Text and Photos by Henrylito D. Tacio
Foreigners usually think of the Philippines as a place of dreamy golden beaches, shimmering azure waters, blue skies, and gently swaying palms. But being a tropical country, it has added farm tourism to its menu.
The Republic Act No. 10816, otherwise known as the Farm Tourism Development Act, defines farm tourism as “the practice of attracting visitors and tourists to farm areas for production, educational and recreational purposes.” As a reason to visit, it is becoming increasingly popular in the country.
Any agriculture or fishery-based activity that brings people to be educated or trained on farming and related activities or just provides a venue for outdoor recreation and family outings can be called farm tourism. “It ranges from very (sophisticated) tourist farms to very simple… farms,” said Senator Cynthia Villar, author of Act No. 10816. “They are the same thing; it’s about being creative.”
The Philippines is an agricultural country. So much so that what you put into your mouth comes from the farm: from the morning coffee to extra rice during meals, from banana cue for snacks to tilapia crackers as pulutan, from pinakbet for breakfast to chicken inasal for dinner.
Davao del Sur is noted for its farm tourism spots. You may add THE FARM in the list. About 11 kilometers from the national highway via Padada Road, it is located in barangay Sibunga in Kiblawan.
If you are looking for a place where you, your family, and/or your friends can relax and have fun, this THE FARM is the best place to be.
If you are getting married, the place is also worth it. Its famous landmark is the best area to say “I do’s.” Or, even before tying the nuptial knot, THE FARM is also good for pre-nup photos.
According to Benjamen J. Banzon, Jr., the proprietor, a building will be constructed to be the venue of meetings, conferences, training, or team building. The building can accommodate about 60-80 people.
If the guests and visitors want to stay, they can do so. There are types of rooms available: suites, family, and deluxe. Food is not a problem since there’s a restaurant.
The center of attraction, however, is its beautiful swimming located at the center of the resort.
Although THE FARM is open 24/7, booking is still needed for those who want to stay for the night. Walk-ins, who are interested in a day tour, can come anytime of the day, Banzon said. Entrance fee is P150 on weekdays and P200 for weekends.
What is interesting about THE FARM is that guests and visitors can do harvesting of crops and fishing. “They can harvest vegetables from the nearby farm and those harvested vegetables can be cooked,” Banzon said.
Only 1.2 hectares of the 15 hectare-farm is developed for THE FARM. The surrounding farm is planted to rice and coconuts, but some portions may be planted to vegetables like okra, string beans, squash, cucumber, and eggplant. Tilapia are also raised in ponds.
THE FARM used to be known as Lorenza Armando Farm. It is a family corporation called New Sibunga Kiblawan Agriculture and Aquatic Venture.
“Our parents started this resort,” admitted Michelle Jean Armilla, corporation auditor and representative of the family, during the re-opening of the resort, now called THE FARM.