Twelve agri-tourism sites have been identified for integration into traditional eco-tourism sites as part of boosting farmers’income and stirring up rural economic activity.
In a move to put into effect the Farm Tourism Development Act (Republic Act 10816), farm tourism sites will be promoted by the Department of Tourism (DOT) in a way that will maximize use of resources through integration, according to Rebecca Villanueva-Labit, DOT Regional Director Region 4-A.
“The envisioned integration of tourism and farming allows more efficient resource utilization which can provide jobs, increase income, business opportunities, and reduce urban migration,” Labit said in a farm tourism workshop organized by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study & Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).
SEARCA has pushed for the development of the farm tourism sector, recognizing it is a way to integrate small farmers into the bigger supply chain. Besides, it promotes practice of environment-friendly agriculture.
Since small farmers need to have numerous income stream in order to become globally competitive in light of ASEAN integration, farm tourism will be a key to helping lift farmers out of poverty, according to SEARCA Director Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr.
“Agritourism is an innovative pathway of us at SEARCA to achieve Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development that should benefit small farmers,” said Saguiguit.
“Farm tourism has the potential to sustain agricultural practices due to a steady stream of income that is less dependent on weather, markets, pests, or diseases.”
These are the 12 identified agri-tourism sites particularly in CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), the region known to have many farm tourism offerings: Kaharian Farm, Lipa, Batangas; Forest Wood Garden, San Pablo City, Laguna; Ato Belen’s Farm, San Pablo City, Laguna; Costales Nature Farms,
Majayjay, Laguna; Flor’s Garden & Nature Haven Inc., Antipolo City, Rizal; Teofely Nature Farms, Silang, Cavite; Domingo Permafarms, Antipolo City; Chad’s Nature Farm, Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas; Nurture Farmacy, Amadeo, Cavite; Terra Verde Ecofarm, Maragondon, Cavite; Moca Family Famr, Padre Garcia, Batangas; and Graco Farms, Pila, Laguna.
After finding gaps, DOT is supporting farm tourism small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in promoting tourist arrivals. Labit said government will hold business-to-business missions, travel missions and expositions, training programs, and networking to promote the agri-tourism sites.
The 12 agri-tourism sites will be included in tour packages that used to offer just traditional ecotourism sites in CALABARZON:
Pansipit River & Volcano, Island Bird Sanctuary, San Nicolas, Batangas; Masungi Karst, Tanay, Rizal; Mt Makiling Forest Reserve, Los Banos, Laguna; Tayak Adventure, Nature & Wildlife Park, Rizal, Laguna; Lobo Agri-ecotourism Sites, Lobo, Batangas; Cagbalete Old Mangroves, Mauban, Quezon; Quezon Protected Landscape, Atimonan, Quezon; Macatad Ecotourism Site, Siniloan, Laguna; Mt. Daraitan, Tanay, Rizal; Cardona Rock Garden in Rizal; Pamitinan Protected Landscape, Rodriguez, Rizal; and Kilangin Falls, Liliw, Laguna.
Also part of the program is mixing in farm tourism with faith and pilgrimage tourism; dive and marine tourism; sports and recreation sites; and sun and beach tourism.
The pilgrimage sites are Basilica of Saint Martin of Tours, Taal, Batangas; Marian Orchard, Balete, Batangas; Regina Rosario Institute for Contemplation in Asia; Tanay, Rizal; Tayak Nature, Adventure & Wildlife Park, Rizal, Laguna; Kamay ni Jesus Shrine, Lucban, Quezon; and Padre Pio National Shrine, Sto Tomas, Batangas.
The dive sites are the Diving, Snorkeling, & Macrophotography Tour in Anilao, Mabini, Batangas; Republiq Waterpark, Nuvali, Santa Rosa, Laguna; Lago de Oro, Calatagan, Batangas; Windsurfing & Skimboarding, Lake Caliraya, Cavinti, Laguna; Flowboarding, Bacoor, Cavite; Rock Balancing, Daranak Falls &Daraitan River, Tanay, Rizal; Verde Island Passage, Batangas City, Batangas; and Hot Spring Resorts, Panso Calamba City, Laguna.
Among the sports and recreation sites are the Mt Malarayat Golf & Country Club, Lipa, Batangas; San Lazaro Leisure Park, Carmona, Cavite; Metroturm Racetrack, Malvar, Batangas; Paragliding site, Carmona, Cavie; Carmona Racing Circuit in Cavite; and Dragon Boat Racing, Tanauan City, Batangas.
The sun and beach tourism sites are found in Laiya, San Juan, Batangas; Calatagan, Batangas; Pagbilao, Quezon; Matabungkay, Lian, Batangas; Nasugbu, Batangas; and Cagbalete Island, Mauban, Quezon .
The leisure & entertainment sites are Enchanted Kingdom, Sta. Rosa City, Laguna; Puzzle Mansion, Tagaytay City, Cavite; Nuvali Evoliving Shopping, Santa Rosa, Laguna; and Arts & Crafts Shopping (wood whittlers of Pakil, footwear of Liliw, woodworks of Paete), Laguna.
There are also two health and wellness sites—The Farm at San Benito in Lipa, Batangas and Nurture Wellness Village, Tagaytay City, Cavite. (Growth Publishing for SEARCA) (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)