saying that the preparations of the entire CapSU Roxas team have met the evaluators’ expectations. Dariagan singled out an evaluator’s positive impression during the evaluation period.

Dr. Ronnie Parica of URS randomly asked Dariagan’s office on a tracking form of a particular faculty member. Making use of its tracking forms and office database, the office promptly supplied the requested information.  At the exit conference, Parica was impressed, saying that the HRMO “maintains updated and accurate personnel records and delivers fast service to its clientele.” According to Dariagan, evaluators also noted the harmonious working relationship among the members of the CapSU Roxas community.

For her part, Dr. Editha Alfon said that during their ocular inspections of the programs, the evaluators even found more than what were actually documented. Alfon said that the evaluators also found the extension services and activities impressive, citing the activities of the Mobile Technology School (MTS), which helps provide livelihood skills and employment of barangay residents from across Capiz.

Five months into her new term as campus administrator, CapSU Roxas sought the assistance of BSEE pioneer batch to donate some P270,000 worth of equipment for its laboratory. The pioneer batch included Engr. Harion, Engr. Delfin, and Engr. Ulano, who are now project engineers of big companies around the country. Alfon said that these alumni realize the difficulty for teachers to impart knowledge to their students without hands-on. The donated laboratory equipment was acquired by the University in September 2011.  Said alumni have also helped CapSU graduates find jobs and employment opportunities.

Alfon said that on the whole, their preparations for accreditation were well received and acknowledged by the AACCUP team. According to Alfon, good accreditation results afford advantages for the school. For instance, to further improve instruction and curriculum, CapSU Roxas is prepped to send faculty to graduate studies in the region or in Manila. And among other constituents, students will benefit the most from the quality education.

CapSU Roxas prepared much for these areas under evaluation by the AACCUP.
Prior to these accreditations, AACCUP has also conducted preliminary evaluation of seven other curricular programs of the campus in October this year. For all these, Alfon said that CapSU Roxas will put more efforts in the key areas so they will be ready for the next rounds of accreditation for these programs in 2012.

12 Dec 2011

280 CapSU hospitality, food majors trained under Astoria’s Hotel on Wheels

By Niño Manaog
University Extension Associate
Capiz State University 

To equip the hospitality management and other related skills of its students, CapSU recently hosted Hotel on Wheels, a professional hospitality management program led by the Astoria Culinary and Hospitality Institute based in Pasig City.

CapSU students learn the rudiments of food styling
and Asian cuisine at CapSU Pontevedra
in Bailan, Pontevedra, Capiz.
Some 280 students of Hotel and Restaurant Management, Hospitality Management and Food and Technology Education across five CapSU campuses availed themselves of the two-day training conducted by Astoria under the directorship of Dominador de Asis, Jr.

Hotel and Restaurant Management students came from CapSU Sapian, CapSU Sigma and CapSU Pilar; while CapSU Pontevedra sent its Hospitality Management majors. Meanwhile, CapSU Roxas required their Food Technology Education students to avail themselves of the opportunity.

Students learned basic housekeeping with bed making and food and beverage service with includes table setting. Students were also taught a number of culinary lessons including basic cooking, Asian cuisine and food styling.

A brainchild of CapSU President Editha Magallanes, the initiative sought to render practicable and functional skills for CapSU students. The hands-on approach and the bringing of experts right at the school’s doorsteps offer the students a better grasp of the real business and markets to which they can sell themselves.