BAGUIO CITY – Strawberry picking is not only available in the nearby town of La Trinidad but is now also available in the country’s undisputed Summer Capital, thanks to the officers and members of the Bilis Sto. Tomas Central Farmers Livelihood Association who converted a 3-hectare sloping portion of their place into a strawberry and vegetable-producing area.
Furthermore, strawberries and vegetables produced by the 80-member group are organically grown using potable water from a nearby spring plus the fact that the supply of the strawberries is year-round through the San Andres variety.
Strawberry picking in the plantation site will be opened to the public starting February 24, 2018 wherein the entry of interested residents and visitors will be regulated by the Sto. Tomas Central barangay officials and the officers and members of the association considering the inadequate comfort rooms and parking spaces in the plantation area, thus, interested visitors must coordinate with the barangay for the smooth conduct of their strawberry picking activities.
Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr., chairman of the City Council Committee on Market, Trade, Commerce and Agriculture, said that the area is a potential agri-tourism site that could be maximized to promote the production of organically produced agricultural crops that will help boost the livelihood opportunities of residents wanting to maximize available spaces in their backyards for the production of fruits and vegetables.
Yangot expressed his gratitude to the increasing members of the group for their resilience in developing the 3-hectare slopping area into a productive plantation area which will be converted into a major tourism site for those wanting to venture on the potentials of agri-tourism.
“We are proud of the group for their resilience in providing alternative attractions for our constituents and visitors, especially that the production of strawberries in their production area is year-round which will guarantee the influx of people in their place,” Yangot stressed.
Solomon Lang-acan, president of the Bilis Sto. Tomas Central Farmers Livelihood Association, said that the San Andres strawberry runners were sneaked into the country by one of their relatives from abroad and they painstakingly exerted their efforts to mass produce the available runners to be used for the sustainable year-round production of strawberries not only for their consumption but also for the needs of the market.
He added that the group plans to organize farm tours for interested visitors in the future once the appropriate amenities will be put in place to cater to the basic necessities of the people frequenting the place, thus, what is being done is for the nearby residents to allow the use of their comfort rooms and available vacant spaces for the requirements of the people.
Sitio Bilis, barangay Sto. Tomas Centralis approximately 12 kilometers away from the city proper and it could be reached via Marcos highway.
Councilor Elmer Datuin, chairman of the City Council Committee on Tourism, Special Events, Parks and Playgrounds, said the presence of the strawberry farm in the city which will be opened for strawberry picking is not to compete with the strawberry picking in La Trinidad but it is actually complimentary to provide tourists with alternative attractions when they spend their vacation in the city.