The fertile lands surrounding Mt. Apo, the highest peak in the Philippines, owe their richness to the volcanic activity that has shaped the region over the years. Farmers and entrepreneurs in the vicinity of the volcano have harnessed the benefits of this nutrient-rich environment, cultivating a diverse range of crops such as fruits, vegetables, and grains. The emergence of farms catering to tourists like Humbled by Nature, Balutakay Coffee Farms, Lao Integrated Farms, and The Berries Farm Cabin signals Davao del Sur’s rise as a promising destination for farm tourism in the country.
Humbled by Nature
A breathtaking mountainscape greeted us upon our arrival at Humbled by Nature in Barangay Asbang, Matanao, Davao del Sur. The sounds of percussion and strings accompanied a warm welcome, featuring a cultural performance by the Blaan, one of the non-Islamic tribal groups in Southern Philippines, adorned in colorful local garb and brasswork, showcasing their rich crafts and cultural heritage.
Humbled by Nature is an agricultural farm boasting a grape vineyard where guests can pick and harvest on their own. The farm also cultivates raspberries, mulberries, strawberries, dragon fruits, and a variety of vegetables. Noteworthy is the sprawling garden, thoughtfully organized with pathways leading to scenic viewpoints and cottages near the ravine. It’s a serene place that truly humbles visitors with the vastness of nature.
Accommodations at the farm start from P1,200 to P3,000, providing an immersive farm experience with options like nature hikes, swimming, and horseback rides.
Humbled by Nature Farm
Barangay Assbang, Matanao, Davao del Sur
Day trip entrance fee: P30 (Free for those 10 years old and below)
Email: [email protected]
Facebook Page: Humbled by Nature Facebook Page
Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (BACOFA)
Perched at 1,700 meters above sea level on the slopes of Mt. Apo in Balutakay, Bansalan, Davao del Sur, the coffee farms of Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (BACOFA) are cultivated by smallholder coffee farmers who joined forces in 2013. Now comprising 68 members and still growing, BACOFA, led by the coop head, Jon Gonzalez, supplies quality single-origin specialty Arabica green beans to various locations nationwide. Their dedication to excellence has earned them accolades from the Philippine Coffee Quality Competition.
Visitors can experience the coffee farm firsthand, witnessing the cultivation and harvesting of beans, and enjoy a cup of their soothing and flavorful coffee. There’s a unique satisfaction in sipping coffee on the very land where it was grown.
Lao Integrated Farms, Inc
In Barangay Eman, Bansalan, Davao del Sur, the Lao Integrated Farms, Inc. offers an immersive tour promoting sustainable and organic farming. Initiated by farmer-scientist Benjamin Lao, this farm has transformed from a goat farm into a manufacturer and global exporter of organic coconut sap-based products.
As part of the Tourism Promotions Board tour, we were treated to a cultural dance performance and a briefing on the farm’s story while sipping on a warm turmeric, ternate, and coconut sugar concoction. The farm tour includes stops at the vermicomposting area, cattle farm, fruit-bearing trees, and vegetable farms. A snack intermission at a pavilion offers an all-organic meal of cool turmeric tea, roselle tea, pizza, buko pie, and homemade cacao and durian ice creams. The tour concludes with a fascinating arboretum trail and a visit to the souvenir and bakery shop.
The Berries Farm Cabin and Restaurant
Situated 1,200 meters above sea level in Sitio New Bohol, Brgy. Managa, Bansalan, Davao del Sur, The Berries Farm Cabin and Restaurant offers a picturesque setting with cool breezes and mountain views. The American Cabin-style restaurant provides dining and a unique “u-pick your own berries” experience. Signature dishes infused with berries, such as nachos, salads, grilled chicken, and exotic wild pig (baboy ramo) adobo, are served against a backdrop of stunning mountain views.
Berry pickers are given baskets to fill and weigh later during checkout. For those who prefer ready-to-buy berries during peak seasons, the farm offers them on a first-come-first-served basis. Overnight stays are possible, allowing guests to enjoy the cold weather and scenic views, with an A-Frame Cabin accommodation available for up to eight persons.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.