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Visualizing what COVID-19 does to your body

By now, researchers and health experts have gained a better understanding of the range of symptoms caused by COVID-19, which include fever, a dry cough, and of course, the dangerous inflammation of the respiratory system.

Most of us know that COVID-19 can be much more severe than a typical flu, but lesser known are the mechanics behind how the virus causes pneumonia in its victims.

Today’s informative illustration, by scientific designer and animator Avesta Rastan, details the effects COVID-19 has on our lungs, from moderate to severe cases.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most people who contract COVID-19 only experience mild flu-like symptoms. Occasionally though, the infection can cascade into a severe case of pneumonia that can be lethal, especially for older people and those with underlying medical conditions.

Continue reading: https://www.weforum.org

3R Integrated Organic Farm

In an inner and serene place in San Carlos City, one can find an area venturing into livestock production. When it started as a livestock-based farm, its name was coined from the first letter of the names Romeo, Rose, and Renzy, the family owners. After Dr. Romeo Agraviador, a Medical Doctor, became an advocate and practitioner of organic farming, 3R now refers to Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle.

His area started with raising dairy carabao where he gets fresh milk and pasteurized or made into pastillas. Later, it became a diversified and integrated organic farm that adopts the different organic farming technologies on organic vegetable production, organic coffee production, organic chicken and duck production, fruit trees production, and agro-forestry.

Even with his busy schedule as a practicing doctor of the local government unit of San Carlos City, Dr. Agraviador takes time to attend seminars and pieces of training on organic farming due to his passion for agriculture. This is because his experiences in chemical farming destroyed his soil, reduced production of his crops, and burdened him with expensive chemical inputs. As a person with a passion for agriculture, he attended different pieces of training on organic crop and livestock production and put into practice the knowledge and learnings he gained from such pieces of training and seminars, which later improved his farm.

Since the time he started organic farming, he was able to coordinate and collaborate with the local government units in agriculture, government line agencies, academe, and even with other organic farming groups. This had opened opportunities for him to avail assistance that improved and further developed his farm.

Dr. Romy also had a compassionate heart for his fellow farmers living near his farm who do not have the financial capability to improve their farming system. He shared with them the assistance and knowledge he gained from his coordination and collaboration with the different agencies for them to also improve their way of life.  Relative to this, he also organized and made them his partners in the development of their farming system.

His close coordination with the Agricultural Training Institute, Department of Agriculture (ATI-DA) Region 6, and upon indorsement of the LGU of San Carlos City Agriculture Office, his farm was accredited as one of the Learning Sites of ATI. Because of his passion for this kind of advocacy and practice, he was also awarded by the provincial government of Negros Occidental.   

Today, Dr. Agraviador gained advancement not only as a Medical Doctor but as a practitioner of organic farming that helped not only his family but also his community as he continues to influence acquaintances and friends to go organic farming for good health and protection of the environment.

COVID-19 Story: Staying Positive in the Midst of Precariousness of Life

An insight on COVID-19 by Armigenia O. Benedicto, Ph.D.

When both the national and local government units made the pronouncement to implement the home community quarantine (HCQ) in the middle of March, students and senior citizens (I’m one of them) were in total lockdown – no going out of residence; not qualified to avail of the HQC pass. 

Then everyday news in quad-media continues to announce the rising cases of those affected and died due to COVID-19, especially in countries that are considered to be highly developed. The first question that came to my mind was: Why is this happening that even the progressive nations were down in their knees in front of this pandemic?

The enemy is invisible, and no weapon (in terms of medicine/vaccine) is yet available to combat its contamination. Anxiety crept into me fully aware of the uncertainty when will this pandemic ends and what the future brings after this. Is this already the result of man’s irresponsibility in taking care of God’s creation? Is this the way God wanted to awaken the conscience of humanity and go back to Him in humility?

All these questions were vividly answered one by one by the author of life, and I thank God that, in my daily prayers and meditations, He gives me the assurance that calms my fears. I came to realize the precariousness of life – nothing is sure; nothing can secure experience even if you have all the material possessions and power in this world.

Having this realization, I resolved to stay positive in dealing with this precariousness, truly believing that He is there accompanying each one of us because of His great love. As proof that God is with us in this event, in my own simple and little way I extended help to the group headed by my niece who is a medical doctor by using the social media (because I’m in ECQ) to solicit donations for food packs for distribution to those underprivileged/financially depressed residents.

Likewise, my ECQ moments were also spent growing veggies (expected from an agriculturist) and were shared with my neighbors as well because for me sharing is caring.

If every day is God’s gift to me, then any good things I do during the day is/are my gift to Him.

Till today, I continue to stay positive and hopeful and remain consoled with the word of God from the letter of Paul to the Philippians 4: 6-7, which says:

Dismiss all anxiety from your minds. Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and petitions full of gratitude. Then God’s own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus”. 

Armigenia O. Benedicto, Ph.D. is a professor of the School of Agriculture at the University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos.

Double A Poultry Farm

The family that does business together stays close and enjoys financial freedom together. The poultry farm business of the Sevilleno family started in 1992, managed by both of their parents, who at that time started with breeder chicken. The business ran under contract with an Integrator, which they thought was easy and profitable until, in 2012, they changed into the Layer business with an initial stock of 9,000 heads.

This time, their son Eric, an Animal Science graduate, took over the management of this business.  When the same business in Cebu was severely affected by typhoon Yolanda in 2013, the volume of eggs in the region was affected. This situation allowed the family to increase their layer stocks to meet the demand of eggs in Western Visayas.  From that time on, their layer business progressed, having a population of up to 50,000 layers and continue to progress up to today.

Double A Poultry Farm got its name from the initial letter A of Eric’s two sons. Though he was noted as a tough, hands-on, and a micro-type of manager, he has a significant and soft heart for those who are in need. He offered jobs for those residents in their area and provide them just compensation. Some would sell eggs from their farm on a consignment basis and would pay later of the day, which much helped the residents in the community. He would undertake his social responsibility by sharing resources with schools, churches, and the community. Likewise, the sponsors’ students as scholars so that when they graduate and land a job, they could help alleviate the standard of living of their families.

Being an alumnus of the University of Negros Occidental Recoletos – Agriculture Department, he offered his farm as a venue for the On the Job Training (OJT) of agriculture students where they could learn the nitty-gritty of managing a poultry farm.

Passion, perseverance, and prayers are the secret of Double A Poultry Farm of what they have achieved today!

COVID-19 Story: Making Good Memories

A insight on COVID-19 by Erika Romay

The world today is facing a huge problem that affects the lives of every people. The COVID-19 pandemic is not a joke because not only human beings suffer a lot, but also the animals, as well.

This virus will ruin the lives of every people. Also, it affects the economy and the jobs of every individual because they don’t know where to find safe food to eat and provide the needs of the family.Also, it could be the cause of the starving of others. The relief goods that came from the government are not enough, and it will not last for many days. It is hard to go outside and to buy some essential goods because of this pandemic.
People need to follow the government order that we need to do quarantine. This practice can help to minimize the spreading of the virus. Still, some people violate this practice. Instead of reducing the spread of the virus, it makes the problem worse.

Although we can’t go outside and do whatever we want to do, my family and I make a good bonding that, despite the happening in our world, we find a lot of things to do in our home and make good memories.

This pandemic keeps us to be more reliable and even closer with each other because usually, we don’t have time to gather and enjoy.

Still, this time we have a lot of time to talk and communicate with each other, also we keep our faith to God to be stronger, praying that this pandemic would end immediately, and the spreading of the virus will stop. It is sad to see that some people are not following the rules that could make the problem worse.

People are fighting for food and money that they forgot that we need to unite this time because this virus kills a lot of people. All of us need to discipline ourselves to make our country safe. Stop all the fights and do what the right thing to do.

I am hoping that people will not lose their hope. I hope the problem will end soon and hoping that people keep to be strong and to strengthen their faith to God because God has a purpose and plans for us we only need to be strong and to believe in Him.

Erika Romay is a second year student of the School of Agriculture, UNO-Recoletos. Erika is majoring in Crop Science.

Grace Organic Farm

A quote from the book of Isaiah 28: 23-29, which tells about the parable of the farmer, was a great inspiration that pushed a man whose desire and goal in life is to ensure the health and welfare of his family. Armed with this spiritual weapon coupled with his passion for rice farming, Pastor Jerry Dionson established Grace Organic Farm fourteen (14) years ago.  This passion that was inculcated in his mind when he was still young made him realized that he should be a steward of God’s creation through farming. He named his farm “Grace” because he considered everything he has as graces coming from God. By coincidence, his wife and daughter are also both named Grace.

Pastor Jerry owns and manages Grace Organic Farm, which is an integrated and diversified farm with the full support of his family. He planned well his farm, where he sees to it that all commodity components must be laid out in strategic areas where the output of one commodity can be an input of another. A significant portion of the farm is designated to organic rice (black and red) production considered as his main crop. Other commodities found on the farm are:

-organic vegetables

free-ranged chicken

-organic tilapia raised in a pond

-“no wash” swine that never exudes bad odor in the surroundings though they are not bathed due to an organic practice adopted. The feed for the swine is naturally fermented rice bran mixed with organic vegetable wastes from the farm. As bedding materials, Pastor Jerry mixed carbonized rice hull and rock salt sprayed with naturally fermented solutions. Once the swine are disposed of, their beddings are taken out from the pen, and after air-drying, it is used as organic fertilizer or stored in a clean polyethylene bag for future use.

-organic seed production, which he usually shares to other organic farmers as planting materials

-Vermicomposting as a primary source of organic fertilizer.

When Pastor Jerry instantaneously decided to adopt the organic farming system, his rice production for the last three years drastically dropped to 57 cavans per hectare, where his fellow farmers ridiculed him. At that time, pest infestations also compounded his problem on the farm, but this did not deter him from pursuing his desire to produce food for his family that is safe and nutritious. For three years, he painstakingly continued organic rice farming with a conviction that once his soil is rehabilitated with the adoption of organic farming practices and technologies, his harvest will improve. It did happen when, in the succeeding years, the yield of his farm started to increase. After more than 14 years of patience, dedication, and perseverance, Grace farm reaped and enjoy its bountiful harvest on rice of 139 cavans per hectare, which continues to increase every cropping until today.  Aside from mentoring other farmers on the organic farming system, Grace farm also provided jobs to the community.

Due to his dedication, hard work, and passion, Pastor Jerry was recognized and given awards for several years of adopting the organic farming system. Among his awards were in: 

  • 2016  –   National Organic Agriculture Achiever’s Award (NOAAA) Winner for Smallholder Organic Farmer both in the regional & national level;
  • 2016   –   GAWAD SAKA Provincial, Regional and National Awardee for Smallholder Organic Farmer;
  • 2017  –   Regional Awardee for Local Farmer Technician;
  • 2017  –    Finalist for National Organic Agriculture Achievers’ Award (NOAAA) for  Smallholder Farmer and more

COVID-19 Story: Treasures during this Pandemic

An insight in COVID-19 by Rommie Ravinne Gene Celebrado

COVID-19 is the Earth’s hope since the modern-day for her time of healing against the abuse of human activities that make it impossible to renew its natural beauty.

Earth is healing itself.

Corona has affected us but cured our nature. Indeed history repeats itself. The pandemic outbreaks are not new to the human race.

Generally, the world faced many kinds of a pandemic that killed millions, but still, the world conquers it. The history gave us an assurance that the COVID-19 or any pandemic can be conquered once again, and today’s story is a story worth telling to our children and our coming generations.

In these troubled times, I noticed that most people who don’t panic in terms of necessities when all the resources are out are those people who prepared themselves for the future emergency. These circumstances taught me personally a lesson of a lifetime.

First is to be self-reliant. Being self-sufficient helps me prepare to endure any challenges and can help others need. Emergency preparedness helped me and it will help families to survive during this crisis.

Second, I’ve learned to help others in need. During this pandemic, I was able to extend my service through our church by repacking and distributing goods to those who need.

It may be a small act of service, but through this, I felt that I achieved and fulfilled something as they express their gratitude towards us.

The pandemic breaks the barrier in each individual to be united in conquering this pandemic.

Third, we need our government for community assistance. I’ve also learned to follow to stay home and follow social distancing not to be a carrier of the virus.

I sometimes complain of boredom, but thinking that we have our “front-liners” sacrificing themselves for our country, I don’t have any reason to violate the community quarantine. Instead, I’m praying for a solution, protection, and relief.

Lastly, people started to realize that the things that matter most aren’t luxuries, neither the fancy stuff but home and food. A home is where we can find our real treasure. A long span of community quarantine helped families to be united and to value the time they have together.

I’ve seen different kinds of social media posts, sharing how each family had fun activities. As for my experience, I have the opportunity to make a new habit. I was able to create my own vegetable garden.

Throughout the quarantine, the vegetables grew. I also am growing as a student and, most importantly, as a person. I was able to apply the learning I received from Agriculture.

 “Our war with COVID-19 is a solemn reminder that a virus 1,000 times smaller than a grain of sand can bring entire populations and global economies to their knees. We pray for those who have lost loved ones in this modern plague, as well as for those who are currently infected or at risk. When we have conquered this —and we will —may we be equally committed to freeing the world from the virus of hunger, freeing neighborhoods and nations from the virus of poverty.”

– Jeffrey R. Holland 

Rommie Ravinne Gene Celebrado is a second-year student of the School of Agriculture, UNO-Recoletos. Rommie is taking Bachelor of Science in Agriculture major in Crop Science.

COVID-19 Story: Charity Starts at Home

An insight on COVID-19 by Miss Irish Macainan, ABE

A thing that begins at home and usually stays there attracts to what we believe “charity”. People in need of it tend to be filled with love and joy as they feel important in every small thing that one can give.

Overwhelming, it is, but as we face an inevitable pandemic, a serious crisis all over the world tends to happen in no time. Are there hopes in every hopeless faith? Are there good hearts for good people? 

AgRecoletos says, YES!

There is hope. There is charity despite this serious pandemic.

With the unity that binds the family in the University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos, School of Agriculture, giving in times of need with the faculty and staff means a charity to begin.

Genuine smiles, warm welcomes, and thoughts of missing the bond with each other are what we had in return after blessings were shared with the family.

It was impossible for some, but with the risk that we took, the fear that we faced, and the spirit of giving that we had, we are beyond blessed to make this happen.

Nothing can stop a good heart from sharing because small or big things, whatever it is – if it comes from the heart – it could mean a lot to someone.

If we care enough for other people, how much more to them that we call “our home”?

As enhanced community quarantine continues in the city, we will also continue to help each other. That way, we can show that in times like this, we remain united, keeping the faith with each other in prayers and deeds because nothing is more important than a family. 

Engr. Irish Macainan is a faculty member of the School of Agriculture at UNO-Recoletos. She is also working at the Sugar Regulatory Administration in Negros Occidental.

AgRecoletos prof challenges students during ECQ

To assess if blended/distance learning will be the best alternative approach during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), Ma. Cecilia Mercado tested her students in the School of Agriculture last April.

Mercado, a professor of School of Agriculture at the University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos, dared her students in METARE, BAPROD, and AGECOM classes.

“One of the objectives of the challenge is to know if the students are actively participating through online submission of outputs,” she said.

The “stay-at-home test” is to know if eating chocolate while studying helps the brain retain information quickly.

To win the challenge, students have to provide two articles, with titles and references, proving the health benefits of chocolates in boosting the memory of a person.

Mercado, a staff in the Research and Development Office of UNO-Recoletos, identified the winners with the date and time of submission of articles, and the reliability of the articles.

“The early the submission with the complete data will be the winners,” she said.

Paula Ann Vargas, grabbed the 1st Place, while Rommie Ravinne Gene Celebrado and Angel Grace Veñegas landed 2nd and 3rd Places, respectively.

1st Placer will receive a Php300.00 gift certificate after the ECQ, while 2nd and 3rd Placers will receive Php250.00 and Php200.00 gift certificates, respectively.

Also, three consolation prizes were given to Christian Joel Andeo, Christian Dela Torre, and Rico Dulaca, each with Php100.00 worth of cellphone load.

*Photo taken from http://www.icliniq.com

COVID-19 Story: A Way of Instilling Agriculture in People’s Hearts

An insight on COVID-19 by Raymark Gentugao

The most recent and still prevalent global pandemic we call COVID-19 has brought a real pause to the norms of every single student of UNO-Recoletos. I, for one, is a witness of how it changed my daily structures.

It feels unusual for a hectic working student to become a full-time-in-house lad. I honestly love it at first because I could have some rest from my busy life, but now I’m just worried about how things are and how it affects many other people. I believe it should not be just this way. Not, simply because I am an Agriculture student and I can do things.

One day, I saw a post on Facebook regarding some City officials who are distributing seed packs to the people to encourage them to plant at their own backyards. I knew that this would help people get away from unhealthy foods being distributed by putting up their own survival garden they can plant to, which would also provide them recreation during their homestay.

I shared that post in the hope of inspiring people too. Many have had reacted, but I felt it’s not going to make sense if it’s not going to happen somewhere and just become a mere example. And so I decided to contact a close friend of mine who’s always an active volunteer for humanitarian and environmental movements.

Just as I expected, their NGO called HILWAY has been soliciting donations for the help they are going to hand to affected people in Bacolod. I then asked if I can become part of the group and if I can look for sponsors for some seeds to be added to the goods they would share.

I seized the opportunity to place a platform to my advocacy which is to put agriculture into the hearts of many, and I believe that this is the right time where food resource is an utmost need of many people and so the work starts for me.

That moment after, I contacted through chat my UNO-Recoletos School of Agriculture advisers. They are Ms. Cecille Mercado, Mr. Armando Abaño, and Dr. Armigenia Benedicto. All of them responded happily and referred me to some people and offices. I patiently contacted all the referrals, and to make the long story short, I was able to secure donations from individuals and the City Agriculture Office of Bacolod.

The day came where I was finally able to receive all the seedling donations. My heart was filled with gratitude when I finally delivered it to the repacking stations after the long journey. I took many routes and jeepney rides to gather and deliver all the seedlings in different locations just in one day because of the community quarantine to be implemented the next day. It’s fulfilling to contribute.

To end this story, I must say that this pandemic has really made the world take some pause, but I know God has plans. Things frighten me, but the path I chose, which is to become an Agriculturist, motivates me to do things too. As a person whose job is to secure the food stability of the country, it’s up to me to act even with small ways I can.

Raymark Gentugao is an upcoming third year student of the School of Agriculture of UNO-Recoletos. Mark, as his friends call him, is a scholar of Recoletos Educational Assistance for Deserving Students (READS) in UNO-Recoletos.

COVID-19 Story: Of Tragedies and Divine Remedies

An insight on COVID-19 by Ana Paula Vargas

The COVID-19 pandemic has been shedding some light on several social aspects. Aspects that we often do not recognize; aspects that we often fail to appreciate. Who would’ve thought that our mundane habits could affect those of whom we hold dearest?

Hugs, kisses, handshakes, or just plain being around the people you love are being temporarily put to a halt. We are hindered by these social norms, and because of this pandemic, it has driven most of humanity into a downward spiral. Assurance and safety hang in the balance for our loved ones who are front liners, who are working overseas, who are sick, or to those who have a compromised immune system.

The poor and the homeless, the underprivileged, and the elderly are now of utmost concern. But the question that shakes this very foundation is why we value these circumstances, these people when we are devoid of these social norms? These are trying times. These are my insights, along with it a fraction of my experience on this ongoing pandemic.

A week before our first case of COVID-19 in the Philippines, my partner and I were hell-bent on finishing our papers for research and having our treatments analyzed in hopes of being able to graduate this second semester. Time constraints, financial dilemmas, and pulling consecutive all-nighters were inevitable. A day before our scheduled analysis, Mayor Bing declared community quarantine in Bacolod City.

Every nook and cranny of all our unending efforts did not suffice. Things were not in our favor. By then, we saw ourselves on the outs for graduation. So I started to listen, to search for signs, not knowing it has been given all along. Despite all the tension, the only thing constant was the voice whispering to me over and over: “do not rush, do not worry”. I did not understand it until now.

There is nothing awry about chasing after what one wishes to fulfill, but when we are called by Him, we cannot turn a blind eye.

Whether we push ourselves to our limits or find ourselves at a standstill, there is always a reason for delays. May we have the heart to look past our own judgment and not see it as a hint at dereliction.

The time I had during quarantine was utilized for meditating and deciphering what other purposes this global pandemic is trying to convey. All the while, I thought that this is to divert our attention from all that is unpleasant and evil for someone far greater: our God. I have neglected my time with my family, my friends, and even the time I owe to myself over things I now find inconsequential.

God is telling us to abandon our affinity for material things. To tell us that these elements are not our life force. To be able to discern priceless from materialistic. This has also given me more reason to love the course Agriculture because right now, people don’t barrel through towns to buy paper or cars. They rush to buy food, and this would not have been readily available if not for our farmers.

Agriculture is feeding the world, and our farmers play a major role in this pandemic.

This pandemic gives us what we are greatly in need of a second chance, a second chance to redeem ourselves, to repent. To not wait for the worse to happen before we start to give importance to the ones that really matter. To do good and be good. To be sensitive and to confide in acts of kindness, especially to those who are needing it most. To spread love and unbridled positivity and to always seek Him when we are in need of protection, mercy, solace, in times of doubt, depravity, and suffering.

Despite all this, I am endowed with bountiful blessings. I have food on my table. I have a roof over my head. My loved ones are healthy and safe. If you have these checked out, you are blessed beyond measure.

God has paved the way, may we never take it for granted. As the common adage says: “This too shall pass”, so let’s remain optimistic. And as I come to an end to jotting down my insights, I take a moment and smile with hope brimming on all corners because I have my Savior with me, I will not fall.

Ana Paula Vargas is a graduating student of the School of Agriculture, University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos. Ana Paula is taking Bachelor of Science in Agriculture major in Animal Science.