TUNGA, Leyte- A bee farm in this town is fast becoming a sought after place for people who wanted to be relax, away from the bustle and noise of city life.
Beengo Farm, a 400-square-meter bee farm located in Barangay San Vicente, this town, started as a hobby for its owner-manager, Gary Ayuste, who worked overseas before he got interested in farming, and eventually, in beekeeping through his aunt.
The name of his farm was a combination of bee and mango where the bees could pollinate and get their nectar.
The bee sanctuary, which started its operation three years ago and is located beside Tunga River, the town’s major tributary, has been providing livelihood to housewives living near the farm as well as a venue for environmental conservation.
Ayuste said that it was not a walk in the park when he started the bee farm because of people’s negative notion on bees.
To solve this problem, he educated the residents living near the farm of the importance of bees to the environment and to our eco-system and encouraged them to keep bees not only for honey, but for pollination of plants.
“Bees are very good in fighting global warming because 80 percent of the trees and plants because of bees. Our tree planting activities are nothing without bees that our pollinators,” Ayuste said.
The farm is using stingless bees that are endemic to the region like the ‘Kiwot’ and Ligwan.’
Stingless bees are about the size of an ant yet have all the features of honeybees except that they do not have a sting.
Typically, these stingless bees make their colonies in old bamboos and are frequently found around bamboos or wooden structures.
“Because of their size, they are very small. They can go to any part of the flower to get nectar unlike the regular honeybees that are big,” Ayuste said.
Ayuste added that as part of his advocacy is to improve the living condition of his neighbors, reason why at least 22 housewives are provided with livelihood by the bee farm.
The farm gets the supply of native chickens and vegetables while others are employed in the farm.
Ayuste said that since they open in October 2017, aside from local and foreign tourists that flock to the farm to relax, eat and learn about beekeeping, some are also visiting them to use the farm as venue for review like those who are taking board exams.
The calmness and serenity of the farm is a perfect place for students who don’t want to be bothered by loud noises while studying before taking exams, according to Ayuste.
Ayuste added that aside from serving local foods to tourists, they also encourage them to talk with each other while they are inside the farm and even only during their stay, forget to use gadgets like cellular phones.
Beengo Farm has been tapped by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) in Eastern Visayas as a learning site which provides trainings on basic beekeeping.
They also adopted schools, wherein they donate colonies for beekeeping to educate the students.
Ayuste shared that Beengo Farm is currently developing a nature-themed library for the farmers’ children to have access to quality books which mostly are donated by his friends.
He added that to ensure the sustainability of income of the family working in the farm and other residents in the community, they are doing a tree-planting program wherein fruit bearing trees are planted along the road leading to the community.
For those who wanted to visit Beengo Farm and be served with local foods, Ayuste said that visitors should make a prior reservation for them to have enough time to prepare their foods.
(ROEL T. AMAZONA)