DAVAO CITY — The upland district of Marilog — home to numerous small vegetable, fruit, and flower farms as well as a growing number of hillside resorts and restaurants — is being groomed to become one of the city’s main agri-tourism site.
Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII) President Arturo M. Milan said the chamber will be working with the City Tourism Office to develop a comprehensive plan in coordination with the farmers.
“There are so many farms, especially in Marilog area… people (on their own) just go there,” Mr. Milan said in an interview after the recently-held Davao Agri Trade Expo 2018, where farm tourism development was identified as a priority sector.
Mr. Milan said one of the components being discussed is a dedicated tour bus route.
“As of now, if you don’t have your own vehicle, you can’t really go there… There should be a bus (from the city center) to Marilog that will make stops at the farms. That is really our vision, to do it as a regular service,” Mr. Milan said.
At the same time, the farmers need to be organized to prepare them to offer tourism services.
He cited Bemwa Farms as a potential model site because it has become popular among locals as an agri-tourism destination.
“If you just go to Marilog during weekends, you will see so many cars, all the restaurants are full… Just like Bemwa, that is actually how it is should be, there are a lot of small farms there that could be included in a system that is structured, ” he said.
He said Davao City is in a good position to host farm tours because the urban center is not too far from the agricultural areas.
“The good thing with us is, we are so close to the farm sites and we can really bring, especially people from Manila, to visit a farm and do harvesting,” said Mr. Milan, adding that it is also one way of promoting direct links between farmers and buyers.
Mr. Milan also noted that Davao Region as a whole has a “from highlands to islands” tourism campaign, “So this is our way of promoting, adding value to the promotion of highlands in Davao.” — Maya M. Padillo