Integrated farming at home

At the heart of Sitio Pajo, Barangay Napnud in the town of Leganes, Iloilo stands a 2,800-square-meter house and lot that is a haven to a lush garden of flowers and plants, an orchard full of fruit-bearing trees and aviary of love birds owned by the Tolones family.

After being exposed to the sun while walking along the road before reaching the Tolones abode, you will find refuge in the cool air provided by the plants as you enter the compound. The greens are also soothing to tired eyes. If you are lucky, you will see butterflies flying about in this little paradise.

Paulyn Angelu Animas, Araceli Tolones and Paul John Animas.
“My brother and I inherited the plants from my mother. It was our generation that started selling plants as a business,” said Araceli Tolones, who is also president of the Leganes Garden Club.

Tolones said she wakes up as early as 3 a.m. and tends to the plants. She also brings some of them for selling at the Leganes Garden Club station at the town plaza.

Farther back and beside the garden is an aviary filled with African love birds of different colors, Finches and Cockatiels.

They are bred and cared for by Paul John Animas, son of Araceli.

“I started this as a hobby when I was in Grade 6. Then, a family friend said, ‘Why not breed love birds?’ So I did. The money I got from breeding and selling them are used for my school expenses,” Paul said.
He sells a pair for P300.

“I learned to breed love birds through research and with the help of friends who also have them as pets. I also go to National Bookstore and read related books. I also buy magazines,” Paul said.

Some interesting facts he revealed were; love birds take 3 to 6 months before they can breed and it’s not true that when a partner dies, the other bird dies also because of sadness. “It happens only when the cause of death was a disease that has also spread to the other bird,” he clarified.

Colors of nature. PHOTOS BY GLEN JUMAYAO
“It’s easy to take care of the birds. You give them water, food such as bird seeds and shelter. I attend to their health, too. This job is ideal for retirees because it is time consuming,” he said.

Paul said he wakes up at 4 a.m. to take care of the birds. He does the same during the evening.

“During the day, I go to school,” he said.

He is a second year Mass Communications student of West Visayas State University.

Paul revealed that when he was younger, he also took care of their piggery and poultry. “We had layers and we sold their eggs. We also bred 45-day-old chickens. Now, we have chickens only for personal consumption,” Paul said.

“We are practicing integrated farming here. The chicken and birds’ wastes are turned to compost for the plants,” he added.

His younger sister, Paulyn Angelu Animas also helps out in the garden and aviary.

“We all help because we don’t have helpers. It’s a family enterprise,” Paulyn said.

“We also help out in the orchard. We have fruit-bearing trees such as kalamansi, pomelo, bananas and cassava,” she added.

“Having this family business has its perks. First, it’s a good source of income. Second, it is a stress remover. Being in the garden is good therapy. Third, we met a lot of people. Fourth, we are our own boss,” Tolones concluded. 

(The writer, Marie Katherine Villalon is a freelance online journalist. Email:

Residents of the aviary. PHOTOS BY GLEN JUMAYAO

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