Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Bounty and Beauty of BATAD

In many towns across the province of Iloilo, farmers and fishermen are recognizing the need and desire to diversify their produce and supplement their agricultural and fisheries income. As a mainly agricultural and fishery community, Batad, a 5th class municipality situated north in the province of Iloilo. Comprised of 24 barangays, it is 125 kilometers or a three-hour bus or van ride from Tagbak Terminal in Jaro Iloilo City.

Batad is generally far and due to the remoteness, majority of the people still rely on farming and fisheries for subsistence. The fertile farming land attracted the people of Batad to start farming in the vicinity of the cornfields community. It was due to abundant production of corn that the community was called “Corn Capital of Iloilo.” Aside from rice as its major crop, corn is planted throughout its 900-hectare land area. Corn is considered as this town’s OTOP (One Town One Product).

CPU sophomore tourism students for TUMANDOK 2012-Batad group

Corn is considered as one of the most popular cereals in the world. Corn forms as a staple food of numerous people in different countries. Although there are no particular health benefits of corn, except for the fact that it provides necessary calories for daily metabolism of the body, corn is good for skin care, boosting nervous system, digestion, and maintaining low cholesterol levels.

Located in very rural areas that lack a steady stream of visitors, cornfields is the most noticeable attraction of Batad. Farm kids have always enjoyed getting themselves lost in cornfields. The local government is trying to raise the bar on this kind of attraction and do it as well as it can be done anywhere. It is called agritourism, and it is an important strand of the tourist economy of Iloilo Province whose major attractions involve scenic beauty, outdoor recreation and traditional rural folkways.

Agri-tourism is the practice of attracting travelers or visitors to an area used primarily for agricultural purposes. The idea of tourism stimulates images of mass-produced travel that attracts a large number of visitors. Tourism is an option for enhancing their agricultural revenues. Like ecotourism, it is small-scale, low-impact, and is education-focused.

The few people who have jobs commute out of the community. The local officials are looking at its Local Governance Initiative as a means of attracting commercial and industrial development and to create jobs for the community.

With travel and tourism is fast becoming a big business across Iloilo, the farmers of Batad have tremendous opportunities to diversify their local produce and service offerings with agricultural and eco tourism. It can provide them with basic information on how to use tourism as an additional product offering on the farm. This practical tool can help farmers decide whether or not to enhance their incomes with tourism activities.

There are many and varied uses for corn husks. Although not so popular, it is one of the most common for wrapping fish and other types of seafood so they can be grilled. While many people are aware of toys and simple crafts that can be made from corn husks, home decorating also inspires different uses. They can be made into attractive flowers by folding them in half and attaching the ends together to make a flower petal. Several can be made and then the ends attached at the center. A dried flower can be glued to the center as an accent. The Women’s Group Association in barangay Caw-i through its FITS Center has been making corn flowers, baskets, trays and bags for the last five years. They are thoughtful homemade gifts and can be great centerpieces.

Another attraction of Batad is probably the biggest constructed dam in the province of Iloilo, the Alapasco Dam. It is a five-kilometer drive from the town’s poblacion to the scenic barangay of Alapasco in Sitio Luy-a, Bulak Sur. the dam serves as a water storage reservoir in the low foothills of cornfields that forms a backdrop to its artificial lake. Besides being an educational site, it is also cheap entertainment, that is, there is no fee for enjoying the exhibits and scenery. The dam was constructed in 1993 and was finished in 1997 with a length measuring 264.90 meters and  a height of 21 meters.  It has a hatchery of golden tilapia that allows visitors to view as well as the ponds where they keep some of the adult fish. Paddling boats are popular activities for visitors in the area.

Off to a 15-minuter pumpboat ride from barangay Tanao four kilometers from the poblacion is this town’s only island attraction, the Magalumpi Island. Uninhabited, it is a perfect snorkeling and swimming area for visitors. Motorized boat service is convenient and economical. The island barangays of Concepcion, Estancia and Carles serves as backdrop of this island. Its turquoise waters and sunshine make it a perfect adventure destination.

If you have not been to Batad, you should, and if you have been here more than once, come again, as this quaint town is home to ecotourism surprises and activities galore. You will not be disappointed.

Know more about Batad during the 9th TUMANDOK on September 4-8 at the fountain area of Robinsons Place Iloilo. For more information, please contact Mr. Ernesto Balida-Municipal Tourism Officer at 09399388030.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to share this bounty and beauty.I have visited your great post.
    Skin care San Ramon


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