Blooming Agri-Tourism in the North
A travel journal that will give you a pleasant view of people, places, food, culture, history and events from a refreshing perspective
AGRI-tourism is gaining momentum as a major part of Philippines’ tourism efforts. Like ecotourism, it is low impact and it socially and economically empowers local communities especially the farmers. Agri-tourism’s further development and promotion of has been bolstered by R.A.10816 or the Farm Tourism Development Act of 2016. We could see more organic and flower farms, orchards, and fish farms which are now showcased as travel destinations.
Last week, our group from @whatsupdagupan had a road trip to the “First Sunflower Maze in the Philippines” in Brgy. C. Lichauco, Tayug, Pangasinan. Allied Botanical Corporation, the leading supplier, producer and breeder of vegetable seeds in the Philippines featured the “A-maze-ing Sunflower as a focal point of their Agri-Tourism 2017 Annual Open Days.
The urban and edible landscape garden of vegetables and flowers has been a viral hit. Selfies and groupies have flooded social media and thousands of tourists visit the farm daily. The farm also features a food and agri-fair, seminars, watermelon and vegetable “pick and pay” and a chance to put your name in the Sunflower Maze leaderboard.
When you visit, make sure to try the unique Purple Sweet Corn which they say is rich in antocyanin and antioxidants. However, the sunflower maze and garden showcase is temporarily closed until the last week of March to allow replacement, irrigation and revival of damaged plants due to the influx of visitors and the sudden outpour of rain last February 26. We should visit (again) as the next batch of sunflowers are said to be of a different kind!
The best showcase of the blooming tourism is Baguio’s Panagbenga Festival. Panagbenga Festival is a month-long annual flower festival. The term is of Kankanaey origin, meaning “season of blooming.” The festival was created as a tribute to the city’s flowers and as a way to rise up from the devastation of the 1990 Luzon earthquake. Today, it is one of the grandest and most visited festivals in the country. Highlights of the festival include Grand Street Dancing Parade in which participants dance and march to the different Cordilleran music, costume and tradition and the Grand Float Parade wherein flowers and other organic material decked floats are paraded and displayed.
Did you know that the branding, logo design and website of the festival is done by Pixelhub Design + Digital Agency composed of local talents from Dagupan City? Headed by Mike Fernandez, Pixelhub has been the digital partner of the Panagbenga Festival for five years already. With Pixelhub, our team from What’s Up Dagupan helped in the social media campaign, facebook live streaming and documentation of the two major events: the Grand Street Dancing Parade and the Grand Float Parade.
Excitement is building up as we will be celebrating Bangus Festival here in Dagupan City on April! I hope one of the fish farms in Dagupan will soon offer an Agri-Tourism showcase where tourists can participate in bangus feeding, gilon gilon (bangus harvest), bangus processing and a seafood fiesta to cap the visit and let others know why Dagupan’s bangus is the best tasting milkfish in the world!