Dream Builder


March 20, 2017 | BY Shauna Popple Williams

GK champion, Tony Meloto proves once again that he’s got the sustainable Midas touch when it comes to building a brighter future for the nation

Welcome to GK Enchanted Farm.jpg

The Gawad Kalinga (GK) Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan, opened for business just last January via the three-day Social Business Summit.

GK volunteers unite at the Social Business Summit 2017.jpgGK volunteers unite at the Social Business Summit 2017

The summit, which was on its fourth edition, was held on site and showcased what the farm had in the cards for a sustainable community and nation. The massive event was very well attended by all the GK chapters from across the globe and bringing together volunteers, entrepreneurs, builders of global social markets as well as global leaders and media subscribing to the nation building movement.         

Ambension ribbon cutting with founder Chris Torrance and Tony Meloto.JPG

Ambension Silk Enterprise ribbon cutting with founder Chris Torrance and Tony Meloto

A shift in GK’s efforts have redirected focus from building homes (which was merely the start of a chain reaction to continuous positive change), to developing careers through social innovation. Essentially, the GK Enchanted Farm is the very first Farm Village University in the world. It is Gawad Kalinga’s unique staging to foster and advance social entrepreneurs, boost local farming output and create wealth outside of the capital with the end-goal of ridding the country of poverty (especially rurally) by 2024. 

Being that there is an abundance of resources in the Philippines, the main idea propelling this project was to create an open platform for collaborative progress, volunteerism as well as to promote the country as a global hub for social innovation.

GK Founder Tony Meloto addresses the Summit congregation.jpgGK Founder Tony Meloto addresses the Summit congregation

During the summit, attendees and visitors were able to witness an internationally-judged competition for Southeast Asian students for the best social innovation project as well as the launching and showcase of products created by local world-class Filipino businesses based within the farm.

Tony Meloto.jpgTony Meloto

Of course, Tony Meloto was there to spearhead the summit and joining him was Berjaya Group founder and Malaysian philanthropist Tan Sri Dato Seri Vincent Tan who flew in to inaugurate the Berjaya Culinary Centre.

Berjaya Culinary Centre ribbon cutting -  Morvin Tan, Sen. Bam Aquino, Chryseis Tan, Berjaya Group Tan Sri Dato Vincent Tan, Tony Meloto, Luis Oquiñena & Paul Soo.jpgBerjaya Culinary Centre inauguration - (left to right) Morvin Tan, Sen. Bam Aquino, Chryseis Tan, Berjaya Group Tan Sri Dato Vincent Tan, Tony Meloto, Luis Oquiñena & Paul Soo

The facility has become the farm’s primary food centre catering to the 200,000 partners, entrepreneurs and students who visit annually. It has also become an incubator-hub where students and social entrepreneurs can develop their culinary skills and products. The food served in the centre’s restaurant is locally produced, sourced and processed, providing livelihood for local farmers.

GK facilities.jpgGK facilities

Make a day trip out to the GK Enchanted Farm (or overnight it!) for a tour and partake of the social enterprise demos, roll your sleeves up for the farming activities or relax at the Iasis Health & Wholeness Centre. One can stay at any of the well-appointed GK villas or perpetually busy B&B for incoming volunteers and visitors interested in the aforementioned goings-on. Get around the expansive grounds via Bambike (bamboo bicycles), a fantastic mode of transportation sans pollutants.

Learn how to spin and weave silk at Ambension.jpgLearn how to spin and weave silk at Ambension

The GK Enchanted Farm is also home to little business hubs such as the Ambension Silk Farm, a small-scale but soon-to-be major silk spinning operation producing scarves, shawls and table cloths as well as unique fabric for uniforms; the Enchanted Farm Café serving up a local GK-produced menu; the CalaBoo Creamery (a social enterprise in partnership with the Philippine Carabao Centre), a world-class carabao milk dairy brand and purveyor of cheese, butter and pro-biotic rich yoghurts; Human Nature (the organic beauty product brain child of Meloto’s children, Camille and Anna – together with Anna’s husband, Dylan Wilk). 

The Ambension factory.JPGThe Ambension factory

The GK Cafe.jpg


Plush and Play toys.jpgPlush and Play toys

There is also a slew of amazing 100% local and eco-friendly brands produced and sold here such as Aura Natura (beauty products), Bayani Brew (iced tea), First Harvest, Friggies (bottled fresh juices), Golden Duck (organic salted duck eggs), Gourmet Keso, Grassroots Kitchen, Hamlet (preservative-free meat), Hiraya Chocolate, Kara & Beau's Ice Cream, Plush and Play stuffed toys, Red Carpet, The Bee Empire honey and Theo & Philo Artisan Chocolates. Think globally, act locally.

To know more about Gawad Kalinga and their advocacies, projects, and history, you may visit: www.gk1world.com        

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