By Development Communication Section/MET Aldon
Once an aquaculturist, always an aquaculturist. This may just be a cliché, but this is how Mr. and Mrs. Rito Bombeo, retired researchers of SEAFDEC/AQD are doing now as they continue to promote aquaculture in Purok 7-A, Barangay Poblacion, Naawan, Misamis Oriental.
“Misamis Oriental is blessed with abundant water 24/7,” said Mrs. Ruby Bombeo who visited SEAFDEC/AQD in January, two years after her retirement. The free flowing water is very ideal for aquaculture. The couple then developed their 3,000 sq m retirement lot into what is now known as Rito Farm.
Rito Farm houses four compartments of fish ponds composed of hatchery and grow-out for catfish and tilapia. The ponds go well with coconut trees along the river and mango trees between cottages where families and visitors come for recreation. Rito Farm offers fish spa and recreation fishing where clients are allowed to fish using hook and line, buy and cook what they caught.
The farm became so popular that the couple receives several invitations from different groups and even government agencies to conduct aquaculture training for retired employees. They have already trained groups of retired police, military personnel and teachers. Rito Farm was also accredited for OJT of students from Iligan School of Fisheries and Immersion for Naawan Senior High School students.
One thing that amuses the couple is watching the kids play as they fish and enjoy fish spa. “Because of this, the children develop interest in nature especially fish” Mrs. Bombeo added. The couple also enjoys knowing how much other people appreciate Rito Farm in their place. “This place is lovely and cool and what a relief from stressful activities during the week”, they said.
As a researcher and trainer herself, Mrs. Bombeo is thankful that her knowledge and skills that she acquired from SEAFDEC/AQD can still be useful even after retirement. The same is true with Mr. Bombeo who worked as aquaculturist at SEAFDEC/AQD and other countries. They are combining both scientific and indigenous knowledge in the farm. “Indeed, there is life after SEAFDEC/AQD”, she mused delightedly.
Rito Farm is the first of its kind put up in the place. An integrated farm cum recreation place, the couple also breeds catfish and tilapia and sell fry in nearby towns. They also sell azolla and duckweed starters. They also raise pigs so they will not waste left overs of clients.
“We are indeed very thankful to SEAFDEC/AQD. Notwithstanding the good pay, the training and skills that we learned and eventually shared to others is so gratifying that we feel obliged to teach people how to be self sufficient,” Mrs. Bombeo said. She also shared that her husband in conducting training to Mindanaoans, would always mention about his valuable experience at SEAFDEC/AQD, which became a vehicle for getting greener pasteur abroad as consultant in aquaculture. “What we are enjoying now is an endless blessing from God for having SEAFDEC/AQD as our employer,” she said.