Bohol tourism drive veers to farms

Bohol’s venture into tourism has caused a bandwagon and everyone is on it. But then, local stakeholders are already seeing the congestion in major tourism circuits, while some nooks and crevices of the island still desire to get a taste of the development.

Enter farm tourism destinations, many of which have yet to prove their worth in the ever competitive market of destinations.  

And taking cue from the projections in tourist arrivals in the next few months, Bohol Tourism Office (BTO) under the Office of the Governor ventures into inspecting new tourism products, mostly developed to help decongest the main circuits and spread the benefits of tourism to other areas.

A team from BTO composed of tourism product development specialists Gina Kapirig, Cristopher Boncales, Bohol Federation of Tour and Travel Operators (BEFETTO) represented by Lourdes Sultan, Lenlen Bullecer, Sarah Dejaresco, Philippine Information Agency (PIA), and some tour guides visited newly developed products on Nov. 5, 2019. 

“We want to inspect these newly developed destinations and accommodations, update them of the standards that we are following, make sure they also follow the minimum and still come up with a uniquely Boholano experience for tourists,” Kapirig explained during the ocular visit.

“This also helps our tour and travel operators to see for themselves and think of creative ways to package and sell these destinations and accommodations as our way of helping them out,” she added.

ECO-LODGES. Bung-aw Farm’s ecolodges are a charming come-on for guests who intend to learn farm life and still enjoy their privacy. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

It may be recalled that Bohol has envisioned to become a prime eco-cultural tourism destination with a strong agro-economy and information, communication technology since then.

With this, the team also looks at how resorts and accommodations as well as newly-developed destinations support the overall vision and be guided by it.

The itinerary for the day was Bung-aw Eco-Farm of Bugtongbod, Clarin, RJ Javier Tropical Fruits Farm in Cagawasan, Pilar, Bohol Foods (cacao) Farm in Tambo-an Carmen.

The team was also supposed to go to Pangas Falls in Barangay Dagohoy, Bilar but the team ran out of time for that.      

Bung-aw Eco Farm

Bung-aw Eco Farm is a pool resort and eco-garden nestled on top of a cliff overlooking the panoramic Inabanga-Clarin sea and distant Cebu.

As you step out of the airconditioned comfort of the tour vans, the farm’s manicured sweeping lawns, garden trails, horseback and all-terrain vehicle rides as well as a splendid panorama as it overlooks Clarin and Inabanga towns would be a stark contrast to the semi-forested access to the location. 

In the margins of well kept lawns are Bung-aw’s open secret: unique accommodations made up of spoke-shaved bamboo huts like the ones you see displayed along the highways here.

PICK AND PAY FARM. Tourists bring their harvests of the freshest fruits and veggies to the counter in this segment of the tour at RJ Favier Tropical Fruit Farm in Bohol. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

Owned and operated by Angie Hoffman to offer Panglao guests with an entirely different recluse, Bung-aw also offers overnight packages and pool use.

And with a small restaurant that seats about 30 people, one can be assured of a delectable menu plucked out from the dinner tables of a Panglao resort but with the freshest of the farm’s produce. Also, expect service that is at par with international tastes of Panglao’s choosy crowd.   

RJ Javier Tropical Fruits Farm

As soon as the nondescript wooden farm gate opens, everything you see in the world outside this gate pales in contrast.

A table laid with the farm produce of vegetables, fruits and flowers, and the welcome bite into the juiciest and crunchiest guapples (guava-apples) is a respite from the long travel to the farm. Yes, one can eat from the display, and one can even oblige the storekeeper some few questions about the farm. 

A quick step off the entrance is a colorful flower garden and an opportunity to get grounded with the earth on a barefoot earthing walk sets the tone for a tour at RJ Javier Tropical Fruits Farm in Cagawasan, Pilar.

The earthing walk also ushers one to the sunflower alley, which leads to the sprawling tropical fruit farm that boasts of hectares upon hectares of tropical fruits, 22 kinds of them and only two or three have not been fruiting.

BASKET OF GOODIESA typical basket that a tourist can bring home after the tropical farm tour. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

Foremost among their produce are the guapples, pineapple, lemons, guyabano, rambutan, passion fruit, veggies, and herbs as the owners RJ and Roel Javier also offers pick and pay schemes.

The farm also offers tours and farming lectures and inputs that include balancing the soil’s acidity, pollination, organic fertilization, and other sustainable agriculture technologies.

Bohol Food Farm

Bohol Food Farm is a primarily papaya, cacao, and vegetable farm on the outskirts of Acacia Glamping Camp in Tambo-an, Carmen.

A farm located in the generally flat-lands of the barangay, growing a papaya variety that is suited for ripening is the farm’s main attraction.

Among its sprawling tracts of farm, however, is cacao, the plant whose seeds from its pod, when roasted, is the material for everyone’s favorite chocolates.

A cacao farm tour can be arranged, while tourists can also pick and pay from the farm.

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