It was such a surreal experience to be in the middle of a sunflower plantation. We were two weeks ahead of the sunflower season but flowers have already begun to sprout and we were very lucky to have witnessed these lovely yellow blooms.
Antonio Pueblo GK Village is a Gawad Kalinga Village located in Catigan, Toril, Davao City. I thought that it would take us forever driving the narrow road up Catigan before we could reach it. Alas, we were greeted with pastel-colored houses, we have arrived!
The community has prepared a simple merienda for us, and in line with our advocacy, everything was natural: only the good. There was maruya, my favorite turon, camote cue, and passion fruit juice. But before we can eat our snacks, we have to work for it.
We trekked up the muddy road until we reached the passion fruit plantation of Human Nature. Picking up the passion fruits is no-brainer. You just have to literally pick the fruits that have fallen from the ground. Human Nature uses passion fruit seed oil for the lip balms and lipsticks. What the company really needs are the seeds where oil can be extracted. The GK community also derives subsidiary income from the passion fruit juice.
After picking up passion fruits, we proceeded to the sunflower plantation. I have never seen so much sunflower in my whole life. A GK community member invited us to go back by mid-July so that we can witness hundreds of sunflowers in full bloom. Nonetheless, although we were ahead of the full-bloom schedule, some of the sunflowers have already started to open up with its petals facing the sun.
This plantation has spent much on research and development to find the right variety of sunflower that could produce sunflower seeds that do good in both quality and quantity. As you may have noticed, the sunflower photographed above does not have too many petals on it but has its middle part full of seeds. Human Nature uses sunflower oil extracted from sunflower seeds to produce its products. In fact, the Sunflower Beauty Oil is Human Nature's best seller, dubbed as the miracle oil, with 17 miracles in one bottle.
I'd really love to go back here when all of the sunflowers have bloomed. This plantation grows single-stem variety of sunflower which produces only a single flower per plant. If you are an avid fan of plants versus zombies, you would really appreciate going to this plantation. It's like playing the game, sans the zombies!
It was a nice experience and a quick exercise going from and back to the GK multipurpose hall. A few other community members were already waiting for us and with them are the freshly-picked passion fruits and some sunflower seeds. The GK members demonstrated how they take the seeds from the passion fruit and how to peel the sunflower seeds. The machine operator then taught us how the oil is extracted from those seeds using an oil extractor.
The passion fruit seeds are dried before they are placed in the oil extractor while the sunflower seeds are dried and peeled. The peeling process of the sunflower seeds is such a tedious one: the peeling is done manually.
After the demonstration, and after trying our hands out peeling sunflower seeds, we were then served with our delicious and nutritious merienda! Some of us were able to purchase concentrated passion fruit juice priced at P60 per liter.
I am so lucky to have been able to join this event and I'm looking forward to go back to this community. I've learned so much about Human Nature's advocacies and how it has helped Gawad Kalinga communities, it truly is a pro-poor, pro-environment, and pro-Philippines company and I'm so proud to be a part of it.