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  • This Mom Says #BuhayProbinsiya Is Convenient And Economical: ‘It Can Sustain Our Needs’

    Their simple town has everything they need to raise happy kids.
    by Irish Joy Sebastian .
This Mom Says #BuhayProbinsiya Is Convenient And Economical: ‘It Can Sustain Our Needs’
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Irish Joy Sebastian
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    Our family lives in Maddela, Quirino, a part of Cagayan Valley Region. It is very far from Metro Manila — the nearest city from our town is Santiago City, Isabela, which is at least two hours away by car.

    Raising kids in the province, however, is more convenient, practical, and economical. I'd say the greatest advantage of raising kids outside the metro is the acronym FRESH.

    The author with her husband, Sean, and two sons Calix and Sevrae.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Irish Joy Sebastian

    F stands for fresh air, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and many more. Aside from the freshness of these amenities, it will always come free because we have our own vegetable garden and fish pond where our kids were taught to plant, harvest and eat vegetables.


    Air pollution is not a problem because there are many trees and ornamental plants surrounding us to supply fresh air. Isn’t it nice to wake up early and smell the crisp air?

    The cost of living is also not expensive unlike other places because food is available around us. Our kids were trained to eat buridibod and pinakbet (both an Ilocano dish), steamed talbos ng kamote with kamatis and bagoong (sweet potato tops with tomato and fish sauce), and fruits like dragon fruits (this is so expensive but we have plants — libre ulit!), watermelon, banana, and mango.

    Food in the province is abundant, healthy, and most of the time free!
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Irish Joy Sebastian

    R stands for recreation. We are raising our kids to appreciate the value of enjoyment and time. We don’t have malls in our town and we don’t want them to spend most of their day playing gadgets.

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    We let our kids play trumpo, tirador, baril-barilan, taguan, and let them swim on the river and pond. We let them experience how to catch fish, how to grill it, and how to eat without a spoon and fork.

    Planting vegetables and swimming in the pond are fun activities that the kids get to enjoy.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Irish Joy Sebastian

    Training them while young to do a lot of things will prepare them for greater responsibilities when they grow. These experiences cannot be bought and they will surely remember it for the rest of their life.

    E stands for environment. I know some parents will raise their brows regarding this. But the environment can be a factor on the attitude of a child.

    Good environment includes people around our family. So far in our town and our community, the environment always serves the best of everything for its people especially for the children. They make sure that every child is safe and healthy.

    At a young age, kids are taught practical life skills and responsibilities.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Irish Joy Sebastian

    S stands for sustainability. Living in the province can sustain our needs in raising our kids. There are four pillars of sustainability – human, social, economic and environmental. Our town, a very small and humble town, has all these. Not that much but at least a grasp that sustains the next generation. Our kids will be well-raised because of these.

    H stands for hands-on. We are hands-on parents. We let our kids feel that they are part of our community. #BuhayProbinsiya is so simple yet satisfying.

    Spending our full time exploring our town with our kids is one way of teaching them Nature Appreciation. There are many adventures that province life can offer to every child. Before exploring other places, we let them explore the beauty of our town. When you are a hands-on parent, you will know the best for your kids.


    This is our way of raising our kids in the province. As the saying goes, "In the end, kids won't remember that fancy toy you bought them. They will remember the time you spent with them."

    This piece was submitted by SmartParenting.com.ph reader Irish Joy R. Sebastian, a high school teacher and mom to Calix, 7, and Sevrae, 5. Irish, her husband Sean, and their kids have been residing in Maddela for most of their lives.

    Edits have been made by the Smart Parenting editors.

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