After reading "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" and others Ms. Melojel C. Formentera approached her boss and asked if he could teach her the Western way of thinking. She wanted to combine the best of both Eastern and Western thinking processes in order to improve the local plight of poverty while mitigating climate change. The Mentor found sincerity and commitment to fulfill the goals so he said "Let's build a demo-farm and show the farmers how to make money and we also will reforest the Philippines". She said "yes" and chose to become the "Farmers' Helper". In her first three years she achieved the implementation of what is illustrated throughout this site. The years ahead guarantee to dwarf the initial years.
We work everyday doing what we like best, growing things like more than 30 species of trees and numerous other interesting shrubs, grasses and other types of plants using organic and agroforestry principles. The high quality of our products is for a select few, those who answer our ads. or seek us out. Our customer base is fun to track and we do that daily, too. Achieving our goals is a worthy adventure each day, like was said before, it is what we like doing best of all.
Mentor / Coach
More than 20 years of consulting the "haves" disclosed to Joseph J. Reynolds that the "have-nots" are more responsive which inspired him to mentor/coach the "have-nots". He looked high and low, even when teaching agroforestry at the college level, to find a protégé who could carry on his work but it was not until Ms. Formentera, a housekeeper and the daughter of a fisherman with a family of 10 that she approached him and asked if she could learn how to think differently and understand agroforestry principles and practices that he found his protégé in her.
Dante Pugal's Illocano family migrated to the valley in the 1950's before raods existed, only trails. He learned the trades while working seven years in Saudi Arabia. His 63 years of living carry him as a community leader and a knowledgeable foreman for Farmers' Helper at Hilltop. He can out work those youngsters 30 years his junior. The Illocano people are honest, industrious and hard working. Hilltop Malunggay is lucky to have Dante on board.
Shirle Pugal is the wife of Dante and shares the Illocano values. For more than 30 years she has worked for the Department of Health and is the Clinical Supervisor. Trained and experienced in sanitation and hygenic practices in May 2015 Shirle is assuming the duties of Operations Manager to assure the safe harvesting, cleaning, drying and processing of Moringa oleifera leaves and parts.
Antonio Gonzales lives just down the hill from Hilltop where his family took up residence back in the 1950's. He has formal technical training but is a natural when it comes to machinery, equipment and innovative thinking. Not only can he make everything work he also operates it all and makes farming seem so easy. From irrigation to planting and growing he moves the earth and makes all necessary adjustments to bring about planting and growing successes.
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Ma. Verna Gonzales is a graduate of University of the Philippines with a Bachelor of Science in Food Technology and from the Open University campus in Los Banos, Laguna she attained a diplopma in Research and Development Management. With more than 8 years of research and development experience while conducting relevant food product development she provides technical consulting to Hilltop Moringa Farms in the area of product research and development. and management.
The Philippines has an excellent Department of Technology and Industry that provides free product development technical assistance.