Thursday, April 19, 2018
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‘Farmville ’ for summer

The hustle and bustle of the city can easily make one long for the slow-paced setting of rural living. And this growing interest on the life in the countryside has fueled farm tourism in the country.

In fact, the Department of Tourism launched in December last year its farm-based tourism program as part of the agency’s plan to entice sector-specific foreign and domestic tourists.

Farm tourism, also referred as agri-tourism, is defined by Republic Act No. 10816 or Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016 as “the practice of attracting visitors and tourists to farm areas for production, educational and recreational purposes.”

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Tourism Assistant Secretary Eden Josephine David said during the launch of DOT’s farm-based tours that “farm tourism is not only about the farm produce but more importantly the experience in the farm.”

Under RA 10816, farm tourism involves “any agricultural- or fishery-based operation or activity that brings to a farm visitors, tourists, farmers and fisherfolk who want to be educated and trained on farming and other related activities, and provides a venue for outdoor recreation and accessible family outings.”

Experience these activities or simply spend some quiet time with Mother Nature in these farm resorts just a few hours away from Metro Manila.

Preziosa Botanic Park and Farm Resort
Cavite

Since its beginnings as a crop cultivation site, Preziosa Botanic Park and Farm Resort, located in Alfonso, Cavite, has grown into a farm tourism site that promises visitors a respite from the pressures of city life.

In August 1998, Dr. Preciosa S. Soliven, founder and chief executive officer of O.B. Montessori Center, signed a memorandum of agreement with Kasetsart University to foster academic exchange and cooperation between the two schools especially in the fields of agriculture, science, horticulture, education, humanity and related fields.

Two years later, the 11.5-ha Alfonso Farm was acquired to realize the vision of a self-sufficient farm used to educate high school students—Italian educator Maria Montessori’s vision of a farm high school, the erdkinder (“children of the land”) program, in which students learn through a seamless integration of classroom and real life.

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In 2008, a botanic park and farm resort was conceptualized for Alfonso Farm, later renamed Preziosa Botanic Park and Farm Resort. An additional five hectares of land was acquired for the expansion of the farm with urban planner and landscape architect Paulo Alcazaren designing the master plan.

The farm resort now has Asian-themed villas (Japanese, Thai, Balinese), a pavilion, restaurant, game room, jacuzzi pools; a camping area with a zip line, wall climbing and mini-amphitheater facilities; a propagation area for vegetables and ornamental plants, a chapel and a lagoon.

Vegetables, leafy bulbs, root crops, herbs and fruits are planted at the farm and harvesting your own vegetables and fruits is one of the many exciting activities at Preziosa.

To get there: From Tagaytay Rotonda, continue straight onto Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway then continue to Luksuhin-Mangas Road. Follow the Preziosa Farm directional signage.

Costales Nature Farm
Laguna

An escape from the stressful environment of city life is what Costales Nature Farm can offer you. Located in Majayjay, Laguna, it is a premier agri-tourism destination that lies at the foothills of the mystical Mt. Banahaw.

It is dubbed as Laguna’s “Little Baguio.” When you visit, you can feel the fresh cool breeze with the green scenery of the organic farm as your backdrop, whether you walk during the day or stay overnight and sleep inside a traditional nipa hut.

Costales also conducts different activities like training and seminar workshops, growing of vegetables, fruits; raising of different livestock such as, chicken; pigs, goats and cattle and creating natural fertilizer, particularly from worms (vermiculture).

Livestock at the farm roam freely and are pasture-raised. The chicken are brought to a triple-A slaughter house while the pigs are slaughtered in Quezon and are frozen to retain the flavor before being packed according to standards.

Costales Nature Farm was identified as one of 10 agritourism sites by the Department of Agriculture (DAR) and DOT in a joint circular issued in 2002, which meant that it would have to adhere to the standards prescribed by the departments.

To go there: Take a two-hour bus from Buendia, Cubao or Pasay to Santa Cruz, Laguna. At Santa Cruz market, ride a jeepney to Majayjay. At Majayjay town proper, take a jeep to Lucban and drop off at Costales Nature Farms.

Kahariam Farms
Batangas

Tagged as the largest earthworm farm in the Philippines, Kahariam Farms is located between Ibaan municipality and Lipa City in Batangas. It is named after the farm owner’s children (Khalil, Hanna, Ria and Hyram).

The place mainly operates as an agri-tourism site and has been certified by the DOT and Department of Agriculture. It serves as a getaway especially to city dwellers and aims to advocate the importance of eating right through organic food and organic farming practices.

The farm sells earthworms, specifically the African Night Crawlers, which aid in vermicasting. Vermicasting is a natural, odorless, aerobic method that processes organic wastes through earthworms, thus producing healthy vegetables and fruits both served and sold to guests and visitors.

Kahariam Farms, which is among the Philippines’ lush and eco-friendly locations, features greenhouses that store worm compost, 200-meter covered pathway farms, a gazebo and a vegetable maze.

Seminar houses, dormitory type air-conditioned room accommodations, swimming pools, a covered basketball gym, an outdoor videoke area, as well as nearby windmills add up to the beauty that is Kahariam Farms.

To get there: From Manila, take the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) then straight ahead to the Star Toll Way
entrance. Take the exit toward San Jose/Ibaan. Head straight to Ibaan Road.

Sources: Inquirer Archives, preziosa.com.ph, costalesnaturefarms.com, kahariamfarms.com, www.omafra.gov.on.ca

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