Skip to main content

I am Planting for the Economy of the Philippines – "Para sa Ekonomiya"

Here in the Philippines, I believe some Filipinos are quite familiar with the phrase “Para sa ekonomiya” (for the economy). We used to say “Ginagawa ko ito para sa ekonomiya” (I’m doing this for the economy). That funny tone of saying it but somehow with sincerity in the mind, that’s what made this tagline popular for quite some time. Okay, I guess you know who started this craze (Google it).



Now, let me state my version of saying it, with this simple story I want to share with you.

Around February of this year (2017), we asked the permission of our neighbor if we can plant on her front yard. This neighbor of ours and a close friend of my wife as well is now living in the United States and since her departure about 2 years ago, her front lot is becoming crowded with weeds and grasses. Fortunately, she allowed us. We took the chance of cleaning the abandoned yard and see if we can grow some vegetables there. Here are some shots of those days when we turned this lot into something beneficial.







While transforming the lot into garden plots, we grow a variety of seedlings. There we have the okra, eggplant, pechay, bell pepper, tomato, and sitao. Within 2 weeks, the seeds became 2-3 inches tall. Some of the seeds were directly planted on the plot while the tiny seeds were sowed first in the mini-nursery.

After about one and half month, we then start seeing plants one to two feet tall in our garden. With just water, sunrise, and organic fertilizers (cow poop, compost) we were able to bring life to a lot of seeds. Along the growing process, we did used “urea” as a substitute fertilizer. Have a look.





In two-month time, we were already able to harvest pechay, that green leafy vegetable that is becoming so expensive these days. Then on the third month, eggplants begin to share its lavender and green fruits. Okra also give its non-stop supply of fruits. Every two to three days, we are harvesting okra, eggplant, and pechay. Sitao and bell pepper begins to bear fruits on the fourth month. Truth is, there were bugs, ants, birds, rats, cats, and flying insects infesting our plants. Somehow, we were able to keep them away by spraying water with little soap and once a month burning of dead leaves. For the birds, I made a bundle of cans and hang them. I pull a rope to make noise whenever birds are coming. I also use casette tapes to move away birds.





Sometime in April, we tried planting squash, ampalaya and alugbati. These vines start sharing their tops or talbos after two months. Thanks to the coming of rainy days, free rain water keeps our plants alive and healthy. We were not that lucky to harvest the main squash fruit. We don’t understand, but whenever the fruit is about the size of an egg, it starts to fall off the ground. The same situation happens for all the fruits that sprouted over the next two months period. We only happen to cook the talbos and flower of the squash which is really good for a soup dish. The alugbati, we enjoyed mixing it with canned sardines. Every other day, we have these leafy vegies on our menu. Let me share with you our harvests.










Around August, I decided to clean an area at the back of my house. This is part of a wide acre of land (not our own but I did not even think its illegal to plant for the economy) where native tall grasses called “talahib” grows the whole year round. On the first week, I trimmed the grasses in an about 4 meter by 4 meter area. Then I start digging the soil, making a 12 feet diameter plot, on the following week. On the third week, I start planting okra and sigarilyas. When I noticed that these plants are growing fast, I tried planting squash and cucumber too. Every week, I used to visit the area to remove the weeds and other unnecessary plants and water the plants too if the rain wouldn’t come in 3 or 4 consecutive days.





Early in October, I can already harvest okra, lots of them. Then in mid-November, I can harvest the cucumber and few straws of the sigarilyas. The squash starts bearing fruit late this November. Hopefully, it won’t fall off this time.

Every 3 to 4 days, there is a satisfying harvest from both of my neighbor’s lot and at the backyard. In our front yard, by the way, we keep on growing medicinal plants like oregano, pandan, sambong, kamariya, lemon grass, and ashitaba. Of course, the flowering plants is my wife’s best friends. They keep on sharing colorful flowers the whole year round.






Today, we continue to harvest. We’re also tried planting Lolo Rosa, a variety of lettuce. Recently, I harvested gingers. We have the turmeric and the native ones. I am also experimenting on potato, onions, celery and garlic. I built a ladderized structure where I can place the pots in a row for easy planting and harvesting.






Our love for planting started when we first arrive on our place in 2008. Me personally, is from a clan of farmers, probably the reason why I want my hands and feet to feel the soil every time. We planted pink bell, yellow bell, a pine tree, and many other types of ornamental plants. We also have fruit bearing trees like guyabano, lemon, and avocado that when they become two to three feet high, we’re bringing them in my hometown in Batangas to plant them there. Some of them were shared to a neighbor who owns a farm. Some plants were donated to our Homeowner Association for a beautification project in our place.

The truth is, me and my wife always dream of having a small farm someday where we can grow more vegetables, fruit trees, medicinal plants, and ornamental plants. We do not know if that will happen or if it happens, when would it be and would are waist and knees still capable of planting. But what’s great about planting is that we’re just doing it today even in small spaces that is available for us. Reality is, we can harvest and eat the fruits and vegetables of our labor. Somehow, we are saving a bit of our budget for food. Moreover, we are eating food that makes us healthy – organically grown and guaranteed clean. Literally speaking:



“Pag may itinanim, may aanhihin”
(When you plant, you will harvest).




I believe many of you reading this post is also a planter. You have a backyard garden too. Good job if you are!

So why am I doing this for the economy? And in the first place, is this kind of act really helps the economy grow?

Well, here’s the thing. We are sharing to a few of our neighbors our harvests. That helps the economy, would you agree? When you produce your own food, you are actually helping the economy in simple ways. Indirectly, you are putting supposedly vacant lots into good use thereby creating alternative food sources at least for your own. Directly, you are becoming part of the producers or farmers providing food to the market. Also, you are contributing to the green revolution which is vital in shaping the future of a nation’s economy. Think of a rubbish environment (instead of clean and green), do you think investors will come to start their businesses there?

Hope you get my point of my “Para sa Ekonomiya” action.

The good thing I want to share in this post is that anyone of us can plant even in small containers, plastic pots, or recyclable plastic bottles if not direct to the soil. We can do it by just thinking it is for ourselves and just ignore the “Para sa Ekonomiya” tagline. That by doing it we can feed our stomach. It can be difficult to start. There are pests and occasions when plants suddenly die for no reason. But in the proper time, you can do it too. And remember that we have our expert uncles and aunties to guide us about planting. The internet is always there to offer us tons of information about planting. Just make the move.

“I am planting for the economy."

(Nagtatanim ako para sa ekonomiya).

What is yours? Share it in the comments section below.

Hope this post inspires you in some ways.



About this Blog
This blog is about the Filipinos and the Philippines. In this blog site, you will read compelling, truth-revealing, enticing, and even alarming articles about our land. The goal is to encourage everyone, especially the Filipinos, to act for a change. There are bad things going on that needs to be changed and this blog is a campaign to make it happen. It is hard, it is not fast. But with these posts, it can happen slowly and be done in time. I am encouraging you to read and share my blog posts. You can comment, suggest or react to the articles thru the comment section below. Alternatively, you may also visit www.knowriel.com, an educational website for every learner.

Most-Read Posts of the Month

“I Love Baguio City” - My Travel Story in the Summer Capital of the Philippines

The Strawberry Farm, Burnham Park, Mines View Park, the Mansion, Wright Park, Lourdes Grotto, and Session Road; these are among of the popular landmarks in the more commonly known “Summer Capital of the Philippines” – Baguio City. Why so? Well, the temperature here seldom exceeds 26 degree centigrade. During the cold season of December to February, the temperature falls down to even below 10 degree centigrade. The record low temperature was 6.3 degree and that was on January 18, 1961.

How to Travel to Baguio City?
Going to this cold city in the mountainous province of Benguet, Philippines is a six to seven hours travel by passenger utility bus from Manila. Starting from EDSA, traversing the NLEX, entering SCTEX, exiting the province of Tarlac and going through the neighbouring provinces of Pangasinan and La Union, and then exploring the zigzag road of either the Marcos Highway, the Kennon Road or the Naguilian Road, the coldest place in the Philippines will be reached. Baguio is about 2…

"Business as Usual" as the Filipinos Define It (Vulcanizing Shop, Sari-Sari Store, Bakery) – Part 1

I asked the shop owner about these old unused tires on what are they doing with it. The Vulcanizing shop owners says, “Oh, someone will pick up those tires and pay us 5 or 10 pesos each. Sometimes they just take it for free”.


Vulcanizing Shop - A Classic Example of Filipino Business
You’ve most probably seen and been into a local, typical vulcanizing shop like this one in the photo. The business concept is very simple. Here’s a customer with his flat or deflated tire and the vulcanizing boy will repair it using a rubber compound patch, a heating tool, and an air pump. If it’s a regular car or van tire, repairing one may only take 10 minutes the cost of which is around 30 to 60 pesos. If it’s a tire from a truck or bus, it could be around 30 minutes and the repair would cost the vehicle owner around 100 to 150 pesos.

Here’s the thing. A shop like this one could potentially earn a revenue of 1000 up to 2000 per day just by repairing a flat tire. Why? Well, with thousands of vehicles like j…

Who are These OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) and Why are They the Modern Heroes of the Philippines

At the turn of the millennium, the Philippine government launches this campaign program calling the overseas Filipino workers or OFWs as “Mga Bagong Bayani ng Bayan” (Modern Heroes of the Nation). From then onwards, different organizations established programs giving awards and recognitions to selected OFWs who did a remarkable contribution or action to their family, friends, work or in general, to the country.


OFW ka ba?Bakit?Eh kasi dating mo pa lang, mayaman ka na. Boom! 
(Are you an OFW? Why? Because with just the way look, it seems that you’re rich. Boom!)

My Cousin Dado as an OFW in South Korea 

At present, OFWs around the world are estimated to be around 12 – 14 million. This is approximately 10 – 12 percent of the Philippines total population. These OFWs are distributed on many countries all over the globe majority of whom are in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore, Hongkong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Italy. Immigrant workers in the United States, Australia and Eu…

What We Filipinos Believe In

Weeks before I arrive on writing this post, I came across this person popularly known as “The Son of Hamas”. Hamas is an Islamist Group in the Middle East. Many regards them as terrorists but on their own rights and beliefs, they exists to liberate Palestine, including modern-day Israel, from Israeli occupation. Before he’s a leader of Hamas. He quitted and now he’s into writing and public speaking taking his personal stand against the extremism done by his former organization Hamas and his campaign for better peace in the region in light of political correctness. You can search about him online - Mosab Hassan Yousef. Hamas’ beliefs, in Mosab’s point of view, is wrong.
The connection I want to imply in this piece of writing is this:

A belief, once it has been engraved in the people’s mind, is difficult to change, that it sometimes takes force (and time) for someone in authority to change it.



In the Filipino people’s mind, for example, that belief that Catholicism is the religion that wou…

“Fixer” in Philippine Government Agencies Like the Social Security System (SSS) and Land Transportation Office (LTO) – What We Filipinos Can Do About it?

Maybe in this post, I can clearly explain how “fixing” works in many government offices in the country. The idea is first, to warn you that such illegal fixing happens, and second, to give you tips on how you should avoid them. Plain and simple, we will not in anyway damage or speak against anyone or any particular office of the government in this post. It just happened that this is about my experience with LTO and SSS Tagaytay. I want to emphasize that still many government employees in the Philippines are doing their jobs right - including those who are working in the said branches.
If you have experienced transacting with any government offices here in the Philippines, whether you're a Filipino or not, you should already be familiar with these signages.



Here’s a bit of knowledge for you to digest first.
What is “fixing” or who is a “fixer” by the way?
In the Philippines, these good words happened to have a negative connotation over the past decades. Good words? Yes, indeed. When …

The Divisoria Malls - Defining Shopping in the Philippines

They call it the 168 Mall. It is one of the busiest places in the Philippines during shopping days like Christmas season when longing for enjoyment and relaxation is on the air once again. From Cavite, my home place, going to Divisoria, it will take you about an hour travel under normal traffic flow.

What is in this place? Well, Divisoria is the Bargain Shopping Capital of the Philippines. This is where wholesale and retail prices make shoppers say “WOW!” on delight. Visiting this place will definitely give you a realization about shopping on a different dimension. Find out why on the next paragraphs.

On the Photo: The Popular 168 Mall in Divisoria, Manila, Philippines


Divisoria is located in Binondo, Manila. It is accessible via Quiapo(where the famous Black Nazarene of Quiapo Church is) thru Recto Avenue and via Lawton near Manila City Hall. Divisoria has been there since the early 90’s. As it is near the North Harbour, Manila’s main seaport, the freshest and cheapest products usuall…

I know a man - Manny Pacquiao; He’s a Filipino

Way back 2006, I would not forget that day, Pacquiao knocked down Erik Morales twice and defeated the latter via TKO in the tenth round of that heated boxing match. I am with my friends in our rented apartment, which is near the company I used to work, watching the brawl in both excitement and suspense. That was yet another history made, taking his revenge to a Mexican boxer who once stole the glory from a Filipino champion. Like any other Filipino, I shouted, cheered, and celebrated that very moment of winning. The afternoon news is all about that big story of Manny Pacquiao - hailed as the People’s Champ. That was the year I started to get more fascinated about Pacquiao.



“All those who are around me are the bridge to my success, so they are all important.” – Manny Pacquiao


The Pambansang Kamao
Manny Pacquiao is dubbed as the “Pambansang Kamao” (National Fist). I am not going to tell his story as a boxer as that story has been there online for quite some time. What I want to share in th…

Filipinos! Here is My Free Education Advocacy that I Want You to Know

In the Philippines, we often hear this statement from the Filipinos about education:


“Hindi hadlang ang kahirapan para makatapos ng pag-aaral.” Poverty is not a hindrance to finish education.
I completely disagree! Allow me to explain my side.





Millions of Filipinos are unable to step highschool and even college because of the hardships in life we have in our country. Many are poor and therefore cannot afford the cost of education in the Philippines. If paying 5,000 to 20,000 pesos per semester in a Philippine college is already tough, then how about more the daily baon, school projects, transportation allowance, boarding house, and extra expenses?


Wake up! This is the truth. That Filipino statement with all respect, if I were you, forget it. Accept the fact that you cannot just earn your education in the Philippines because you are poor.

This is not an insult to anyone. I am from a poor family but I was able to complete a college degree despite of that. If you really want to find a solution…

Decoding the Meaning Behind the Creative Photos of a Filipino Local Traveler

Meet Jerob, a Filipino traveler who truly enjoys the place he used to visit here in the Philippines – with creativity in mind. Jerob was a former workmate of mine and I got really fascinated with the photos he’s sharing on his social media page. There is something different in there, something even beyond creativity. I did not interview Jerob about his photos except that I only asked his permission that I will create a blog post related to some of them. Great! He allowed me. So in this post, let me try to decode the meaning behind each one of Jerob’s impressive photos.

In this photo, obviously, he’s into “planking” and interestingly, he did it on top of the “I love ABRA” signage. Well, planking became famous here in the Philippines just a few years back. It is actually an exercise and at the same time a self-test for mental toughness. That idea if you can endure to hold your position for a long time and to also do it in a public place is a form of creative communication. Yes, it is gr…

“Pasalubong” – What Makes this Filipino Word Very Special?

Probably next to the beauty of a tourism spot, if it’s about the real reasons for traveling there, is our search for the best “pasalubong”. It’s the tagalog word for “gift” or “souvenir” and it can be anything from foods, toys, clothes, handicraft, furniture, soaps, wearables, or household items. It’s practically anything, big or small, cheap or expensive, edible or not. And for as long as that special item was bought somewhere else and then given to someone as an act of love and kindness – the true purpose has been served.


A simple gesture of “Salamat po” (Thank you) for sharing that pasalubong is enough to make you feel the love and kindness back. There is the best pasalubong for kids, for grandmas and grandpas, for a favorite grandson, for a close neighbor or friend, for the workmates, for the boss, for a former enemy, for a religious brother, and even for a complete stranger. Yes, indeed!

Well, “pasalubong” is actually different from a gift for birthday, wedding, or special gatherin…