I had the chance to attend the GK Enchanted Farm Blogger’s weekend last April, and it was a delightful learning experience!
The GK Enchanted Farm is a 34-hectare land in Brgy. Encanto, in Angat, Bulacan. It is being turned into the first Farm-Village University in the world. Aimed to end povert by 2014, Gawad Kalinga, or what we fondly call GK, hopes to raise a new generation of Filipinos who are self-reliant and self-sufficient. The Farm-Village University is about business industries and innovation with inclusion. They will be launching SEED – School for Entrepreneurial Development by August. This would be a 2-year program that aims to produce more Filipino Entrepreneurs.
The GK founder, Tony Meloto, says that the Philippines can be the 16th biggest economy by the year 2030. With the abundance of resources, we just need to realize that there is a lot of opportunity for everyone.
With that vision, one will come to realize that there is a big gap between the rich and the poor. There are people that are rich in education, resources and opportunities. And there are those struggling to make a living to bring food on their tables. The GK Enchanted farm aims to bridge the gap. Tito Tony and the social entrepreneurs showed us that it really is possible. The GK Enchanted Farm helps in partnering the brilliant minds of the enterprising youth with the genius of the poor.
During the Blogger’s weekend, I had a chance to meet the young Social Entrepreneurs in the Farm. Each of them have community partners that are working really hard to make their Social Enterprise a success.
Alvie Benitez of the the Golden Duck toured us around during the first day. We visited the Golden Duck, Plush and Play, Gourmet Keso and Hamon Social Enterprises. There was a demo on Cacao processing, and the Theo+Philo set-up smelled so good with the freshly ground cacao. I also got a chance to make a block of white cheese in the Gourmet Keso demo. And before the day was over, Alvie discussed more about the process of making salted eggs. The next day when we toured further the prototype farm showed us difference between the itik, pato and bibe. Too bad, the duck burgers weren’t available that time, but the Golden Eggs were just so perfect with fresh organic tomatoes they served during our meals there.
Bayani Brew – The best refreshment during the hot days at the farm.. And in the metro too!
The cutest stuffed starfish I’ve ever seen is made by Plush & Play, a social enterprise in the GK Farm.
Alvie Benitez, the social entrepreneur who started the Golden Duck Enterprises discusses how he makes Golden Eggs.
Gourmet Keso – Ate Maricel. Gourmet Keso is a Social Enterprise that Paul along with his partner, Ate Maricel has been working on. They make Gourmet cheese and showed us how to make the delectable kesong puti made from fresh carabao’s milk.
These yummy pork dumplings are made with fresh organically-fed livestock.
Philo, the creator of Theo + Philo showed us how cacao is processed from the bean to that wonderful ground paste that will eventually be turned to those delectable chocolate bars.
Cacao beans are fermented, dried, and taken out of their shells using this grinder. After that, it would go through a nice little machine that would turn the cacao nibs into paste-like consistency that’s ready to be turned into dark chocolate bars.
Kabutehan. This is where those squid-like tasting fried mushrooms came from. Cute gnomes, btw.
They can help you get started on your herb garden. These herb seedlings are for sale at the farm.
TJ, the King of the Bee Empire. He was so nice to share his knowledge about bees and honey, and how identify the real from fake ones.
How to test for real honey: Check how they drip into a cup of water. They won’t mix easily. Also the burning test — real honey would melt like wax.
The farm is a work in progress, and there are still structures there being developed. But there are several convention halls and pavillions that may be rented for conferences or seminars. They also organize Kiddie Camps and Social Entrepreneur Camps for professionals and students. Rooms and dorms available for those who would like to stay overnight. And a welcoming surprise is an infinity pool near the Shell Center Cabins where you can take a dip after a hard day’s work at the farm.
Hyundai Center for Green Innovation — The Center has a green museum to showcase innovative solutions for environmental protection and preservation, and is used as a venue for various events as well as new thinkers camps to raise green innovators.
Bamboo Palace Center for Development Design. With support from GK USA partners, Singaporean architects, French engineers, and top local designers, the Bamboo Palace Center for Development Design showcases innovative indigenous materials and what designing the best for the least looks like.
The Bamboo Place is currently used for design camps for students and practitioners of architecture, interior design, engineering, landscaping, and industrial design. It is also the perfect venue for conventions, trainings, and special events like weddings, yoga camps, and corporate team building sessions.
The Arch Angel-GK Center for Arts and Culture
The Arch Angel-GK Center for Arts and Culture at the GK Enchanted Farm is used for community gatherings as well as for cultural and other events.
Solar Panels by Schneider Electric
Human ❤ Nature. My favorite organic products are also available at the farm!
Grassroots Kitchen. Your visit to the farm won’t be complete without tasting the delicious meals prepared at the Grassroots Kitchen. Each meal is made with the freshest ingredients found in the farm and/or community partners.
Here’s where you can stay when you have an overnight visit at the farm. Isn’t this lovely?
The GK Enchanted Farm Aims to be a 5-star community, and not a resort. But hey, who wouldn’t want to dip into the infinity pool after a long day of work in the farm?
I had information overload that weekend, and my mind just kept on wandering about the possibilities of me owning a small business that would help other people too. I could imagine being able to learn and do more. I’m thinking about enrolling in the entrepreneur camp soon. I really can’t wait to be back there!
Kids at the camp had their early morning activity of watering the plants.
The kids also had time to feed the animals.
Who’s up for the FarmAzing Challenge? Billy, the mushroom farmer, explains the instructions to the kids.
If you’d like to learn more about the GK Enchanted Farm and the various activities and programs they offer, please visit this link.
Elvira Manlulu, [a.k.a. @RuggedPixie & @BossAel] loves the outdoors. She is a traveler, photographer, tech & social media enthusiast and entrepreneur. She is one-third of @KilometerZeroPH and has founded @PHGoods.
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