Manila Bulletin

Edi­ble land­scapes

- JULLIE Y. DAZA Gardening · Travel · Hobbies · Silang, Cavite · Philippines · Tagaytay City

If there was ever an orig­i­nal “plan­tita” it’s got to be Mina Ga­bor, for­mer sec­re­tary of tourism. For the last many years she has been pro­mot­ing sus­tain­able tourism, “mother” of eco­tourism and farm tourism, all of which in­volve a pas­sion for plant­ing for the en­vi­ron­ment, for aes­thet­ics, for nu­tri­tion, for no rea­son other than the de­sire to prop­a­gate plants for their value to the eyes, mind, and soul. Add to the list, if you in­sist, the com­merce of man.

Just lis­ten to her talk about Silang, her newly, dearly beloved place of af­fec­tion: “Go and look at their flower farms – a stretch of six, seven kilo­me­ters all planted to flow­ers, just flow­ers, flow­ers, flow­ers!”

Al­fonso, in her opin­ion, is not or no longer the home of flower farms, the now place be­ing Silang, Silang the town next to the tourist mag­net known as Ta­gay­tay City. For all of the above rea­sons, Mina has moved her In­ter­na­tional School of Sus­tain­able Tourism to Silang.

Be­sides con­vey­ing the splen­dors of Silang’s flower farms, there’s ex­cite­ment in Mina’s voice be­cause her school has just won the bid for the Philip­pines to host the first Eco-Tourism In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence and Travel Mart come Fe­bru­ary 2022. That con­fer­ence and expo, while be­ing the first, will mark the

20th an­niver­sary of the In­ter­na­tional

Year of Eco-Tourism. She has in­vited 33 of the world’s ex­perts in tourism to come and be amazed at what we have to of­fer, not only beaches and re­sorts but also farms and gar­dens.

Be­tween now and 2022 – it’s sooner than you think, con­sider how politi­cians are al­ready po­si­tion­ing them­selves for the next na­tional elec­tions – Mina con­tin­ues to plant the seeds of tourism as a vo­ca­tion. She talks about “edi­ble land­scapes,” a newly de­vel­op­ing trend to grow veg­eta­bles as part of a land­scape theme; for ex­am­ple, grow­ing ver­ti­cal gar­dens, build­ing arches and lat­tices with which to frame the greens, us­ing plants for fenc­ing, edg­ing, etc.

While most plant lovers can­not re­sist or­na­men­tal plants, such that they live with them in­doors or have fash­ion­ably moved their gar­dens from the back of the house to the front in or­der to show them off, there are those with a more prag­matic at­ti­tude: grow edi­ble plants for food se­cu­rity. Food for to­mor­row.

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