Journey to Pamora Farm January 2017
So, after asking many farmers who farm free-range chickens, I got told mostly, “We will come back to me”, “No, sorry- due to bio-security” and “No”. A day before I went on my journey, I did get a thumbs up from Farmer Angus at Spier. So it was shocking that many farmers had either something to hide of their unethical practices or they were just not willing to share information (perhaps due to competition). I eventually reached out overseas, after searching the web and right before giving up, I came across Pamora Farm based in the Philippines. Pamora is the top specialist in free-range chicken and alternative feeds. I took the wild chance of asking them if it would be possible for me to come over and work for free in return for their knowledge.
The first email just got read and ignored because they thought what would somebody from South Africa (Africa) want to come to Asia for and it's possibly just spam email. I waited a week before sending another follow up email to them where I waited a few days before getting a reply from the owner Arestina, which made me jump to the moon and was the much needed motivation that I needed.
We then agreed that I was serious and I couldn’t wait to come. This was around – and we were planning that I arrive in November 2016. There was a slight hiccup that made me nervous where they got hit with a fire burning down some chicken houses, followed by a heavy typhoon damaging weather that caused further damage. They then thought it would be better if we postponed the training. I said anything would do, as long as I can still come. After a nervous pause, she then told me I can come through in January 2017. She still thought I was crazy and that it was not real.
I then booked my ticket and sent her through my itenary confirming the ticket. Still in disbelief, she confirmed it was green light go and I must let her know when I arrive. The day I left South Africa, I informed her and she said she had to attend the funeral of her god-daughter. She said I must keep myself busy until she finds her feet and emotions.
I then left Manila the next morning to go explore and look for possible other farms and points of interest. I ended up taking buses through the country and stopped over in places like Sagada. I met many great new friends and even went on a date with one of the local girls, haha. Whilst the ATM was not accepting my card, I took an hour journey to find one that did. I took a TukTuk and then a bus to meet Arestina in Bagiou before we headed to the farm in Abra Province, Pidigan city. Here's a photo of me checking out the eggs at the backpacker's lodge.
After a long trek on the bus we got welcomed in the early hours of the morning by Arestina’s sister and brother. The first morning they allowed me to catch up on sleep while Arestina caught up with the farm operations and preparing the tasks for m training.
Up next will be the first 6 days of training/working at Pamora Farm.