Kampong Cham: The Future of Farming in the Times of Climate Change, Hydroelectric Dams and Commune Election

KAMPONG CHAM, CAMBODIA – Two young ladies happily trailed behind our ox cart with a bike. They were all smiles which were a contrast to our awkward, worried and sometimes pained facial expressions.

OX CART
OX CART. Our mode of transportation from the jump-off site to the farming village.

As our carts stopped to take a turn, they did the same. Then, they left the bike along the road to join us.

The two continued to tag along with us until only the three of us were on the field. Rice plants and other crops dominate the landscape. Stacked on one side are reaped mature rice crops. They named the cucumber plants (which were in bloom) for me.

Oh, to be young and carefree.  Aren’t these among the best things in life?

The farming village

ALL IS WELL
ALL IS WELL? Farmers knew better.

For us, ASEAN journalists who were visiting the province as part of a training from UNESCO, together with Climate Tracker, Cambodia Institute for Media Studies and Malaysia government, everything looked normal. Farmers and the commune chief knew better, however.

Sath Ath, 44-year-old, told us they were able to plant only in one season in the past two years. He said it was because of drought. During those seasons when he couldn’t farm, he turned to fishing to provide food for his family.

Currently, his average produce is 3 tons for $200 – an amount he wished he could raise to $300 to make it profitable. Or produce 5 tons from his one-hectare land instead of the usual 3 tons.

READY FOR PLANTING
READY FOR PLANTING. Will this soil get organic fertilizer?

Both were possible according to Kang Meas commune chief Layseng Hong. He said the government can help by finding markets for these crops and sell them at a higher price.

If farmers wanted to earn more via the current method, they would have to use more fertilizers. However, he discouraged this option for it can affect the soil’s nutrients in the long run. It also keeps the farmers in debt.

For him, the ideal option is organic farming.

Climate Change and Hydroelectric Dams

Lands and fish breeding areas had become warmer with hotter temperatures.  In 2011, the same year that fish had started to diminish, the province experienced a drought that wells and reservoirs didn’t have enough water supplies.

There were unpredictable droughts, too, in the middle of a farming season in 2012 and 2013. In 2015, the Mekong River did not flow enough water to farms.

Add to this the construction of hydroelectric dams, which a study confirmed has drastic effects on the livelihoods of people living along the river banks.

In an in-depth report of Austin Meyer and Gus Greenstein, these facilities can block critical breeding areas and sediments, which serve as effective natural fertilizer for crops. This blocking of sediments results in “saltwater intrusion, spoiling rice paddies.”

LS2 DAM
Photo courtesy of mekongwatch.org

Now that the Lower Sesan 2 Dam is about to be operational in August, the entire village of Kbal Romeas, 5-6 hours from Kampong Cham, will be submerged in water, according to the same report.

But for residents that refuse to budge, there can be hope.  The project which mapped the community resources in Kbal Romeas was a good start. They may also find inspirations from  Cordillera mass movement, which stopped the construction of hydroelectric dams in the Philippines.  

RESOURCES MAP
RESOURCES MAP. Kbal Romeas map of community resources. Photo courtesy of mekongwatch.org

2017 Commune Election

As the commune election result draws near, it would be a good time to ask how elected leaders plan to address the following:

How will they find markets for farmers to sell produce at a reasonable price?

Are they willing to train farmers in organic farming?

How will the LS2 Dam affect Kampong Cham?

How will they cope with the environment-altering effects of hydroelectric dams?

Lastly, how can the government make farming attractive to millennials?

Exif_JPEG_420
FEMALE STUDENTS. Interestingly, we didn’t see any male students with bikes.

Young generations don’t have the interest in farming. Yet farmers in the area are growing old with ages ranging from 30-60. Farmers make up seventy percent of its population.

For instance, the two ladies said they didn’t want to work on the farm where females usually helped to harvest rice crops. The two could name the crops, but they had fleeting interests. They stayed with us during the field interviews but left when they got bored in the middle of the forum.

 

SREY NICH AND SREY NAT
SREY NICH AND SREY NAT. The Cambodian ladies we met.

 

Before they climbed inside the truck for their seats, they turned around and waved at me. I waved back and smiled, hoping for these youths to have something productive to spend with their free time while having fun.

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Holiday Market at Mandala Park

Mandala Park brings back its Saturday weekend market this Holiday Season.

Savor once again the mainstays signature gourmets, like Babchi Kuchnia’s pierogi, Ribs Manila’s baby back, Eats Meets West’s bagnet burger and Standford and Shaw’s ginger ale.

There are also The Good Tapa, HaciendaMacalauan’s Pure and Best Milk, Local Tea ph, and the all natural Staple Spices and more.

Hope Mommy Anne’s Kitchen would make a comeback too with its herbed chicken.

mandala-park-ph-holiday-market

Stay tuned by following Mandala Park’s social media pages. Instagram @mandalaparkph Facebook: Mandala Park

El Nido and Puerto Princesa Itineraries

ITINERARY FOR EL NIDO TOUR A
 
Day1:
– Arrival in Puerto Princesa airport
– 5-6 hours travel from PPS – El Nido Town
– Arrival in El Nido
– Check in Hotel
– Overnight stay in El Nido
  
Day2:
– Breakfast
8:30 AM Pick up from Hotel
9:00 AM Start of El Nido Tour A
 
DESTINATIONS:
10:00 AM Seven Commando Beach
11:00 AM Big Lagoon
12:00 NN Lunch at Simizu Beach
2:00 PM Secret Lagoon
3:00 PM Small Lagoon
  
4:00 PM Back to hotel
– Dinner (not included in the package)
– Overnight stay in El Nido
 
Day3:
– Breakfast
9:00 AM Check out from Hotel
– 5-6 hours travel from El Nido to PPS
3:00 PM Estimated time of arrival in PPS airport
– End of tour
 
ITINERARY FOR EL NIDO TOUR B
 
Day1:
– Arrival in Puerto Princesa airport
– 5-6 hours travel from PPS – El Nido Town
– Arrival in El Nido
– Check in Hotel
– Overnight stay in El Nido
 
Day2:
– Breakfast
8:30AM pick up
9:00 AM Start of El Nido Tour B
 
Destinations:
10:00 AM Pinagbuyutan Island
11:00 AM Cathedral Cave
12:00 NN Lunch at Cudugnon Cave
2:00 PM Snake Island
3:00 PM Entalula Island
 
– Back to hotel
– Overngiht stay in El Nido
 
Day3:
– Breakfast
9:00 AM Check out from Hotel
– 5-6 hours travel from El Nido to PPS
3:00 PM Estimated time of arrival in PPS airport
– End of tour
 
ITINERARY FOR EL NIDO TOUR C
 
Day1:
– Arrival in Puerto Princesa airport
– 5-6 hours travel from PPS – El Nido Town
– Arrival in El Nido
– Check in Hotel
– Overnight stay in El Nido
 
Day2:
– Breakfast
8:30 AM Pick up from Hotel
9:00 AM Start of El Nido Tour C
 
DESTINATIONS:
10:00 AM Helicopter Island
11:00 AM Secret Beach
12:00 NN Lunch at Matinloc Shrine
2:00 PM Hidden Beach
3:00 PM Star Beach
  
4:00 PM Back to hotel
– Dinner (not included in the package)
– Overnight stay in El Nido
  
Day3:
– Breakfast
9:00 AM Check out from Hotel
– 5-6 hours travel from El Nido to PPS
3:00 PM Estimated time of arrival in PPS airport
– End of tour
  
 
ITINERARY FOR EL NIDO TOUR D
 
Day1:
– Arrival in Puerto Princesa airport
– 5-6 hours travel from PPS – El Nido Town
– Arrival in El Nido
– Check in Hotel
– Overnight stay in El Nido
 
Day2:
– Breakfast
8:30AM pick up
9:00AM-5:00PM El Nido Tour D
 
Destinations:
10:00 AM Bukal Beach
11:00 AM Cadlao Lagoon
12:00 NN Lunch at Pasandigan Beach
2:00 PM Natnat Beach
3:00 PM Paradise Beach
 
– Back to hotel
– Overngiht stay in El Nido
 
Day3:
– Breakfast
9:00 AM Check out from Hotel
– 5-6 hours travel from El Nido to PPS
3:00 PM Estimated time of arrival in PPS airport
– End of tour
 
ITINERARY FOR PUERTO PRINCESA UNDERGROUND RIVER
 
Day1:
– Arrival in Puerto Princesa airport
– Check in Hotel
– Overnight stay in Puerto Princesa
    
Day2:
– Breakfast
7:30 AM Pick up from the hotel
– Travel from hotel to Sabang
8:45 AM Estimated time of arrival in Sabang
9:00 AM Start of Underground River Tour
12:00 NN Lunch at Sabang
3:00 PM Back to Hotel
– Overnight stay in Puerto Princesa
 
Day3:
– Breakfast
9:00 AM Check out from Hotel
9:30 AM Travel to Puerto Princesa airport
– End of tour
 
 
ITINERARY FOR HONDA BAY (PUERTO PRINCESA)
 
Day1:
– Arrival in Puerto Princesa airport
– Check in Hotel
– Overnight stay in Puerto Princesa
   
Day2:
– Breakfast
8:30 AM Pick up from the hotel
9:00 AM Start of Honda Bay Tour
  
DESTINATIONS:
10:00 AM Luli Island
11:00 AM Lunch Cowrie Island
1:30 PM starfish Island
3:00 PM Pandan Island
     
4:00 PM Back to Hotel
– Overnight stay in Puerto Princesa
 
Day3:
– Breakfast
9:00 AM Check out from Hotel
9:30 AM Travel to Puerto Princesa airport
– End of tour
Note:
  • For Puerto Princesa tour, a tour to the Underground River is also an option. Advanced booking is necessary to secure a slot for this whole-day tour. Try touring around the city if there is extra time.
  • Even if you plan a DIY trip, you can still make use of tour agencies’ services such as van transfer from Puerto Princesa to El Nido and vice versa and their boat rental services for island hopping. They can reserve a slot for you and that would be less of a hassle on your part.
These sample itineraries for El Nido and Puerto Princesa tours are provided by Let’s Palawan. You may visit their website to book a tour package and use this code joysofjourneyingC004 to get a P500.00 discount per person.
For faster communication, contact Let’s Palawan through the following

email: letstalk[at]letspalawan.com

Mobile: Philippines

+639756432921

USA

+17165663875

Enjoy!

Misibis Bay Day Tour Itinerary

Day Tour Itinerary

8:00 am -Pick-up in Legaspi (Pacific Mall, Terminal, Airport, Hotel Venezia, Oriental Hotel)

8:00 am – 9:00 am – Travel to Misibis Bay

9:00 am – 9:15 am – Registration

9:15 am- 10:30 am – Swimming at the Pools

10:30 am- 11:30 am – Snorkeling at the Marina

11:30 am – 1:00 pm – Lunch

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm – Swimming at the pools

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm – Kayaking/Stand-up Paddle/Wind Surfing at the Beach-Club

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm – Free time for other Activities (ATV/Cruising/HobieCat Sailing)

5:00 pm – Travel back to Legazpi

Water Sports

Snorkeling is at 450/person.

Kayaking/Stand-up Paddle/Wind Surfing are at 350/person.

All-inclusive (including Snorkeling) is 750/person.

ATV Tour (per ATV Unit)

To the Ecopark (roughly 30-45 minutes) is at Php 1,500.

To the Hilltop (roughly 1 Hour & 15 Minutes to 1 Hour & 45 Minutes) is at Php 3,500.

Albay Gulf Cruising (1 Hour):  Php 680/person; minimum of 6 persons.

HobieCat Sailing (30 minutes) is at Php 1,200 max of 4 persons.

3-Day, 2-Night Itinerary

misibis bay itinerary

misibis bay water sports schedule

 

5 Fascinating Facts about Coron, Palawan

Coron is already known to foreign tourists 35 years ago. This according to a fellow blogger that commented on this post. Coron, why so fascinating?

Here are some fascinating facts about Coron in Palawan, from how this island is formed to its environmental awards and its keepers’ greatest legacy.

secluded-lagoonFact #1. Coron limestone was formed 260 million years ago as a coral reef along the length of Southeast Asia and was part of the China Continental Crust. It was later drafted to its present location north of Palawan by tectonic movements.

They were uplifted by tectonism some 30 million years ago and then extensively eroded by waves and monsoon rains to create its present unique “karst” topography. These limestone crops rise dramatically as cathedral-like formations more 400 meters above sea level. [Source: UNOCAL company calendar]

kayangan lake Kayangan Lake. Photo courtesy of Carol Caudilla

Fact #2. Lake Kayangan and Lake Barracuda are the only two lakes in Coron open to tourists. Both had been awarded the cleanest lakes in the Philippines. How pristine the sacred lakes…

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It’s Weekend Market time again at Mandala Park

Mandala Park holds its second Weekend Market on October 24 in Mandaluyong City at 4 pm onwards.

12107232_1692948157604834_4835675242487913345_n
POSTPONED. Due to a typhoon hitting the country over the weekend.

If the first Weekend Market was curated by chef JJ Yulo, this time pastry chef Miko Aspiras takes the center stage with Scout’s Honor.

On board are Mister Delicious, Pedro Brewcrafters, Standford & Shaw Brewing, Fog City Creamery, Mister Delicious, Ramen Iroha, Poke Boy and Mister Fluffies. Returning from the first event are B&T Mexican Kitchen and Ribs Manila.

oct 24

Catch Kat Aggarado, too, and sway to the sounds of funky Pinoy soul.

To attend this event is to support local businesses known for their homemade hearty meals and products.