Meeting the Ilocos Dragon Lady’s Mimie

A new age farmer, Mrs. Edita Dacuycuy

Through all the four years I’ve been blogging about anything under the inspiring sun up north, special connections with people of all walks of life have been formed. I first wrote about new age farmer Manang Edita Dacuycuy in the early days of the LEAD Movement blog (here).

Colorful Fruits

A year later, I was happy to visit a bigger REFMAD Farms offering more dragonfruit bi-products (here). It is still one of the most visited posts in the blog. More than anything else, I feel so blessed to have photographed one memorable woman that has energized and encouraged several thousands more to grow the saniata wonder fruit.

To this day, Manang Edita continues to reap the fruits of her labor. She was awarded by no less than President Aquino and received the priceless opportunity to speak at an APEC event.

The Saniata Farmer

I guess Manang Edita loves the photo  (above) so much that it is on a huge tarpaulin somewhere in the coffeeshop. I remember she did mention that my hand with a dragonfruit against a blue sky is one of the photos in a presentation made for the farm by a university. I likewise treasure all the happy and candid conversations with the lady.

exotic cactus fuitBE screenshot

I met her daughter Mimie in this blog in 2011. I saw her for the first time only last month. She’s so blessed to have a mother like Manang Edita. Manang Edita is a such a beautiful example of a woman leader. She dreams big and turns her dreams to empower people. Seldom do we see truly natural, humble leaders nowadays. Indeed, wealth is in the heart.

REFMAD Farms in the town of Burgos, with Mimie around, is now a more total farm destination. An eco-lodge awaits the green tourist. Imagine a magical field of neonesque dragonfruit blooms in the night. Or waking up to cock crows and sunlit bold, quirky-looking fruits in a sea of greens.

Dragonfruit Farm

To the Dacuycuy family, I feel privileged to have been touched by your beautiful story. All the warm wishes to you.

DragonfruitThe Saniata FarmerDragonfruit
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

Dragonfruit shake with anti-corrosive properties for bloated egos

Dragonfruit shake

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. My neighbor’s speakers were blasting once more. A stifled freedom of speech and expression, thanks, but no thanks to Senator Edgardo Angara, the main proponent of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which legally takes effect today, while the Supreme Court tackles several petitions questioning the constitutionality of the law. Chaos, chaos, what the heck! ‘Tis the season.

Also the season for saniata aka dragon fruit. The most wholesome thing to do right now is to whip up some juice. Creative juice to break the fast.

Blended crushed ice, flesh from one whole medium-size dragonfruit and condensed milk. A healthy cooler! I’m donating this post to anyone. Sort of Creative Commons. Lift it up. Tagalize it, whatever!

Photographed by Blauearth

Organic farmer/entrepreneur Agnes Asuncion inspires

Influenced by the green thumb and entrepreneurial savvy of Ilocos Norte’s pioneer dragon fruit grower, Manang Editha Dacuycuy, another lady, Manang Agnes Asuncion, a mother and former overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Barangay Pias, Norte Currimao, nurtures a handful of potted dragon fruit cuttings (in 2008), strengthens her knack for gardening by undergoing agri trainings from several government agencies and Manang Editha herself, and then grows her vegetable and fruit garden into a farm, with 180 dragon fruit trees to date. The trees are now able to provide for her dragon fruit soap making home business.

Through the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) “Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program”, Manang Agnes was rewarded a financial grant, which has helped her purchase tools and materials to enhance her handmade soap business.

Dragon fruit is regarded for its antioxidant properties. Being a dragon fruit fiend myself, the fruit’s potent cleansing effect on me is remarkable. I have yet to try the soap made from stems, however.

Currently, her soaps bearing her name can reach as far as Manila and the Visayas. Repeat buyers use the soaps (dragon cactus-cococut oil, dragon cactus-olive oil, dragon cactus-mint variants) for various purposes such as skin whitening, disinfecting and relief for bruises, excessive sweating, itching, fungal problems, psoriasis, etc..

Manang Agnes is able to produce 250 pieces per week, with a little help from her teenage children. Her gracious daughters, Edita Loraine and Gretchen Barbara, showed me around her work space. They intimated that their mom’s flourishing business is able to augment the family income.

Agnes Asuncion Brgy. Pias, Currimao, Ilocos Norte CP #: (0921) 273 4515

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012