Balay-kape­han in Patag

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

FOR AL­MOST two years (af­ter my re­tire­ment as a tourism of­fi­cer), I was not able to have a closer look at the projects I left be­hind. In the so­cial me­dia, we know that there are new in­ter­est­ing places to visit in Pataglanta­wan area like Duyan, Ilaya, Rooster, Lantawan View and more oth­ers.

Last week, I went to Patag with Ching Ledesma,

Gerle Sul­maca and Leo Can­son. It was rain­ing hard when we arrived at the base sta­tion, the Old Hos­pi­tal Build­ing. Ching with her OJTS were there to se­cure narra seedlings for her en­vi­ron­ment project be­ing the En­vi­ron­ment Of­fi­cer. Tourism Of­fi­cer Gerle Sul­maca and Leo Can­son (land­sca­per) were there to ac­com­pany me to check the straw­berry farms of some farm­ers. It is a part of my work as a con­sul­tant on So­ci­ol­ogy for Si­lay City un­der the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Mayor Mark Golez.

Straw­berry is a fa­vorite item in the pub­lic mar­ket of Baguio City. Most of the sup­plies come from the farms in Trinidad Val­ley. When I went there, the Igorot lady farm tech­ni­cian (Agri­cul­ture grad­u­ate) told me, “Sir, se­lect the small, red straw­berry. It is sweet. “I was able to ob­tain more in­for­ma­tion from her on the straw­berry tech­nol­ogy.

When I went back to Ne­gros, I talked to my kum­pare Yori­hisha Goto, a Jap pro­fes­sor who mar­ried a lady from Patag. He made a good prom­ise that we will prop­a­gate straw­berry in Patag with cut­tings com­ing from Ja­pan, Trinidad Val­ley and Don Sal­vador Bene­dicto. Be­fore I re­tired, Prof. Goto and some farm­ers in Patag tried build­ing green houses al­ready to start a straw­berry ex­per­i­ment sta­tion.

Now, thousands of pot­ted straw­ber­ries are there grow­ing in Patag. The farm­ers are just start­ing to learn but I know that in the next five years, we will sell straw­ber­ries al­ready in Si­lay Pub­lic Mar­ket.

How about the Balay-kape­han at the lap of the moun­tain? That is the cof­fee shop “and more” of Tatay Bon­ing and Nanay Saryo Vil­lare­nia, the most out­stand­ing farmer fam­ily of Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal and West­ern Visayas…and they made it up to the na­tional level.

Balay-kape­han is an ex­am­ple of the com­mu­nity-based tourism prod­uct. The cof­fee beans are fruits of wild cof­fee. They were dried and roasted in the tra­di­tional way of the vil­lagers. Cups are served hot with mus­co­v­ado sugar and the best “ibos.” One can also try ‘tablea es­ko­late’ from backyard ca­cao. Cof­fee con­coc­tions come in va­ri­eties of prepa­ra­tion with the bless­ing of the moun­tain fairies.

When I saw the menu book, I was sur­prised to see other foods they can of­fer. I thought only L’ Fisher Ho­tel can cook those. “Yay, Yay! Tatay Bon­ing, Nanay Saryo and their chil­dren can now hold vis­i­tors longer in Patag be­cause of their food. What I see best in the menu book is fresh straw­berry shake. Re­ally, af­ter all these years … I miss tourism in Patag.*

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