ZAMBALES: Heritage and Eco Farm Tours

 

I grew up knowing Zambales as a summer destination for us, where endless beach resorts lined up its shores. More than its coastlines, there are more destinations you can enjoy, alone or with your friends and loved ones. Privileged to part of the Eco Farm and Heritage tour organized by the Department of Tourism – Region III, we are set to experience first hand more of Zambales’  tourism destinations:

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The AV Show before you roam around the museum

The province produced one of the well-loved presidents in the Philippines – the late Ramon A. Magsaysay. His untimely death brought a huge dent in the Philippine Political History. In honor of his great legacy, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines maintained a 3 Gallery Museum in Castillejos – Museo ni Ramon Magsaysay. Not hard to spot as the museum is just beside the national highway. The galleries feature three aspects of the late president’ – his personal life, his family and his untimely death. I paid particular attention to his political career – how he was able to garner support and love from the Filipino public. The museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 08:00AM to 4:00PM.

I am amazed by learning his political feats during his time since these are some of the details I forgot during my elementary years. Also, his actual clothing on display made me feel as if he was there. What is cool also is the presidential table set up you can have photography with.

 

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The artsy interiors of Casa San Miguel (Photo by Qing Pineda)

 

The Casa San Miguel is actually an art and music school that has certainly an “instagrammable” façade. Its adobe brick wall and art deco design is a feast on the eye. Given a brief tour, we are whisked through its main music hall, the gallery for resident artists, the actual music classrooms, the dining area, and its view deck.

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Announcement for Year 2020 Enrolment

I think the building itself is a perfect place for a photoshoot. The school started last 1993 offering violin, viola, and other stringed instrument lessons.  They also offer In House Programs that would benefit the students of convenience and living in an artsy setup.

 

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The artificial beehives (Photo by Qing Pineda)

As Zambales has huge portions of flatlands, farm tourism is expected. The Team Dagui Farm, a family corporation, that operates many farms in the province, runs in a sustainable community set up. Upon entry in their very farm in San Antonio, we are greeted by one of its owners, Sir Loui Dagui. The first activity is he showed us the processes in Bee Farming. I am lucky to experience holding personally the artificial beehives and also actually tasting the honey from it.

Aside from produce, they have huge livestock farms, from bovines (cattle) to caprines (goats). There are free-range goats and chickens you will notice. Also, we are able to feed the adult goats and a goat kid.

 

Included in the farm experience is the boodle fight lunch, sharing meals under the shade of trees and dishes cooked in a traditional way, using bamboo. After a tiring farm tour, we sat on a prepared long table with the view of the mountains and serenaded by the rustling of leaves. We are then served with rice and chicken soup cooked in bamboo – the aroma and flavor are savory with the aroma of bamboo!

Nearby, there are picture points you can pose on and try their archery set up.

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The growing sunflower blooms

Another destination is Julyan’s Farm. They feature the seasonal sunflower blooms and other vegetable produce. We are welcomed with the playful pet doggos and colorful arches adorned with growing vines. Although I can see a beautiful snack spread, we have to listen and understand the basics of how they operate the farm. The best season to visit the farm is every summer.

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They start planting in February. From May to October, they are closed during the rainy season. Since a portion of the farm is located on a lower altitude, they get to be inundated and have to repeat the cycle of preparing the farm bed over again. After some photoshoots and Q&A sessions, we are able to munch their tasty local snacks and refreshing drinks.

 

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A tray of hatchlings in Pawicare (Photo by Qing Pineda)

With having a long sandy shoreline, Zambales is also a pawikan nesting site. Part of the itinerary is visiting Pawicare in San Narciso. The advocacy started from 18 poachers but turned now as active volunteers of the advocacy group.

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Two of the many hatchlings released racing towards the sea

One of their activities is patrolling from sunset to sunrise covering almost all of San Narciso’s coastline to stop poachers from plundering pawikan nests.   Sir Ato and Sir Fronda, one of the heads of the group, discussed some facts about Sea Turtles.

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Sir Fronda sharing some facts about the sea turtles

Here are some facts I have learned:

  • 5 out 7 Sea Turtle Species can be spotted in the Philippines.
  • October to March is laying season
  • At the age of 35 until 100+, the female sea turtle can lay eggs
  • Sea Turtles control jellyfish population
  • Sea Turtles impacts fish spawning as they trim seagrass
  • With the advocacy already running for more than 8 years, they have recorded a significant increase in sea turtle landing from 3000+ to 8000+.
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A hatchling sea bound

After a good learning session about the sea turtles, we are able to witness the momentous release of hatchlings. Please bear in mind that you are not allowed to touch or hold the hatchlings. Let them freely approach the waters.

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Ms. Mia doing an actual pottery demo

We capped the day by visiting a pottery site in San Narciso – Clay Avenue Ceramics. Ms. Mia Casal,  the owner of the pottery shop, explained to us the history and steps behind the painstaking process of pottery. She imports raw clay from other places and brings them to San Narciso where she is doing the transcending molding and shaping of individual pieces. She also discussed the critical and lengthy drying process, the baking, glazing, and finishing.

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Ms. Mia discussing about her pottery shop
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Ceramic WIPs

Ms. Mia is welcome to give pottery lessons. You can contact her through their Facebook page. We are served with light snacks and beverages using her very own stoneware plates.

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Photo Credit to DOT-Region III Central Luzon FB page

This Eco Farm and Heritage tour is set by the Department of Tourism – Central Luzon and handled by Sir Peter Lising of M.A.G. Travel and Tours. The overall experience is unforgettable and exhilarating as more destination in our region is now open for tourism. Our heartfelt thanks to Ms. Marilou Pangilinan of the Department of Tourism-III for taking care of us during the stay. The warm and attentive care of Sir Peter Lising is notable as participants are pampered on the next level. Thank you also to Ms. Maria Domitela Mora of the Zambales Tourism Office.

You can contact M.A.G. Travel and Tours through mobile numbers 0927-486-2597 and email magtravelair@gmail.com for quality group or personalized tours.

See other destinations in Central Luzon

 

SUGGESTED READING: How I set foot on all 81 provinces of the Philippines

 

36 thoughts on “ZAMBALES: Heritage and Eco Farm Tours

  1. ive never had a town tour in zambales pero naka pag anawangin, nagsasa, potipot na ako! i like nagsasa best! pero its in anawangin where my son had his first camp out sa beach, he was 3 years old then!

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      1. i think we also did a short trek to mt bira bira but coming from the beach na.

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      2. that could be the hill beside the beach? Mt. Bira Bira’s foothill are at least an hour away, loved the sceneries on the descending path, it was raining torrential and it seems we are in Jurassic Park.

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      3. I haven’t visited Zambales but I would love to! I am also fond of museums about our history. Magsaysay is a great leader according to my mom and I want to know more about him through the Museo ni Ramon Magsaysay. Love those sunflowers too. You always feature interesting travel activities. Keep it up!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Which really picked my interest was the turtles. I have heard already the Yaman Pawikan, Pawikare hatchery. It’s amazing that 5 out 7 Turtle Species can be spotted in our rich country. So how does it feel, buong Pilipinas napuntahan mo na? HAHA

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  3. I’ve only been to Zambales once, we had somewhat of a family trip and we stayed on the beach for a week. I really enjoyed seeing a lot of sea animals like jellyfish, sea urchins, and sea slugs so it’s nice to read that they are doing what they can in terms of conservation. 🙂 I also remember getting 5 – 6 times darker as we went up to Baguio haha! Hindi data uso sunblock sa mama ko noon LOL!

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    1. We have the same tanning sessions hahaha. We enjoyed the beach and really earned those deep tans, imagine the time we spent under the sun without sunblock. The hapdi and feeling is totally worth it.

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  4. I am so amazed at how you presented Zambales in your blog to share information and attract visitors. Those sunflowers are really beautiful, instagrammable and so relaxing. I can’t wait to have my hands on those sunflowers and take pictures as well if I have a chance to visit the place on my next trip to Phils.

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  5. Didnt know there are a lot of tourist spots here in Zambales as I also knew beaches. More interesting is the museum of our former President Ramon Magsaysay!

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  6. I’ve been to Zambales before, but I only went to the beaches and resorts. It’s great to know that there’s so much more to Zambales than that. I love this article because it’s a travel guide I’ll surely consider when I have the opportunity to travel again.

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  7. There’s so much to see in Zambales, aside from beautiful beaches! I would like to visit Julyan’s farm in the future and the Pawicare 🙂 I’m sure you had fun releasing the hatchlings. Such a great experience!

    See you soon, Jan 🙂 Keep Safe!

    -www.nicolesanmiguel.com

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  8. This is such a good trip. Sayang you were not able to put your hands for a pottery session. I would have loved that. It’s also good to know the DOT is actively doing its part by tapping bloggers like you.

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    1. I really wished to have experienced an actual hands-on in pottery however, famtours have limited time and we are only there to witness a sample from master potters. Kapitbahay lang naman namin si Zambales – can visit anytime soon once situation normalizes.

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  9. Spending months here in Australia, thought me a lot about eco-farms, poultry industry etc. I only visited Zambales’ beach resort, but I would love to visit this eco-farm and other heritage places 😀

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  10. Now this is the reason why I want to set foot in all the provinces of the Philippines as much as I can. This 2020 was supposed to be for #PinasMuna campaign that I really want to do. Andami kong gustong puntahan and na-aamaze nalang ako pag nakakabasa ako ng ga ganitong town tour. Usually my favorite is museum tour dahil lagi akong curious about history and also eco-farms. I know how rich our culture is and I want to experience it myself. Sa ngayon, since pandemic pa, I’ll focus muna sa sarili ko din province. I only know Zambales sa mga beaches and this is the first time to see Zambales as beautiful as this. This is nice!

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  11. Every visit ko talaga dito sa blog mo, naa-amaze ako lalo sa Philippines. Thank you for sharing your journey sa aming readers mo, di man kami makapunta physically sa iba ibang lugar, we get to experience it too through your blog.

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  12. This is a good guide of everything you have to learn about Zambales! My first thought about zambales is always their beaches, but there’s so much more pa pala! It’s nice that they protect those pawikan! ❤️ And i love it that there are a lot of IG-worthy spots there!

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  13. It has always been my dream to travel and experience the best of a region’s culture. You’re super lucky to experience the release of baby turtles, ang precious! Hoping I will get to have the most memorable trips after the lockdown.

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