Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A sugary tale [My World]

@ mirandablue
Sugarcane is a delicate plant, and there was always a need for plenty of fertilizer, irrigation, and a workforce that would work long hard hours of backbreaking labor without complaint---or without choice, as in the case of slaves. Although there was never a slave trade in the Philippines, the sugar industry here has its own unique history of exploitation, excitement, and human drama.
Sugarcane is a massive, bamboo-like grass of genus "Saccharum", tribe "Andropogonaeae", and family "Poaceae". Scientists call it photosynthetically efficient, in that it creates sucrose from sunlight, air, and water better than just about any other plant on earth. The only ones that come close are sugar maple and sugar beet; not coincidentally, those are precisely the two plants that compete directly with cane in the world sugar market.
My mother's uncle acquired a few hectares of land in the southern part of Negros Occidental in the 1950's.  It is a remote area that was infested by communist rebels, and nobody in the family dared to farm the land.   It was only about a decade ago when one of my cousins was crazy enough to invest in sugarcane farming.

Driving to Locotan with my cousins one Saturday in April, I was surprised to see that farm-to-market roads have been developed.  There was electricity, health centers, and according to relatives who live in the area, the communist rebels are either in jail or have returned to mainstream society after the 2007 Amnesty proclamation.

@ mirandablue
Sugarcane farming is never easy, according to my cousin.  In addition to dependency on unpredictable world markets, the sugar farmer is subject to the vagaries of Mother Nature. When it rains too much, trucks can't get out in the fields to get the cane.  To a naive observer like me, a field of blossoming snow-white sugarcane flowers is a sight to behold---the same scene brings a chill to the sugar farmer's spine.  Because those entrancing blossoms mean that the sugar content of the cane is being rapidly depleted, and along with it market value at the mill.  

@ mirandablue
My cousins and I had the crazy idea to walk in the fields at 2 pm when the sun was unforgiving.  I needed the exercise but not heat stroke!  But the view...yes, the view of these rolling hills has a cooling effect even at a 33-degree C temperature.

@ mirandablue
Taken in Locotan, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental


My contribution to My World-Tuesday

18 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Interesting post on the sugar cane. It is a lovely view, thanks for sharing.

fjÀllripan said...

Beautiful photos from your world.

Sylvia K said...

Love your photos and what an interesting post on sugar cane! Such rich green color! Beautiful! Hope your week is off to a great start! Enjoy!

Sylvia

VioletSky said...

Farming is never an easy life. This is such a beautiful area - and I'm glad your family's investment has at last paid off for someone willing to make the effort!

Photo Cache said...

it's been ages since i had sugarcane :)

Indrani said...

Have you ever tried peeling off the sugar stem with your teeth? I have, it is a good exercise for teeth. And the juice that flows in to your mouth is the reward. :)

Rajesh said...

Wonderfully informative with nice shots.

lotusleaf said...

Wonderful shots and interesting information. The sugarcane field reminds me of those in India.Good for your cousin that everything is peaceful now.

stardust said...

The green rolling hills and grass with beautiful sky are refreshing just to see. Thanks to your braving the heat wave, we can share the wonderful views. I had been almost ignorant of what sugarcane farmers had to go through. Thanks for this informative post. Stay cool, and have happy days ahead, Miranda.

Marlene said...

Sugar cane and your photos made me think, it must be in Negros, and it is. I envy your experience of seeing a sugar cane plantation. We had some growing among the bushes when I was little and we used to nibble when we were hungry from school. Beautiful photos of the greens.

ladyfi said...

Such lovely sweet shots!

Spiderdama said...

So green, fresh and beautiful landscape. That first one is a dream.

Thank you for your concern about my country.

Happy week!

DJ said...

oh how beautiful... didn't know about the sugarcane flower, how interesting.

All i know is now I feel like drinking sugarcane juice :)

Eden said...

I love the place. I remember during my childhood, we used to eat fresh sugarcane.They are very sweet.

Jenn said...

I love ice-cold sugarcane juice. I always make it a point to buy me a few liters at the Salcedo Market. Wonderful post matched with wonderful shots, especially of the rolling hills.

Lynette Killam said...

I so enjoyed these shots, and your words about sugarcane farming!You've captured the lushness of the countryside beautifully...:)

forgetmenot said...

Lovely photos and interesting story about sugar cane farming. Blogging has become quite "educational" as well as just plain "fun". Nice post. Mickie :)

jezz said...

wat a nice pictures of my hometown.......!! im proud of my place locotan....!! i apreciate ur effort to get pictures.....!! one of ur photos is our hacienda.....!!