Farm of Hope

In that of Milagros, Masbate’s humble countryside rests Fazenda de Esperança, a haven that presents itself as more than a mere means of escape; but a sanctuary of harmony, extending an invitation for one to embrace serenity in a realm entirely its own.

Located forty-five minutes away from Masbate City, said haven is an ideal spot for leisurely road trips, allowing oneself to immerse in a provincial ambiance complete with humid air, roadside shanty houses, and endless rice fields and hills. If such laid-back charm appeals to you, a visit to Fazenda de Esperanca would be a fitting choice.

Upon reaching the place, you are to be greeted by a rustic gate, which once opened will have you lay your eyes on rows of coconut trees towering in a well-landscaped expanse, instantly making one feel the warmth of tranquility.

On top of that, Fazenda de Esperança’s beauty extends to its farmland, where lush vegetation of vegetables flourishes alongside cows grazing in the vast greenery—truly is a farm-like paradise, where that of nature’s bounty goes hand-in-hand—in harmony.

Furthermore, beneath the soothing shades lies the Fazenda café, offering not just snacks and coffee but also their famed fresh milk crafted by the farm’s dedicated volunteers.

But is that all there is to this haven?

Beyond the Farm

While the place is undeniably breathtaking, within it lies a pulsating heart of profound hope and transformation.

At its core, Fazenda de Esperança, also known as the “Farm of Hope,” is more than just a farm; it is a therapeutic community founded in 1983 with a mission to aid individuals in recovering from addiction, particularly from that of alcohol and drugs. Pursuing a threefold approach—pedagogical work, familial coexistence, and spirituality—the farm sees itself as an ambassador of hope in the lives it touches.

Fazenda de Esperanca’s roots trace back to the generosity of an Italian priest named Father Perrino, who envisioned opening a refuge for rehabilitation in Masbate—one with arms open to individuals seeking liberation from the clutches of drugs and alcohol.

Rehabilitate and Renew

It welcomes those between the ages of 18 and 59, who wish to break that of addiction’s shackles, mainly those of drugs and alcohol, but is not limited to such.

In entering this haven of renewal, one embarks on a 12-month educational rehabilitation process, taking the first step through a heartfelt letter expressing the desire for a new life.

From then on, he/she would live guided by the pillars of faith, community, and work—pillars collectively aimed to provide individuals with a holistic foundation for rehabilitation and recovery by shaping the overarching purpose of fostering spiritual growth, building a supportive community, and instilling a sense of responsibility through collaborative effort.

In the Philippines, Fazenda da Esperança has established three branches—in Masbate, Naga, and Dumaguete. The Masbate branch encompasses two distinct divisions, one dedicated for males, currently home to 14 boys within its extensive 337-hectare farm, and the other for females, conveniently located just a short drive away from each other.

Romark Cadag, the executive secretary overseeing the Masbate and Naga branches, shared that the Masbate boys’ division employs a total of 23 individuals, excluding the three missionaries and three nuns from Brazil who contribute to farm operations.

The farm raises two breeds of cows—Holstein for milk and Brahman for meat. Notably, the fresh milk produced serves as a vital supply for the renowned Carmelado candy makers in Masbate.

Additionally, Fazenda offers a variety of baked goods, including cassava cake and bread, along with rosaries crafted by individuals undergoing rehabilitation. These products are sold in the Fazenda store located at St. Anthony Padua Cathedral in Masbate City, forming an integral part of the program’s income-generating initiatives. | Kimberly Palenzuela, Jeric Lopez, Kian Kirby F. Florano