From the Queen of the South to the City of Smiles

by Mel Santos

“Back to work!” said millions of workers today; but not for my PDS. We are a private-led cacao association with a Farmer-centric mindset. So a back-to-work day is not slowing us down.

In fact, I woke up Christopher Fadriga (PDS President, right side wearing a purple collared shirt) around 4AM with a plan in mind. “We’re going to Atipuluan with you.” We then agreed to complete the Pinoy Tour with Cacao Authority’s Don Alec.

Our destination: THE CITY OF SMILES.

Nestor Saludo (left side in a white cap), our PDS Cebu Chapter PRO, kept his jolly side up as we boarded the Fast Cat Ferry in Toledo Port, Cebu which is bound to Don Carlos Port in Bacolod. “I need to do a raindance’ he said. The mighty sun was up and with the looks of it, a sweltering day awaits. But as Ms. Cacao (Mia Concepcion, PDS Media Director) mentioned yesterday, “Rain or Shine, our passion moves forward.” (read here)

The last time I visited Chris’ plantation and nursery farm was last year. I took more time in Luzon and Mindanao while Chris took Visayas. When distance is a problem, you make ways to bridge the gap, right?

LDR or Long Distance Relationship (Ms. Cacao is laughing at the other end of the phone line as to why I know this Millennial term) is hard at first but when you keep the faith and have the communication lines always open, Batanes to Jolo is just a stone’s throw away.

Chris’ cacao plantation and nursery left me in awe. It was a humble nursery last time I saw it but now, it looks like every cacao farmer’s paradise. It may have the same amenities of a cacao farm – water, irrigation canals, wind breakers, intercrops, seedlings and trees. But why is Chris’ Farm such an impressive sight? Is there a secret formula (Humic Acid, Foliar, Feng Shui or the NO TRESPASSING sign) that makes his farm well kept, safe, and conducive to house the Heirloom Cacao National Training Camp?

Well, the Chris Fadriga Plantation and Cacao Nursery has Balrly Valenzuela. (left side in blue basketball jersey) Salamat gid, migo. (Thank you, my friend) for your determination, green thumb, and passion to care for the Filipino Aromatico. Keep up the good work and thank you for supporting us and our very busy President.

Team PDS (Chris, Nestor, and I) have finished lunch with our guest from the Carribeans, Don Alec so we are heading out to the field to explore. We have a lot to accomplish but what a difference a day makes?

The difference is that the PDS Team travels near or far TO HELP. TO LISTEN. TO INSPIRE.

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