Edna Geollegue- Deypalubos retired early at age 46 after serving her community as a teacher for 20 years, and since then, ventured into farming and enjoys a stress-free yet productive life.
Teaching is her first love but retiring early was triggered by a life-changing event.
Blessed with seven children, two of whom died while still kids. But it didn't stop there. Her eldest daughter was diagnosed with Lupos Leukemia but luckily recovered after a regular check-up and thorough medication.
One of her sons was diagnosed with encephalitis and was in and out of the hospital for 3 years, but didn't survive.
Despite these challenges, Edna and her husband considered it God's test of faith.
She used part of her retirement fee to buy a rice field, in hopes that it could make both ends meet for the family, never had crossed in mind that someday, she would be one of the three nominees in the country for the 2019 National Gawad Saka- Search for the Outstanding Rice Farmer.
Now at 66, Edna is far from everybody's picture of a retiree, much as everybody's expectation of her rice farm.
With the 6- hectare land area located in Purok 12-A, Calubihan, Banaybanay, Davao Oriental known as the Deypalubos Rice-based Integrated Farm, she managed to plant inbred and hybrid and even Next Generation rice varieties, proven to have increased her harvest and income with proper technology application such as Rice Crop Manager which she gained after takeaways on the training conducted by the Municipal Agriculture Office and the Department of Agriculture XI.
On the other side of the farm, you can find bangus and tilapia in brackish water culture.
Various vegetables are also planted in the area together with the herbs and ornamental plants.
Goat heads, pigs and native chicken are also present on the farm.
Their farm produce is not only for the family's consumption but actually sold in the community for additional income.
This farm might not be totally different from other rice farms but what sets it apart is how they utilize everything on the farm, making sure that nothing is put into waste.
She made concoctions out of the livestock's waste and even fishbones that she used as natural pesticides for her vegetables.
Rice hays are used as a natural fertilizer to their rice fields, saving 3 bags of fertilizer per hectare according to her.
Fertilizers for her ornamental plants and vegetables are produced from vermi tea from vermicast mixed with molasses.
Her farm now gained more attention as a learning site accepting visitors from the different parts of the country who wants to learn the Rice-Based Integrated Farming.
Edna is truly one of the empowered of rural women that is worth emulating as she promotes integrated and diversified farming to produce and earn more