Written by: Reicza Gene C. Olojan
You’ll get tired, but you’ll never stop because you’re pursuing your passion. When you’ve succeeded, don’t forget to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground.
This is one of the lessons that I learned from my farm tour with the Belviz couple, owners of Belviz Farms and Rosario’s Delicacies. The beginning of their business is well-known because it is a common topic that they discuss during their speaking engagements. What people don’t know is that their business wasn’t an overnight success – the couple went through a lot of challenges to get to where they are now.
Farm tour experience
We went to the charming home of the Belviz couple at Agbisit Subdivision, Calinan and the first thing that I noticed was the strong scent of cacao that filled the air. With growing curiosity, I wanted to see more. Mrs. Mary Grace Belviz showed us their dryer, fermentation boxes, and food processing facilities that they use for producing the well-known durian and cacao products of Rosario’s Delicacies.
I thought that we were going to visit one of their farms, and I was pleasantly surprised that Mrs. Belviz, along with Mr. Emmanuel Belviz, took us to not only one but four of their farms. The first farm that we visited was in Tamayong, the farm with the highest elevation. It was at that farm that I saw cacao trees almost bent over because of the numerous cacao pods growing on its branches. I though that they haven’t harvested the pods yet because the trees had a lot of pods, but it turns out that they have already harvested four times during the past month. Mrs. Belviz mused that the cold weather due to the high elevation could be a factor to the abundant pods growing on the cacao trees. Aside from cacao, durian trees also populated the area but the trees didn’t have fruits because the durian season was over. There were also mangosteen trees planted along the perimeter of the area which acts as windbreakers.
The second farm was almost the same with the first one, but it didn’t have mangosteen trees. Instead, lanzones and jackfruit trees are intercropped with the cacao trees. This farm also has a centennial durian tree, which Mrs. Belviz estimated to be 125-135 years old. She said that they use chicken dung for fertilizer for their farms which they apply to the trees once every two months. She said that caretakers were given incentives when the farms produce more crops due to proper care and maintenance. They weren’t also conventional in their farming techniques, choosing to focus more on productivity rather than keeping a clean and orderly farm.
The third farm contains their nursery filled with durian seedlings, and their receiving area for guests. We sat down and she prepared tablea for us. She discussed her standards for their products – how the flavors differ and how much time is needed for their products to set before they release it for sale. Propped up on an easel is a painting of cacao done by Mrs. Belviz which she hasn’t finished yet. The place itself is very peaceful – the kind of solitude that you can’t find anywhere else in a busy city. The fourth farm is the production area for their sunflowers, and you can also see rice fields in the distance.
When we got back to their home, Mrs. Belviz told us more about their business. Her father-in-law Mr. Severino Belviz started farming while working for a private company. He went to work during office hours and tended to his farm at night. He managed both things well and was never late for work. He started with cacao, planting it between the coconut trees on the land that a friend had leased to him. After a few years, he earned enough to buy his own land and planted durian trees. By 2000, he was producing enough durian to open shop – a durian candy business named after his wife, Rosario. Aside from candy, they also offered other durian products.
Now, Rosario’s Delicacies is managed by Mr. Emmanuel and Mrs. Mary Grace Belviz. Aside from durian products, they have also ventured into cacao products such as tablea and artisanal chocolates. Mrs. Belviz maintains that their products are of top quality and she personally oversees the production process. She knows the taste that she wants for her products, and she hires good people to help her produce the products that Rosario’s is well-known for.
In spite of their success in business, the couple is very down-to-earth. Mrs. Belviz is proud of the couple’s humble background and knows that it is essential to be firmly grounded in your heritage. When it comes to success in business, she said that you need to have the passion and the vision – you need a clear image of what you want and how you’re going to achieve it. She also stated that patience is necessary because not every idea will produce good results and downfalls are common in business. Of course, proper handling of finances is essential. Aspiring farmers don’t need a large capital on hand if they want to start processing their cacao beans for food production. However, Mrs. Belviz tells them to be careful and to not overextend their financial capacity. They can get loans from the government, but they have to be sure that they are able to pay back the loans. It’s wise to take advantage of seminars or trainings offered by different sectors to add to their knowledge. She’s also more than willing to help those who want to start their own business, focusing more on helping others rather than seeing them as competition.
Lessons to take from Belviz Farms
Truth is, there is no quick recipe for success. What every person needs is patience, passion, and perseverance. Take it from the Belviz couple – they didn’t have a lot of resources but they built their business slowly but surely. They bought their equipment piece by piece, always making sure that their finances won’t be jeopardized by overspending. They’ve also faced countless difficulties, yet their passion for agriculture carried them through the rough times.
Now, this couple is one of the well-known faces of the cacao industry in Davao City. They did their part in uplifting the cacao industry, and they have been blessed for this. They have shown to us that it doesn’t take a lot of cash to succeed – you just need to love what you do and always think carefully about the decisions that you make – whether it be in farming, business, or personal life.