October 28, 2013

A Visit to Rapha Valley Organic Farm

A cold frozen towel and warm smiles. Those are what greeted us when we arrived in Rapha Valley Farm. A haciendera. That's how I felt as I got a piece of towel and returned the smile back to Sir Albert Jo and his crew.

We were actually warned. After our visit to Penalosa Farm, our host - the Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Training Institute told us that we would start not eating alot of things after our visit to the Rapha Valley Farm.  Fast food, certain vegetables, snacks, anything bad. They said that the farm owner is a doctor and say alot of things about food. I am hoping he would not start bashing my favorite - bacon strips. So.. a vision of a terror, mad doctor (complete with stethoscope) flashed in my mind. But, when I finally met Sir Albert Jo, he is the complete opposite of a terror doctor. He is actually very warm, and accommodating. Probably, it is his passion and belief that lead people to support his advocacy.

A short exchange of pleasantries, I found myself seated in the welcome area of Rapha Valley Farm. The farm is said to be one of the favorite destinations in Bacolod for those who want to have a nice dining experience with picturesque view. I will share the experience with you as you scroll down.

We haven't even started with our tour, when we were served with welcome drinks and snacks - Carrot and Jackfruit juice, and Black Puto with Bloodless Dinuguan and Cashew Pate.

Click Read More to know more about the Rapha Valley Farm... 

Look at that crochet holder. Cute!

I love this kind of trips because it opens your eyes to alot of new interesting food. The Black Puto is made of black rice, and the Bloodless Dinuguan is from a plant and natural extract. I don't eat dinuguan, by choice, but they said that it is somewhat close to the original thing. Interesting innovative food.

As we enjoyed the food, Sir Albert started sharing his stories. He is like a God of Organic and Natural Food. What makes him more credible is probably the fact that he is a doctor, and he is talking based on studies of science, and experience. He strongly believes that Food is our Medicine. You might have heard the same from Hippocrates; but he adds, take it fresh.

There is so much he shares, and alot for me to take (and to take notes). Some notes:

  • We should stop drinking milk (Aaawww.. really?). He said that as we age, we lose the enzymes needed for us to digest milk (that probably explains the lactose intolerance). The alternative? If you want your does of calcium, eat Malunggay! 1/8 cup of Moringa or Malunggay will give you a Calcium of four (4) cups of Milk, Vitamin C of seven (7) oranges, Potassium of Three (3) bananas and Vitamin A of four (4) Carrots. (he shared this without notes! he's amazing!) 

  • He shared that if you really want to drink milk, he suggests getting from the ones made from New Zealand.  

  • Human should not eat meat! (think of the yummy prime steaks!) He shared that if we want to eat meat, we should eat grass-fed cow and organic pigs. Well, I have already heard from my mom that we shouldn't be eating alot of pork since whatever diseases is in the animal, it would be transferred to us as we eat them. Can I say buh-bye to bacon? 

  • Stop eating burgers and fast food (why?!.. Oh.. good for me, I am not really a fan of fastfood, as I always eat meals cooked by mom. Although I sometimes miss having fastfood). He shared that those imported US beef are the dirtiest (ok, don't hate me, I am just quoting Sir Albert here). He said that in order to produce 500 kilos of beef in the Philippines, we need 5 years. But in the US, all they need is 14 months to grow and produce 1200 pounds of meat. How did they do the magic? They ground everything. Prime cuts, steak, eye, bones, intestines. Now those are the meatloafs, hotdogs and burgers that we eat (arrrgh.. I cannot let go of SPAM!

  •  For those who loves sweets! Dr. Albert shares that we should be checking the sugar content of the sweets, and drinks that we take. Most companies use high fructose sugar because they are cheap and uses crystalline sugar. He mentioned about the process that separates the sugar the fastest way but produces mercury, which goes to our brain and causes Alzheimer. This also affects the sugar industry and production in Negros. 

  • The bottled tea drinks that we see in the grocery are also not good. Better drink a natural tea. 

  •  If you think that by ordering fish, you are choosing a healthier meal. Think again. Well, make sure that you order a fish with scales - the scales serves as a protection from pollution in the sea. 

  • The white rice is just sugar. Now I understand why the doctor advised my mom to cut down on rice as she is diabetic. It is better to go with brown or black rice (actually after our Bacolod trip, our family just made a switch to brown rice). 
  •  The mineral water that promises to be healthy, they have taken out all the goods in the water. If you really want fresh and healthy water, store them in the good old tapayan. The algae on the sides filters the water and produces a more fresh and healthier drink.

  • Carrot juice is good for fighting cancer. I love carrot!

  • Camote is the best source of fiber. Don't laugh if you find yourself releasing gas every so often. It is a way of cleansing your body.

The best thing that he has shared with us is the detox recipe:

The Detoxification/Slimming process can actually help you lose weight about 3-5 lbs and some up to 10lbs per week.

What you need:
  • 1 Liter Water
  • 20 pcs. Calamansi
  • 2 tbsp. Black strap molasses (you can buy this in baking stores!)
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne pepper

  1. Extract the juice from the calamansi and mix it together with other ingredients.
  2. Drink 3 to 4 liters per day for 3 consecutive days without any food intake except water.
  3. This is a complete meal and just drink it if you are feeling hungry. 

To really check the results, go and visit the doctor first for blood and body analysis, then have a check-up again and compare results after the cleansing period.

I am excited to try this, but might probably do next month. I'll make sure I will block my schedule and just stay home. My mom and dad are also excited for this detoxification plan.

Dr. Albert said that we might not probably know the we have toxins and wastes in our body that we have not expelled. We might be walking around with half of our weight is just waste.

We could have stayed longer in the comfy nest, with the golden sun shining and the green fields surrounding us, as Dr. Albert Jo shared more revelations and truths. It is as if we are on a religious rally that is testing our beliefs in food. I was shaken.

Anyway, it is time to go and explore the 8,000 hectare field.


Time to explore the green fields.. 

The farm got fashionable hats for the guests! 


 Once again, we got to pick and taste the plants in the field. 
I was officially a herbivore that time.

With every turns in the valley, we met different plants and herbs..

You can see how happy Sir Albert was as he tours us to his farm and shares stories about the plants. It is like sharing a story that he will never get tired of sharing.  I know how it feels.. when you believe about something, you share it with passion and it would be easy for you to influence people. It would be all natural.


Sir Albert also took pride of the vertical gardening to maximize space of the garden. I love how organized and beautiful his farm is! It is like stepping foot in a Farmville game!

Near the end of the farm trail, we entered a nursery room..

 I met this plant which is so delicious. It is soury-sweet.
Makes a good alternative to candies. 

Oh yes, you can say that I did enjoy the farm tour!

At the end of the farm tour, we found ourselves inside the ..


(Segue story, I kept on typing Ralph when typing Rapha.. :p)

It seems like there was a feast as we gathered inside the restaurant. 

I love the relaxing ambiance, the nice weather and the view of the 
Salvador Benedicto that looks like a painting in the window.

The flooring is scattered with stones that somehow reminds me 
of the beach..

Beautiful set-up
I don't want to touch it!

 They say that food is much more tasteful when 
cooked in clay pots. Food in the Rapha Valley 
is cooked on low fire and in clay pots to preserve the minerals.

We had flowers for salad!

Sir Albert shared that his staff is not allowed to eat meat when they are in the farm. I love that the Rapha Valley Farm staff is also advocate of healthy eating. Sir Albert sure does have a good influence. He is a leader, and he doesn't find it hard to make his team believe in the same advocacy he is supporting. Interestingly, he also encourages the staff to have salad first before the meal.

 I tried both the dressing - guyabano dressing which is good. The salad is all fresh greens, with Yacun (considered as Apple of the Earth), pineapple, green tomatoes, carrot strips and cucumber. 

Now, it is time for the main dish! We had pasta! I love, love pasta! 
We had two sauces that afternoon.

Tomato Herb with Black Olives
It is served with Mahi-mahi Fish

The Shitake Mushroom with Parsley Sauce
This one is a new thing for me and I am thinking 
this might be best eaten with rice.

The Chili Paste is just crazy hot! 
I love hot and spicy food but I was knocked out 
when I had this!

What is a meal without dessert? and Tea!

Tarragon Tea is so good and relaxing!

The Squash Carrot Cake (with Bignay Fruit) is soo good. I love that it is moist. The Bignay Fruit is usually mistaken as a blueberry. It is a good source of calcium and is usually made for producing wine. I have encountered this fruit time and time again during our Bacolod trip. 

The Turmeric Creme Brulee 
is a surprising dessert for me. 
I am probably used to eating sweet creme brulee
and my palate is not open to this kind of flavor.
It is a must-try though! Different dessert experience!

Overall, the food is great! Sir Albert took the time to visit us in our table and chat with us, which made the lunch more pleasant. He shared that he prepared the food in anticipation of our visit. We felt so special. Like Hacienderas. ;)

It is really nice to meet people who have such passion and strong influence about the things that they care about.  In just one day that I got to meet and be with Sir Albert, he has influenced me and changed my views. I know that changing lifestyle and eating habits will not happen overnight. You will still find me eating junk, and chips (and posting them on instagram), but the good news is, I am open for change.

Thank you Sir Albert for the warm welcome, great food and amazing learnings!
Why are people named Albert always have such amazing stories 
and life to share with others? ;)

Please do watch out for the upcoming posts about our Bacolod Organic Farm Tour. 
Also check:

Rapha Valley Farm
Don Salvador Benedicto
Negros Occidental
Dr.Alberto Jo
(034) 437-0816

***Thank you once again to Penalosa Organic Farm and Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Training Institute, Ms. Niet, and Ruth Floresca, for the amazing 4-day organic agriculture tour. 

Please stay tuned for more stories about this trip!

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