Reconnaissance II

Street Photography

White Lodge
Reconnaissance II. Trying a monochromatic effect of bluish-white in this photo. The Bayanihan Lodge is just one among many American influenced structure in Baguio City. This city is a melting pot of cultures. 05/23/18

Taken at noon, another shot for our series of the Bayanihan Lodge. An American influenced architecture in Baguio City.

Jeepneys and local people and transportation crossed in front of this structure, giving a the multi-cultural scene in this part of the city.

 

The Bayanihan Lodge saga…
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Reconnaissance

Black & White: Street Photography

Baguio City Architecture – Bayanihan Lodge

Bayanihan in Black & White

 

 

Crossing Contrasts

Street Photography

Baguio City Architectures- The Bayanihan Lodge

Bayanihan Lodge the Ukay Center
The Bayanihan Lodge in Baguio City also one of the the Ukay-Ukay Centers in the city. April 13,2018. Photo by Grassroots’ Advocate

 

This structure has been a favorite subject for our street photography. This one was taken at day time. More of the Bayanihan Lodge (check this one taken at late noon- Crossing Corners) in our future posts for Grassroots’ Photography. Thanks for continuous support and follow to our page!

 

Picking The Crimson Crop: “Plotting the Future for the Benguet, Strawberry Farms”

ARCHIVED: June 17, 2015. First Published @ Eternal Student; 2017. Grassroots’ Advocate @ Blogger

Eternal Student- Plotting the Future for BSU Strawberry Farms (June 17, 2015)

The Strawberry Farm’s crimson crop could lose its cream if potentials will not be given the attention it deserve.

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Crimson Crop. Celebrated in La Trinidad, on the month of March is the Strawberry Festival. The strawberry is one of the primary crops produced in the town of La Trinidad, Benguet in the Philippines.

The strawberry farm remains to be one of the main destination for tourists in La Trinidad Benguet where its farmers found an avenue to sell their crop. Local producers and farmers who uses the land provided by the Benguet State University (BSU) gained the opportunity to bring their harvests and other goods to the national market where tourists comprise the large portion as their consumers.

/this article is written for Development Communication Internship Program, by G.Mansilla & J. Caranay DEVC students/

 “I came all the way from Cavite just to see the strawberries”, says Nica Torres one of the many tourists who visited the Strawberry Farm to see and buy fresh strawberries and experience first-hand picking from the strawberry patches. This crimson crop of the valley attracts people from different places and have introduce them to Benguet Province’s other attractions as an agri-destination.

The fact that the people themselves are the ones who get to pick the berries straight from their patches keeps people coming from different regions of the country to the Cordillera region. The Strawberry Farm reminds the locals and visitors that Baguio City is not the only source of vacation hotspots in the North. La Trinidad is just among other municipalities in Benguet that offers out of town experience to many travelers and visitors.

Grassroots’ Advocate

There are about 42 farmers who lease farms at the BSU Strawberry Farm.  According to Prof. Danilo P. Padua, former director of the BSU Business Affairs Office and Strawberry farming and production research expert, BSU’s priority is to lend the land to the farmers and allow them to develop their own area in the way they want.

BSU rents out the land to farmers at 15 pesos per square meters in a year. “We rent the land but we put up the stalls, and the farmers are in charge of maintaining and improving the land they rent (Nirerent lang namin yung lupa tapos kami na ang gagawa ng stall at yung sa mga farmer yung lupa nila na nirent ay bahala na sila mag ayus o gawin ang gusto nila.), according to Myrna Akilit, a stall owner at the Strawberry Farm for more than ten years now.

According to Dr. Jones Feliciano, Vice President for Business Affairs of Benguet State University in an interview, the main purpose of the Strawberry Farm is to serve as an income generating project (IGP) of BSU.

As cited on the official website of BSU the Strawberry Farm is included in one of the 21 income generating projects of the University that supplement the subsidy it receives from the General Appropriations Acts (GAA). The IGPS include Bakery, Food Processing Center, Souvenir and Gift Shop, Marketing Center, Multi-Vegetable Production, BSU Garments, RSDC Canteen, Strawberry Restaurant, the Gladiola Center, Agricultural Land Use, Commercial Space Use, Sariling Sikap Program, Strawberry Production Project, Guestels (HMEG), and SLS Canteen, among others.

One of the farmers located at the BSU ATIB-IC shared that the area where they are farming is under development. Farmers in located at the front entrance of the Strawberry farm undergoes training and research for improvement. “Kaming mga farmers ang mag-dedevelop ng farm namin. (We are farmers are the ones who would develop our farm.)”, he said.

Top Tourism Spot in La Trinidad

The Strawberry Farm also brings tourism opportunities for the municipality of La Trinidad. Among other strawberry farms in the municipality, the BSU Strawberry Farm has the widest land area and production of strawberries.

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Strawberry Taho. A local Filipino food enjoyed traditional as a morning snack. Many small-scale grassroots entrepreneurs makes profit from taho. The Cordillera region has its own version with the strawberry flavor.

“Tourists can see our products, like strawberry taho, from social media. With this they are magnetized to visit Benguet. (Yung mga tinitinda namin nakikita ng mga tao sa social media. Nahahatak nila mga turista dito sa Benguet.)”, says manong Bruce Castillo a taho vendor at the farm for more than ten years.

The Department of Tourism Cordillera Region have been listing the Strawberry Farms as one of the top most visited site in Benguet for many years. Further , it has been included as part of the Baguio City tour itinerary since the city’s tourism boom.

To visit or not to visit again?

Despite the benefits of being a tourist destination, there are few concerns from the vendors around the farm and the visitors.

“The Number one problem here is the lack of parking lots, but because this is the property of BSU their approval should be sought first”, explains manong Bruce. “Lack of trash bins is also a problem…”, he added, “…the trash of the tourists were scattered because they do not know where to throw so it affects the beauty of the place.”

A farmer suggested to pave the pathways along the strawberry farm. He added that tourists complains about the muddy passageways. “This has been, apparently, a plan way, way back but it’s not yet implemented”, he shared.

Lack in advertising is also a problem as observed by the residents. People from different places thought that the farm is located in Baguio City. Also, during strawberry festival, tourists were not as many as during Panagbenga or other famous festivals in the country.

Aside from strawberries, the farm also produces lettuce, broccoli, sweet peas, beans, some varieties of flowers that grows in Benguet. These are the products the tourists see and buy especially during the rainy season when strawberries are not available.

La Trinidad Strawberry Farm overtaken?

Strawberries require a specific climatic condition to grow. However, other provinces like Davao and Bicol have strawberry farms now. Photos of these farms posted in the internet would show that they have wide strawberry farms with green houses. Davao plant the berries in a bamboo stalk to prevent the strawberries lay on the ground also to provide a walkway conducive for visitors exploring the farm. Bicol on the other hand, focused on the aesthetic aspects of their strawberry farm. They have photo booths and good signage and designs in their view deck and entrance.

Dr. Feliciano also believes that BSU’s strawberry farm needs a lot of improvement but the University still needs to seek assistance for funds. “We requested to the accounting office for enough fund for the improvement of the farm. We need to improve it because it is the main tourist attraction of the province of Benguet particularly La Trinidad so by all means we need to develop it.”

“I do not believe that other places can surpass our strawberry farm. If they’ll produce strawberries in the low land, it will be for temporary production since we can only provide the needed climatic condition by nature to grow strawberries. They cannot come up with the kind of quality we produce here in Benguet”, Feliciano added.

Plotting the plans of the farm

For the past few years the Benguet State University and its co-stakeholders are looking out on improving the state of the farm.

Dr. Padua, had headed a group from BSU who wants to improve the farm for tourism purposes. According to him, they passed a draft to the BSU administration for the development plan with the help of a Canadian expert.

The development plan includes producing new varieties of strawberries, installing more trash bins inside the farm for cleaner environment, and having a good source of water.  The farm is also in need of green-houses too to produce strawberries even in rainy seasons. CRs, information desk, uniform stalls, good view deck, wider parking lots and establishing a restaurant to improve the tourism is also part of the plan.

“We had the draft but they didn’t give us a go signal to push the development plan”, Dr. Padua said.

Dr. Feliciano also enumerated the things UBA wants to improve for the improvement of the farm. These are: sourcing out a good portable irrigation system, very good view deck, road system, drainage canals, comfortable comfort rooms, restaurant that will cater the needs of the tourist going to the farm, very good parking area, and green houses.

“The plans will be implemented at soonest possible time. We are trying to source out financers because that requires a multi-million cost of project to develop”, Dr. Feliciano answered.

Season of Implementation

UBA and Padua’s team has the same views on what to improve in the farm. The plans were broadcasted during the BSU Kapihan 2013. But as observed, the farm now, two years since the plans were constructed, the aesthetic aspect of the place only got worst.

The La Trinidad Tourism Plan has already been approved since the first quarter of this year, although we understand that BSU have their own plans for the site. “Implementation lang ang hinihintay. (We are only waiting for implementation), says Valred Olsim, Municipal Tourism Officer.

There are four main projects which are included in the Tourism Plan in which BSU’s approval and intervention are paramount. These are, beautification of CR, building of view decks, good parking lots and landscaping of the farm/parking area.

The plan was created through the efforts of several stakeholders which compose the Tourism council of La Trinidad. The council includes representatives from Benguet State University, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Local Government Unit, Barangay councils, Non-Government Organizations and private sectors.

//J. Caranay & G.Mansilla@Grassroots’Advocate (BSU-DEVCOMM). (Copyright2015)

 

Crossing Corners

Street Photography

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Crossing Corners. Baguio City (02/22/2018; 6:00pm)

One of the busiest roads in the city where people cross from all corners of this intersection, and scurrying vehicles meet head to tail.

The Bayanihan Lodge in Baguio – an old architectural styled building found across Burnham Park along Shanum Street in Baguio.

This treasured architecture faces property concerns with the local government’s aim to develop the city. The old lodge houses the city’s famous’ Ukay-Ukay (bargain market for clothes).

 

“Sustainable Tourism” (Photo Story)

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Sustainable Tourism: An Invitation to Participate

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“Alay sa Kalikasan”. (A Service to Nature). These volunteers stayed at the end of the parade. No trace of mess and trash were left on the streets after everyone has gone.

The Street Dance Parade and the Flower Float Parade mark the height of the celebration during Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City inviting tourists or visitors to keep coming back in this town.

Tourism treats local social and economic entrepreneurs with guests from different places to patronize products and services offered by the local people. Sustaining the flow of trade and other activities which help promote home-based potentials and opportunities.

One of the threats of tourism however is pollution to the environment because of neglect to practice keeping the surroundings clean during festivities.

“Alay sa Kalikasan” (A Service to Nature). Holding broomsticks and dustpans, and a banner not to adorn their own group, and joining the parade not to perform but to serve nature by keeping the tail of the performers and street dancers out of trash and mess from the paraders; these are local volunteers from the community committed to give service.

Reminding everyone who participate in the parades- that each one can do their own simple share of awareness in keeping the environment clean. One may not have to bring her own broomstick; it is enough just to carry a selfie-stick and then not leaving any trash behind but properly practice throwing them in the right place.

So everybody may always receive this warm invitation as they go, “Thank you for visiting! Please come again!”

 

Surviving Panagbenga : Parade Stories

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Witness again the creativity and the blooming of artistry among the locals in celebrating the 2018 Panagbenga /Pa-nag-bUH-ngHA/ Festival in Baguio City, Philippines. Here is a story recognizing the Grassroots in the community sustain enthusiasts in for the celebration.