by Irma A. Guhit
SORSOGON CITY, July 7 (PIA) — “Farm tours is now one of the current trends to make people aware of what the environment offers.It is an experiential exposure that should and can be initiated here in the province of Sorsogon, ours being a truly agricultural province. Agricultural tourism will complement our whaleshark interaction and we can have a year-long tourism activity, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Board Member -Committee Chair on Tourism., Eric Ravanilla said.
“The national event we attended in Manila the other week on tourism development and opportunities, gave us a deeper insight and learning on how other countries like Cambodia, Thailand and other Asian countries made cultural tourism one of its best dollar earner. because farming is also their way of life”, he said.
“Sorsogon is a very rich province with all the agricultural land a natural wonder that has to be given importance as a highlight for cultural tourism. Today it is a global trend, this being the way of life of people, and agricultural tourism is cultural tourism in one.”, he further explained.
The Sorsogon Provincial Tourism Council (SPTC) is now making a headway plan in identifying all farmlands here that are now developed and can be offered as agricultural tourism destinations.
According to Cris Racelis, provincial tourism officer, their attendance to the national agricultural tourism exposure has given them a lot to think about and make agricultural tourism one of the banner tourism programs here.
“We have identified developed farmlands here like the Balay Buhay in San Roque, Irosin, the farmland now being developed in Prieto Diaz by Boy Espenida. Castilla has several farmlands fully developed also that can be linked as a resource for agricultural tourism and several in Juban, Casiguran and in Bacon district ” Racelis said.
“Eventually the new provincial tourism building beside the Sorsogon Provincial Museum will soon be inaugurated together with the kiosks that will become the display center for the best products of Sorsogon” she said.
“Here we will be offering best agricultural products that can also be sold and information regarding farm tours will also be provided and our new building can now be a venue for tourism trainings.”, according to Racelis.
“”Sometimes we do not value and appreciate the natural rural landscapes we have”, Ravanilla explained.
” In the event we went to we were shown videos of how farms became tourism destinations. This is true with our neighboring Asian countries. How these now have developed the basic communities and how people there become aware of what nature has offered them. Truly they are now exposed to the world, marketed online and they have an economic tourism boom”, he said.
Today, many city dwellers want farm vacations to get away from city life and be immersed into what is different, what is basic and rural.
Agricultural tourism teaches what is basic, how to enjoy climbing trees, picking fruits.It is a new field where people are allowed to experience the cycle of life, waking up to the chirping of birds, the sight of mildew in the grass and the refreshing smell of a morning.
It will provide children to appreciate farm animals, how these are born and how they blend to the natural environs.
Farmers will also be able to explain to children the cropping season how rice is grown, how a local potato is being extracted or planted. and what farm life is all about and where food served in the table come from.
According to Ravanilla, just like Palawan who is now campaigning for the vote for the Palawan Subterranean Under Water Cruise, here in Sorsogon, our natural wonders are our farmlands, our mountains, lakes and natural resource and basically our farmers and our fisherfolks who can become tour guides if properly trained.
“We have the beautiful flat landscape here in our province planted to rice and these alone can provide tourists a refreshing sight so different from city life” he said.
Tha Sanggunian Panlalawigan will soon approve the Provincial Ecotourism Code, there we will incorporate the agricultural tourism as one of our natural tourism which our province can best offer, according to him.
According to Ravanilla there is also a need to train our farmers,SPTC will conduct ocular inspection and mapping of what we have here in the province.
SPTC now will start to sell agricultural tourism and provide the needed intervention on how this can be made into more of a realistic economic come on..
“We will see to it that with agricultural tourism in the frontline, children will learn to enjoy carabao rides, milking goats and cows, feeding chickens and other activities that will provide them more experiential learning, they will know that out of these advertisements boxes shown, they will find out where milk comes from”, he said. (PIA-SORSOGON)