Rolling Stones vs.
Bienvenido “Nonoy” Oplas, Jr.
WASWAC-BSWM Seminar on Soil Management
Bureau of Soil and Water Management, DA, Quezon City
May 12, 2014
1.The Farm, Pangasinan
2.The Rolling Stones
5.Pool in the Creek
7.Irrigation and Ricefields
1. The Farm, Location
• Brgy. Laguit Padilla, Bugallon,
• About 7 kms. From the highway in
Bugallon, which is 198 kms. From
• Midland to upland farm; main crops
are mangos and forest trees
2. The Rolling Stones
• Not Mick Jagger and his rock band
• Though being a rock fan, I like their
name and songs
• But stones, big and small, in the nearby
creek in the farm
3. Old Terraces, 2004-2005
• Built after the bigger treehouse
was finished in March 2004
• Mahogany trees then were still
small. We started planting a few
trees in 1992
• The stones were gathered
manually from a nearby creek.
4. Various Terraces
• Mostly around the treehouse, left,
• Stabilized and enriched the soil,
reduced flash flood, strengthened
the trees, help beautify the place
• At times though, the stones become
hiding place of some crawlers: small
snakes, reptiles, soil spider.
Near decomposing dried leaves in
danger of being washed by flash flood
(top left), collected and cleared (above),
and put in an expanded terrace (left)
with old deposit of organic materials.
Average Height about 0.5 meter, Length
about 5 meters, Width about 2.5
meters. Volume = H x L x W
= 6.25 cubic meters.
Under the treehouse. Old formation,
about 5 years ago.
This has been damaged by a strong
flash flood in recent years.
• Totally blocking a small water
pathway with lots of stones, big
• Dried leaves, pruned branches and
some wild but inferior vegetation,
were deposited at the back to
decompose and become soil
• The stone formation in the front
has evolved (next slide).
• Back of this stone structure has
become a mini-pond during the
• Trapped lots of top soil, mud and
organic matter. It is becoming
thicker and higher.
How much trapped soil so far?
Last March, we measured about 5
meters from the 3rd row of stones:
about 1 foot deep. about 6 feet wide =
6 sq. ft from that distance. It’s deeper
than 1 ft near the stones, shallower
from this spot.
Dried leaves cover not included in this
depth, only the trapped soil.
• How tall is this rock structure, our
respective height would show.
Should be at least 6 feet high.
• Full time caretaker Nong Endring
Paragas (right), and his son Danny
Paragas (below), part time
5. Pool in the Creek
• Built in late 2005; no cement, only big
and small stones gathered to impound
• Visited by many friends from Manila
• Short-lived, from October 2005 to
May 2006. By June, flash flood started
destroying the stones.
7. Irrigation and ricefields
• Impounding the upper creek with
stones, sandbags and cogon. Very
effective. The cogon is alive,
expanding its roots
• Diverted water goes to the nearby
ricefield in front of the treehouse.
• Old, cemented, mini-dam and
water impounding structure.
Water is diverted to the next field
across the creek
• Strong flash floods have damaged
and removed the big rocks
supporting this mini dam.
• Ricefield across the creek that
benefit from the diverted water of
• There is spring water that
develops above this area during
the rainy season.
• For now the field is idle. Our
caretaker is old enough to till this
8. Concluding Notes
• Building stone terraces has been very useful for us in the farm. They
performed 3 basic functions: (1) control soil erosion, (2) reduced flash flood,
the trapped organic matter and topsoil have become natural “sponge” that
absorbed lots of rainwater; and (3) helped beautify the place.
• Pure human labor, no cement, no machineries, no government funds or
subsidies were used. Revenues from selling some trees/lumber, charcoal, help
fund the labor cost to build and expand the terraces, repair the treehouse.
• Thanks to our caretaker and extra workers (hired only when funds would
• Finally, thanks to Dr. Samran Sombatpanit, Past President, World Association
for Soil and Water Conservation (WASWAC) for inviting me to present in this
unique seminar at the BSWM.
• Read more about the farm,
• Nonoy Oplas,