National Women’s Month celebration: Meet Bicol pioneers on native bees
By Mavic Conde
THE Bicol Mail pays tribute to female beekeepers in the region in time for the culmination of the celebration of National Women’s Month on Wednesday, Mar. 31.
These are pioneers in managing a species of Philippine native stingless bees, called kiwot (Tetragonula biroi). Kiwot bees are excellent pollinators of high-value crops like coconut, a perennial crop in the region; and produce other by-products like propolis – a resin-like substance rich in antioxidants. It is used in beauty products and has potential for medicinal uses.
Who are they? Get to know them here:
Flor is from Guinobatan, Albay where her Top-A Bee Farm and Meliponiary is located. She acquired practical knowledge from her father, the late Rodolfo Palconitin. His curious interest in kiwot made him familiar with its behavior. She further this knowledge at Central Bicol State University where the Regional Apiculture Center is.
Luz is the owner of Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm in Sorsogon. This bee farm serves as a demo-farm for beekeeping with kiwot and as an agri-tourism destination. Flor and his father served as a consultant for BBu when it was just starting out and suggested that she used it for coconut pollination. Luz has employed rural women as gardeners and for honey and propolis production.
Maria Dulce Mostoles
This former head of Bicol Regional Apiculture has extensive studies on stingless bees in the region – from pollen sources and bloom patterns to production, commercialization, and utilization. Not only is she a pioneer researcher on stingless bees but also a champion for promoting it as a livelihood source for poor farmers especially that it is not expensive to manage, for it does not need sophisticated housing.