Baguio to launch its own ‘strawberry fields’ tourist hot spot but won’t repeat Benguet’s mistakes
The Baguio City government is pushing to promote agri-tourism in the Philippines’ “summer capital” and is looking at launching the city’s first large-scale strawberry farm by summer.
Councilor Leandro Yangot said residents here formed the Bilis Farmers Association and planted San Andreas and California strawberry varieties on a one-and-a-half-hectare lot in August last year.
Yangot authored Baguio’s Urban Gardening ordinance. to encourage city residents to plant both edible and ornamental products in their homes for household consumption and for additional income source if they produce extra.
Yangot said the Bilis Strawberry Farm would not be opened to the public as an agro-tourism destination until the completion of an environmental plan that covers area protection, installation of comfort rooms, and allotment of parking slots.
Yangot said the Baguio government does not want a repeat of the “La Presa” fate, where the colorful, sweet-smelling vegetable plantation higher up the Santo Tomas mountain in nearby Tuba town in Benguet turned bad after the place was popularized by a Philippine television series.
Locals and tourists flocked to the area, prompting residents to take advantage of the place’s popularity. But it became the victim of its owns success as authorities could not handle the influx of tourists. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in closes the spot to visitors to let the place heal naturally.
Yangot said the Baguio City government would not want a repeat of the Tuba disaster.
As for Baguio’s Bilis Strawberry Farm, he said the city government would help the farmers form a cooperative, so they could raise funds needed to sustain their strawberry production. (PNA)