Local Clergy Celebrates Priesthood by Rewarding Ruralfolks with Best Edible Gardens

Local Clergy Celebrates Priesthood by Rewarding Ruralfolks with Best Edible Gardens


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Fr. Eduardo “Ponpon” Vasquez, OMI fulfils his promise to his laymen in Barangay Malangag, Antipas, Cotabato Province when he awarded prices to those who accepted his challenge to establish edible landscaping in their community.  This challenge came after the community underwent a training on Edible Landscaping in May of this year which was conducted by the Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center XII (ATI-RTC XII)  at the Oblate Galilee Farm (OGF) in Malangag, Antipas, of which Fr. Vasquez is the Farm Director.  Three months after the training,  the priest hailed the winners of the 1st Edible Landscaping Contest in Barangay Malangag which he initiated, as part of his celebration of more than a decade of his priestly life in August 22, 2017.


Fr. Ponpon, 44 and hails from Bicol Province wants to transform the community he is ministering by changing not only the landscape but also the mindset of the people.  Fr. Ponpon was inspired in the concept of Food always Available in the Household or FAITH Gardening, which was shared to him by a Marist priest, Bro. Manny de Leon, who is also an organic farming advocate.  Fr. Vasquez wants to prove that if people will make it a hobby to plant organic vegetables in their own backyard, nobody will be hungry and everyone will become healthy.  Even Sen. Cynthia Villar, his friend and co-supporter of organic farms, encouraged the priest to organize a contest for best edible landscape in their community to motivate the people. 


Thus, on August 20, 2017, few days before he celebrated the 14th Anniversary of his ordination as a priest, the Awarding Ceremony of the 1st Edible Landscape Competition in Barangay Malangag was held.  Invited to judge in the contest is no less than ATI-XII Center Director Abdul Daya-an, along with Mr. Eric Miguel from the City Agriculture Office of Koronadal, an organic farming trainer.  Seven residents participated in the contest.  The winners for the Best Edible Landscape were  Florencia Galinato, Ruby Jean Gatillo and Ma. Fe Diocon, who won first, second and third placers, respectively.  They receive cash prices, along with garden tools and vegetable seeds from the OGF and ATI-XII. 


Because of the success of the event, Fr. Vasquez plans to extend this contest not only in in the whole Barangay of Malangag, but also within the municipality of Antipas and in the whole Province of Cotabato.   He is encouraging the support of ordinary citizens and politicians who also have the heart for organic farming to rally in this noble cause.  Dir. Abdul Daya-an assures Fr. Ponpon that ATI-XII will always be supportive in his endeavour.  OGF is one of the Learning Sites of the Center in the region.