visit Yamang Bukid Farm,
Published: June 28, 2019 02:11pm | Palawan
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Information technology ministers from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines-East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) visited Palawan’s emerging agriculture tourism destination Yamang Bukid Farm on Thursday, immersing with local farmers and learning about sustainable agriculture and tourism.
Undersecretary Mano Verabathran of Malaysia’s Ministry of Communication and Multi-media led the delegation of representatives from the four-country sub-regional bloc.
The foreign guests were accompanied by their Filipino counterparts and representatives from the provincial and local governments in the hour-long tour around the six-hectare farm at Barangay Bacugan here
Upon arriving, the visitors were greeted by a flash mob performance of flag-waving farmer-employees of the farm.
Hope Alas, Yamang Bukid Farm’s tourism officer and several lady-farmers led the guests to a guided tour around the farm, visiting the picture-perfect sunflower garden, nursery of herbal and ornamental plants, the farm’s bee yard, clamping tents and other parts of the sprawling upland getaway before being treated by performances of Filipino folk dances from some young farm workers and a sumptuous lunch featuring authentic Filipino dishes.
“It’s a very beautiful farm, and I like the way that you all have the farming going back to the people,” Verabathran said.
The Malaysian official also praised the farm’s unique business model of giving importance to the welfare of its workers as “it’s not too profit-oriented and it’s more of people going independent of the farming”, even as he cited it as a good farming model for the sub-regional bloc.
“I’m sure that different models are applied in Malaysia but this seems to be more soft, soft model. Everybody is happy. You’ll realize everybody is happy here. We came here and there is dancing,” said Verabathran, who gamely obliged when prodded by his host to a round of Filipino courtship jig “tinkling,” much to the delight of everyone.
“So maybe we can inject happiness into the other models, within BIMP-EAGA,” he added.
Souvenir bags made of indigenous materials and adorned with designs painted by the farm’s in-house artists Julio Opiala and Jjoy Umambong were given to the guests, who in turn, bought Yamang Bukid Healthy Products such as turmeric 10-in-1 tea and local delicacies like the famed suman sa bulo or sumbulo, a rice cake of varied flavors cooked in bamboo.
The foreigners were in Puerto Princesa for a four-day information communication and technology (ICT) cluster meeting among top Cabinet officials from the BIMP-EAGA member-states.
Malaysia, headed by Verabathran, is the current cluster chair. Kuala Lumpur will head the bloc until 2021 and Manila will follow the next three years after that.