Farm tourism is fast becoming a reality
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - August 15, 2019 - 12:00am

I had a call from former Tourism secretary Mina Gabor who was in Cebu last Tuesday who wanted to meet up with me knowing that I joined the 4th Farm Tourism Summit last July 14-16 at the Summit Ridge Hotel in Tagaytay. Unfortunately four months later I had to undergo kidney transplant on Nov. 8, 2016 so I could not follow up the farm tourism potentials in booming Cebu. But this has not stopped Mina Gabor from pursuing a Farm Tourism Summit to happen in Cebu come Nov. 6-8 with the theme “Building Community Relationships for Sustainable Development.

Anyway as last weekend was a three day weekend, my good friend, Mr. Tourism Robert “Bobby” Joseph with his wife Ida spent their weekend in Cebu City and we drove 40 minutes from Marco Polo Plaza Hotel to the Adlawon Vacation Farm owned by Atty. Danilo and Dr. Luce Ortiz to have a special lunch fresh from their farmland. Yes, it was then we learned that Mina Gabor was also planning to visit them. Mina Gabor is currently the president of the International School of Sustainable Tourism Inc. that teaches many things that those taking tourism course should learn. There is no doubt that Mina Gabor was the best secretary of Tourism we’ve ever had and she continues to live a life of a Tourism advocate even until now.

At this point, holding a Farm Tourism Summit this November is going to be a huge thing for people who live in the Visayas and Mindanao. We are only a short boat ride from Bohol, Leyte or Samar and Negros Island where many farms can truly become potentials for farm tourism. Mind you, you don’t need huge hectares of land to become a farm tourism prospect. All you need is a small area where your produce can benefit people who visit your place.

With beachfront lands already costing an arm and a leg because of our tourism growth, I suggest that you should see the 2010 movie “Eat, Pray, Love” starring Julia Roberts where she stayed in a farm resort in Bali, Indonesia that was situated in the middle of a rice field and it had an infinity swimming pool overlooking the rice field and its carabaos. This is something that can easily be done in the Visayas and Mindanao, but first they must attend the Farm Tourism Summit this November. For instance, in Tagaytay I saw a farm tourism area with the names of its fruits and flowers so tourist can identify them. Mind you many of these crops have medicinal value, which make them more valuable than you think. So time for you to think of being a tourism farmer.

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Everyone is looking for solution to our traffic problems, which seem to be unsolvable. I read the Facebook page of Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) spokesperson Celine Pialago who complained that in the last 40 years cars have grown in huge numbers, but our streets have remained the same. Mind you, this is happening to many of our main metro cities in the Philippines and I dare say that it is high time to find solutions like what they have abroad in Japan, Singapore or Hong Kong… not to allow people who have no garage to purchase any vehicle.

I already expressed my proposal to Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella who during a meeting last week with the Cebu Filipino-Chinese Chamber told us that the poor people who wanted housing support from the government are looking at a house and lot…something that can no longer happen especially in Cebu City because we are running out of land. So he proposed four-story buildings where there is no need for an elevator.

But today’s reality is that, the bedroom community of Cebu City is Talisay and Minglanilla in the South and Mandaue and Consolacion in the North. So in the end, Cebu City can truly benefit from a law that prohibits people from buying cars unless they have a garage in their homes to park their cars. Mind you last week the City of Cebu towed some 200 cars that were parked in the middle of the night on roads that are too narrow, it blocks fire trucks or ambulances from entering a particular barangay. That incident had the car owners that were towed complaining in their Facebook as to where they can park their cars.

Clearly they are car owners who lived in communities but live in houses without garages. Who are these people? Most of them work in IT Centers that pay them very well, but they refuse to move out of their once squalid homes simply because it is not far from their workplace. At this point, we should encourage these people to purchase parking for their cars.

Mind you, the most expensive building in Hong Kong is a parking slot under the tall building. Are we going to wait until this happens to us in Metro Manila or Metro Cebu? I dare say that it is time to create laws or ordinance prohibiting people from buying cars unless they have a parking space!

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