For Bea Alonzo, one of her best investments is her farm in Zambales. The 33-year-old actress bought the land in 2011, and her mother Mary Anne oversaw its development. According to her, the farm has become a safe haven for her small family especially now during the pandemic, which she revealed in a virtual session with PEP.ph on February 11, 2021.
"Medyo mahirap lang siya at first, at sa totoo lang magastos, pero now it's okay, it's self-sustaining," Bea shared.
She adds, "Sina mama doon na nakatira talaga. Dati kasi 50 percent [of] the time doon sila sa farm; and then 50 fifty percent of the time, nandito sila sa bahay dito sa Pasig. But then, ever since the pandemic hit, definitely nandoon na talaga sila. My brother also decided to live there, so he built his own house there. May baby na kasi siya ngayon... they're so afraid to go back to Manila. Ako din parang mas at ease ako na nandoon sila.
"Right now, I'm just very happy na nung 2011, I decided to invest sa Zambales."
When asked if Bea would ever consider living in the farm at some point, her answer seemed to hint that she has more in her mind than just the farm. "Definitely," she said. "Hindi lalaki mga anak ko na hindi close sa lola."
Bea has named the 16-hectare farm "Beati Firma," which is Latin for "Blessed Farm." The name refers to her screen name as well. She told PEP.ph, "True to its name, naging blessing sa akin iyong name na iyon. It really changed my life when I became Bea." (Bea, whose real name is Phylbert Angellie, was the screen name chosen for her by Johnny Manahan, the founder of ABS-CBN's talent management arm Star Magic.)
According to Bea, it was veteran actress Isabel Rivas, her former co-star in the 2011 ABS-CBN series Guns and Roses, who cued her in on a possible location for a farm. It happened quite ordinarily during a taping of the series. Bea recalled, "Nagpunta si mama noon sa set, nakilala niya si Tita Isabel... Chumika-chika kami, ganyan. Na-chika niya na meron siyang farm in Zambales. In-invite niya kami na punta kami and, at that time, may ino-offer siyang lupa sa amin na malapit sa farm nila."
They found the offer enticing for the reason Mary Anne has been a city girl all her life, and so their family does not have a home province to speak of. Bea began imagining growing livestock on the land and starting a poultry business. Although when they eventually purchased the land, the plans have changed.
The actress recounted, "Naisip namin na baka maganda kung mango orchard na lang at mahogany farm. It was a raw land. Walang nakatanim na mga puno. Pina-bulldoze namin, pina-flatten namin iyong land. It was a lot of work. Actually, my mom had to do a lot of hard work for that to the point na tumira siya doon.
She added, "Since walang bahay pa po, 'tapos wala pa talaga kaming budget magpatayo ng malaking bahay... Alam mo iyong kubo na nabibili lang? Doon lang siya tumira for six months, nagpatayo lang siya ng konkreto na CR na simple. Doon siya for six months. Ganoon iyong effort niya sa farm na iyon.
"Walang aircon. Iyong kubo lang talaga. Tapos walang mga puno, so mainit... Very proud kami kasi ang laki-laki ng development nung farm."
*This story originally appeared on Pep.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.