Monday, 24 September 2018

VISITING MILEA BEE FARM

***(PICTURE HEAVY BLOG POST)***
Milea Bee in Action

We were in for some adventure that weekend, as we usually are, and I found the perfect place for us to be in.  It was Milea Bee Farm, located at Kurba Road, Barangay Balagtasin, Lipa City, a haven for honeybees with lush greenery and abundant flowers.  I first saw Milea Bee Farm at Byahe in Drew and I got curious.  I researched the place and found that it was only a 20-minute drive from my mom's home, so I immediately called and booked for a tour of their farm.


Milea Bee Farm Friendly Reminder

Milea Bee Farm was found by the husband-and-wife team, Mr. Rico Omoyon, a native of Dumaguete, and Mrs. Edilee Rosales Omoyon, a Batanguena raised in Lemery.  According to Mr. Omoyon's tita, the two met working corporate jobs at a cosmetics company through Mr. Omoyon's uncle and partner at the farm (who also happened to be our tour guide that day), Mr. Lance Omoyon.  They were coworkers who later quit work and started the farm.  Mr. Rico Omoyon is the one who studied about bees.  He even took seminars and classes at the University of California - Davis in beekeeping.  Mrs. Edilee Rosales Omoyon, on the other hand, is the one in charge of making honey-based products.

Milea Bee Farm Entrance Gate

The location of the farm is a bit secluded and could not easily be found.  No signage outside the highway, and we were only guided by Google Maps.  When we reached our destination, we were led to a dead end and thought that we were lost, until a friendly ate said that we are actually at the bee farm.  We were guided by her down a narrow path just beside a few houses and pig pens and what we call here in Batangas looban or vacant lots with lots of trees.  If not for ate, we would not find the farm.

Path Going to Milea Bee Farm

Even though the path leading to the farm is shaded, we were offered yellow umbrellas.  Ate said that the farm provides umbrellas for their guests.  A very thoughtful gesture, in my opinion.  The paths are narrow because of lush greeneries along the pathway.

Schedule Your Farm Tour

It is recommended that you call in advance if you want guided tours.  You have to schedule your visit at their farm through their website.  They call their guided tour, Beesita sa Bukid, which is essentially a talk about bees.  You will also learn about different plants at trees at farm, different farming and gardening techniques, and why bees are important in our ecosystem.  The tour itself will last approximately one and a half hours.  Tour schedule at their site is as follows:  9:00 am- 10:30 am; 10:30 am to 12:00 nn; 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm; and 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm.  We chose the 1:30 slot.

200-Peso Tour Fee Per Person

Educational tour costs 200 per person which is pretty reasonable given the knowledge you would gain and the interaction with the bees, plus you will also have snacks after the tour.  After I made a booking at their website, there was no verification, so I decided to call their phone number, and luckily someone picked up and confirmed our booking.  We just paid at the site after the tour.  Kids 3 years old and below, I believe, are free of charge.

Recycled Planter

What I really love about the place is the ingenuity of Kuya Lance.  He is, as I said above, one of the partners and the uncle of the owner.  He does most of the work at the farm.  He is our tour guide for that day.  I really loved the recycled planters and the creative artworks that he made.  Kuya Lance was so kind that he even offered me that he would make me a planter like this one, I would just have to bring the materials.  You can really sense the passion in his work.

Shovel with Quirky Sign

Old shovels and water pipes made garden decor are also some of his creations.  The ladder pathways were also paved with old tires filled with stones and cement and even along the pathways, you could see old tires as planters.  The place was really a gardener's delight.  So many ideas not only on what plants to grow but also how to recycle things for them to become useful in the garden.

Welcome to Milea Bee Farm

We were first led to the store.  Kuya Lance's wife is the one who manages the shop.  She welcomed us at the farm and we waited for our tour guide to meet us.  We were also welcomed by these cute birds that Kuya Lance made from scrap roof.  There were also some bee boxes at the front. This is where the farm tour starts.  Kuya Lnace starts by talking about the types of bees and the bees that we would see at the farm.

Father and Son Bonding

The kiddo really enjoyed the tour and not a single time did he asked to be carried aside from one steep slope on our way to the farm.  He enjoyed running and picking leaves and flowers and just enjoying nature.  This is one of the reasons why I love visiting farms, not only for the adults to learn, but also for our kid to experience nature and just play and run and be one with nature.

Coleus Pathway

The pathways are lined with different kinds of plants like these colorful coleus plants.  The paths are winding and you will always find something interesting at the end, just like what Alan Titchmarsh taught in his series, "How to be a Gardener."  You never make a straight line from point A to point B.  Always create a winding path so there would always be a surprise, a focal point waiting at end of each path.

The Veggie Patch

The farm also has vegetable patches.  They had onions, asparagus, and gourd at the moment.  The tour guide told us that they were offering what they call "Pick and Pay" before, where you pick what you want, they will weigh it, and then you pay, but that day, their vegetable garderner is not available so we were not able to pick some veggies.

Bee Boxes

There were lots of bee boxes scattered at the farm.  Kuya Lance told us that each box is one colony, meaning there is one queen for each bee box.  In each colony, there are two princesses.  Those princesses are groomed and trained to be future queens.  When strong and mature enough, the scouts would look for the perfect location to start a new colony and the princesses will leave the hives and be the queen of their own colony.  Milea Bee Farm has four types of bees, the Asian Giant Honey Bees (Apis dorsata) or our local pukyutan; the Philippine Native Honey Bees (Apis cerana) or the laywan; the imported European Honey Bees (Apis mellifera), and the Philippine Native Stingless Bees also known as kiwot, lukot, lukotan, kalulot, kiyot, or libug.

Enjoying the Tour
The walk is a bit exhausting but it did not matter because we were so eager to learn.  Kuya Lance would pick flowers and leaves and let us smell or taste it.  Some of the trees I remembered were the cinammon tree and the annise tree.  He made us try the begonia flowers, which I did not know was edible, and the young shoots of asparagus which tasted like freshly harvested peanuts.

The Garden

Kuya Lance also taught us a technique in driving away bee-eating birds.  They used old CDs hung on a string to keep the birds away from the farm.  Kuya Lance told us that one single bird can eat up to 45 bees a day, so imagine a flock of birds going to the farm, all the bees would be wiped out.  The birds do not like shiny things so they are afraid of the CDs and would not go near the bees.  Another purpose of the CDs are to reflect light to plants which are under shade.

Shaded Paths

Kuya Lance not only shares his knowledge but also the one he learned from previous visitors at the farm.  He told us about all the benefits of each plant and how to prepare them, like the mulberries, the guyabano, and so much more.  The one that really piqued mom's interest, sleeping hibiscus, which was good for high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Following the Leader

Milea Bee Farm also practices organic farming.  They do not use chemicals in their plants as it would not only harm the plants but also the bees.  They do vermicomposting which is composting using worms.  All you do is feed the worms with fruit and veggie scraps and what they excrete, called vermicast, is really good for the plants.  Kuya Lance also told us about the importance of bees, especially in food production.  A good example that he told us is about the coconut trees.  Apparently, bees love coconut tree flowers and they pollinate them like crazy.  The coconut trees in the farm are so filled with coconuts that you cannot count the amount of coconuts in one tree.

Cute Little Pumpkin

Bees are like plant viagra, so much so that plants do not need fertilizers just to bear fruits.  Fruits just pop here and there at the farm.  A perfect example is this cute little pumpkin dangling from the tree just doing its thing.  I wonder how it will hold up once it gets bigger.

Milea Bee Farm's Nursery

At the center of the farm, you will find a small nursery where they keep their baby plants.  The farm is also filled with random garderning quotes and of course, Kuya Lance's recycled art.  I took a peek inside the nursery and found some mulberry cuttings, agave plants, and some acapulco seedlings.

Honeycomb-Shaped Plant Boxes

Beside the quaint nursery are the hexagon (similar to what beehive cells look like) beds filled with different herbs and spices.  There were lemon mint which smells like Mentos, serpentina which is good for diabetics, celery which is good for your kidneys, tarragon which makes good tea that tastes like annise or Sarsi, and basil for pesto, my all-time favorite herb.

Flowers Everywhere

Milea Bee Farm is very rich in fauna and flora.  A wide of variety of herbs will be the envy of every gardener.  They also have endless waves of flowers, the main food source of bees.  The tour guide also told us that the farm produces NatSoda, a natural healthy drink made from fruit extracts and probiotic water.  The farm also sells starter bee colonies for 3,500 per colony.  It is suggested though that you buy more than one colony for more chances of survival in their new environment.  They also give support by offering beekeeping services.  If you are interested in buying colonies, please contact them at their website.  I will also have all of Mile Bee Farm's details  below.

Extracting Beeswax

Beeswax is also another product that Milea Bee Farm offers.  It is used mainly for cosmetics such as as lip balms, pomades, and food wraps available at their store on site and on the web.  Kuya Lance showed us the process of extracting beeswax from the beehive where the beehive is placed on a tray, covered with glass, and you just expose it to lots of sunshine to melt.  The beeswax is catched by a small container on one side.

Stingless Bees

We also spent some time around the stingless bees.  They are the shy-type bees and nonaggressive as long as you do not block the entry to their home.  They produce the best quality honey, a little sour and darker in color than the usual honey.

European Honey Bees

We also had fun watching the imported European bees.  They are much larger, the typical bees.  You imagine a bee and this is what it would look like with the yellow and black stripes on their body.  According to the beekeepers, they only live for 45 days.  Imagine, in those 45 days, all they do is work, work, work.  Young bees clean each cell in the colony.  When they get bigger, they become the feeders.  They feed the baby bees who cannot feed themselves.  Then, once adults, they become the gatherers.  They find food for the colony.

Busy Bees

Trivia:  Did you know that only female bees work?  The one and only role of males are solely for mating.  The queen runs the colony and  the females do all the work, from cleaning, to feeding, to searching for food, and even making food.  Talk about girl power!

Working Bees in Action

The beekeeper let us touch the beehive and even poked it so the honey would come out and we could have a taste.  The kiddo had fun tasting the pure honey from the honeybees.  We can also hold the hive if we liked but I neither of us dared.

Agave for Tequila

Next up, we saw the agave plants.  Drinkers would love this plant.  According to Kuya, this is where the tequila comes from.  He even joked that kids who were touring at the farm called this plant an eggplant because of the those eggshells they put not just for decoration but to cover those pointy leaves and also dry they eggshells to be crushed later and made fertilizer.  Everything in this farm has its purpose and nothing is wasted.

More Colonies

We went to another couple of bee boxes which housed more bees.  When approaching bees, make sure to not cover the opening to their boxes.  They will become aggressive.  Also, sudden or quick movement is a sign of aggression for the bees, so move slowly and quietly so as not to disturb the busy bees.


Another product of Milea Been Farm is their organic vanilla.  There are so many vanilla plants scattered within the property.  Kuya Lance told us that vanilla plants are strategically placed on fruit-bearing trees, so when it is time to fertilize the trees (with organic fertilizer, of course), the vanilla plants too will be fertilized.  Kuya Lance also told us how to properly care for vanilla plants and when is the right time to bring the branches up as there is proper timing or else, the vanilla plant will snap.


Vanilla is the second most expensive spice next to saffron.  A pod of vanilla costs three hundred pesos (300php) in the market.  Kuya Lance told us they are partnering with a chocolatier making organic chocolate who will buy their organic vanilla pods fresh to ensure the "organicness" of the product.


A tree that mom liked was the calabash tree.  Its fruit is bigger than our heads.  Known for its anticancer properties, it is pretty in demand nowadays.  Just boil the fruit until the water turns black and you have your anti-cancer calabash juice.


Stingless bee houses line the pathway.  They were cute little boxes which also resembled birdhouses.   There were also a few bamboo plants along the paths.  Kuya told us that this yellow variety of bamboo is the one used to make bamboo bikes as they are much sturdier than the others.


We were nearing the end of our tour.  We were tired but so happy.  I can say that the 200-peso fee is really sulit.  We really enjoyed Kuya Lance's stories about the bees, the plants, organic farming/gardening and the advocacy of zero waste lifestyle.  We were so inspired and eager to start our own flower garden back home to help save the bees.


We were pretty thirsty and hungry after the tour.  Good thing ate prepared our merienda.  We enjoyed the local suman sa lihiya with coconut sugar sauce and latik.  I just love their presentation.  They used glasses and wooden spoons for their suman.  It was delicious.


To quench our thirst, we were given passion fruit juice, freshly made from the passion fruits at the farm.  Our kiddo liked it so much that he asked for one glass more.  The taste is sweet and a bit sour just like the four seasons drink we buy at our supermarkets.


While having your merienda, you can either watch the telly for presentations and TV features of Milea Bee Farm or you can choose from a wide array of their products.  We chose the latter.  Mrs. Omoyon , having been from the cosmetics industry, makes handmade soaps.  You can visit their website here.


Different honeybee product are also available at the store.  They have got honey from stingless bees, honey from bees who just fed on sunflowers and honey from bees who fed from different types of flowers.  They have got lip balm, propolis cream, natural beeswax, and propolis spray to name a few.


For the titas and the forever busy mommies, they also offer aromatherapy oils and massage oils.  They also have pure essential oils.  Ate suggested the ginger and chili massage oil for cramps and back pain.  They also offer all-natural baby products.


Overall, our experience was pretty amazing.  We have learned a lot like plants that we often ignore but have lots of health benefits.  We learned about helping bees by planting more plants for more flowers, thus more food for the bees.  Our little one had a great experience tasting honey and drinking passion fruit juice.  Kuya Lance even had a small program while we were at the store that our kiddo enjoyed.

I WANT TO GO TO THE FARM!



Milea Bee Farm is located at Kurba Road, Balagtasin, Lipa City, Batangas.
Call +63 917 888 8438 or email them at mileabeefarm@gmail.com.
They also have a Facebook page
You can follow them on  Instagram.
Watch and subscribe to their Youtube channel.
Their main website is https://mileabeefarm.com/.
You can also check http://www.milea.ph for their cosmetic products.


Where's your next adventure?  Please comment below! Remember, ALWAYS BEE HAPPY! :)

14 comments:

  1. What a truly beautiful place to visit! Bee conservation is so important and it's lovely to see that these guys are so dedicated in caring for them. The grounds look stunning too. You can see a lot of hard work has gone into Milea bee farm.

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  2. Not a fan of bees but this looks like such a beautiful place! Also a great thing to take the kids to! :)

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  3. This is such a beautiful place, I love that you got to visit and there is a place dedicated to preserving the Bee's, its very important!

    ~xo Sheree
    poshclassymom.com

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  4. So beautiful, I'm in love! Also a very important topic, thank you for sharing.

    xx
    milliondollarhabit.com

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  5. I have been there. Visiting the bee farm was such a great experience because I didn't expect to learn so much about bees and how important they are in the agricultural sector. The owners, Rico and Edilee Omoyon, were so accommodating and hands on with showing us around the farm and educating us about everything the market should know about bees and honey. It surprised me that most if not all honey that is found in the supermarket aren't even honey but rather just sugar syrups which explains its cheap prices. Moreover, these fake honey are all just uniformly sweet. Thus, after sampling Milea's honey, I realized that honey have different flavors depending on its flower source. In fact, they even have honey which was derived from Eucalyptus and Mangium flowers. This is just one of the many things that interested me about Milea because the rest of the tour also offers plant tastings on the different kinds of leaves and flowers found in the farm. Overall, my trip there provided me with a newfound appreciation for the work that bees do and as well as on the efforts of beekeepers such as Rico Omoyon to promote sustainable and ethical bee keeping. This is definitely a trip that everyone should take so that they, too, can do their part for the environment as consumers.

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  6. How fun! I have never been to a bee farm before, but your post makes me want to visit one someday. Thank you for sharing your experience! I also enjoyed looking at the pictures.

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  7. This place looks amazing! It's so important to keep our bees healthy and safe. This makes me so happy!

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  8. I love how detailed this post was. I've never been to a bee farm but it looks like fun and you sure learned a lot.

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  9. Wow, this place looks like it's an absolute dream! I love the idea of beekeeping, and taking care of these lovely (and sadly endangered) creature.

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  10. This is a wonderful experience for both young and old alike, and for just 200 pesos at that! It's amazing to see the many products you can get from these hardworking bees. :)

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  11. Wow, that is such a beautiful experience to visit the Milea Bee Farm and it is so amazing to know how the bee's works to in making honey.

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  12. Wow I think its going to be amazing visiting bee farms But i never thought of such an idea. I am too much afraid of bees though

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  13. That place is so relaxing and it is a wonderful experience to visit there as you were able to learn and have a chance to meet those bees in a less expensive amount.

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  14. Wow, such a detailed post that would be so helpful to plan a great trip to the Philippines. Loving the pictures so much.

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