schools ingenuity and resourcefulness is like no other
With just a little rain the grounds of the Cabangan Elem. School
in Legazpi City are easily flooded as the school becomes the
catch basin of all the flood waters coming from the neighbouring
low lying barangays . Thirty minutes of continuous rain results
to 6 inches deep flood. In the weeks past some water settled
in some areas such as underneath the administration building
and behind the class rooms.
Thanks to used containers, tires, softdrink bottles, cans, sacks
and other waste materials which are otherwise piled up as waste
materials. These are now used as portable plant containers and
pots which also serve as buffer and water absorber during heavy
The school learned
about this simple technology when it participated in the Agri-Pinoy
Gulayan sa Paaralan Program - an undertaking of the Department
the Department of Agriculture - High Value Crops Development
Program in partnership with the Department of Education.
Elementary School is just one of the 800 public elementary and
secondary schools in the whole of Bicol region that participated
in this year's Gulayan project.
They started planting last August 2012 after Ma Raquel O. Obias,
school's Gulayan coordinator attended the Gulayan sa Paaralan
training conducted by the DA HVCDP team, headed by HVCDP regional
coordinator and Gulayan sa Paaralan Regional Focal Person Ms.
Rosita Imperial, at the Daraga National High School. To motivate
all grade levels to take active part in the project, Mr. Wilson
B. Anza, the school principal, launched the grade level Gulayan
contest. All grade levels from day care to grade 6 which have
a total population of 1,021 pupils worked on their respective
gardens. In addition, the parents who were enrolled in the 4Ps
program of the government also established a garden on one portion
of the school.
of Agriculture thru the HVCDP/Gulayan sa Paaralan Program provided
vegetable seeds, organic fertilizers, carbonized rice hull and
garden tools consisting of rake, shovel, hoe and sprinkler, and
IEC materials. The DA also extended technical assistance that
included the conduct of seminar on proper crops propagation for
the teachers and parents so that they can also establish their
own gardens at home.
The parents and the children brought
good soil as the sandy soil in the school is not suitable for
growing plants. They also brought whatever waste material which
can hold soil such as empty plastic bottles of softdrinks, cans,
car tires, coco nut husk and shells, bamboos and winnows. Mrs.
Obias, the school's Gulayan Coordinator reasoned that these containers
are very suitable as pots for the plants because they can be
easily transported to higher grounds when flood comes in.
Barely a month after the kick off of Gulayan sa Paaralan in September,
the school proudly showcased their urban garden in every level.
They planted pechay, radish, okra, bell pepper, tomatoes, bush
sitao, ampalaya, monggo, malunggay, tanglad, turmeric, ginger,
alugbati, upland kangkong, carrots and squash. There were also
peanut, cucumber. Creeping vines such as as ampalaya, squash
and bush sitao were made to climb along trellises made of nylon
ropes as well as over the walls and perimeter fences of the school.
Camote tops looked like they sprouted from a sack of soil after
the cuttings were planted on the holes in the sack. Tomatoes
were planted in coconut shells mounted on plots that are located
on low grounds. These coconut shells are being transferred to
higher grounds in times of flood.
We even spotted
an onion growing on a pair of an old bra fastened to the wall,
tomatoes growing inside old denim pants, worn out school bags,
shoes and socks. The softdrink bottles planted with sweet potato
hanged along the gutters of every classroom roof served as decorations
and at the same time ready source of fresh camote tops for cooking
Mrs. Amelita J. Jamo, the agricultural technologist incharge
of Urban Agriculture in the city always visits the school and
gives practical tips on plant production. One noticeable thing
in their gardens is the absence of pests and diseases on crops.
Thanks to Mrs. Jamo's advice to mix minced siling labuyo fruit
with water and laundry detergent as spray against aphids. Crushed
kakawate or madre de Cacao leaves can also serve as fertilizer,
aside from being an insect repellent. They started harvesting
in the last week of September and since then they have already
harvested 15 kilos of pechay, and 5 kilos bush sitao.
On October 5, the top three best gardens were chosen. Grade 1
won the first place and received P3,000 cash prize, grade 6 level
garnered the second prize and received a cash award of P2,000,
while the day care ranked 3rd and received a cash award of P1,000.
One benefit derived from their urban garden are the fresh vegetables
they use in feeding the most malnourished pupils from grades
1 -6 under their school-based continuous feeding program, says
Mr. Anza. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday they provide morning
and afternoon snacks such as mung bean soup with malunggay, macaroni
soup, arroz caldo for around 120 severely wasted pupils. They
also prepare viands during lunch time which are sold to indigent
students at P1.00 per serving. The school funds were not sufficient
for the feeding program, that is why Mr. Anza was very thankful
to the Gulayan sa Paaralan project. Most importantly, now that
they plant their own vegetables they are sure that what they
feed the children are not laced with pesticides. The students
themselves take part in growing what they will eat, thereby inculcating
fondness for vegetables among the pupils.
Meanwhile, Legazpi City Agriculturist Jesus J. Kallos said that
this is a good example of the collaborative effort of the Local
Government, the Department of Agriculture and the school community.
He said that his office sees to it that the services trickle
down to the target clients - the school, the parents and the
students. Kallos also added that through the Gulayan project,
they not only teach the schools on plant propagation but also
educate them on the healthy benefits of consuming vegetables
especially among children who are more inclined to eat fastfood
than home cooked food.
The Cabangan Elementary school has been a role model in urban
gardening because of their ingenuity and resourcefulness, It
has been awarded a certificate of recognition by Mayor Geraldine
Rosal of Legazpi City and Albay Governor Joey S. Salceda on October
23. They are also among the top 3 finalists in the regional contest
for the Gulayan sa Paaralan sponsored by the DA RFU in tandem
with the DepEd region 5. A certificate of commendation signed
by DA 5 Regional Executive Director Jose V. Dayao was also awarded
to the school.
The school is now considered a model school garden project and
serves as showcase for other schools to emulate. In fact some
LGUs and other schools have included the Cabagnan Elem. School
in their Lakbay Aral itinerary.
According to Rose Imperial, HVCDP regional program coordinator,
"Gulayan sa Paaralan" project is a school-community
food production project being implemented by the Department of
Agriculture High Value Crops Development Program in support of
the government's hunger mitigation and poverty alleviation efforts.
This initiative seeks to raise public consciousness on the health
and nutritional dimension as well as economic benefits of establishing
school, household and community gardens.