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'Ang Sarap Mamuhay Sa Probinsiya!' This Mom From Bohol Only Spends P150 Per Day On Food
PHOTO BY COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO
  • The pandemic has forced a lot of Filipino families to think of alternative lifestyles that are more affordable and closer to nature. One of the more popular alternatives is to uproot from the city and rebuild a more laid-back life in the province.

    Recently, tiny houses and farming have been trending, and the appeal of lower budgets, plus uninterrupted access to fresh air and nature have made even celebrities and CEOs to choose the provinces.

    Miriam Marino, a 36-year old mom and registered nutritionist-dietitian who has moved her family from Manila to Bohol shared a post about her Php 1,000 ulam-for-the-week challenge.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO

    “May nabili  kasi kaming lupa at balak namin gawing farm, kaya kailangan naming mag-extra savings,” Miriam shares in an exclusive interview with Smart Parenting, explaining why she needs to keep her weekly budget at Php 1,000.

    “At ang presyo ng mga bilihin ngayon is increasing kaya kailangan mag-budget talaga,” she adds.

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    How can Php 1,000 be enough for a week for a family of three?

    Mommy Miriam shares four tips to make Php 1,000 enough for a week’s worth of ulam.

    1. Create a family menu that will serve as your guide for the entire week.

    She also advises not to forget pumping up each meal's nutritional value by maintaining the balance between go, grow and glow food groups.

    2. Make a list of things to buy following your menu.

    Having a grocery list will help parents stick to what’s needed and stay away from impulse buys that usually happens when you see things you don’t really need in the palengke.

    3. Choose locally grown vegetables and fruits from the palengke.

    Mommy Miriam shares that local produce is always fresher and cheaper compared to imported ones. Having a suking tindahan, one that you trust to carry these local goods of good quality, will also be your leverage when asking for bargains or “tawad”.

    3. Make rounds in the palengke to check which store stand offers the best value for your money.

    This also means spending an extra hour in the palengke to scout for bargains, so make sure to allot more time for this. In the province, the palengke usually serves the freshest produce early in the morning when farmers drop their goods (bagsakan) straight from the farm.

    Applying these tips, Mommy Miriam shares what she was able to buy given her Php 1,000 food budget:

    Php 80 – 5 pieces carrots 

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    Php 50 – 3 pieces sayote

    Php 80 – 1 whole kalabasa

    Php 20 – 1 bundle okra

    Php 30 – 2 pieces singkamas

    Php 40 – 1 whole cabbage

    Php 60 – 1.5 kilo camote

    Php 40 – 5 pieces potato

    Php 25 – 5 pieces onions 

    Php 25 – 7 pieces tomatoes

    Php 450 - 2 kilos fish 

    Php 50 – 1 kilo lakatan (banana)

    Php 950 Total

    PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO
    PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO
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    PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO

    Miriam's sample meal plan

    During the Smart Parenting interview, Miriam shares the kinds of ulam she's able to prepare using the ingredients listed above. Below is her usual meal plan:

    Breakfast options

    Scrambled egg, or sunny side up, or boiled

    Egg with sardines, sibuyas and malunggay

    Tortang talong or talong guisado

    PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO
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    PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO

    Lunch options

    Fish tinola with malunggay and Sayote

    Chicken tinola with malunggay

    Fried fish or fried chicken

    Upo guisado with sardines

    Adobong kangkong

    PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO

    Dinner options

    Grilled fish

    Vegetable Law oy (Visayan recipe. Mixed vegetable coup)

    PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO
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    Sides options

    Cucumber Salad

    Ensaladang Talbos ng Camote

    Fruits at least once a day

    PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO

    On growing vegetbles and raising chickens in their bakuran

    Miriam shares that it also helps that they grow vegetables in their bakuran, such as malunggay, talbos ng camote (camote sprouts), onions, and tanglad.

    She also shares that her husband, who is a graphic artist, has been very tempted to change careers. “Ngayon, gustong gusto na [niya] mag-full time farmer.”

    They also have pechay, kalamansi, luya, upo, cucumber, kangkong, and talong in their backyard.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO
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    PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO
    PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO
    PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO
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    PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO

    Aside from vegetables, the family also raises chickens. Miriam’s 8-year old daughter even helps in feeding the animals. “Libre na ang egg and chicken meat,” she shares in her post.

    “May apat kaming inahin na halos nangingitlog araw–araw, tatlong tandang. May lima na [manok] na pwede ng ihawin at anim na mga sisiw. Yung itlog kinukunsumo namin at binebenta yung iba,” she counts, explaining how the animals can be for both food and business.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO
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    PHOTO COURTESY OF MIRIAM MARINO

    Maintaining a daily food budget of php 150 or less

    Because of their garden and poultry, Miriam was able to reduce the family's food budget to a maximum of P150 per day. “Binibili nalang namin kung ano 'yung wala like additional fruits.

    “Minsan nga 'yung expenses namin sa pagkain mas lesser than 150 kasi ang way ng cooking namin either sabaw, like tinolang manok with malunggay. Since may manok na kami at malunggay, bibilhin nalang namin is kamatis and asin.”

    'Contentment is key'

    Last but not the least, Miriam shares that the key to a more affordable lifestyle is contentment. “Mamuhay tayo kung ano lang ang kaya… #Contentment is the key. Kasi sa probinsya, simple lang ang buhay,” she points out.

    For families who are thinking of living in the province for good, Miriam has this advice: “Pag-usapan at pagdesisyonang maigi. Dapat pareho ninyo na gusto mamuhay sa probinsiya.”

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    Indeed, it has to be a mutual decision between family members so you can reap the benefits of a peaceful life in the province.

    “Para sa amin ang sarap mamuhay sa probinsiya, Presko ang hangin and you are always with the nature. Higit sa lahat ipag-pray and ask God for His guidance kasi we are believing God’s plan is better than our plans.”

    Congratulations for successfully raising a healthy family in the Province, Miriam!

    Watch their Buhay Probinsiya here:

    Do you have a balik-probinsiya story? Share it in the comment section below, or email us at smartparenting@summitmedia.com.ph

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