Ilog Maria in Silang makes peace with bees by adjusting to climate change

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By Lawrence Casiraya

SILANG, CAVITE –  With a little faith, a lot of heart and a ton of effort, Joel Magsaysay is hoping to harvest honey for the first time in three years.

Together with his wife Violaine, Joel started Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm more than three decades ago. What started out as a few bee colonies is now a well-established business venture, a must-visit stop for those traveling to the neighboring town of Tagaytay.

When it comes to the subject of bees, Joel is your guru. So when he told me that three years ago bees started disappearing in his farm, and I naturally asked  him why, he rewarded me with a blank stare and said, “That’s exactly it. Even I don’t know.”

Blame it on climate change, a phenomenon responsible for tsunamis, typhoons, El Niño and the movie “2012”. This is a contemptuous subject for Joel, who I assume, is used to magazine writers inquiring about how they make all those soaps, shampoos and other organic products Ilog Maria is famous for.

Joel did extensive research, even consulting personally with experts on the subject. He then came up with a conclusion:  All the world’s experts don’t know why bees are disappearing.

“I decided to throw away everything I learned from 36 years of beekeeping and start fresh. When I’m with my bees, I make sure my mind is empty but my heart is full,” Joel said. “So I looked at myself and how it’s impacting my bees.”

It sounds philosophical but not entirely a simple matter. At Ilog Maria, you will notice no power lines simply because they are buried underground so there’s no electromagnetic field that have dire effects on bees as well as humans.

A windmill also helps produce water instead of an electric pump. “We don’t get the full health benefits of water that way,”Joel said.  Solar panels are being constructed to help reduce dependence on commercial power.

“Our vehicles are converted to LPG (liquified petroleum gas) or biodiesel. We cook our food with less smoke as possible using wood or charcoal. We gather rainwater. We also have our own vegetable garden so we harvest our own food – in a way, we nourish ourselves. We have planted native fruit and hardwood trees”.

In short, Joel himself admitted they are doing a thousand things so they can make Ilog Maria a better place for the bees. Rightfully so, since the bees are responsible for the many products making people a lot healthier and beautiful.

“It’s all about erasing all traces of human habitation,  going back to the natural state and emptying yourself,” he said. “I dealt with the complications of climate change and came up with my own resolution.”

This summer, Joel is positive  they will be able to produce enough honey which they can sell to people for the first time in three years. That’s like giving the big C  – climate change – a huge kick in the ass.

Ilog Maria Honeybee Farm is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm at Km. 47 Aguinaldo Highway, Silang, Cavite. Call( 046)8650018 or click on this downloadable map how to get there.

Get more information about Ilog Maria Honeybee Farms

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