The transition from agriculture to agri-tourism has been productive economically and socially for the residents of Barangay Bagumbayan in Tabuk City, Kalinga.
The community’s major project, Bagumbayan Coffee Village, started early 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic as restrictions in movement were not too strict then, unlike in the National Capital Region.
Village folks were hired for coffee processing, with the products sold to commercial establishments.
Previously, they were content just selling coffee beans outside of Tabuk City for PHP100 or PHP200 depending on the size of the tin can.
“Now, our people grow the coffee, process the coffee, package it, and sell at premium price,” Cindy Mangliwan, a council member of Barangay Bagumbayan, told the Philippine News Agency after the community was awarded Best Cordillera Tourism Village by the Department of Tourism (DOT) at Camp John Hay here on Monday.
Barangay Bagumbayan won PHP1 million which they will use to improve facilities to lure more tourists.
Mangliwan said that with the increasing sales of their products, coffee shrubs that have been around for as long as 20 years are income-generators again.
“The shift from plain agriculture to agri-tourism helped a lot. It is very productive, helpful in the lives of the people in the community economically and socially because it also allows us to have closer bonding experiences,” Mangliwan added.
Mangliwan said their community also received technical assistance from the DOT, aligned with the United Nations world tourism standards; seminars and training on organic coffee production from the Department of Agriculture; and the coffee processing building and materials from the Department of Science and Technology.
Tabuk is a jump-off point for tourists who visit the world-renowned tattoo artist Apo Whang-od, who is already 106 years old, in Buscalan, Tinglayan, a two-hour drive from the city.
Jovita Ganongan, DOT-Cordillera director, said the competition aims “to enhance tourism facilities and services and to motivate the pursuit of environment and sound community participatory tourism programs especially involving the Indigenous Peoples.”
From 20 applicants, they were narrowed to 12 and finally, to six finalists based on sustainable management, socio-economic and rural development sustainability, cultural sensitivity, and environmental sustainability.
The other finalists were Bila Tourism Village in Bauko, Mountain Province, second place, PHP500,000; Balbalasang Eco Village in Kalinga, PHP200,000; and runners-up Chaya Heritage Village in Mayaoyao, Ifugao, Nagacadan Open Air Museum in Kiangan, Ifugao, and Tawang Tourism Village in Balbalan, Kalinga, PHP100,000 each. (PNA)