PeacePond: Where Creativity and Sustainability Intersect

Storied places are often overlooked. Such is the case for Binalbagan, a quiet municipality southwest of this charming, sock-shaped island. On record, it is actually the oldest town in the whole of Negros, thereby earning the title, “Banwang Panganay.”

In a previous video featuring the San Isidro Labrador Church, we explored the roots of Christianity in Negros and how it was traced back to this quaint, little municipality. However, Binalbagan’s richness lies not only in its history, but also in its present, where a husband-and-wife tandem is empowering locals to work and live sustainably off the land.

Jet Orbida and Checcs Osmeña-Orbida established PeacePond in 2004, and the site is a five-hectare seaside haven located in Barangay Enclaro, Binalbagan. Here, members of the PeacePond Farmers Association (PFA) carry the following advocacies: organic farming, solid waste management, and regenerative agriculture. The latter refers to their practices that actively restore soil quality and biodiversity while producing sufficient food of high nutritional quality.

At present, the PFA has 24 active members mainly composed of small farmers, fishermen, and housewives. Together, they plant organic produce such as corn, lettuce, basil, papaya, cucumber, squash, turnips, and more. They also make use of farm waste and turn them into fertilizer.

Interestingly enough, PeacePond runs on a zero-carbon footprint. Their methods of farming are all manual, meaning they don’t use heavy machines and equipment that use fossil fuel or electricity. This does not diminish, however, the inventiveness and artistry of their tools— think of a sifter made from recycled materials, and even a tiller made from a discarded bicycle.

In the implementation of their practices, the PFA operates on the key element of bayanihan. In the spirit of communal unity and cooperation, the members volunteer their time and effort to the farm once a week. The produce they harvest on this day is then shared amongst them in a cooperative system.

In the same line, and remaining true to their advocacy of solid waste management, the PFA also launched the Blastik Project in 2019.

This partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation is a full-circle plastic bottle collection and recycling initiative that turns plastic “waste” into sturdy bowls, tiles, walk pavers, candle holders, and other lifestyle articles. So long as you have the necessary machines, the process is easily replicable in barangays, villages, LGUs, organizations, and small companies.

To further educate the public on how to lessen plastic waste among communities, Jet and Checcs make themselves available in the conduct of relevant workshops and training sessions. Because of the pandemic, however, these are all done virtually for now.

“Everything we do is pro-environment, pro-Earth,” Checcs shares.

Since the start, this same couple has always understood the limits to planetary resources. So with their knowledge and experience, they decided to tap into the ultimate renewable resource: Filipino ingenuity and creativity.

All this is evident at PeacePond, where the work continues for a more sustainable future.

Text by: Chaela Ruth Mirano
Video by: Bakunawa Films

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