Albay village offers a healthy option to residents in time of pandemic

Rhadyz B. Barcia

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Albay village offers a healthy option to residents in time of pandemic
Barangay captain, Shiela "Kap Shie" Dino, of Salugan in Camalig town, wants her townmates to have access to fresh vegetables as they stave off the coronavirus


ALBAY, Philippines –  With Mayon Volcano as backdrop, a 7- hectare coconut plantation is now a vegetable farm where residents of Barangay Salugan in Camalig town can avail of a variety of vegetables for free while the entire Bicol is under a modified general community quarantine.

The plantation is owned by the family of Salugan village chair, Shiela “Kap Shie” Dino, who came up with the “gulayan sa barangay” (vegetable farm in the village) initiative so that residents of the barangay can continue having a healthy and nutritious diet while staving off the coronavirus.  

Salugan has become the sole village in Albay that has a 7-hectare vegetable plantation.

Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara has also been providing vegetable seedlings to Albayanos so that they can have their own backyard gardens to ensure food sustainability. A similar program was initiated by 3rd district Representative Fernando “Didi” Cabredo.  

“We opted to use our private land to be the gulayan plantation during the enhanced community quarantine so we can provide free vegetables to our residents… With our gulayan sa barangay, the people can have vegetables on their table,” Dino said.

Planting the vegetables, she added, helps them fight boredom throughout the quarantine period, too.

There’s quite a buffet of vegetables to choose from the “gulayan sa barangay”. There’s lettuce, eggplants, pechay, kangkong, tomatoes, ampalaya, string beans, chilli, okra, peanuts, sweet corn, and dragon fruit, among others.

VEGETABLE FARM. A workers sweeps off dried leaves from one of the vegetable beds in the 'gulayan sa barangay', an initiative of Salugan barangay captain Shiela Dino. Photo by Rhaydz B. Barcia/Rappler

While getting their share, residents should still observe physical distancing and wear their face masks.

When the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine was imposed in mid-March, Dino began conducting a feeding program 3 times a week among Salugan residents in a bid to fight malnutrition specifically among children, pregnant and lactating women, and senior citizens.

Dino said that the feeding program dubbed “Kauswagan Pantawid Feeding Program” was delivered to the residents through a house-to-house and zone-to-zone system, all while practicing physical distancing.

A businesswoman before entering politics, Dino said she spent her personal money for the feeding program as the barangay council does not have enough funds, considering that the food ration was given to the residents from March 20 to May 15.

Barangay Salugan is an agricultural village with a population of 2,236 persons, comprising 618 families. It is home to 147 children aged 2 to 5 years old and 170 senior citizens, among others.

Salugan is known for abaca, coconut trees, pineapple, and other natural resources, as well as for “pinangat”, the mouthwatering Bicolano coconut meat and shrimp dish wrapped in taro leaves.

Salugan was also twice visited by Miss Earth International candidates in 2018 and 2019 from 30 countries for its pro-environment activities. –

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