Thursday, August 1, 2013

Farm Holiday in BALBOA

view of Balboa Farm from the monkey-trail area

The town of Barotac Viejo has a large farming community where a growing number of its farmers are little by little turning into entrepreneurs, earning from something they normally offer for free to their friends and relatives, that is, a healthy and relaxing time to unwind in lush green farms, ride a carabao-drawn cart, milk a cow or pluck fresh seasoned fruits from their orchards.

nipa huts
Farm tourism, once a small niche, is expanding rapidly. The local government is now focusing on advertising to boost visitor numbers and spending capacity with the goal of reposition farm tourism so that visitors would regard it as fun, exciting and a basis of a great day out in a rural environment. It is to promote the town by capturing tourism activities that are usually overshadowed by inter-island travel from its neighboring municipalities. Efforts include development of new farm attractions with farm tours that allow tourists to meet local farmers and to get that opportunity to have their hands dirty on a real farm. Not an opportunity offered in many other destinations in Iloilo.

Balboa Farm viwed from the base of the
zipline area
Barotac Viejo is now focusing on being a farm getaway with plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities.

BALBOA FARM in is an isolated farm situated in Barangay Vista Alegre almost 7-kilometers away from the town center. It can be accessed via tricycle at P15.00 per person. The farm is a kilometer from the Barangay Road. The farm was purchased by Mr. Miguelito Balboa in 2009 and was developed in 2011.

The young and young at heart will enjoy this 3.7-hectare land, a perfect place where you can enjoy nature and at the same time take part in all outdoor activities. Balboa is perfect for that smaller backpacking tourist group who would want to have a glimpse of the rural life and farm practices of Barotacnons.

There are many activities that Balboa Farm offers that visitors can participate at. Visitors will revel at the endless excitement in this adventure farm. Ziplining your way to the farm is an enjoyable and thrilling adventure. Zip over a lush landscape, swaying palms and savor the view of the farm with its single zipline with a length of 130 meters and suspended 35 feet from the ground. One can also take the trail down to the farm using a bamboo bridge. Originally, it was used to transport feeds to the farm.

volleyball area
The farm also provides many more activities for different guests. They are operating different games such as football and volleyball. Enjoy walking on the swing bridge with a length of 20 meters and suspended 20 feet above the area’s mini forest. Balboa also offers opportunities to explore its scenic farm via horseback and its 1-kilometer motorcycle trail. A shooting range or firing range is also available for enthusiasts.

fat-bellied pig
The farm would not be complete without farm animals such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, fat bellied pigs and horses that are used for the entertainment of kids and adult guests. It has fruit-bearing trees such as papaya, guava, guyabano and pomelo that add beauty to its landscape and provide delicious, edible produce during the harvesting season.

Private family and group events can be held on site with their pavilion that can accommodate 50 persons.  Nestling among beautiful trees, the farm offers 5 traditional nipa huts that can accommodate 3 persons and a house good for 10 persons for those who would want to stay overnight. Balboa is unique in offering very affordable family rates.

monkey trail
Now, the number of visitors had finally increased, and tourism activities and agri-tourism have been extended to many of its barangays, the concept of farm tourism will surely provide great economic benefit for the tourism industry of Barotac Viejo.

So, if you are looking for moments of solitude in the fast bustling city life, what you need is a trip to Barotac Viejo, Iloilo which will bring you peace and closeness to nature. Leave all your worries home and plan your trip to its farm resorts because you deserve a break.

To get to Barotac Viejo from Iloilo City, one may take a bus or a van that are readily available in Tagbak Terminal in Jaro, Iloilo City. To get to Balboa Farm, please contact Mr. Miguelito Balboa at 09399242982; Mrs. Lorie Ann Dumdum-Municipal Tourism Officer at 09995796398 or at the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism-Province of Iloilo at telefax (033) 3384910.

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