On the onset, farming was more of past time for lawyer and businessman Antonio “Ony” B. Partoza. Back in 1984, he bought a parcel of land in Biao, Tugbok District, and left it unattended until after EDSA Revolution.
“That’s when I started to plant durian when everyone was planting rami (fiber crop), which was in demand at that time,” Partoza recalled.
He started with native and Thai along with Arancillo variety in his nine hectare property. Arancillo was favored by his clients due to its similarity – its slightly bitter taste – with the native variety.
“For me, it’s still the best tasting durian,” he quipped.
Since durian only bear fruits twice a year, he decided to plant other fruit crops in between, such as lanzones (longkong variety),
mangosteen, coconut, and even banana (latacan), which they get to harvest weekly. Lately, they have also experimented with cacao but still in the process of perfecting their tablea production.
After a couple of years, their farm soon produced one of the best quality durian in the region, and Partoza was eventually nicknamed as “Durian King”.
“We won the Best Introduced Cultivar and Best Native Variety for two consecutive years during the Kadayawan Festival, and we also got featured in various publications,” Partoza recalled.
Partoza eventually opened their farm to the public in August 2012. Although they have been receiving occasional guests from the Department of Agriculture and Department of Tourism early on.
“Originally, it’s just a farm and farmhouse for family – a sanctuary for me. DOT encouraged us to convert it for farm tourism since we already have the basic facilities. However, we will only accept day-tour bookings for now,” he said.
Partoza Farm offers educational tours, agri-education seminars, small parties and tour packages especially to durian lovers.
He is currently planning on doing a series of seminars on organic farming and initiate livelihood projects that will also involve their neighbor farmers.
“If we become successful with our endeavors, we want our farmers to be part of it as well. To be honest, I don’t earn much from farming but it makes me happy. It makes me even happier seeing our guests enjoying our durian,” Partoza added.