With the COVID-19 pandemic looming in the country, the tourism industry became one of the most affected. Of course, this comes after the government has issued lockdowns. This, then, effectively shut the doors to tourist destinations in the Philippines. The Department of Tourism has started to reopen destinations and attractions in many areas like Cavite among others.
The development of tourism circuits became one of the initiatives of the Department of Tourism. Meanwhile, they aim to support domestic tourism in alignment with the Tourism Recovery and Response Plan (TRRP). The program also streamlines development efforts in close coordination with local government units. This is for the reopening of tourism destinations and attractions.
Meanwhile, this ensures that the public minimum health and safety protocols remain properly implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In 2021, the DOT Region IV-A conducted an inventory and mapped out faith, food, and farm tourism sites. These identify tourism destinations for the said clusters.
CAVITE: Center For Fun Tourism Circuit Experience with DOT-Calabarzon
The Department of Tourism’s Calabarzon office initiated a Center For Fun Tourism Circuit Experience from June 27 to 28. Of course, Village Pipol Magazine was honored to be invited along with other media, bloggers, local tour operators, and travel organizations. The initiative also included visiting interactive farms, historic churches, and culinary tourist destinations in the region.
Sonya’s Garden | Alfonso
Sonya’s Garden features verdant and flower-laden garden. They toured around the thick hibiscus shrubs and romantic hydrangeas. It looks so romantic that they even had a Proposal Garden. The table was draped with fine embroidered linen. Aside from that, it is also laden with freshly-picked lettuce and arugula, sweet-fleshed mangoes, pineapples, passion fruit, and other fruits in season.
Queens Strawberry Farm | Alfonso
Queens Strawberry Farm is an agri-tourism destination in the hills of Alfonso, Cavite. Surrounded by stunning gardens, and lush farmland, Queens offers a number of services that anyone can tailor to meet their budget. Moreover, they offer everything from hotel rooms, houses for rent, to garden and farm tours.
San Juan Nepomuceno Parish | Alfonso
Aside from farms, gardens, and restaurants, the Department of Tourism IV-A Calabarzon also brought us to churches. One of them is the Parish of San Juan Nepomuceno. In 1843, the parish began in the old town called Pinagbaynan, the first town of San Juan. At the time, they made the church out of bamboo and materials from coconut trees.
Then, history goes. And, of course, on August 10, 1855, the parish priest made an initiative to build it out of stones. Twenty-eight years later, floods destroyed the church. Then, in 1894, they transferred to its present site. Throughout the years, the structure had needed much repairs. So, in 1995, the church began its major renovation.
EMV Flower Farm | Indang
Founded in 2013, EMV Flower Farm has 3.5 hectares with sustainable fresh cut flowers of the highest quality with over fifteen varieties of chrysanthemum in different shades and colors. Aside from that, they also have EMV Villa where they can accommodate guests. Plus, they also have an ongoing construction of their mini restaurant.
Upon entering the Saint Gregory the Great Parish Church, you can see elegantly carved doors with impressive carvings on the choir loft balcony. Built in the 18th century, it also has impressive rose-colored trompe l’oil paintings on its ceiling. The retablo also has three levels of niches for images of saints. At the central niche is the image of the town’s patron, St. Gregory the Great. The church also became one of the first churches in Cavite to use galvanized iron as its roofing in 1869. The adjacent old convent has wide windows and wrought iron work along the sides.
Asiong’s | Silang
The Asiong Restaurant lets guests experience authentic Spanish-Filipino heirloom dishes. Built in the 1960s, it started off as a small carinderia and became the province of Cavite. We ate at an alfresco garden area with a relaxing and invigorating ambiance, especially with the greenery surrounding us.
Cavite State University | Indang
Cavite State University launched its Agri-Eco Tourism Park (AETP) last July 15, 2021. Dr. Hernando D. Robles said that this remains as the CvSU’s way to bring back the interest and appreciation of the people to agriculture. They can also provide attractions, activities, services, amenities, and hands-on learning. This also sets to develop and promote a farm tourism program that promotes sustainability, farming, and ecotourism.
Bounty Harvest Farm | Indang
The Bounty Harvest Farm is an orchard farm that grows vegetables, herbs and spices, and fruit-bearing trees. They focus on practical approaches to growing and increasing its produce that won’t be harmful to the environment and consumers. The farm also aims to prolong the shelf-life of its produce. They also employ post-harvest like drying of fruits, herbs, and spices, and producing coconut nectar vinegar through natural fermentation.
Yoki’s Farm | Mendez
I have visited Yoki’s Farm before as a part of a field trip when I was an elementary student. So, going back and experiencing this was both nostalgic and surprising. I can’t remember half of what I experienced when I was a student. However, as an adult, I can say that this will remain memorable.
I had an experience unforgettable close encounters with a variety of species from farms to exotic animals. At one point, I even had a beautiful bird sitting on my shoulder at The Sanctuary. I also had a close encounter with zebras and ostriches which doesn’t happen that often.
Aside from that, they also have a Hydroponic Farm that brings our consumers premium-grade hydroponic produce. This remains pesticide-free and of high nutritional value to maximize its benefits for healthy living.
They also have a newly-opened bed and breakfast, The Farm Table, an onsite farm-to-table restaurant serving ingredients fresh from their own backyard. They also have rooms and beds where they can accommodate guests.
Paradizoo | Mendez
The Zoomanity Group is the leading company in the theme park industry under the Yupangco Group of Companies. One of their theme parks includes Paradizoo Theme Park, a ten-hectare rolling terrain land. It boasts of different areas like farm animals, vegetable and flower garden, and a whole lot more. It offers a variety of educational, outdoor, and group outing programs for nature, flowers, and animal lovers. Aside from that, we also experienced a close encounter with butterflies which just feels magical.
Commonly known as the Silang Church, the Diocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Candelaria is known for its Spanish colonial architectural style and the rococo-influenced retablos. It also remains in the oldest existing stone church in the province of Cavite, having completed in 1639. Historically, the National Museum of the Philippines declared the church and retablo of the Our Lady of Candelaria Parish as a National Cultural Treasure on February 3, 2017.
Far Eastern University Cavite | Silang
Far Eastern University Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (FEU-ITHM) helped increase awareness of the slow food system that promotes clean, fair, and healthy food. Dean Harold Bernardo Bueno participated in the former DOT-Calabarzon’s Farm-To-Table Experience event with us. And, he invited over the Department of Tourism’s Calabarzon office to discuss the Slow Food mantra which aims to revitalize the movement. Plus, the students showed off their skills from tradition and sustainability to our colorful history and the future of food.
Shambala | Silang
Shambala Silang is a destination providing spaces for reflection and inspiration, learning and healing, dining and bonding, creativity and spirituality. It also became the home of Mana Kitchen & Singkaban Bar, Tawid Gallery, and the Ifugao Village of the South. As the last place for our two-day trip, it is an enchanting place that pays homage to the Cordilleran culture. From terraces sculpted on a hill to Ifugao huts, spreading throughout the property.
I recommend going to these places and learning more about their history. Thank you to the Department of Tourism – Calabarzon office for inviting us along with amazing people that we can now call as friends. Meanwhile, I felt absolutely grateful for everything we encountered. We, at Village Pipol Magazine, had a blast. Thank you again!
Angela Grace P. Baltan has been writing professionally since 2017. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. Aside from that, she has an affinity for writing anything under the sun. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, the LGBTQIA+ community, and mental health among others.