AGRITOURISM: What’s new in the North?

Visiting a place always leads us to another dimension of experience – the realm of AGRICULTURE! Commonly thought as could be a bland activity, this sector in the tourismsphere exposes visitors of the life we have before the flourishing of the urban zones – the simplicity of farm living. The Provincial Tourism Office of Pangasinan ramps up its activities to promote Agritourism, a tourism product that lets consumers experience first hand on the various procedures and processes done within a developed and accredited farm facility. From sowing seedlings to harvesting ripe produces, up to feeding the livestock and poultry, this activity would surely provide a learning experience to the visitors, and insights on giving importance on the undeniably crucial agriculture sector.

Also, Included in the itinerary set are three farms with diversified practices and improved processes:

  • FARMCRADLE, Balungao, Pangasinan
  • OUR FARM REPUBLIC, Mangatarem, Pangasinan
  • LOTUS VALLEY FARM, San Juan, La Union

Thank you to the Lakbay Norte 9, a five-day tour organized by the Northern Philippines Visitors Bureau, our batch was able to experience and understand, first hand, different farms in Pangasinan and La Union provinces.

If touring these facilities, I would recommend slathering on your sun-exposed skin with Belo Sun Expert Spray Mist to minimize the effects of sunburn.

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These are the farms we are able to check and visit:

FARM CRADLE, Balungao, Pangasinan

Visiting this farm facility is an enriching experience, who would have thought from a bare parcel of land would emerge to a huge multifaceted agricultural facility, and now, a certified agritourism destination and TESDA certified educational facility too.

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We are welcomed at their study hall where we are fed with our lunch and served our afternoon caffeine boost. Prior to the actual tour, Sir Tony Santos, Founder, welcomed the team and discussed the history and various activities of the farm. After, we are whisked around the farm through their golf cart rides, stopping on each section of their vast farm.

Things that I loved:

The Golf Cart Tour
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Riding at the back of a golf cart

Since the farm lies on an expansive property, it is best to tour around in these golf carts. You get to be whisked from sections to sections conveniently – especially for our dear senior visitors. However, you can still walk around while exploring.

The Cute Bunnies
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Feeding the rabbits

Rabbits are one of the live animals capable to be farmed due to its fast multiplication. They cultivated both of their meat and fur. I was excited to see their rabbitry and experience to feed the adult ones. We are also able to experience the young ones, Kaye was able to cuddle one young rabbit.

The OSTRICHES 
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Cute ostrich

 

Set in separate farmland, the ostriches are caged and fed in a spacious and airy spot. With enough space, you can actually interact with them but with extreme caution, as they have a powerful kick and strong pecks.

The CAMELS
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Kiko interacting with a camel

One of the unique features of this farm, you can interact or go near with these creatures but be careful as they might munch on your hair. They a characteristic odor, and if you have some sort of an allergy, better not to go near.

The ATV RIDE
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Maria enjoying the ATV

This farm is really vast and touring around while walking will consume much time. Thanks to their ATV ride, you can hop on different sections of the farm in style. Apart fr this, you can enjoy the farm tour riding a golf cart.

The KUBOTELS

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One of the Kubotels

These are accommodations set for students of TESDA who are deployed on the farm. Sleeping on this traditional house type surrounded by farmland is a dream of every nature-lover traveler. Imagine waking up with the chickens and produces in just a few strides.

The HANDMADE PRODUCT LINES
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Natural beauty products

Having different sections of the farms means varied products for consumers. Upon our entry, some of the products are already on display. There are lotions, candles, bath soaps, balms and many more.

In order to maximize your farming experience, you can opt to spend a night in one of their kubotels and wake up refreshed surrounded by fresh air, tranquil ambiance and relaxing atmosphere.

For inquiries, contact Farmcradle at +63 917 1544 748 or email at hello@Farmcradle.com

OUR FARM REPUBLIC, Mangatarem, Pangasinan

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Instragrammable!!!

Astounding on how this farm started, Farm Republic is one of the agritourism destinations I have enjoyed. The founder, Ms. Lea Soriano, previously from a corporate role, has decided to follow her heart for agriculture – and it seemed to be a noble calling for her. Looking at her achievement wall, the certificates she learned equate her devotion to the practice of agriculture. I was astounded on how she really poured her heart out on this. It is also inspiring to listen to her, that success on changing of career does not always end in futility, but with enough courage and sheer effort, surely success is on way.

Stuff I love

Buffet Lunch
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Enjoyed these healthy servings of their lunch buffet

 

Prior we tour, a sumptuous lunch buffet is served using ingredients sourced no other than, within the farm. This is evidence of farm-to-table model. The majority of the ingredients making up their delectable dishes are sourced from the farm – talk about freshness and quality. Must try is their Flower Salad, and my favorite ingredient are the blue ternate flowers – known for its medicinal benefits.

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Flower Salad – a must-try in Our Farm Republic
Discussion on concocting organic fertilizers 
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Their storage of different organic fertilizers

With the multiple varieties growing on the farm, adding certain fertilizers would increase the yield and having it in an organic way is an added plus. Munching on their product is indeed guilt-free.

Learned about Tandem Farming
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different herbs

it is my first time to know about this practice. Planting together or beside each other with a herb or vegetable, the farm is able to enhance its pest protective effect.

The Fishpen 
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This beautiful cottage above the fishpen

 

Their fish pens are designed with a central island connected by steel footbridges over the actual freshwater pools, which not the same with the fish pens I saw with other farms.

Clean Pig Pens
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No stench pig pens

Our common notion that having a piggery equates stench, but not for this farm. They have many pens with dry and clean soil, of course having less or no stench at all, hence, their pigs are thriving on a healthier and cleaner environment. You will pass by these pens during the guided tour and you will notice how clean and well kept they are.

Pick and Pay
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Favorite part – the pick and pay

this is, of course, one of the favorite activities on a farm. There are baskets provided at the start of the tour, and you can pick on produce that your tour guide has allowed to. During our visit, there are heaps of java apples, florals, eggplants, and cherry tomatoes ready for harvest. At the end of the tour, you would pay depending on the actual weight of each product.

Continued Research and Development 

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Ms. Soriano’s heart is in continuing evidence-based procedures to increase quality yields thereby improving the lives of our farmers. Even of her innumerable certificates dangling on her walls, she never stops learning and never stops imparting the technique to students and her team members.

For inquiries, send them an email to  info@ourfarmrepublic.com or SMS/call to +63 927 882 6005  | +63 947 853 2342 | +6394 550 08401

Visit their website to ourfarmrepublic.com

 

LOTUS VALLEY FARM 

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From once a basic terrain to a promising tourist destination featuring diversified neighboring forestry, bed-and-breakfast, and a wellness retreat, this is a huge project made possible by the team of Sir Toby Tamayo. A multilevel property complex composed of different sections, the plantations, the diversified forest, the open hall, the Kubo accommodations, and their private living space, all enclosed in a systematized and efficient system in harmony with nature’s liking, and supporting its thrusts to boost the contiguous biocapacity.

The almost 9-hectare land was bought last 2008 and currently features an astounding 77 varieties of native trees that invite almost 50 species of bird, which is identified by the UPLB. Because of his expertise in ecology, he planted almost a thousand trees during the initial year, and until such time letting birds and bats do the pollination and seed propagation.

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Kat trying this technique (Photo: Benzi Florendo)

 

He did not start with a clean slate, but on a land decimated by poor farming practices. Imagine the efforts he has to undertake to reverse the damage and bring back the life it has before.

What I love with the farm:

The Elegant kubo accommodation
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One of the two native bamboo huts

 

Not your usual kubo huts, Mr. Tamayo had designed these huts with bamboo sourced within the farm and utilizing efficient architecture that flatters the eye, usage of space and function. He has stressed that harvesting bamboo poles at the right age would maximize its quality and strength. Set on a slope beside a diverse forest that gives off cooler air and retains more groundwater, experience a refreshing internal climate during your stay. The huts have installed lighting with proper luminance avoiding attracting many insects.

The Wellness Session
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Music meditation (Photo: Benzi Florendo)

Ms. Marisa Tamayo, wife of Sir Toby, heads sessions on acupuncture and music meditation. We are able to experience music meditation while having our ears acupunctured.

The Detox Diets
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Healthy Dinner Buffet (Photo: Benzi Florendo)

All of the dishes they served are plant-based and sourced locally – think of the freshness and nutrition it would bring to your plate. Not only that quality is topnotch, but taste and presentation too. Their Kare Kare is heaven on my tongue. I think I got more than 5 helpings of it – especially am not a pork eater, hence, totally guilty free meals here. I totally loved my dining experience – A for effort.

The “Forestry 101 Crash Course”
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Sir Toby discussing the farm’s goals

As a commoner, we do not usually dive deep into understanding forestry matters. The majority might understand it as simply planting any sapling or seedling, wait for it to grow, and that’s it. With Sir Toby’s discussion about

The Open Air Hall

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The stairway leading to the open hall (Photo: Benzi Florendo)

They built and designed an open-air high ceiling hall for their purpose and activities. This is where we had our acudetox and meditation sessions. Perched on a higher elevation, spectacular view of the property plus cooler fresh air are of the many things you will enjoy.

The Multilevel Garden

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Sir Toby touring the team through his plantations.

Sir Toby toured us around the property and shared lots of insights with agriculture and forestry. I paid particular attention to how he mention always the coexisting of native species to amplify its long term positive ecological effects. In his multilevel garden, they are able to yield different produces, from soybeans to our samGy staple lettuces, they have it – note that they are grown and cultivated organically, and these go as well on the dishes they serve.

For inquiries, you can contact them at +63942 366 4519 or email at lotusvalleyfarm@gmail.com

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Elegant bamboo hut accommodation

For bed and breakfast reservation, you can check at AirBnB.

 

Truly, the tourism sector in the Philippines never stops evolving and developing over the years. There are always new and fresh experiences that would satiate the longing for adventure and break in the hustle-bustle stress in the urban zones. These farm owners are one of the forerunners in creating and developing these experiences ready for consuming at our convenience.

Our heartfelt thanks to these farm owners for giving us an opportunity to experience the other dimension of tourism – the more tranquil AGRITOURISM.

More photographs:

FARM CRADLE

OUR FARM REPUBLIC 

LOTUS VALLEY FARM 

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Lakbay Norte 9

lakbay norte sponsors

 

 

11 thoughts on “AGRITOURISM: What’s new in the North?

  1. Gusto ko mapuntahan yung Farm Cradle, matutuwa si Nathan sa mga farm animals. Ako personally gusto ko yung Lotus Valley Farm, ang ganda ng kubo nila for accomodation! Sarap matulog haha gusto ko din yung sa gardening na part!

    Like

  2. Having my own Farm resort is a big dream. Covid has derailed our plans but I trust that we’ll get there. In the meantime, these are great inspirations.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a very exciting travel experience. I would love to take part in agritourism and learn from these experts. The Philippines should have more of this kind of industry.

    Liked by 1 person

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