The Boholano community was so saddened upon hearing Zenaida Darunday’s passing last April 9, 2017 which was also “Araw ng Kagitingan” (Day of Valor) in the Philippines.
Mam Zen or Insi Zen as she is fondly called by close friends from the cross section of the society was indeed “magiting” (courageous) because she was known to be an active advocate on environmental protection and a practitioner on sustainable agriculture, biodynamic farming, homa farming, nature farming system, homeopathy, permaculture, anthroposophy, Waldorf school, organic farming, bio composting, vermicomposting and Steiner Education.
We at the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) in Central Visayas were also disheartened of her demise because she played a big part in the institute as our partner in development. She was with us in the crafting of our first online course on Yummy Yam: Online Course on Ubi Production as one of our Subject Matter Specialist (SMS).
Her contributions to the course as our SMS was indeed an awe-inspiring because she’s into organic ubi farming for almost two decades and with her civic achievements, Mam Zen was one of the pillars of Bohol Ubi Center Foundation, being the co-founder and board member, thus, an impetus to the e-course.
As the course developer, I am so overwhelmed with her astounding knowledge on ubi. She did not settle on the haphazard information limiting only on written sources instead she emphasized that those unwritten traditional and cultural practices among farmers should also be included in the module so that learners will be empowered.
I can still perfectly remember her statement where she said: “It is called a "traditional practice" because its original reason for existence is shrouded in legends and mysticism.”
One of the many examples of these is the rationale why Boholanos kiss the ubi kinampay when it fell – according to her; it is a sign of paying respect to the offended party which is the kinampay. But, the truth of this cultural practice is to prolong the shelf-life of the crop in order to survive in the long distance travel to Spain.
Aside from that, she really put a lot of her skills in the course because she provided some action photos that will supplement in the traditional and cultural practices. It was on November 15, 2009 where ATI officially launched Yummy Yam: Online Course on Ubi Production as a running course until today. You may visit www.e-extension.gov.ph/elearning so you cannot just have an actual peep of the course but at the same time experience firsthand information about ubi production especially on the traditional and cultural practices.
This blog is dedicated to Mam Zen as our humble tribute – and from all of us in ATI-Central Visayas, we would like to say thank you for your courageous contributions and our prayers for your blissful journey back to our Maker.