Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Scenic Acres of Batad

Alapasco Small Reservoir Irrigation Dam in Barangay Alapasco in Sitio Luy-a, Bulak, 
photo by Bombette G. Marin 

Looking for a weekend drive through into the countryside to a destination that will amuse you? The scenic municipality of Batad in the northern portion of Iloilo has some of the most beautiful natural sites to take in. It features deep valleys, vast farmlands, foothills and acres and acres of cornfields that provide an excuse for a stroll in the sunshine.

Watch corn grow as you drive through this quiet town where nearly half of its cropland grows corn. The town’s beautiful landscape enhances the drive. The cornfields make many appearances as they weave through the valleys.

corn harvest, photo by Bombette G. Marin

Corn had been important to Batad's citizens, livestock, wildlife, and general economy. Corn grains can be processed by either dry milling or wet milling for human consumption or for industrial use. The plants themselves can serve as forage for livestock and wildlife or can be consumed directly as a feed grain. Many animals, including poultry, cattle and swine depend on corn as their main feed source. 

removing the kernels from the cob, photo by Bombette G. Marin
Majority of the people of the town depended on corn grains to sustain life and trade. A high percentage of the population in the town consists of poor, rural, subsistence farmers who grow corn as their main food source and income. Every season, these families must shell or remove the kernels from, all the corn that they grow for storage and consumption. This traditional process is performed by hand, by women and children of every family.

Cornfields are the most noticeable attraction of the town. Located in very rural barangays that lack a steady stream of visitors, the municipal government is trying to raise the bar on this kind of attraction. 

Though not quite established as a local destination in the province, Batad have had its share of community visitors in the past years.

corn trails leading to the dam, photo by Bombette G. Marin

One popular activity when in the area is the cornfield walk in Barangay Alapasco situated approximately five kilometers from the town center. Open to the public, it has pathways where visitors can submerse themselves deep wind through these mazes. The crown jewel of the trek is a beautiful man-made attraction amid the rolling plains of cornfields, the Alapasco Small Reservoir Irrigation Dam.

photo by Bombette G. Marin

Beauty is everywhere you look, the farms, trails, the lake and sightseeing is evident. The Alapasco Small Reservoir Irrigation Dam in Barangay Alapasco in Sitio Luy-a, Bulak Sur serve as a water storage reservoir in the low foothills of cornfields that forms a backdrop to this 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 originated in 1993 and was finished in 1997. Its length measures 264.90 meters with a height of 21 meters. Near the dam you can visit the golden tilapia hatchery and ponds. Its hatchery allows visitors to view its rearing ponds as well as the ponds where they keep some of the adult fish just for visitors to see. Paddling boats are popular activities for visitors in the area. A trip to the dam is one fun activity that keeps visitors coming back.

As corn is by far the largest component of the local coarse-grain trade for this town, none of it is put to waste. While the kernels are traded is used for feed with smaller amounts traded for industrial and food uses, the corn husk, also called corn shuck are crafted to a variety of items for both practical and decorative use.

corn decorative item and bag, photo by Bombette G. Marin

Once the husks are dried, it is a strong, resilient piece of material that can be woven. When shaped while wet, the corn husk will retain that shape after it dries. Because they were so prominent and easily available, people have been making flowers, trays and other decorative items with them for some time now. They fashion them by using florist wire to wrap petals cut from husks around stamens made from several husks bunched together. Glue the corn onto a circle of construction paper and glue on top.

students make corn flowers, photo by Bombette G. Marin
Presently, an organization from Barangay Caw-I called Caw-i Rural Improvement Club involves 25 members who are in to this backyard industry. They use corn husks to fashion a variety of household decorative items.

Outstanding scenic attractions, recreational opportunities and rural community life are scattered throughout this town. 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.

Batad is a 5th class municipality situated north in the province of Iloilo. Comprised of 24 barangays sprawling over its 4, 476 hectare and area.  It is 125 kilometers or a three-hour bus or van ride from North Central Iloilo Terminal in Tagbak, Jaro Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Hon. Ernesto Balida at 09193410068.

1 comment:

  1. Wow when I read the title at first I thought this was in Batad, Mountain Province. I didn't know such place exists in Iloilo. Thank you thank you for this. Planning my trip here pretty soon.


Celebrating Tubungan’s Colorful and Vibrant Cultural Festival

Tubungan, Iloilo on its 250th Foundation Anniversary will celebrate the 17th Tubong-Tubong Festival, the town’s tradition that runs ...