Finding your true calling sometimes takes a lot of turns along the way; it is not an instant realization that immediately shows you what your future could be. It includes weathering hardships, an undying determination, and sometimes it includes losing sight of what you are passionate about.
By losing sight of what you love, you can rediscover it all over again with brand new eyes and firm resolution to push through.
Emil did not come from a family of money. His parents are poor farmers from Bicol and from the beginning he knew that his parents could not support his studies.
He was open about his struggles and life and even took pride in those hardships.
On a video that he uploaded on YouTube, he told his family’s story and lauded his parents for their hard work.
Emil said that his father was also a piggery worker in one company mall in their province Albay.
“Matagal siyang nagtrabaho doon. ‘Pag nauwi siya inaasikaso niya ang farm namin. And then, nagtri-tricycle siya, ‘yung sikad-sikad, ‘yung padyak. Ganun kasipag ang father ko. I think, sa kanya ko nakuha ‘yung ganun,” he was quoted saying in a YouTube video.
He went on saying that his mother was also a hard-worker, adding that she was very resourceful and used to accept laundries to earn money.
He passed the University of the Philippines entrance exam in 2002 and started working on his degree of agricultural engineering in UPLB. With the determination to finish his studies and keep his sibling at school, he took odd jobs.
The last job he had was in a call center, where he took home a lot of money. But as a return, it affected his studies negatively. He had to borrow a huge sum of money to support his siblings and himself.
Against all odds, Emil braved through and finished his college degree. He entered the agriculture industry with a newly grad’s perspective as a research assistant, where he had the opportunity to talk to numerous rice farmers in Nueva Ecija.
From that experience, Emil was exposed to the real-life situation of farmers. Emil then opted to stay out of the agricultural sector for a while and worked for several companies.
One job he had was in a wastewater treatment company as an applications engineer. His position was responsible for ensuring that the water quality is at par with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ standards.
He took another career turn as a campsite manager in Pagsanjan, Laguna, which rekindled his love for farming. Emil’s job as a campsite manager brough new opportunities, which resulted in his brainchild, the CHEFerd’s Farm.
The Birth of CHEFerd’s Farm
CHEFerd’s Farm provides agricultural services and embraces the core values of organic farming, which are principles of care, health, ecology, and fairness. Thus, the name.
Many were wondering how Emil started this passion project of his; how he made it possible; and most of all, what inspired him to start it.
Emil admitted that it was his plan ever since to put up a farm.
“I took agriculture engineering and plan ko na talaga na magbuild ng farm. Hindi pa pumapasok sa akin iyong concept ng organic farming but I am really into healthy food and I am really so much into environment-friendly ways or ecological way of food production,” he was quoted on one of his videos.
“Mas gusto ko magwork sa labas. Kahit mainitan ako, okay lang. Kahit mangitim ako, okay lang. Talagang interested ako to see the plants that I planted,” Emil added.
CHEFerd’s Farm’s products range from coffee, tea, honey, and supplements. His products do not stop there. He continues to innovate with pancake mix, Macapuno strings, virgin coconut oil, kimchi, insulin plant juice and lemon grass hydrosol. Emil said he started beekeeping and eventually it presented him an opportunity to create high-quality products until it became his bread and butter.
Emil has made it his goal to educate and inform the public about sustainability efforts and organic farming. CHEFerd’s Farm hopes to start a discussion, with a segment dubbed as CHEFx. In this segment, various talks commence with insightful talks from millennials advocating care for people and the planet.
The upcoming talk on Oct. 17 will have guest speakers with background on sustainability and has taken it and farming as an advocacy.
Farming Is Not a Piece Of Cake
Just like a commonly known statement once said, “you reap what you sow.” This just proves right to the agriculture industry. However, no matter how hard it seems to start, it can also be a rewarding profession.
Emil added that he too started from the bottom, with nothing but a few paychecks he managed to save. “Wala naman talaga akong pera at the time. Konting saving lang and help from friends,” he said.