We all love getaways. They’re our break from the mundaneness of trying to make a living. No wonder, the deafening hustle and bustle of the metro push us to seek peace and quiet in faraway lands. Somewhere to chill, lay back, and simply relax.
Heading to a nearby farm in the province is a way to do it. Farm tourism is a booming industry as it answers our longing for nature reconnection. In the many hours that we spend in front of computers and phones, a quick respite to trees and fresh air is a godsend.
Meet the lady boss: lawyer, farmer, TikToker
While others can only afford a glimpse of provincial life, some take these farm getaways to the next level. Meet Atty. Monique Noa-Cruz, a 29-year-old full-time lawyer, part-time farmer, and, now, a viral TikToker. Recently, Atty. Noa and her husband, Dr. Jowi Tsidkenu Cruz, purchased a farm lot in Nueva Vizcaya. Talk about #couplegoals, right?
According to Atty. Noa-Cruz, the province of Nueva Vizcaya is an agricultural haven with majestic views of the mountains. “When the opportunity to own farmland in a place this beautiful came to me and my husband a couple of months ago, we grabbed the chance with minimal hesitation. We believe you can never go wrong in investing in a piece of land, especially if it is something like this that has so much potential. Plus, it is nice to have a place of your own where you can escape the hustle and bustle of city life once in a while,” she told TripZilla Philippines.
At the moment, they are still developing their farm. Their lot currently has several fruit-bearing trees, including guyabano, cacao, calamansi, mangosteen, and mango trees.
One caveat of owning a farm in Nueva Vizcaya, however, is having to drive long hours from Manila. At first, Atty. Noa-Cruz and Dr. Cruz had to go through tedious back-and-forth visits. On their initial trips to their farm, they also had to bear the additional expense of staying in nearby hotels, which aren’t exactly near — these were about 30 minutes away from their farmland. Mind you, a 30-minute drive in a province with little traffic means it isn’t a short drive at all.
Not your typical munting bahay kubo
To cut the long trips short, Atty. Noa-Cruz and Dr. Cruz decided to build a place to stay on their farm. They first planned to construct a small house, but their lot sits too far from the main road for them to regularly supervise the construction. And because of this, their bahay kubo came into the picture.
In a short TikTok video, Atty. Noa-Cruz showed the progress of building their home: from transporting the kubo to their farm via a delivery truck to unveiling their Home Buddies-inspired interiors. Little did she know that her video would go viral. In a span of three days, it reached 10.3 million views and 1.3 million likes.
Their new humble abode is a fully air-conditioned two-bedroom nipa hut. From the outside, it already looks like an upscaled bahay kubo.
“Instead of the typical nipa hut, our bahay kubo has sliding windows and galvanised iron roofing so that it can better withstand harsh weather conditions. It is double-walled and fully treated with an anti-termite solution. Although small, it fits what we need and more,” Atty. Noa-Cruz said.
Inside, the kubo is even better. Imagine: a double-decker bed with white sheets on a thick mattress, Venetian roller blinds, and even an LED Smart TV. They also made their kubo solar-powered with lights available at night.
“Our bahay kubo is a mix of comfort and practicality. The usual bahay kubo of this style is usually designed to be a one-bedroom hut where half is open-air, and the other half is enclosed. We customised ours to be a fully enclosed hut with no divisions so that we can maximise the living space,” Atty. Noa-Cruz also mentioned.
“Farm life is challenging but definitely worthwhile.”
It isn’t surprising that the couple’s bahay kubo idea earned the commendation of millions online. And to pull it off in the way they did is nothing short of inspiring. When asked for her advice to people who plan to get their own farm, she said: “Again, you can never go wrong in investing on land, but make sure that you really want it. Do your research. Only deal with persons you can trust and find mentors who can guide you in navigating through farm life. Buying a farm is like buying a bag full of challenges. You scour through it and realise that buying is one of the easier parts. Developing a farm requires a lot of resources — be it time, money, or energy. But then again, seeing the fruits of your labour, even just the little sprouts of the seeds you planted, makes everything worthwhile.”
Kudos and congratulations to Atty. Noa-Cruz and Dr. Cruz for getting the farm life most of us can only dream of!
All images credited to Atty. Monique Noa-Cruz.