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Retired gov't workers prosper as beekeepers

Who would have thought that the couple who are both retired government workers and agriculturists are now into beekeeping, and at the same time managing a restaurant in the town of Esperanza, Agusan del Sur.

Diana and Jose Zaldy Manug, the couple who own the bee farm, have conceptualized the bee farm with a restaurant in 2019, a year before the COVID-19 pandemic struck the country. 

“This Happy Bee Farm is a learning and agri-tourism site, which caters training for demo farms on apiaries of native stingless bees. This is also an accredited learning site of the Agricultural Training Institute and Department of Trade and Industry Caraga. People do not just come here for relaxation and camaraderie, but also for learning purposes,” said Zaldy.

Zaldy added that more students are now enthralled in learning how to develop an apiary farm. He said they are  interestingly inclined on understanding better how nature and human beings are interconnected.

“When we take the honey from the bees, we see to it that we do not destroy the home and pollen source of the bees. We only get a portion of what they have and we protect their homes,” explained Zaldy.

Diana also recalled the challenges that they encountered when they were still starting the construction of the said establishment, as the area was then difficult to traverse from Butuan City and delivery of the construction materials was not that easy.

“I could still remember when it was raining hard and we were at the site just taking shelter under the green banana leaf. We really put so much effort and time in building this [bee farm] structure, knowing this could be of help and entertainment to other people,” Diana said.

Diana thanked the local government unit of Esperanza, municipal tourism office, and the municipal information office for helping them in the promotion of the bee farm, including the advocacy on the benefits of incorporating honey into food and diet, as well as preserving the stingless bees.

“The Happy Bee Farm cordially welcomes all newcomers in our place and those who keep coming back to Esperanza. We will continue to innovate so that you will have more to enjoy in our place,” assured Diana. 

Happy Bee Learning Site 

A place that offers total relaxation and absolute peace. It has amenities that will help you unwind in the loving embrace of nature. It is believed to be a place that is far different from urban living. Decors in the area are unique and create an inviting vibe.

Guests can also take a closer look at the beehives in their apiaries.

The bee farm and restaurant are located in Barangay Hawilian, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur. It can accommodate tourists who want to stay overnight. 

“Laag, Caraga”

During the June 2023 episode of the online program dubbed “Laag, Caraga” of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Caraga, the most popular tourist destinations in the town of Esperanza were featured namely, Happy Bee farm, Pasiyohan, Mandalisay farm, Just Ridge shooting range (air gun shooting range), municipal tree park “White Lauan”, and the archeological site in Barangay Buco of said municipality, where the Golden Tara was discovered many years back.

The municipality is known for the home of Golden Tara, the land of hope. 

The episode is gaining more views and it can be viewed via PIACaraga/videos/ 1282173276022679/

Esperanza as a municipality

As the Spanish word Esperanza implies, hope springs eternal in this little town known in the Northeastern part of Mindanao. And as the second largest with 162,998 hectares land in Agusan del Sur, the municipality is endowed with vast fertile arable land that is classified as alienable and disposable with farming as its main livelihood.

According to the Municipal Information Office, income wise, Esperanza is classified as first class due to its vast land area, while source revenue depends mainly from Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).

The town is predominantly inhabited by the Higaonon tribe. It has a population of 58,714 with 12,868 households. Of the total population, indigenous peoples comprise 47 percent of the total population – 22 percent Higaonon tribe, 16 percent Manobo, and three percent Banwaon, which encourage tourist destinations with interest on culture and heritage while preserving and enriching the customs and traditions of the three tribes. (JPG/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

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Jennifer Gaitano



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