Brgy. Mabileg, Sigay, Ilocos Sur topped the first ever Regional Search for Model Bio-Intensive Garden (BIG). It bested Brgy. Oya-oy, Bacnotan, La Union; Brgy. Salvacion, Sto. Tomas, Pangasinan; and Brgy. Pila, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte which landed as runners-up, respectively.

Parent Leader Leonila Solimen, also a member of Bago Tribe, boasted their “Paksiw Garden” composed of pinakbet vegetables and a tilapia fishpond yielding organic and exotic produce. She said that her group is proud of their garden’s sustainability as a bountiful source of nutritious food for their families.

In addition, Leonila said, “Ang pagpunta daw sa amin ay Php20.00 na lang ay mararating na ang langit pero ngayon ay parang nasa langit na kami dahil nanalo kami! (They say that our locality is just Php20.00 away to heaven, but now, we feel like in heaven because we won!)” Sigay, Ilocos Sur can be accessed through a three-hour ride from Candon City, Ilocos Sur.

The group of Parent Leader Leonila received Php30,000.00 cash prize which will be utilized for the further improvement of their Bio-Intensive Garden. All the contenders were given various vegetable seeds courtesy of the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 1 aside from cash prize and plaque.

Ang mga paa natin ay nakatungtong sa lupa. Sa lupang inaapakan natin nagmumula ang ikinabubuhay natin. Sa pamamagitan ng pagtatanim at pagkain ng mga gulay, nasisigurado natin na lalago ang ating buhay (Our feet are on the ground. The ground we step on is the source of our living. It is in planting and consuming vegetables that we sustain and flourish our life),” Regional Director Marcelo Nicomedes J. Castillo said. He furthered that through BIG, Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries will have an abundant supply of food to augment the cash grants they receive.

Regional Program Coordinator Rosalyn Descallar encouraged all the Program beneficiaries to be productive members of the community in a harmonious way as she uttered, “Magtanim, magdilig, mag-ani (Plant, water, harvest.)

 BIG is one of the thrusts and priorities of the Department of Social Welfare and Development this year through National Advisory Committee Resolution No. 38, series of 2016. (by: Jaesem Ryan A. Gaces, Information Officer II/Pantawid Pamilya)