Manila Bulletin

Edible landscapes


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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