Idle Time Farm Stays – Farming has been a lifelong dream of many Filipinos since the Philippines lived as an agricultural country. This is why people from their youth to their twilight years dream of living or owning a farm where they can enjoy fresh produce and nature while earning a good income.
Korina Mercado, strategy, analysis and optimization manager of a major airline in PH, knows all too well the dream of farming she and her siblings appreciate provincial life thanks to their parents, Joselito Mercado and Corazon Alvarez.
Idle Time Farm Stays
“Both my parents lived on a farm in Laguna and [only] left their farm… for our studies. While they were doing their work, their love for farming did not stop as our family continued to invest in farmland,” Mercado said.
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Working for an airline, Mercado has the opportunity to take his parents to other places. During their trip, Mercado recognized the potential of farms as tourist destinations.
“I realized that besides our farm and our farms, other farms are worth visiting. Laguna, Philippines has a lot to offer [and] it saddens me that nowadays people want to spend more time in malls instead of spending time with nature,” he said.
After a while, he began to convince his parents that they too could turn their acquired farmland into a retreat from the bustling city, where guests could enjoy nature.
After convincing his parents to convert their idle land into a farm tourism site, by June 2017, Mercado began working on ideas such as the farm’s name, features, logo, and more.
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Eventually, Mercado returned to his roots and decided to use the family name of his parents, Mercado and Alvarez, for the name of their farm: Merez.
At the time, she and her brother were working abroad while her parents worked on their business and took care of their youngest child, who was two years old at the time.
He then proposed the possible features and layout of the farm to his parents and brother, who decided to establish the farm and help realize their parents’ dream of a farm life.
“We started tree inventory and started marketing and advertising the farm on various social media platforms. We have also started researching advances in agriculture, like the latest technology, etc.” said Mercado.
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Mercado’s parents, who are now retired and run their own business, love living on their farm because they find farm life productive and stress-free.
“When we go there, it’s magical how my parents draw strength from nature. There is no idleness for them when we are on the farm. No matter how long they work, they [always] have energy when they’re there, and I’m so happy to see my parents being energetic,” Mercado said.
An hour and 20 minutes from Kala Road is Laguna’s four-hectare natural landscape Mare’s Farm. It is rich in natural resources as it is close to mountains and a river.
The Santa Ana River fronts Merrez Farm, providing an added attraction for farm guests.
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“Sh. The Cruz River is right in front of our farm. It provides a good view and can start one’s day in a refreshing way. Imagine a farm and a river together – it’s breathtaking,” Mercado said.
Along with fruits and herbs, vegetables like ampalaya, chillies and brinjal are also grown near the farm.
Mercado said they sell these fresh products to bulk buyers, food technologists and others in limited quantities.
A farmhouse is being built next to the farm for a more pleasant stay for their guests.
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Additionally, to make the farm visit more friendly for its guests, Mercado shared that they are currently building a modern farmhouse so guests can stay longer and spend more time with their families and in nature.
In keeping with this concept, Mercado shared that the firm also offers an adventure area where guests can engage in outdoor activities.
“All visitors are strictly advised not to damage any plants or grass on the farm. Littering and all signs of disrespecting nature are specially recommended for them,” he said.
Despite initial plans since 2017, Mercado admitted that progress on the farm has been slow due to their busy personal lives and work.
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However, with the extended community quarantine (ECQ) imposed across the country on March 15 last year in anticipation of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mercado and his family have focused their efforts on adding the last element of their economy.
“This pandemic has reminded us that it is time to give back to nature; It’s time to know that the world is only about us, not humans, but Mother Earth. That’s why we decided to really push to implement our plan this year,” said Mercado.
Merrez Farm is currently open to visitors who wish to engage in fruit picking activities, provided they follow social distancing guidelines, practice good hygiene and use a mask at all times. If you feel the need to slow down, dive in. To escape to nature and a truly beautiful place, this book is a must.
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