“The Department of Tourism has accredited the farm as a tourist destination” she said. “That makes the Layog Country Farm, the first ecology oriented farm to be accredited as a tourist destination in the Cordilleras” she went on. The excitement was just bubbling in her voice. That was my sister, Lina in Norway, on the phone. It was wee hours in the morning, so while I know she was sharing me some good news my still foggy mind refused to spike my adrenalin into a celebratory mood.
“Really!” I managed to say in response. Such a stoic response could have dampened someones celebratory mood but not Lina. “After all the problems, it does seem all the work we are putting into the farm is now paying off” she continued. Her voice still fully animated.I know all the problems she was talking about. For years, efforts to get the support of local government agencies to get the vision of the farm to see the practice of ecological farming become widespread in the area received tepid reception.
“First, we got a certificate of recognition from an international tourism organization,” she continued not even pausing to find out if I was still listening. “Then the Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture accredited us as a training site and now this”, her voice rising in crescendo.
There is a reason to be jubilant. Accreditation processes do not come easy. It was like you are taking one of these professional board examinations. You prepare so hard for it and then when you are done with the examinations, you wait anxiously whether you made it or not. “Yes, we made it.” She cried out loud. Something you do when you jump from one barrier of difficulties to another.
She was ecstatic but I am sure at the back of her mind, she knew things would not be going easier. As you raise the bar, you raise the expectations.
“There is so much to do, I know.” Her voice now calm and steady. “There are challenges ahead but we will overcome.” She is no stranger to challenges. “You could do it.” I said trying to reassure her. I know, without doubt, she would prove equal to the challenges.