A traveler’s passion: Spreading the gospel of agriculture to the young

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By Tito Mike, Contributor
August 6, 2019

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THERE is a new passion driving the 8th edition of Cebu Pacific’s iconic Juan for Fun backpacking adventure!

In this all-new Juan for Fun 2019, Cebu Pacific chose five enthusiastic and passion-driven travelers out of thousands of nominees to go on a week-long backpacking trip in search of destinations and activities.

Participants will journey around the Philippines – visiting new places, trying unique activities, and unlocking memorable travel milestones to enrich their personal passions and stories many young travelers are driven by their hobbies and advocacies when exploring destinations.

Among them is 23-year old Dariel Vallez, a recent agriculture graduate of the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines in Claveria, Misamis Oriental.

Claveria is the largest among the 23 towns of Misamis Oriental and makes up one-third of the total land area of the province. The local economy is mainly agricultural, mostly crop production, freshwater aquaculture, livestock and poultry production. Crops mostly consist of vegetables such as tomato and bell pepper, corn, root crops, coffee, and rice.

 The town is the seat of the premier agriculture school of the entire province, the USTP- Claveria, (formerly Misamis Oriental State College of Agriculture and Technology or MOSCAT).

The son of a farmer, Dariel wants to travel where he could appreciate how food is produced and reaches the table – to promote agriculture as a vocation for the youth. For Juan For Fun 2019 he and his companions: classmate Lea Encabo and younger sister Jolina Vallez traveled to Clark and Bacolod.

“I want to share with the young that farming is great, and without it we will not have anything to eat. What we wear comes from agriculture, and even our medicines come from agriculture. So if everyone is not interested in agriculture, what will happen to farming in the Philippines if no one is left to farm?” Dariel said.

Claveria-born and raised, the young advocate was a Philip Morris scholar but doesn’t plant tobacco.

“Since my elementary days, I already saw my parents farming corn, bell pepper and chili pepper.

I have noted how our farmers are getting older, many already retired, but many of them did not share or transmit to the younger generation the love and passion for farming,” he noted.

As a consequence, Dariel notes most of today’s youth are no longer interested in agriculture and don’t want to get themselves dirty tilling the earth.

“We need to undertake some initiatives to encourage the youth to convince them that like other professions you can also earn good money from agriculture.”

Fortunately, Dariel was taught by his parents from an early age to farm the traditional way, since the children helped around the farm.

Armed with his B.S. in Agriculture degree, the farming advocate aims to leverage his Major in Agriculture Education to share to future students what he learned from school and his travels.

“Learning is more meaningful and effective when it is based on personal experience, so if I can do it, they can do it as well, if not better,” Dariel stressed.

To further drive home learning is best learned by doing, he aims to continue farming in a lot which was recently acquired by his family to grow some crops productively.

Most of all, Dariel aims to make the most of his learnings from his travel to Israel where he and his classmate, childhood friend, neighbor and fellow aggie graduate, and now fellow JFF travel companion Lea undertook their on-the-job training,

“Another of our reasons to travel is to immerse ourselves in different cultures since the Philippines has very diverse peoples and cultures, with diverse foods and dishes,” shared Lea.

“I want to learn life skills and lessons from other places I travel to, which I can share with my neighbors and town mates when I get back,” she added.

Dariel’s younger sister and JFF travel companion Jolina aims to follow in her Manong’s footsteps and also take up agriculture in USTP-Claveria seeing how it helped expand Jariel’s learnings and life skills.

 For their JFF Journey to Clark and Bacolod, Jolina aims to further bolster her self confidence and try what I have not yet tried, and share with others the life skills and learnings she learned from this journey.

With inspiration from these three Juan for Fun travelers, the future of agriculture in Claveria, Misamis Oriental appears to be in good hands.


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