The Farm Tourism Circuit of Benguet and Mountain Province
Home to a magnificent set of picturesque highland countryside, the region of the Cordillera features an abundance of wonders. From its cool weather all year long to its majestic set of nature, fascinating culture, and mouth-watering local cuisine, an all too familiar feature of the region is gaining much-needed attention today. These are the fruit and vegetable farms of Benguet and Mountain Province.
Spread across the two provinces’ intertwining mountains are colorful fields of blooming flowers, lush green vegetables, and seasonal fruits, best typifying the ingenuity and hard work of the farmers of the Cordillera.
As the growing movement of choosing healthier food options such as farm-to-table expands, visiting these farms will also allow us to show gratitude to our farmers by including their livelihood source as a vital element of the tourism industry.
To help you plan your farm-hopping trip to Benguet and the Mountain Province, here are some farming communities you can visit.
Northern Blossom Flower Farm in Atok, Benguet
This 3-hectare farm that spreads over the scenic mountainside of Atok, Benguet, is where one can regale at the sweeping scenery of colorful flowers that bloom all year-round. A variety of flowers of different types such as Matthiola, rice flower, larkspurs, snapdragons, cabbage roses, and more, are harvested here and reaches the many flower shops of Metro Manila to as far away as Mindanao.
Owned by Mrs. Melany Ganayan and her husband, Northern Blossom Flower Farm has embraced its ‘rock star of all flower farms’ status by welcoming visitors who wanted to stop by to snap some photographs as well as to pluck and buy some flowers.
A few homestays are now operating near the farm while a small café located within the farm offering a sweeping view of the farm and the mountain ranges of Cordillera—you can even see the peaks of Mt. Pulag and Mt. Timbak on a clear day—is set to open soon.
The town of Buguias is said to be among the top vegetable producers in the country and where 80% of the town’s more than 40,000 population are farmers. Farms spanning throughout the mountains and plains of the town are covered with lush vegetation consisting of almost every vegetable you can name.
From chopsuey ingredients (potatoes, carrots, broccoli, lettuce, pechay, etc.) to beans, eggplants, okra, sayote, and even strawberries, one can visit the vegetable farms here and easily fill up a truck of fresh produce.
Other interesting places to visit in Buguias are the Veteran Memorial Marker, which marks the town’s liberation from the Japanese Imperial Army on July 27, 1945, and the World War II 66th Infantry Shrine along Halsema Highway. The town of Buguias is also the site of a 12th-century burial site that includes the mummified remains of Apo Anno—who was believed to have been originally buried in the 16th century.
Another easy to access farm—by Benguet standards—is the vegetable farms in Paoay, Benguet. Besides buying fresh produce and various succulent and snake plants from the farmers here, you can proceed on foot to nearby Bosleng Lourdes Grotto, found shelter under a huge boulder on a stony peak surrounded by vegetable plantations.
Near the grotto, you can find a protruding rock that offers a magnificent view of the surrounding mountains and, on a good day, a sea of clouds.
Bauko, Mountain Province
Benguet’s neighboring province, Mountain Province, is also dotted with lush vegetable and fruit farms. With an elevation rising above 4,100 feet above sea level, the mountain range’s topography on this part of the Cordilleras is perfect for planting and harvesting fresh yield. In the town of Bauko, one can visit one farm after the other, from potato farms to lettuce farms to strawberry, kale, pepper, just to name a few.
This is also an idyllic place to learn more about agriculture from the local farmers themselves, as they are very friendly and accommodating in answering all your questions regarding their own farming techniques. Plus, you can always buy a few kilos of freshly harvested farm goods from them afterward.
Tadian, Mountain Province
Half an hour from Bauko, in the town of Tadian, one can find another lush farm but this time laden with turmeric and ginger plants which the farmers—comprising mostly of local mothers—harvest to produce ginger and turmeric tea. With the help of a social enterprise called the Local Goodness PH, the farmers here are now planting and harvesting an increased production of turmeric and ginger because they can now market it directly to consumers in Metro Manila.
“Today, after the Local Goodness started taking orders for is, it motivated us to keep planting turmeric and ginger. Turmeric farming isn’t easy because it takes almost a year to cultivate it. With the help of the Local Goodness, we cannot stop now,” said one of the mother farmers Theresa Farnican.
Where to Stay
Haight’s Place in Sakura Park (Benguet)
Currently, with 4 cabin-type rooms (undergoing construction for additional rooms), Haight’s Place screams of a mountain vibe that one would expect in Benguet. The property sits in the middle of a wide expanse of green meadows dotted with flower farms—including a handful of Cherry “Sakura” Blossom trees that made headlines in social media a few years ago—, charming camping spots, and even a forest trail.
This is a perfect place to relax and set up base if you’re planning to explore Benguet and nearby Mountain Province farms. The Naguey Rice Terraces is also visible from this place.
Northern Blossoms Flower Farm
Located a few steps from the flower farm of Northern Blossoms. This simple homestay is the ideal place to stay and—literally—smell the flowers all the time.
The management is currently constructing a small café within the farm that will provide guests a romantic spot to have brewed coffee and a hearty breakfast while enjoying the marvelous sunrise over the vibrant flower fields.
How to Go Around
4 by 4 jeepneys are the ride of choice in this part of the Cordillera because of most roads’ uphill terrain. You can easily take one jeepney going to the next town from Atok to Buguias and Mountain Province. However, it would be more convenient if you come here aboard a private vehicle, probably a powerful pick-up or van, so you can have extra storage for the vegetables, fruits, and plants you’ll end up buying from the farmers.