SCENE CITY| Elsie’s garden in Cabadbaran,

WALKING amidst plants and flowers around the ancestral home of Elsie Calo-Angeles in Cabadbaran City, Agusan was like viewing various species of flowers and ornamental plants during a garden exhibit.

We decided to take a detour to Agusan del Norte after attending the 75th birthday of my Uncle, Edgar Calo-Bordeos in Cagayan de Oro City. Joining my cousins Ida Calo-De Leon, her sister Elsie and son Dino, who drove us to Cabadbaran, taking the newly-opened highway through Claveria in Misamis Oriental. In Claveria, we stopped by the monument built in memory of the crash victims who perished in the Cebu Pacific Flight 387 from Manila to Cagayan de Oro on February 02, 1998.

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ELSIE Calo-Angeles with son Dino

Bonding with my cousins in Cabadbaran is a rare occasion and what makes it more enjoyable is the environment around this place which has kept its rustic setting alive with tall trees and beautiful plants.

My cousin Elsie studied nursing in Silliman University but shifted and finished a course in Business Administration. She retired from her job as training officer in PAGCOR at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu. Her love for gardening keeps her busy aside from cooking and trying new recipes which she says promotes good health. Organic herbs grow in her garden aside from her ornamental plants collection because she promotes healthy eating and “back-to-basics” cooking to stay healthy. She sprinkles steamed rice with Turmeric powder which gives it a yellow color.

When her husband passed away, her son Dino left his career in Manila and relocated to Cabadbaran, to be with his Mom. They engage in farming because their parents have left pieces of land to be tilled and to sustain their needs. They have started to build a small cottage by the beach which we visited during our three-day stay.

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COUSINS Elsie and Marilyn at the Calo Horse Farm

Besides their own produce, Elsie and her family also volunteer to help their friends sell produce such as organic soap, insect repellants and laundry soap as a way to help their community members who supply them with these items so they can earn a living. “This was Ricky’s way of helping his best friend who used to sell these products for those who needed funds. The proceeds went to the less fortunate sector in the community”, Elsie says of her late husband who passed away two years ago.   They have several containers of natural honey which are taken from areas in the forests where bees thrive. Dino told us that the source of honey is getting farther and more difficult to reach because of rampant deforestation and clearing of land due to development. Honey collectors reach as far as Compostela Valley for their source.

Elsie has three children – Dino, April and Joey. April is working abroad as part of the admin staff at a plush resort and may come home after a year.

Posted in Lifestyle