Every once in a while, farmers encounter what could be considered traumatic experience. It could be man-made or due to natural causes beyond the farmer’s control.
Just like what happened to the late PAGASA boss, Dr. Roman Kintanar. Not many people may have known it but Dr. Kintanar and his lawyer wife Generosa were farmers at heart. They bought a six-hectare farm in Tanay, Rizal, in the 1960s for P1 per square meter where they raised broilers, pigs, cattle and crops.
When we interviewed Dr. Kintanar in the late 1980s, we asked him if they had ever encountered any traumatic experience in farming. And he said, yes they could not forget what happened to their broilers in 1970.
That time, they had stocked their broiler houses with 40,000 chicks, the biggest number they had loaded so far. It happened that the Pope was to visit the Philippines in November 1970. That was to be a big occasion and Max’s Fried Chicken thought a lot of people would be celebrating and eating out. So the famous “House that Chicken Built” asked the Kintanars to fully load their chicken houses weeks before the Pontiff’s arrival. Max’s would pick up the birds on November 20, 1970.
The Kintanars were, of course, very happy about the prospect of supplying 40,000 chickens to the restaurant. That would be their biggest sale and had anticipated a very good profit.
But profit it was not meant to be. On November 19, Typhoon Yoling with a speed of more than 200 km per hour arrived with all its fury and razed everything on its way, including the poultry houses of the Kintanars.
Right after the typhoon, some 30,000 of the birds were still alive but they could not do much about them. There was no housing left, they no longer had any feed, and if they dressed the birds they would not have any place to store them. Electricity was cut off and was not to be restored until a month later.
Dr. Kintanar recalled that all they could do was to tell the townspeople to get all the chickens they could eat for free. Up to the time of our interview, some people were still talking about the free chickens they got from the Kintanars after Yoling.
The Kintanars, however, refused to give up. They believed that the only way to recover their big loss was to try again. So they arranged for a refinancing to rehabilitate their poultry farm. They got a loan of P172,000 from the Development Bank of the Philippines at 6 percent interest per annum, payable in 10 years. By 1972, they were functioning again. And they had fully paid their loan in 1982, never finding it necessary to borrow again. (Memoir No. 29 of an Agri Journalist)