ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CHILDHOOD – Zac B. Sarian (Zacarias B. Sarian) was born in Purok Nagcurcuran, Brgy. Billoca, Batac, Ilocos Norte, on September 7, 1937 to Santiago and Pantaleona Sarian. Never experienced hunger during the Japanese occupation. They had plenty of food, chicken, pigs, cattle, freshwater fish and crabs, fruits and vegetables. No chemical fertilizers and pesticides then.
EDUCATION – Billoca Elementary School (five years), Batac Rural High School, University of the Philippines Diliman (BS Foreign Service,1959). Jefferson Fellow in Developmental Communication, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii (1971)
PESO A DAY FARM WORKER – After high school, he worked for one year for P1 a day as farm worker at the Bolong Farm in La Union where he took care of 2,000 replacement pullets, 50 Poland Chiha hogs, helped in milking cows, feed milling and other farm chores. Daniel S. Bolong, veterinarian, was his first cousin.
ON TO U.P. DILIMAN – In 1955 he enrolled in UP Diliman. He really wanted to take up a Journalism course but he was deeply disappointed. There was no Journalism curriculum so he enrolled in a Foreign Service course, While studying, he was a freelance writer contributing small pieces to newspapers and magazines.
COULD HAVE BEEN A DIPLOMAT – He passed the Civil Service Exam for Cultural Attache and could have been a diplomat. However, he chose to stick to writing about Agriculture. He was then editor of Farms & Gardens Magazine of the Manila Chronicle and also wrote stories for the Agriculture Page of the daily. He wrote a Garden Column under a female pseudonym.
ON TO U.P. LOS BAÑOS – After college, he worked for a year with two advertising agencies as copywriter, all the while freelancing. He was in UP Los Baños for a feature article when he met his cousin-in-law who was a professor there. He encouraged him to apply for a position at the College of Agriculture which was then looking for a writer. His stay in Los Baños lasted for four years which made him appreciate the importance of Agriculture. He edited a quarterly magazine called Agriculture At Los Baños which convinced him that there was a need for a nationally published magazine devoted to farming and gardening.
FARMS & GARDENS MAGAZINE – Oscar Lopez, then the publisher of the Chronicle, immediately liked the idea when Zac Sarian proposed that the Chronicle publish an Agricullture magazine. After all, he was a gentleman farmer with a big property at the Paradise Farms in San Jose del Monte in Bulacan. The magazine was immediately successful because Squibb, the veterinary drugs distributor, subscribed to 5,000 copies for distribution to livestock and poultry raisers. The company also placed a full page ad that ran indefinitely. This was, however, overtaken by Martial Law and had to cease publication.
DURING MARTIAL LAW – During the Martial Law years, he edited the Agriculture Section of Business Day and ran a gardening column at the Daily Express.
AFTER EDSA REVOLUTION – When the Manila Times was revived after the EDSA Revolution, he was recruited to edit the Agriculture Section. That’s when he organized the weekly Agri-Kapihan which enabled him to meet farmers and hobbyists. That provided him a lot of exclusive stories for his Agri Page. After a while, he transferred to Mr.& Ms. Publications to edit the Farmers’ Weekly Magazine. Then in 1991 he joined the Manila Bulletin as Agriculture Editor of the daily and then later also Agriculture Magazine. Then he retired from the Bulletin in April 2019.
BOOK AUTHOR – He authored 7 books that are all about Agriculture. This one is his eighth.
AWARDS – Sarian’s journalistic efforts have been recognized by several award-giving organizations. He considers his Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts as his most valuable award. Why? That was because he never applied for it, unlike many awards where the nominee himself has to make a justification why he should be given the award. Other awards include Agribusiness Journalist of the Year given by the Rotary Club of Manila, several awards from the DOST, and the latest the Lakbay Bukid Award for Farm Tourism in 2019.
BLOGGER – He is a blogger with a lot of followers. He has more than 12,000 subscribers who automatically receive by email every story that is posted in his blog. That does not include non-subscribers who are regular viewers of his daily postings. His blogging keeps him as busy as ever, writing about farming and gardening.
HANDS-ON FARMER – Sarian wants to show that he does not only know how to write about farming but also how to run a small farm that is profitable. He specializes in propagating exotic fruit trees in his farm in Teresa, Rizal.