Well that was fun!

Had heaps of fun yesterday at our skill share, making little bowls out of plastic bags, old clothing, wool, string from an old hammock and fibres that had been donated by folks back in Australia. Enjoyed chatting about local Sagada life. I hope the germ of an idea to have a regular ‘craft and coffee’ day takes off! Thanks for the pa-tu-pat Gawani!


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Sparks fly as we push through with the renovations


Continuing  on from Bridget’s efforts earlier this year when she visited with her mum and our daughter Tilly, our second round of renovations are still full speed ahead.

But with only a few days left, sparks fly as the local crew weld together the safety hand rails on the garden steps while we are going at it hammer and tongs, crushing rocks, grinding metal, finishing off windows, sanding, painting, varnishing, landscaping and sealing gaps.

As time isn’t on our side not everything will be complete so  it remains a work in progress and so it means another trip.. But it’s taking shape and we hope to share pics of the “almost” finished eco mountain retreat and artist residency in the next few days.


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Celebrating Luke’s Birthday

We took a break from working today to celebrate Luke’s birthday with a pottery session at Sagada Pottery helped by the friendly Siegrid and Tessie.

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The work goes on

We’ve been back for a week now and time has flown by so quickly. We’ve been non stop working on the seedling project..rain hail or shine fixing unfinished works.

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Saturday is market day

We’re back for a couple of weeks working on The Seedling. Early Saturday morning we took a bit of a break and wandered in to town. The last time I was here I’d been told about the organic food stall but hadn’t been able to locate it. It sells out pretty quickly so Luke and I made sure to get in early. Later that day we had a delicious meal of watercress cooked in stock with garlic. The watercress here doesn’t seem to have the peppery bite of the variety we grow in Sydney.Delicious!

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Our rainwater tank needs a tattoo!

We’re looking for a local  artist to collaborate with us on an artist project to create an Igorot tattoo for our rainwater tank. We think it would make a striking landmark and also make our rainwater happy!IMG_7359

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SKILL SHARE – Basket crafting and conversations

Join Bridget for a relaxing couple of hours learning how to make a basket from plastic waste products, grasses, old clothing and found materials. Learn how to transform your waste products into craft items that can be sold and share with us your own knowledge of local crafts.

DATE:                                    Wednesday 21st September 2016
TIME:                                    10:00 am
LOCATION:                        A7 House, Nanonoogan, Sagada, Mt Province
NUMBERS:                        LIMITED to 8 people
RSVP:            Limited spaces available, please contact Alma Bagano  on 0920 611 5530 or Nellie Pit-Og on 0917 682 0140 by Tuesday 20th September to RSVP.

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The Art of Hot Composting Workshop is on again!


Produce high quality compost in less than 21 days Feed your soil with natural fertilizers, better for the environment and better for you!


Hosted by Luke Abeya Torrevillas and Bridget Kennedy of ‘The Seedling’.

Composting is easy! All you need to know about composting are a few simple principles, and a little bit of elbow grease. Nature does the rest. 

DATE:                                    Saturday 17th September 2016
TIME:                                    10:00 am
LOCATION:                        A7 House, Nanonoogan, Sagada, Mt Province
NUMBERS:                        LIMITED to 8 people
RSVP:            Limited spaces available, please contact Alma Bagano  on 0920 611 5530 or Nellie Pit-Og on 0917 682 0140 by Thursday 15th September to RSVP.


This workshop specifically utilizes the “Hot Composting” Method known as the Berkeley method, developed by the University of California, Berkley, which is a fast, efficient, high-temperature, composting technique that can produce a high quality compost in less than 21 Days. You will learn how to make effective use of current waste materials to reduce your rubbish, reduce your waste impact on the local environment, and produce nutrient rich compost to improve the quality of your soil and produce yields.

As a free workshop and in the spirit of community, we ask only that you make a contribution by bringing along some items that we can compost. Each person is to bring at least 2 bags of the following items: ( Bags should be at least 30 litres in volume)

The more you bring, the better the compost we will make.

Dry (brown)material:  Leaves, straw, rice husks, pine needles, ash, wood shaving,newspapers,cardboard

Green Material:  Fresh green cuttings of leaves or weeds, cow manure, vegetable scraps, hay, chicken manure

Expect to get your hands dirty so please bring gardening gloves!

WET WEATHER CONTINGENCY: If it is raining the workshop will be held on the following Monday, same time, same place

2015-01-10 10.46.51 2015-01-10 10.47.1613606688_10153839286017476_5867516508856360934_n

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It’s good to be back

It’s been nearly a year since Luke completed the first stage of the eco-conversion of The Seedling. I’ve come back with my mum and daughter to finish off a few details, and work on the garden. We’ve brought heirloom vegetable seeds with us (for our own garden and to share with others), and plant cuttings to start making our ‘second home’ a bit more beautiful and sustainable. We’ve been working very hard finishing off the building, making a front deck, putting up fences, fine tuning the grey water reed bed system and making the place a bit more comfortable for our guests.

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Eco-Retreat, Artist Residency and Sustainable Living




People said, tear it down and build a new one. We said,”Why?” The structure was solid, foundations were good and  It just needed some adjustments, additions and tender loving care.

The classic wooden frame with galvanised sheets has stood the test of time.  Built over 25 years ago in the A7 Compound, it was sold from one family member to another.  From my grandmother Flora Abeya to her daughter Juliet, then to our cousin Ezra and now to me. It was once part of Sagada Weaving’s production arm, a transient house for a short while before having long term tenants.

The first stage is finished with the main infrastructure in place. The old house had external bathrooms, 2 rooms upstairs and 2 rooms downstairs.   The bathrooms and showers have now been moved so guests can access them directly.  They have now been hooked up to the rainwater tank and the grey water reed-bed system.  We also kept one external CR so anyone working in the garden also has easy access. It may also service a potential organic cafe at some point. The 2 rooms upstairs have been widened and we have kept the lower floor as an open space living area. It should be able to accommodate a maximum of 12 people eventually. What is disappointing is that when doing excavation work for the rainwater tank and reed bed we found so much rubbish buried. Its seems this is the way most people take care of the rubbish ( otherwise people burn) .  There is some recycling going on, but the town needs to pay a lot more attention to waste management.

In rebuilding, we aimed to use as much recycled material.  I would have to say 40-50% of the wood frames and the external cladding has been from recycled material. There was also some sand, cement and steel bars and wood donated. On site now is 10,000 litre rainwater tank, grey-water reed bed system and a composting bin.

Whats left to do?  We are aiming to head towards living off-grid with the installation of solar panels. Solar is  relatively new in the Philippines, but it will come in handy during those blackouts especially during the rainy season, where a lot of frozen goods are spoiled due to the lack of power. We hope to install this in 2016.  The other task is to plant more edible plants, flowering plants and finish of a deck near the entrance.

The overall objective is to crate a transient guest house, an artist residency and a model for sustainable living. At some point there is likely to be some permaculture workshops and maybe even a small seasonal cafe.

Before we progress to the next stage we need to start renting the space out so we can reinvest into its completion.  If you are interested in staying a few days in Sagada, then why not stay here.  You can call Nellie on +63 918 306 3816 or Amy on +639367038545 and mention ‘the seedling in Sagada’.






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