DOT rolls out Calabarzon Culinary Caravan
Team Out of Town Blog Hub (Outoftownblog.com) – The Southern Tagalog Region is among the quick weekend getaways for Metro Manilans because of its proximity, good road network, and family-oriented destinations.
Popularly known as Calabarzon, the region south of the big city is composed of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon, and is known for beaches, hot spring resorts, dive sites, quaint restaurants, Spanish-era churches, ancestral homes, and the iconic Taal Lake and Volcano.
But beyond these all-too-familiar attractions, the region is home to some of the most exciting farm tourism sites which blend the charm of agrarian lifestyle and a touch of basic modern comfort and recreational facilities for those offering overnight stays. And in this pandemic era, farms are safe alternatives to crowded tourist spots because of their vast open spaces, physical distancing, and healthy farm-to-table dining experience.
As part of its efforts to reboot tourism in the area, the Department of Tourism Calabarzon Regional Office recently rolled off its culinary caravan to showcase farm tourism sites in the five provinces which have been hiding from plain sight.
According to DOT-Calabarzon acting regional director Marites Castro, the caravan consists of food trip circuits that tour operators and travelers can customize to savor the rich culinary and cultural heritage of the various localities in Southern Tagalog.
She said that the DOT launched last December the Green Corridor Initiative circuits which have been validated to be compliant with the government’s health and safety protocols, and these include farm tourism sites.
She noted that Calabarzon currently has 26 accredited farm tourism establishments, many of which are also recognized by the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) as farm schools for the community.
While the number is down from 33 before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is still among the highest number among the country’s regions. On top of this number, there are scores of farm-themed resorts and restaurants accredited by the government tourism agency.
Below are some of Calabarzon’s exciting farm tourism sites which are definitely worth the trip.
Cavite: Terra Verde Ecofarm, a sprawling animal and vegetable farm in Maragondon; Bounty Harvest Farm and EMV Flower Farm Indang, Luntiang Republika Ecofarms, and The Weekend Farmer in Alfonso.
Laguna: Graco Farms & Leisure in Pila highlights care for animals as its core activity for guests, and also has comfy family-style lodging and food freshly picked from the garden.
Silent Integrated Farm in Liliw is a fruit and vegetable plantation that taps persons with disabilities (PWDs), senior citizens, and community-based farmers. Farmshare Prime in Calauan is an ATI-accredited farm school that is known for its so-called culifarm Filipino cuisine.
In San Pablo City, there is Jasif Integrated Farms, a mushroom plantation and sunflower farm which is sought-after for its mushroom-based dishes and its children-friendly facilities, and Casa San Pablo, an artsy bed-and-breakfast that showcases the culinary versatility of the coconut tree in its dishes.
Batangas: Don Leon Nature Farm in San Juan specializes in organically-raised black pigs, poultry, and livestock, and also has Spanish era-themed bedrooms for family leisure stays and small group events. Mileah Bee Farm, situated in the interiors of San Jose town, takes pride in its premium honey and derivatives in its compact space.
Lica Farms is a cattle ranch in Lipa City which produces premium dairy products under the Pinkie’s Farm brand in its product store.
Rizal: Flor’s Garden and Nature Haven is a Balinese-inspired and art-themed flower farm in the outskirts of Antipolo City. FDRJ Camping Sites Rental and Pili Paninap Farms, both in Tanay, are good old plantations that are also ideal for outdoor adventures.
Quezon: Francesca de Banahaw in Sariaya, a farm resort near in foot of the mystic mountain showcases the province’s cuisine curated by Kulinarya Tagala food heritage advocate Tina Decal. Bukid Amara in Lucban is an Instagrammable flower farm that is now venturing into edible flowers-based delicacies. Linang ni LK, also in Lucban, offers gourmet renditions of typical Southern Tagalog specialties, as well as its own unique creations. It also has a homey two-bedroom native farmhouse for a relaxing overnight stay with a mesmerizing view of Mt. Banahaw.