LITO CUBILLEJO is one college graduate who did not look for employment after graduation. After finishing his Commerce course, he went back to his hometown in Alaminos, Laguna to be a full-time farmer. He took over management of parcels of land owned by his parents that were largely planted to ageing but still productive coconut trees.
FAVORITE MONEY-MAKER – We visited his farm in 1984. When we asked him what was his good money-maker, he said without batting an eyelash that it is Latundan banana. It is one of several crops which he intercropped with 5 hectares of old coconut trees.
P12,000 EVERY 10 DAYS – How much was he making from Latundan? Every 10 days he harvested Latundan worth P12,000. That was already a fortune in those days. The same could be worth P30,000 or more in today’s high prices.
WHY LATUNDAN? – He loved Latundan particularly for two good reasons. First, it is one variety with a nice flavor that is well loved by consumers. There is a big ready market. Second, it is an early bearer. Only 11 months after planting, the banana plant will already be bearing fruit.
MULTINATIONALS DON’T CARE – The multinational companies which plant bananas by the thousands of hectares don’t care about Latundan, also for their own good reasons. For one, it has a very short shelf life. However, for Cubillejo, that short shelf life was all right with him. After all, he did not have any problem in marketing his harvest. A trader bought every fruit he produced at 90 centavos per piece. Oh yes, marketing by the kilo was not yet the common practice then.
OTHER FARM PROJECTS – Aside from Latundan, Cubillejo has other farming projects. But those are for another story.