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Starting in Honeybees

I started keeping honeybees in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, in the late 1970's. It began as a hobby, with two colonies in my mother's garden.

There were many attempts to develop a technology heretofore untried, untested. Very few were interested in honeybees.

Early attempts…

One day, there were crawling and dead bees all over the garden. They must have been poisoned.

Next day, we were on our way to Tagaytay, Cavite. A friend of a Ian Aranza, who got me started in beekeeping, was building a house there. We met Mike Harpst, who graciously agreed to let us bring our bees there.

Thus began the start of my lifetime adventure with honeybees.

We "contract pollinated" the first Acacia mangium stand in the Philippines, which yielded seed sold to Malaysia for reforestation.

We pollinated Japanese buckwheat – tasting a little buckwheat honey. It was dark and rich.

Nowhere was too far to move our bees. We travelled as far as Mindoro, Arayat, Batangas, Los Banos, Laguna and Cavite. We were able to harvest a ton of honey from only 10 colonies.

I had caught "bee fever". Incurable.

Several years later, I met Violaine Valera, she was keeping one colony of bees in her front yard in Quezon City. I offered to teach her. After seven months, we were married…………. Ian gave us a few colonies as a wedding gift and we promptly loaded them in our old bee trailer…… was a Honey moon!

In 1989, Dr. Ike Payawal and Dr. Cleo Cervancia of the University asked us, "if beekeeping has that much promise, how come we do not have a local beekeeping industry?"

"An industry has to be a joint effort between private individuals and institutions," was our answer. Thus was born the UPLB Bee Program in 1989.

Sammy Tonido was one the UPLB Bee Program's first beneficiaries.

The UPLB Bee Program has been training people from all walks of life: educators, students, professionals, farmers………

And invited our supplier to visit us here. Thus was launched Royal Bee Corp. Where we used our expertise in a carpentry shop…

We exported package bees to the Middle East. Here I am with Ian Aranza, preparing the package bees for export.

In 1994, we parted ways with RBC. We were penniless.

Rather than feel forlorn, defeated or forsaken, we felt exhilarated and hopeful. Note the few beehives, but the many beehive stands.



We grew...