Every bit of adventure in a Mayoyao agro-tourism trip

By Anthony A. Araos

“There’s every bit of fun and adventure in an agro-tourism trip to Mayoyao.”

Make no mistake about it that Mayoyao is not merely a town blessed with panoramic rice terraces. It is also known as the “organic farming” capital of Ifugao. As such, there are a thousand and one reasons to promote Mayoyao as an “agro-tourism” destination in northern Luzon.
Today, vegetables and other cash crops are organically raised in many villages of this upland town. Perhaps, it is high time for municipal government officials to herald loudly the fact that Mayoyao is in a distinct position to claim that it is the best place to grow the main ingredients of the popular Ilocano dish pinakbet consisting of different varieties of eggplant, okra, ampalaya, tomatoes, onions, squash and string beans. Likewise, I’ve been told that they are also growing cucumbers, patola and radish there too.
Thus, Mayoyao should provide guided tours on organic farms. This shall be highly appreciated by local and foreign visitors. For an organic farm is truly a site to behold. It is a learning experience to visit an organic farm.
There’s every bit of fun and adventure in an agro-tourism trip to Mayoyao. That’s how it is always supposed to be. I can only wish that others had that too in the other towns in Ifugao.
Improving basic information on agro-tourism (or farm tourism) requires the collaboration of stakeholders. This surely involves farmers and tourism industry major operators.
In Mayoyao and elsewhere, promotion of agro-tourism is a shared responsibility. Everyone needs to pitch in. Each one needs to contribute to the cause- local government units (LGUs, business sector, education sector and the youth. Whether you think you can contribute big or small, you’re absolutely right; Mayoyao needs “I Care” attitude on this concern. For it will a big difference in the lives of the people.
When we say yes to agro-tourism in Mayoyao, and at the same time draw tourists to it, we become Big Brothers and Big Sisters to its mostly poor people because jobs and incomes are generated.
Thus, I am extremely pleased to be taking the important step of endorsing Mayoyao as the next agro-tourism destination in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), in particular, and northern Luzon, in general, and to lead in the development and implementation of a new tourism masterplan for Mayoyao anchored on but not limited to the foregoing premises. A new tourism masterplan that is responsive to the needs of the people and the changing times. This should be the mindset of the town’s incoming officials.
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If Mayoyao has a distinguished history in recent times, credit the feat to outgoing Mayor Ronie Lumayna and former Board Member Samson Atluna. They contributed immensely to the town’s growth and development. Undoubtedly, they have honored the tradition of excellent and enlightened public service of great Ifugao leaders.
The people of the second district of Ifugao recognize that the notable gains of the district have been achieved through the united and coordinated efforts of then Board Member Atluna and provincial government officials.
Surely, the grassroots leaders, local government officials and sectoral leaders from both the private and public sphere share and embrace the vision of Samson Atluna for a progressive, peaceful and prosperous second district of the province. They believe and trust in the able and strong leadership and inspired public service of Samson Atluna.
Atluna is running for Board Member under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) in the 2019 midterm elections. The second district is also composed of Alfonso Lista, Aguinaldo and Banaue towns. There are 15 candidates in the said district for this position.
Fearless forecast: Samson Atluna shall emerge on top of the race. He shall be the top vote getter in the district’s four towns. Wanna bet?
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Comprehending the responsibility of shouldering the capital outlay of cash-strapped barangay councils has been erroneously attributed to the barangay government as simply the way out for the purchase of valuable equipment at the barangay hall. A case in point: Poblacion North Barangay Council (in Lagawe) bought two Salter weighing scales for Php 7,000. It even bought pipe and accessories for its health and day care centers for Php 10,000. Is there a need for a barangay council with meager resources to shoulder these expenses? The reality is that there is a municipal government to provide basic health services.
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I learned from a reliable source that former Poblacion South Punong Barangay Christopher Pagadut was dissuaded from running as Councilor in Lagawe in next year’s polls. Who is this reliable source? Of course, Mr. Pagadut himself. In a recent conversation with him, Pagadut disclosed that some incumbent councilors asked him not to file his certificate of candidacy (CoC). He followed their advice.
Earlier, Pagadut opted not to seek a new term as punong barangay because he was setting his sights at the Sangguniang Bayan. Pagadut, also a former Councilor, could have been easily re-elected in the last barangay polls. This time around, in the electoral battle for a seat in the SB in the capital town of Lagawe, Pagadut is considered by many as a shoo-in winner. I am not surprised if some quarters persuaded him not to run. The action was obviously self-serving. This development is deeply frustrating. It is a great disservice to the people who are in dire need of competent officials. Sadly, Mr. Pagadut- an esteemed friend of mine, committed the biggest blunder of his life.
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Ifugao voters should double- check the position of the candidates for vice governor in next year’s polls in so far as their stand on the people’s clamor for a quick declaration of a state of calamity when a typhoon hits the province in the future.
As of this time (Oct. 28) I am working on my column, there is still no declaration of a state of calamity in the province in the aftermath of typhoon Ompong (international name: Manghuk). Ompong struck Ifugao last Sept. 25.
The candidates are Board Members Victor Bunnol Jr. of Lamut (Partido Federal ng Pilipinas) and James Frederick Dulnuan (PDP-Laban) of Banaue, as well as Alfonso Lista Mayor Glenn Prudenciano (LP).
I’d like to ask them the following query: If elected as the next Vice Governor, with the corresponding duty to preside at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, how do you intend to speed up the act of declaring a state of calamity in Ifugao?
Innovation can be in the form of penalizing a board member each day the province has not be placed under a state of calamity when a typhoon (or any other disaster) hit it. Pay a fine of Php 5,000 and I’m sure the SP member shall finally realize the magnitude of the problem at hand. By the way, the fine should also be imposed on the vice governor.
Remedial measures geared at lessening the pain and anguish of disaster victims hinge on holding a special session about 24 hours after the disaster occurred. It also fulfills the board members’ mission to serve the people dutifully and faithfully well at all times.
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It is indeed disheartening to know that youngsters in Banaque are increasingly finding farming no longer attractive. The end result is a setback for food production. It has repercussions too on the Banaue Rice Terraces, a national treasure known throughout the world.
If they make it to the municipal hall, I do wish candidates here for mayor, vice mayor and councilor push to strengthen efforts to efficiently and effectively safeguard, maintain and improve the terraces’ conditions. There is a need to prioritize the provision of measures to encourage the young in pursuing courses related to agriculture. So why not identify, for instance, two or three poor but intelligent high school graduates (preferably those with valedictorian honors) to take the University of the Philippines College Admission Test (UPCAT) and subsequently study at UP College Los Banos. This will go a very long way to encourage the youth to enroll in an agriculture course, stay put later in Banaue and develop these rice terraces.
Candidates for mayor are Raul Ballogan, incumbent vice mayor Joel Bungallon, John Raymund Wesley Dulawan and Placido Wachayna Jr. Dulawan is the PDP-Laban bet and the three others are independent aspirants.
Vice mayoralty contenders are Hygelac Cayong (National Unity Party) and Donald Mongolnon (independent). Believe it or not: there are 35 candidates for councilor. Only eight seats are to be contested for the Sangguniang Bayan. The council hopefuls include Samuel Abbig, Ricky Abluyen, Almond Roy Accangan, Samuel Baguilat, Chester Bahatan, Fernando Bahatan, Ulyses John Balanhi, Abe Batton, Santos Bayucca, Jessie Benahan, Johnny Binahan (NUP), Johnny Bongtiwon (NUP), Raul Bumanghat, Jonas Bustamante (PDP-Laban), John Alfred Cappleman II, Fernando Chulipa (NUP), Ben Dalipe, Allen Duntugan, Henry Duntugan, Agustin Dupingay, Joedy Gahar, Fermin Haclao Jr., Rogelio Immatong, Glenn Immoliap, Roberto Immotina, Lino Madchiw, Albert Magguling Sr., Christopher Nadiahan, Jonathan Niwane, Andres Ordillo (PDP-Laban), Carla Pinoe, Daniel Pitpitunge Jr., Julius Tayaban, Benjamin Tugguin Sr., and Jordan Tundagui (PDP-Laban).
Truth to tell, people knew too well that this is such a big cast for the municipal council contest. My proposal: prune down further the list to only 12 candidates through an aptitude test. The conduct of a primary or run-off contest should be seriously considered in the Philippines for the sake of sanity. Do it!, because it’s practical and do-able. Not unless you want a circus to take place! Just the same, Good luck and God bless to all of you.
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Blooper in Ifugao: A taurpalin of barangay Poblacion South (in Lagawe) carried the message of an ordinance on parking. It says: No parking on this sides. There are two arrow signs: one on the left and another on the right. It should have been these sides.
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A tip for success: Honor and acknowledge the contributions of others around you. Big or small, these contributions are tools for excellence in work or study. After all, your peers are also striving for excellence.
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For our food delights corner: Filipinos give so much importance to snack time. It is for this reason this portion is now bringing out the best of Fresh Lumpiang Ubod. It is made from tender slices of fresh coconut heart with pork, shrimp and crabmeat, altogether wrapped in egg crepe and topped with a nutty, garlicky brown sauce. It is must-try, must-eat dish for all ages. Take two pieces for a satisfying snack at home or office. Great with pancit canton (another all-time favorite snack item of most Filipinos and to be highlighted in my incoming commentary) and chilled orange juice. Complete your snack with your favorite ice cream. Don’t worry about your waistline, it is nearly Christmas time. What are you waiting for? Let life be more filling with Fresh Lumpiang Ubod! As always, say your prayer for the blessings at the table.
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Finally, a thought for our readers: “I want to join the fun.” Former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile shortly after filing his CoC for senator at the Comelec in Manila.**

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