BACOLOD City — Two more agri-tourism sites in Negros Occidental were recently accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Western Visayas.
As of Thursday, the PeacePond Eco Tourism Events and Learning Center in Binalbagan and the Melba’s Farm in Talisay City were the latest to obtain accreditation, covering the southern and northern Negros circuits, respectively.
Cristine Mansinares, provincial supervising tourism operations officer, said these sites have met the DOT standards, including fire safety and required permits.
These areas should be conducive and safe for tourists, she added.
PeacePond, headed by founders Antonio Jesus and Checcs Orbida, runs a five-hectare organic farm and fish production area in Barangay Enclaro.
Through the Plastic Bottle Learning Center and Eco Seed Factory, the site aims to promote health, education, information dissemination, and food security, especially among small farmer-families.
Melba’s Farm, a 10-hectare property owned by Alvin Carranza located in Sitio Masanglad, Barangay Cabatangan, offers “relaxing lodging, forest bathing, and peaceful getaway”.
Other accredited farm-tourism sites in Negros Occidental are the Peñalosa Farms in Victorias City and Rapha Valley in Salvador Benedicto for north Negros; Twenty-Six Herb Garden, May’s Organic Garden and FreshStart Organic Farm in Bacolod City, for metro north Negros; and Bee Well Farmstead in Bago City under the south-central circuit.
“Our target is to have more accredited farm-tourism sites as it will help in our efforts to promote Negros Occidental as a sustainable destination,” Mansinares said.
For her part, Checcs Orbida, vice president of PeacePond Farmers Association, said the DOT accreditation will become integral in PeacePond’s thrust to educate and inform small and marginal farmers.
“We help them to learn about zero-carbon footprint agricultural systems and other innovations which shall guide them in taking care of the earth we live in,” she added. (PNA)