Monday, November 7, 2016

Monday, November 07, 2016
1
Good Earth Garden Cafe







RURAL EXPOSURE

Farm tourism is currently big in the Philippines because of the recently approved Republic Act 10816. The law intends to provide opportunities for farmers to augment their earnings, and at the same time, increase players in the rural tourism industry. However, touristic farms have been around even before efforts were pushed for the law to be passed. Each is an exciting departure from the usual getaway that involves swimming in a pool or staying indoors at a resort's luxury guestroom. What farm visits can offer tourists is a guilt-free exposure to the realities of rural life and how they affect the city dweller. They keep the tourist grounded, making living in the city less toxic as it already is.

As someone who has scoped mainland Luzon and parts of the Visayas more than once, I got the chance to visit a few farms that let tourists experience the bucolic way of life for day tours and overnight stays. It doesn't really matter how long one's immersion is. Nature follows the traveler wherever he or she goes anyway. The lessons one learns from the farm visit can be replicated in the city in a smaller version to have a lasting experience of the outdoors.

Here are six destinations in the country that showed me how a short farm visit can be worth more than a long stay at a stylish resort:

Costales Nature Farms
Costales Nature Farms
Costales Nature Farms 
Costales Nature Farms
Location: Majayjay, Laguna

Costales Nature Farms is an attractive result of the combination of science, technology, and nature under the nurturing hands of its founder, the late Ronald Costales. The 5-hectare space is actually an organic eco-farm that started as a family getaway in 2004. It's now a farm tourism destination at the foothills of the mystical Mount Banahaw after being formally established as a farm in 2005. With Cibo, Healthy Options, Italianni’s, and Solaire being essential clients that source organic vegetables from the farm, it is recognized as the first agri-tourism destination in the Philippines that's accredited by the Department of Tourism.

Read more about Costales Nature Farms.

JSJ Goat Farm
JSJ Goat Farm
JSJ Goat Farm
JSJ Goat Farm
Location: Gerona, Tarlac

This family enterprise started with Jeffrey Lim doing goat-shopping for a friend. The need was urgent and for a special occasion. In his frustration of finding a seller, he realised that there was a demand for goats that no one in Tarlac was serious in considering. A lot of homes with big yards do have at least a goat or two but no one was really seriously making a big living out of it. Soon, JSJ Goat Farm was born.

According to Jeffrey, goat's milk is next to mother's milk in terms of nutritional value. As a matter of fact, he has exposed his children to having regular intake of goat's milk as early as when they were toddlers. He has two grown kids with his wife, Kathleen, and the couple is in charge of one of Gerona, Tarlac's largest goat farms.

Read more about JSJ Goat Farm.

Good Earth Garden Cafe
Good Earth Garden Cafe
Good Earth Garden Cafe
Good Earth Garden Cafe
Location: Tarlac City, Tarlac

McArthur Highway that covers a long stretch of the province of Tarlac is famous for a lot of pasalubong centers and a local seafood restaurant. Also, somewhere down that path once stood an organic restaurant that has since settled at Romulo Highway as its base where its organic farm stands. The dining venue is called Good Earth Garden Cafe and it's in the same sprawling Sotero property owned by couples Rogelio and Rowena where the farm called Good Earth Farms and Foods is.

Run by the Sotero family, including Rowena's daughter, Eunice, the garden cafe and farm has varieties of plants that they've been growing like basil, oregano, ginura (good for diabetes), chives, ginseng, gotu kola (good for nervous disorders), tanglad (good for high cholesterol and high blood), the mosquito-repellent citronella, viola (leaves best for salad; flowers good for insomnia) and sambong (good for kidney problems). They also have baboy ramo which they use for sisig.

Read more about Good Earth Garden Cafe.

Bahong Rose Farm
Bahong Rose Farm
Bahong Rose Farm
Bahong Rose Farm
Location: La Trinidad, Benguet

In a quaint village in Benguet’s La Trinidad, 10 hours from Metro Manila, the rose is considered as a symbol of love and it's the same ethos that motivates the cultivation of flowers in the tilled land of Bahong Rose Farm. This is where most of Dangwa's flowers are harvested from.

La Trinidad is not as chilly as Baguio City. This climate anomaly up north is most palpable in the nearby village of Bahong which is touted as the Philippines’ rose capital. The conditions there seem to cultivate the ornamental and landscape plant very well as half of the more than 600 rose farmers in the town work there. As a result of temperate climate, the flowers are not easily stunted and regular harvests are done.

Read more about Bahong Rose Farm.

Strawberry Farm
Strawberry Farm
Strawberry Farm
Strawberry Farm
Location: La Trinidad, Benguet

Still in Benguet, La Trinidad's Strawberry farm is a popular tourist side trip from Baguio City. At the farm, you can view the strawberry fields up close and eventually buy some freshly harvested strawberries that are being sold near the gate. You can also try the strawberry taho that's being peddled at the site.

For a more expansive view of the farm, you can hie off to an elevated part of the town where residents live. From a specific high point near the town's hillside cemetery, you can have an unobstructed view of the whole attraction that's set against the nearby mountains of the Cordillera.

Melba's Farm
Melba's Farm
Melba's Farm
Melba's Farm
Location: Talisay City, Negros Occidental

For an immersion in the mahogany tree-filled woodlands of Talisay City in Negros Occidental, you can book an overnight stay at the semi-remote Melba's Farm. Here, you can experience being surrounded by nature in odd hours of the day, including at nighttime. The off-grid getaway is also great for hiking just outside of the farm's fenced property where the fruit-growing residents of Barangay Cabatangan live. The hike can offer you up close views of bamboo trees and plantations of lanzones, rambutan, and durian.

Read more about Melba's Farm.

The next time you're in the mood to have a reset, farms are an ideal destinations to consider for the experience, so go out and visit one soon.

1 comments:

  1. Wow! The Good Earth Garden Cafe looks interesting! I am in the process of reading your post about it.

    ReplyDelete

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