On Nov. 26, 2016, we visited our good friend Jess Domingo who runs Rancho Domingo, an organic farm that will soon become an accredited technology provider on Organic Agriculture. Even before the official documents are finally signed, he has already been allocated 900 trainees to undertake 28-day training on organic farming in 2017.
We have featured Jess Domingo a number of times in this blog and in the Manila Bulletin publications that include Agriculture Magazine, Panorama, the daily Bulletin, and the vernacular magazines – Liwayway, Bannawag, Bisaya and Hiligaynon. Many will surely remember him that his passion is farming and culinary. He used to be a top executive of San Miguel Corporation, Nestle and Pepsi. However, when he reached 50, he gave up altogether his corporate involvement to become an organic farmer and to pursue his culinary passion in his 100-hectare farm in Alfonso Lista, Ifugao.
Jess has new projects. He is constructing rice terraces for planting black rice as well as conventional varieties with superior eating quality. An irrigation canal being built by the government passes through his property so he will produce organic rice. Of course, he is producing right now high value vegetables and papaya. And he is also excited about growing ginger between his mango trees as well as his calamansi. He intercrops ginger with camote between his calamansi trees. And he is very happy about the outcome.
One technique of killing weeds (grasses) has impressed our companions, Eugene Gabriel and Roldan Esteban. He covers the grasses with recycled plastic sheets and in a few weeks, the weeds will be dead.
Jess is also phasing out his white pigs in favor of the black native pigs. He said that although it is profitable for him to grow the white breed as organic pigs, he believes that he can cut the cost of feeds by growing the native stock. He has already found a way to reduce the cost of feed to as low as P5 per kilo compared to the P10 per kilo that he feeds his white pigs. But he will be crossing the white pig with the black pigs. He believes the crosses will be bigger but will retain the economical traits of the native that can thrive on cheap feeds.
Of course, the other side of Jess is that he is a culinary expert. And we really enjoyed the gustatory delights he prepared for us. These include his signature dish, the sizzling bulalo which is so soft and tasty; the native organic chicken tinola; the salad greens and the banana cake and leche flan. Jess studied in the International Culinary School and also operated his own culinary school before he devoted his full time to organic farming.