I read somewhere that agriculture is also an art, besides being a science. I didn't quite get it until I meet Nong Tiloy, the farmer.
Nong Tiloy considers the land as a wide canvass on which his dream of abundance is being painted. In silence, he tills his field with utmost care so that crops would grow and bear fruits for his family and for the community. He ensures that the crops are arranged in a way that the soil fertility is maintained and enhanced. He is quick to see areas that are prone to erosion and he plants right away madre de cacao to prevent a land slide. When piangaw attacks his upland rice he ignores them at first. When he senses that their presence gets damaging, he sprays them with pesticide made of panyawan, sili kulikot, luy-a, suka and tabako.
He plants rose, gumamela and many other flowers in between tangkong, lemon grass and other vegetables and fruit trees. Every morning he wakes up early to the call of his hungry chickens. Their number is huge, enough to cover his entire lawn.
At the lower portion of his little field, not less than 100 maturing tilapia fish compete for the feeds broadcasted by his 11-year old son Simon. While Nang Bilay returns home after washing clothes at the nearby creek with Inday Mely, Nong Tiloy pours steaming corn coffee on five cups on the dining table that holds newly cooked denurado rice, sinugbang bulad, kangkong salad and a bowl of boiled native chicken eggs.
"Mangaon na ta!" Nong Tiloy calls me to join them.
It’s a hearty meal. Incomparable to any meals at the leading fast-food chain in the cities.
The meal with Nong Tiloy and his family does not only feed my stomach, it does to my mind as well. Now, I like to paint on the same canvass which Nong Tiloy mounts his masterpiece on.