Solar-powered systems in Almagro, Samar

Rehabilitation of solar-powered water supply and street lighting systems in Brgy. Bacjao, Almagro, Samar


Solar-powered systems is very important in today’s generation in order to help reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change. In the age of sustainable development, communities needs to adapt technologies that are sustainable.

However, with the influx of technology today still there are some communities that is left behind in terms of community development.

Development is lagging in the country side because of poor access to resources that includes social capital, technical know-how, and financial resources. Not only access to these resources but also the geographic location.

When I was a child my family lived in Camotes Island, Cebu City. Infrastructures like roads and transportation are very important in development. It attracts investors and other tourist to visit and invest in the island. However, at that time Camotes Island is not yet fully developed. No tourist, and the place itself is like a ghost town. My brother and I call it in vernacular “napag-iwanan ng panahon” which is in translated in English “left behind through the years.”

It’s been along time since I haven’t visited there but many of my colleagues said that the island is now developed in terms of tourism and livelihood.

Now, while working in a college university I happened to encounter this peculiar situation of a small island in Calbayog City.

Before I share to you the content of the entire article, let me first acknowledge the team behind this. They are a team of experts in engineering and technology.

By the way, what you are about to read is an extension proposal submitted for funding. The rest of the article here is prepared by the extension agent itself Engr. Noemi A. Majait.

The Experts

They are Engr. Noemi A. Majait, Engr. Joseph Marian B. Romano, Mr. Richard Talon, Mr. Leopoldo Negros, Engr. Merary C. Ca-ang, Mr. Damaso Saliwan, Dr. Ernesto Guades, Engr. OtiliaTaduyo, Mrs. Jenith T. Salem and Mrs. Editha M. Bucalin.

Being an expert in such field is a priviledge to help build a community that can sustain itself. It’s the essence and job of the researcher and development worker.

In the beginning

Not so long ago, the Australian Agency for International Development (Australian AID) also known as AusAID – an Australian government agency responsible for managing Australia’s overseas aid program, funded the Municipal Solar Infrastructure Project (MSIP) is one of the completed Rural Development and Health Program of AusAIDfrom 1997-2006 which uses solar energy as an “enabling technology” to target specific needs and upgrade basic facilities in remote un-electrified communities.

With an Australian grant of A$37 million, MSIP installed 1,000 solar powered systems in 370 barangays in 49 municipalities in the Visayas and Mindanao. Beneficiary villages were remote from the material electricity grid. The solar powered systems currently provide power to rural clinics, schools, community centers, water supply systems, and communal area lights.

AusAID program aims to assist developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve .AusAID’s program leads the way in the fight against preventable diseases including polio in the Pacific region and funded measles and polio immunizations for more than 1.5 million children in Papua New Guinea. It also works to improve the quality of basic services such as water supply and sanitation programs.

One of the municipalities in Visayas region that benefited from the project in 2000 is Almagro Samar. Many barangays in its municipality has been provided with solar energy that meets their basic needs in water pumps and lighting.

Although training’s were provided to municipal operatives, municipal engineers, and universities for each town to support the system which includes the municipality of Almagro, Samar, some of these solar-powered systems are no longer functioning due to various reasons.

Community Development Project Intervention

The captain of Barangay Bacjao contacted Northwest Samar State University (NwSSU) thru the office of Research, Extension, and External Affairs (REEA) asking for a rehabilitation assistance for the said solar-powered systems in their area, particularly their water supply and street lighting systems.

The College of Engineering and Technology (CET) is composed of experts that could handle such assistance, and therefore, responded to this request.

Rehabilitation and restoring the working condition of the solar-powered water supply and street lighting systems of Brgy.Bacjao, Almagro Samar is the main objective of this extension project.

To ensure the sustainability of the working condition of the solar-powered water supply and street lighting systems, the College of Engineering and Technology of NwSSU provides training in related technical field as technology transfer.

How we do it

The solar-powered systems of Brgy.Bacjao, Almagro Samar that will be rehabilitated consists of two related, yet independent systems: the water supply system and the street lighting system.

The rehabilitation programs of solar powered water system will be implemented in three phases:

Phase 1: Launching program and site assessment

Site Assessment at Almagro Island
Site Assessment at Brgy. Almagro

The launching and assessment of site will be implemented during the first weekend of the activities where a report of the assessment together with the list of required materials will be submitted and deliberated to the barangay council for their procurement.

 The barangay council will inform the team of the schedule of delivery of the materials, and only then, will the team prepare for the rehabilitation phase of the project, which will commence on the second weekend of the activities.

The training sessions, evaluation, and closing program shall be implemented within an estimated three (3) succeeding days. Therefore, it will be scheduled on the next possible week as soon as the rehabilitation is finished.

 Phase 2: Rehabilitation of the systems

This phase includes two activities: 1) site assessment and 2) rehabilitation system.


Solar powered water supply
Solar powered water supply

At this moment, the solar-powered water supply and street lighting systems of Barangay Bacjao, Almagro Samar is currently non-functioning with its solar panel and other accessories dismantled and/or is not functional. The photo in the left shows the solar powered water system where in the solar panels are already gone and it is not functional anymore.

It is assumed that some of its parts also need replacement or clean-up. An assessment of the site and its system is needed to determine the required materials as well as the cost of the rehabilitation. It also needs to specify what particular jobs to be done. The assessment of the systems will be divided according to its functionality and will be handled by a group of expert accordingly from various field of expertise such as electrical, electronics, and structural engineering.


For smooth rehabilitation process, the job to be undertaken will be assigned according to the expertise of the different groups. The power distributions of the water supply and street lighting systems will be handled by the Electrical group. At the same time, the electronic circuitry of the system, particularly, the photovoltaic cells, secondary battery, inverters, and water pump power source will be handled by the Electronics group. Moreover, the water storage structure and its distribution system will be assigned to the Structure group. Nevertheless, the appointed maintenance trainees must be there to observe the rehabilitation process for their reference.


Training sessions, evaluation and monitoring.

After the rehabilitation, there will be a series of training for the appointed technical trainees to ensure the sustainability of future maintenance of the systems.

The training will be categorized according to the different functionality of the systems and will be implemented and supervised by the group of experts.

Training 1: Safety precautions: how to handle electricity

Trainor/s:       Engr. Merary C. Ca-ang

Training 2: Basic electrical: Power distributions of water supply and street lighting systems

Trainor/s:       Mr. DamasoSaliwan

Training 3: Basic electronics: Photovoltaic cells, secondary battery, inverter, and water pump power source

Trainor/s:       Engr. J.M Romano/Engr. Noemi Majait

Training 4: Troubleshooting: Solar powered water supply and street lighting systems

            Trainor/s:       Mr. Leopoldo Negros/Mr. Richard Talon

Training 5: Structural design: water storage structure and its distribution

                        Trainor/s:       Dr. Ernesto Guades/Engr. Otilia Taduyo


What we hoped for?

The activities outlined in this project aims to achieve sustainable community development. Such community development ideas and project is helpful in creating a sustainable living in the country side.

However, one of the factors that could affect its implementation and achieving this sustainable development goal is financing.

The project cost proposal is only Php 41, 000 from the extension implementers counter part, while for the beneficiary is Php 91, 000.

From the initial activity, according to one of the member of the project, Php 91,000 is just enough to rehabilitate one street lighting facility.

If you are going to visit Almagro Island, the entire island depends solely on this street lighting system.

Just imagine if you spend your night in a beautiful island without electricity or street light.

Not only that, most of the people are engage in fishing as livelihood. They set sail and sometimes arrived midnight everyday. Light is very important in that island and without it people become inefficient at work.

Again, sustainable development is sometimes geographically determined. Like the case of Almagro Island and the rest of island towns in the Philippines which is unreachable by electricity.

Thankfully, with the technologies today like alternative solar energy, wind power and the like, people can now live in a sustainable way. However, financing is one way to get things done. But for sure, the one who will be reading this one would like to see a community that is self sufficient with the help of solar power.

As of now, the solar-powered water supply has no more solar panels which is very important in the system.

Thus, as blogger, owner of this site, with the team of extension agent seek your support to this cause.

Together let us create a sustainable community project.

Let us help rehabilitate their solar powered water supply and street lighting.

If you like this cause, please contact us.

Or like and share this article to your friends who can help.

Will be waiting for you on the other side.

God bless!









  1. Australia’s Overseas Aid Program 2007 08. Retrieved 2014-06-10 from
  1. McDermott, James E. Horne; Maura (2001). The next green revolution: essential steps to a healthy, sustainable agriculture. New York [u.a.]: Food Products Press. p. 226. ISBN 1560228865.
  1. A New Intelligent Control Terminal of Solar Street Light. Retrieved 2011-07-12 from



Sustainable solutions for water resources

Water resources are vital to human beings.

Without water, there is no life.

Last April I experienced a very tiresome activity and made me sick for sometime.

I thought what on earth is happening in this place.

I thought that it was just temporary because its summer time – in the Philippines the temperature is warm at this point in time. However, in June, it is expected that rainy season will come but the situation is getting worse.

water supply delivery
Photo: Lloyd Celeste

I kept on fetching water for 3 pesos per container. Thankfully a woman offered the same price which is not so far from my boarding house.

I realized that I was really called to do this job as a researcher and extentionist. I thought this could be a great opportunity to educate and teach the people about environmental conservation.

I know that this is a critical issue. An issue that is not just personal but somehow political. Many people would not believe this until they felt it.

Many people denies that we have insufficient water supply and we even experiencing this from time to time.

In this regard, I would like to address this article to all those deniers out there and hope to provide some mitigation mechanism in achieving .

This article is focused on the Watershed management for sustainable water service delivery. This is a sustainable solution to water resources.

The article is divided into the following parts.

  1. Relationship of Forest and Watershed in the delivery of sustainable water supply
  2. Why Watershed Management?
  3. Watershed Services
  4. Why invest in Watershed management?
  5. Benefits of Watershed Management
  6. Watershed Management Policy, Issues and Concerns
  7. Sustainable Solutions for water resources
  8. Conclusion

If you want to get a copy of this sustainable water supply in power point  presentation you can visit the link below.
[slideshare id=65339507&doc=watershedmanagementforsustainablewatersupply-160825015817]


Relationship of Forest and Watershed in the delivery of sustainable water supply

Based on the definition, “A watershed can be defined as a geographic area of land in which precipitation drains to a common point on a stream, river, pond, lake or other body of water.”

Photo courtesy:
Photo courtesy:

From this, from various scientist and organizations have concluded that “forest is a major user of water.”

According to Barnes et al (2009), forest and agricultural land greatly affect water quality and flow. The forest is a great contributor to water quality and also the quantity of water. This is the reason why conversion of forest to other land use affect water quality. Different land uses can alter the hydrologic cycle which will result to increase or decrease in water supply.

Moreover, forest provide high water quality which can be achieved through minimization of soil erosion on site, reduction of sediment in water bodies (wetlands, ponds, lakes, streams, rivers) and trapping or filtering of other water pollutants in the forest litter, particularly through the following mechanisms (Calder et al 2007).

Water delivery is also enhanced through improved water storage capacity, soil infiltration.

When I was a child my favorite movie “Ferngullly: The last rain forest” made me cry when the antagonist almost takes over the rain forest and would destroy everything.

When I found out that the relationship of these forests to our water is an important, I say, we should protect our forest.

In some studies, it shows that the extraction of trees would increase the risk of flash floods which resulted from induced water discharge.

Calder et al 2007, reported that forest removal or clear cutting increases downstream water yields or stream flow. These happens in many hydrologic process such as interception of precipitation and evaporation and transpiration from the foliage.

If cutting more trees can produce more water downstream, should we cut trees to get more water supply?


Clearing forest may increase downstream water yield, but it is only temporary and short-lived. It may also posed additional risk like flooding. Then if forest regrow, the same problem will occur – water scarcity.

Clearing of forest is no doubt an unsustainable approach to achieve sustainable water supply. (Hydrologic Effects of a Changing Forest Landscape 2008)

In 1991, I was still grade 4 then the most horrible tragedy that happened in Ormoc city and in world history.  A great flash flood took the lives of many people and people believed it’s because of illegal logging.

This is the main reason why we should take care of our environment which brings me to the next topic watershed management. This sustainable lifestyle contributes to the ability of an ecosystem to produce more.

Why on earth should we manage and invest in water resources?

 First, let me define watershed management.

According to DENR, this is the “process of guiding and organizing land and other resource uses in a watershed to provide desired goods and services without adversely affecting soil, water and other natural resources” (DENR Memo Circular No. 2008-05).

sustainable development goals
Photo courtesy:

Scientific research shows that watershed management increase water quality. Now, in relation to sustainable development goals (SDG 2015) it suggests that by 2030 participating nations who signed the SDG should be able to:

Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

6.1 by 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.

Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

15.2 by 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and increase afforestation and reforestation by x% globally.

15.3 by 2020, combat desertification, and restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land-degradation neutral world

15.4 by 2030 ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, to enhance their capacity to provide benefits which are essential for sustainable development.

15.9 by 2020, integrate ecosystems and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes and poverty reduction strategies, and accounts.

Prior to the SDGs, in the Philippines there are already established legal mandate for watershed management.

If we will not protect this one, we may miss watershed services the following values that is derived from it.

This brings me to the next part.

Watershed Services

In economic parlance, the watershed provides use values and non-use values. These are productive use (irrigation, domestic, municipal, industrial, power generation, fisheries and livestock raising) and consumptive and non-consumptive (e.g. recreation).


While those that are not consumable, but preserved for future use and is not marketed goods and services are called non-use values. You can not buy sustainable water supply today in the market rather this is in the future generation.

If we are going to account all these use and non-use values, we will arrive at the total economic value of watershed services. This is now quantifiable.

You may ask we do we need to quantify the non-quantifiable and non-marketable goods?

Good question.

If you are going to account all the benefits that is derive from watershed today that you are using such as food, water, timber, and among others – literally this has a cost.

And that cost is the amount that all people should pay if we are going to pay what we get from the watershed. But because this resource is an open access, there is a peril that it will lead to the tragedy of the commons.

You can read and download the Tragedy of the commons by Garret Hardin here.

If you are going too asked why do we need to invest in watershed management?

Does this investment water resources beneficial to human beings?

Take note of this:

watershed services
Photo: Lloyd Celeste/ Lake Sebu 2011

What are the benefits that we can get?

Benefits from watershed functions

These are just among the benefits that is derived from watersheds:

  • Reliable water supply
  • Future generation will have water supply
  • Avoid flood and landslide
  • Recreation
  • Livelihood

If we are going to pay all of these, this equals to the willingness-to-pay (WTP) for watershed protection.

In a study I conducted last 2008, I found out in the five municipalities that the benefits of watershed protection amounts to P 12,276,229.00 /yr. or P 591.87 /yr. or P 49.32 /mo.  This is the individual households WTP.

However, managing watershed is not an easy task. If you are looking to be sustainable then you should consider community participation among stakeholders.  In this way you can achieve more development in the country side.

But along these sustainable development initiatives, there are loopholes that we should look into the issues and concerns of watershed management which brings me to the next part.

Watershed management policy issues and concerns

Some issues in watershed management are hard to solve. Accept it or not. Though we have a very good scheme in water resources project, it is not exempted from the factors that affect this watershed protection.

The following list are some of the policy issues and concern I found out in literature and in my research.

slash and burn agriculture
Photo: Brgy. Pena 2, Calbayog City 2014

These are:

  • Conflicting land-uses and practices within watershed areas threatening activities includes firewood gathering, charcoal making, selling of non-timber and timber products (Wunder, 2005) which many of the land users practiced in CPHPL (Malabarbas and Celeste, 2016).
  • Inappropriate land classification and disposition of watershed areas
  • Continued encroachment and illegal occupancy
  • Lack of economic incentives for watershed management and protection.
  • Lack of social and political considerations in implementing watershed management programs (Javier, 1999)
  • Conflict of interest between upland (tenured migrants) and lowland settlers (Celeste, 2010)
  • Limited adoption and institutionalization of the watershed as a planning unit approach (Javier, 1999)
  • Reduction of budget allocation for watershed management
  • Lack of general watershed management plan

Nevertheless, we can still achieve sustainable lifestyle through community participation in protecting our watershed.

Here are some approaches that we can use as a model.

Sustainable solutions to water resources

These are two basic and simple approach to sustainable watershed management.

Non market based

Landcare approach – combination of conservation farming, agroforestry and natural resource management (Mercado and Sanchez).

– refers to a group of people who are concerned about land degradation problems and interested in working together

Market based incentives

Institutional and financial arrangements for collaborative watershed management Market-based mechanisms should be developed to recover the operation costs of watershed management though PES schemes.

Payment for Environmental Services

Water resources project also implement this watershed management scheme PES. In fact, there are many PES programs already implemented in Latin America, America, Asia and South East Asia. However, the success of these PES depends on the community participation. Since PES is voluntary, it should be made clear to the recipients of the program what are their responsibility in return of the incentive that they got from the program.

Some countries that implements PES programs:

  • Costa Rica
  • Northwestern Oregon
  • Colombia
  • United states
  • Maasin Watershed (Philippines)
  • Balian Watershed (Non-cash payments) (Philippines)
  • Mt. Kanlaon Natural Park/La Tondeña Distillery (Philippines)


Designing and implementing payment for environmental services: The Philippine Experience

Payments for Watershed Protection Services: Emerging Lessons from the Philippines


Successful watershed management approach requires   

According to Catacutan and Duqueb 2006, to have a sustainable watershed protection program for the community, it is necessary to heed to following.

  • Are there local financial investments?
  • Are there local technical and managerial capacity?
  • Is there a sound political culture?
  • Do we have clear national mandates?

In the Philippines, I found this one to be related to sustainable watershed protection.

  •  Water Crisis Act 1995 or RA 8041
  •  Clean Water Act
  •  NIPAS Act

Lastly, sustainable development through watershed management for sustainable water supply delivery needs a balanced approach in watershed management. Land use management have already been explored however the hydrologic cycle as affected to land use has seldom put into consideration.

Thus, in the near future, studies should integrate land use management and water cycle.



Delia Catacutan and Caroline Duqueb 2006. Challenges and opportunities in managing Philippine Watersheds: The case of Manupali watershed in the southern Philippines. 

Joseph R. Makuch. The Role of Trees & Forests in Healthy Watersheds Managing Stormwater, Reducing Flooding, and Improving Water Quality) Water Quality Information Center, USDA.

Visit Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences on the Web:

Why invest in watershed Management. FAO Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy

Barnes et al  2009.  Forests, Water and People: Drinking water supply and forest lands in the Northeast and Midwest United States, United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry 2009

I. Calder, T. Hofer, S. Vermont and P. Warren. 2007. Towards a new understanding of forests and water , Unasylva 229, Vol. 58, 2007

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2007

Hydrologic Effects of a Changing Forest Landscape 2008

2016 Inter-agency research, development and extension In-house review Cluster 3: Experience

Worth the experience!

Results of 2016 Inter-agency In-house RDE review.


Last August 2 and 3, 2016 the Eastern Visayas State University held the 2nd Level RDE symposium in Borongan City, Samar.

It was participated in by different SUCs in the cluster 3 RRDEN VICARP consortium in the Eastern Visayas namely: Samar State University (SSU), University of Eastern Philippines (UEP), Eastern Samar State University (ESSU), Northwest Samar State University (NwSSU) and Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU).

The opening message was delivered by the ESSU President welcoming the participants of the different competing universities.

Dr. Capuno gives inspirational message to researchers
Dr. Capuno gives the rational of the in-house review with an inspirational message to researchers

Meanwhile, after the opening remarks, the chairperson of the review and panel evaluator Dr. Othello Capuno, inspired the researchers by a heartwarming message to the participating researchers and SUCs. The message highlights the importance of conducting quality research in the fields of Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Resources.

While advocating this, he also added that we do not do research for the sake of conducting research but also to compete with others and emphasized the essence of competition in Research Development and Extension work. A globally competitive research is in demand nowadays and should be the norm of researchers.

In this sense, he was right because we are now in the age of . As an agricultural country, researches should helped not just the researcher but the entire community and would be later used as sustainable development practices in the region.

Presentation of Research Paper during 2016 Inter-agency In-house reviewThe two day inter-agency RDE was participated in by 4 SUCs which is part of the 3rd Cluster. A total of 19 research and extension papers were presented. Eleven papers were under the completed research category and five research papers were on-going research. For the extension papers presented two of which are completed and one was an on-going extension activity.

Completed research papers presented

Coastal Resource Profile of Tarangnan, Samar Phil. – SSU

Rapid Aquatic Resources Appraisal, Catbalogan city – SSU

Performance Evaluation of Country Pig-Fish Integration System in Agro- Ecosystem in Northmen Samar- UEP

Inventory if Marine Resources in the Island Town of Biri -UEP

Development of Promotion of cut flower and Ornamental Plants in Northmen Samar -UEP

Increasing Productivity of wetland rice ecosystem through integrated rice-fish culture -UEP

Fermentation inhibitor of Alcohol from tuba to vinegar using ceriops tagal (rhizophoraceae) bark – ESSU

Compressive Behavior of different parts of bamboo considering the position of nodes on test specimen- NwSSU

Consumers preferences and profitability of the native and upgraded native chicken in western samar – NwSSU

Development and Creation of Vulnerability Index Management System – NwSSU

Vulnerability assessment of Coastal Communities in Calbayog City to : Basis for designing adaptation system – NwSSU

On-going Research Papers presented

Climate change impacts and adaptation among mangrove dependent communities – SSU

Raft and long-line culture method of Green mussel in Samar – SSU

Evaluation of different preparations of spent mushroom substrate as growing media component for potted plants – UEP

Acceptability and quality evaluation of fish bone tea – ESSU

Improved farming techniques of oyster -SSU

Extension (completed)

Extension project on no-wash, odorless, hog fattening technology-ESSU

Extension projet onbreeding and production of Meat type chicken – ESSU

Extension (On- going)

Breeding and dispersal of Meat type native chicken -ESSU

For me as a novice researcher, it was my second time to attend RDE. But I was impressed with the host in facilitating the activity.

If you can just imagine, in a matter of 7 and a half hour, 19 papers were reviewed and evaluated which lasted up to 5:30 pm approximately.

Dr. Capuno hoisted a right thumbs up for the host.

Engaging Social Night for Researchers

Social Night at RDE In-houseAfter the first day of presentation, dinner was served coupled with the rustic melody of the acoustic band of the ESSU. While participants were entertained with the angelic voice of the band, a singing challenge kindled when one participant challenges others to sing with the accompaniment of the band.

Fortunately our research head of San Jorge campus is talented enough to show off to all that we are not lagging behind when it comes to singing.

The second day was filled with excitement as each of participants awaits for the announcement of the winners.

Dr. Capuno said that “we should remember that this is competition”. All of us are winners because we have presented our research papers but the panel has to chose which of the entries are best amongst others.

He also reminded the presenters to present well the result and try to maximize the time alloted for the presentation.

Around 10 in the morning Aug. 3, 2016 finally the winners were announced.

Of all the entries, two were qualified to present a paper on the 3rd level symposium which will be held in Visayas State University. While others were for poster presentation.

Winners of 2016 Inter-agency In-house review

Winners of 2016 inter-agency In-house review
Winners of 2016

For completed research 3rd best paper were awarded to Samar State University and 2nd best paper is awarded to NwSSU.

“Vulnerability assessment of Coastal Communities in Calbayog City to Climate change: Basis for designing adaptation system.”

Indeed, in today’s ever changing climate, vulnerability assessment is necessary.

Check these 7 reasons why vulnerability assessment is necessary.

As a short background of the research, the researchers focused on climate change adaptation in coastal communities in Calbayog City.

Because environment and social systems is complex, adaptation to climate change is also a complex activity to achieve sustainable development.

Thus, socioeconomic and ecological profiles of coastal communities were gathered. In the age of sustainable development, assessing all four dimensions is salient in addressing adaptation options such as social, economic, governance and environment. These are all captured in the Vulnerability Index Management System (VIMS). The computation of the vulnerability index which is important for climate change adaptation were done using a software calculator (VIMS) which were also developed by the same researchers to compute for vulnerability.

While the panel appreciates the research, according to them this has to be shared to the community (which will be the next activity of the group).

Conducting research and extension is fun. It may be difficult at first but its reward is priceless.

For the winners, congratulations!

The Research Team
The Research Team

Edible Landscaping: The Artistic Way to Grow Crops

How to start edible landscaping in your own lawn.

Here’s why you should start learning edible landscaping.

Nowadays, many people suffer from lifestyle diseases due to the food they ate. While others have the access to fresh vegetables like those people in rural areas, people in urban areas seldom have these opportunities. One author wrote;

To many of those living in the cities who have not a spot of green grass to set their feet upon, who year after year have looked out upon filthy courts and narrow alleys, brick walls and pavements and skies clouded with dust and smoke- if these could be taken to some farming district, surrounded with green fields, the woods and hills and brooks, the clear skies and the fresh, pure air of the country, it would seem almost like heaven. – The Ministry of Healing, 191, 192 (1905).

This article I want to share with you is how to grow your own crops even if you don’t have enough land area. This idea of planting and growing crops is becoming a need especially to those who are health conscious.

We can’t just rely on the vegetables we buy in the market since we do not know how it were produced.

According to Ellen G. White

The Lord desires His people to move into the country, where they can settle on the land, and raise their own fruit and vegetables, and where their children can be brought in direct contact with the works of God in nature. Take you families away from the cities, is my message. Selected Messages 2:357, 358(1902)

Healthy is Wealth!

For health conscious people, I am pretty sure that you wanted to get away with those chemicals in their food. That is why organic and natural farming is becoming the trend in farming today.

But again, for people who have no large area to grow there crops, is the answer.

This is one of the ways where we can have a sustainable lifestyle. A lot of sustainable living practitioners are focused on solar energy to have an eco-friendly house, which is also very good idea. But in this article, I would like to focus on edible landscaping for sustainable urban development.

By the way, this post is inspired by the two training’s I attended about edible landscaping. First in Cagayan de Oro City, and in Babatngon, Leyte.

Both of the training’s were organized and facilitated by Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Agriculture Research. The photos in here are taken from the presentations and also from actual field demonstration.

Glad to say that I was blessed by this activity and it gave me more knowledge on how to have a sustainable lifestyle.

It is what we really need in today’s overly populated world.

What is edible landscaping?

Photo: EL-UPLB Taken from powerpoint presentation (Sanchez 2013)
Photo: EL-UPLB
Taken from powerpoint presentation (Sanchez 2013)

Edible Landscaping is a new approach that merges science and creativity together to form a revolutionary crop production technology. It gives a twist in the conventional crop production as the basic tenets of landscape designing become its guiding principle (Powerpoint presentation- Sanchez et al 2013)

This is just among the few simple ideas to make our society sustainable as you may read in here.

To start your edible landscaping;

Survey the area.

edible landscape survey area
Photo taken during the actual survey demonstration of participants of Edible Landscaping Seminar, EVIARC, Babatngon Leyte

Get a pen and paper and go outside.

Look at the area (your lawn) where you plan to have your edible landscaping.

Draw the area or location and put landmarks in your paper such as what currently exists.

This is needed so that in the design phase, you know already what needs to be done.

You don’t need to be a professional architect or landscaper.

Just get yourself a measuring equipment to know the perimeter of the area.

Edible landscaping gives primacy to the use of vegetables and herbs as major softscape materials as substitute for the ornamental plants that are normally used in conventional landscaping (Powerpoint presentation- Sanchez et al 2013) .

With this, you need to know some of the elements and principles of design which you may have learned already in your school.

Don’t worry about how to go about it because there are many tutorials and free ebook that you can download about the principles of design.

You might want to look this slideshow below to know what I mean.

[slideshare id=30520900&doc=principlesofdesign-140128005836-phpapp01]

Now that you know the principles of design, you can proceed with the next step.

Three major phases in Edible Landscaping.

Design Phase

In designing your landscape, please make sure that it is really what you wanted because once it is set up, this will be your final output and if you plan to change it later on, you will then need more time and effort to do it again.

Remember that whatever you plant in that area could be final and its permanent. So, make sure your decision is right in planting those, as this will be forever or else you will be wasting your time in removing again what you planted.

This will cost you more time and money.

So, as a piece of advice. Make your design the way what you really want.

After that, get an ice cold juice to relax your mind and body and get ready for your next job.

By this time, you may have the idea of what plants you will plant.

Do you?

But don’t be in a hurry, the plants that you will need in edible landscaping depends on your location.

You need to know what are the appropriate plants that is suited in your area. Don’t forget where the sun rises or sun sets, because this is important for plants (very self explanatory) which is why you had a survey first.

Draw a bubble diagram showing which part of the area you wanted to grow your crops.

bubble diagram EL

If you have done that, its time to play with your drawing.

Go back to your principles of design and make your planning.

First, draw your design in a piece of paper using  colored papers and cut it out to suit your style.

Just like the picture below.

desiging EL


Having done this, get ready to do the hard work.


Implementation Phase

No pain, no gain.

This phase includes the following steps such as site clearing, laying out, hardscape construction and planting.

It time to put your drawing into reality. Gather your friends and family to help you with this. If you want, you can also hire laborer to work with you.

Don’t forget to bring your sandwich if you are hungry.

Photo from powerpoint presentation of Sanchez et al 2013
Photo from powerpoint presentation of Sanchez et al 2013

You can now build your landscape in your house perimeter with all the hardscapes and softscapes that you want.

Implementing this one needs money, so take time to find old and recyclable materials for your edible landscaping.

Recycled materials is perfect in this type of activity to help save environment.

The picture in your life shows how to use recycled materials in your landscaping design.

Edible landscaping needs time management and patience. Its not like the usual gardening that you can let it grow on its own.

So, the last phase is

Maintenance Phase

In edible landscaping, you need to prune plants to maintain the beauty of the landscape. Its the essence of it.

Photo: Agustin Coquilla, EVIARC
Photo: Lloyd Celeste, EVIARC, Babatngon, Leyte

Water management

Based on our seminar, you need to select for relatively drought tolerant varieties. Use mulching with plastic, leaves, wood chips or old newspaper can conserve moisture. Water in the morning and water long enough to soak roots.

Plants on containers can sit over plates with water.

Pest Management

As an advocate in environmental management and , I agree that we need to reduce the use of synthetic chemical pesticides in your edible landscape.

Because we are doing edible landscaping, we need to be organic as much as possible. Avoid harmful insecticides and pesticides.

Do you know that there are plants that are insect repellents, this is what you will plant together with other plants to minimize the use of insecticides.

To know about the this one, please subscribe to my newsletter for updates.

With this, you can use botanical pesticides. Intercropped onion, garlic and marigold (Tagetes) to repel some types of insects.

Spray a mixture of chili and soap (Perla) solution to control some insect infestation.


When you harvest, have it in staggered so that your landscape maintains its beauty.

Also, prepare in advance seedlings to replace the harvested crops.

Lastly, when you venture into edible landscaping you need to consider also the following.

Things to consider in Edible Landscaping:

  • Time
  • Budget
  • Site Characteristics
  • Sun and shade
  • Maintenance
  • Style

To have a successful and beautiful and nutritious edible landscape, define when you plan to finish your EL, how long will the landscape be appreciated. Define also the cost of your softscapes, hardscapes and the maintenance of your design.

In your EL, it is important to know what is the climate, soil type, buildings and fences, and materials within the site.

The most useful & efficient landscape design is one that overcomes or modifies the restrictions or limitations of the site and/or enhances & protects the good points or character of the area. (Powerpoint presentation Sanchez et al 2013).

Another important aspect in EL is to know whether you have a high or low maintenance type of EL according to your budget.

When it comes to the presentation of the design. Choosing whether formal (straight lines, near-perfect symmetry, usually high maintenance) or informal gardens (gentle curves, less rigid or no balance, less maintenance) is also necessary. (Powerpoint presentation Sanchez et al 2013).

Do you have questions about edible landscaping?

Post your comment and subscribe to our Newsletter. See you and enjoy landscaping!

To a  better  world!



Edible Landscaping: The Artistic Technique of Food Crop Production: Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., Bryan V. Apacionado, Maria Charito E. Balladares, and Norma G. Medina, Ryan Rodrigo P. Tayobong Crop Science Cluster, College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), College, Laguna 4031 Philippines.

Paper presented in NOMIARC and EVIARC during Edible Landscaping Seminar Workshop 2013.

Photos were also taken from the presentation.


Best Practices on How to achieve SDGs from a developing world: PAEPI International Conference Experience 2016

With the onset of Goals (SDGs), Philippines adheres the four dimensions of sustainable development to achieve the basic needs of the present without destroying the future. These are the economic, social, environment and good governance. By 2030, all participating countries should have ended poverty in all its forms.

In connection to this, the Philippine Association of Extension Program Implementers, Inc. (PAEPI- Global) recently hosted 3rd International convention and annual convention themed:

“Literacy Programs: Approaches, Strategies and Practices toward Holistic and Sustainable Community Engagements”

This was held at Balay Kalinaw, UP Diliman, Quezon City with participants from different schools across the Philippines shared there best practices in implementing extension programs through different approaches. The convention was also attended by its partner agency Tennessee Renewable Energy Council (TREEDC).

PAEPI International Convention
3rd International PAEPI participants with guest and visitors from TREEDC.

Some of the participants includes University of Rizal System, Northwest Samar State University, San Beda College, Philippine Normal University, Central Mindanao University, and Romblon State University. (Sorry if I forgot to mention other SUCs).

The conference had two plenary speakers who both successfully  shared insights on literacy and how it affects sustainable development and people empowerment.

Nowadays, its is very important that people should be literate not just through reading and writing but also on how to comprehend and deal with other people.

Prof. Brent Jones shared that teachers should encourage students to internalize the lessons in the class. What I learned from his presentation was, “to be an effective teacher: we should know the level of understanding or comprehension of the students, and provide the necessary intervention to it.”

From a Flow Theory, if a teachers fails to know the level of understanding (IQ level) the student will either be bored with the topic because they are fast learners or students may have a problem on digesting the topic because they are below average.

Please follow the presentation below to know more about the flow theory he was referring to.


The international conference continues with parallel sessions with four categories: Livelihood and Business, Education, Technology and Health and Environment.

Papers presented were scrutinized to have a best paper in each category based on the following criteria:

  • How the project considered the relevant context of its target beneficiaries? (needs assessments, community resources and social milieu)
  • How the project empower its beneficiaries be it transfer of skills and valuable knowledge,  capacity building and long-term personal and social development? (project interventions, strategies and methods)
  • How innovative, effective and relevant the concepts, models and paradigms applied in the project?          
  • How the project improved the quality of life to its target beneficiaries?       (Impact and indicators of success)
  • How sustainable is the program and how it contributes to the attainment of self-reliance for its beneficiaries  (How sustainable is the project and are there Sustainability plans)

According to the PAEPI- Global, Vice President “Everybody wins,” through sharing their best practices in reaching out the communities. As an academician and educators; it was noted that its not about competition, its about extension – extending our help to the communities. But to  have a more fruitful intellectual discourse, still best paper presenters were chosen.

Some of the best practices includes

PAEPI best paper presenter awardee
NwSSU extension coordinators receives certificate for best paper presenter.

Sustainable community development through Participatory Rural Appraisal

Digital Literacy for Barangay Secretaries

Kapit Bisig Tayo : Mess to Riches

Business Management Training-Seminar for Basey Tikog Workers Federation Leaders in Basey, Samar

Community Based Eco-tourism

Strengthening Resiliency of Romblon Rainfed and Upland Rice Farming Communities to

Restoration of Mt. Asog through rainforestation and agrosilvipasture approach in Iriga City

School Based and Holistic approach in fighting against malnutrition in Odiongan Southcentral School

Empowering Calamity Stricken Communities Through I.T. Training programs


The conference ended with big hopes that through sharing of the best practices, planning for publication in journals and linkage, the organization will reach more and achieve more of its goals in the near future.

Well, now that we have 17 Sustainable Development Goals, let us continue to support and extend our best efforts to achieve it through research and extension.

God bless PAEPI- Global!!!

God bless extension implementers!!!