VILLAR: FIELD TRIPS SHOULD INCLUDE FARM TOURISM DESTINATIONS
THERE IS A NEED to include farm tourism destinations in school field trips and packaged travel itineraries to promote careers in agriculture, says Senator Cynthia Villar. “Instead of taking our schoolchildren to accidentprone areas, school authorities should consider [itineraries comprised] of [the] farm tourism spots and agricultural wonders sprouting all over the country,”she said, adding that this would make such trips more worthwhile among the youth and other concerned sectors.
“The Philippines as an agricultural country is blessed with abundant natural resources, biological diversity, and cultural heritage,” she noted. “We have what it takes to take a strong lead in farm tourism in the region, and even globally.”
The senator suggested the publication of a book showcasing the farm tourism destinations by province, along with information materials for farmers to teach them about the benefits of farm tourism.
Citing the Costales Nature Farms in Majayjay, Laguna as an example, Senator Villar pointed out that it offers educational and fun activities for students such as vegetable picking and planting, caring for farm animals, and an orientation on healthy eating habits.
Sen. Villar added that in Nueva Ecija, the Philippine Carabao Center or PCC, located in the Science City of Muñoz, is one of the best farm tourism destinations, with its training center, hotel, shops, and museum.
As the chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture and Food and principal sponsor of Senate Bill 3002 or “An Act providing for the development and promotion of farm tourism in the Philippines,”Sen. Villar also welcomed the passage of the bill on its third reading at the Senate and at the House of Representatives.
Among the salient features of the bill is the formulation of a Farm Tourism Strategic Action Plan consistent with the National Tourism Development Plan. She said this will provide the specific programs and activities that need to be done by government agencies and industry stakeholders.
Senator Cynthia Villar poses beside a potted fruiting pummelo at the Villar Sipag Urban Farm School at Molino Dam in Las Piñas City, which is very accessible in Metro Manila.
Costales Nature Farms in Majayjay, Laguna is one of the few agritourism destinations accredited by the Department of Tourism. Often visited by a large group of hobbyists and farm enthusiasts, the farm promotes sustainable agriculture through integrated organic farming.