Friday, December 22, 2017

Safeguarding Local Traditions Through Tultugan

Maasin, Iloilo will celebrate Tultugan Festival on December 20 - 29, 2017. A festival dedicated principally to bamboo and its many uses, the ceneterpiece of the celebration is the tribal dance competition scheduled on December 28 at 1 p.m.

The festival performances usually depicting the local culture is a perfect platform to display new creative ways of utilizing bamboo, a widely available material that has been used for centuries in the archipelago, into modern-looking and aesthetically appealing functional products. Different approaches are applied to the transformation and development of various bamboo-based products incorporated in the presentation.

The festival costume, prop and musical instruments are all made of or at least inspired by bamboo and it is the municipality’s way of keeping various valuable traditions alive by connecting them to the festival to ensure and safeguard its sustainability for future generations.

In addition to seeing and hearing unique dance and music performances, attendees will be able to engage in activities such as the daily food festival which opened in December 20 and the coronation of Tultugan Festival Queen on the 29th of December.

Tultugan is a native bamboo percussion instrument used by natives of long ago as a tool for communication and as a musical instrument. Tultugan is a root word of tultug which has been defined as an action verbalizing the act of playing sound on bamboo. Usually this is rendered through a bamboo stick striking it against the body of the bamboo, thus becoming a rhythmic instrument called Tultugan.

Tultugan festival aims to promote its local bamboo industry highlighting its significance and importance in the lives of the people in the community. It also showcases Maasin’s rich natural environment with spectacular bamboo landscapes for people to get to know its main local industry and local artisans. The festivity also promotes its various natural products and social enterprises that protect and promote some of its best assets: natural landscapes and traditional skills.

The town of Maasin has long been known as the center of bamboo in Iloilo. Situated almost 26 kilometers west central from the city center, the place has been a major supplier of bamboo and its various handicrafts for local demand, in fact, some of the items are exported internationally.

The local government unit headed by the very dynamic mayor, Hon. Mariano M. Malones, teachers and local artists have the big challenge and vital role of assisting the transformation of traditions

Known as some of the fastest-growing plants in the world, the bamboo is a kind of grass. It is commonly known as woody grass and can be harvested after three years. There are about 1,200 bamboo species.

Bamboo has many uses. Many Filipino uses bamboo as material for house building, decorations, baskets, furniture, toothpicks, lampshades, fruit tray, flower vases, “kisame,” placemat and many more.

Iloilo is positioned to be center of bamboo production in the Philippines with an abundant supply of bamboo poles, mostly the variety of Kawayan tinik. More than 2 million poles produced yearly.

Maasin is a 3rd Class municipality belonging to the 3rd Congressional District of the province. Comprised of 50 barangays over its 17,110 hectare land area, the town borders the Municipality of Janiuay in the northeast; the Municipality of Cabatuan in the east, in the south by the Municipality of Alimodian and in the northwestern by the mountain ranges of the Province of Antique.

To get to Maasin, one can take a jeepney ride at the Transport Terminal in front of Christ the King Memorial Park in Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Jestine Casio – Municipal Tourism Officer at (033) 3330299 or email at

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Helping Sustaining a Healthy Community Through Farm Schools

The area around the town of Bingawan, the edge of the central portion of the province is where it ends and the town of Tapaz, Capiz province begins and is very much another unsung corner of Iloilo with warm, friendly, welcoming people.

Bingawan has some rich farming land and farming is at the heart of its village life. The landscapes are gorgeous here; with gentle pastures, to the high mountains. The area offers some beautiful hikes and bike trails across its lovely rolling meadows, woodland and a few working farms. The town would be less touristic than its neighboring towns but is well worth exploring.

If you are concerned about how organic can contribute to benefit our shared environment, promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved, then a trip to Connie Carillo Diversified Farm is for you.

With the governments’ efforts to improve the knowledge and technical skills of the farmers, the Connie Carillo Diversified Farm in Barangay Cairohan, for example is an extension outreach center of KRYZ Vocational and Technical School, Inc. (KVTS) that envisions as a center of livelihood training programs for the realization of our country’s goal towards economic development. It was established to provide livelihood skills, trends, ideas, opportunities, market and entrepreneurial endeavours, preparing trainees with necessary knowledge, appropriate skills and proper work ethics to become responsible entrepreneurs.

The training farm school being the only service provider in Region Vi accredited by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) has benefited farm associations and Day Care and Primary School in the barangay.

Mrs. Connie Carillo with students

The farm facilitates the development of farmers and youth through the ladderized course approach. Connie Carillo Diversified Farm serve as a mentor that assists them in learning by doing farm processes to prepare them as future farm managers and agripreneurs. The farm is also a success in helping small farmers in the community by imparting them farm technologies and knowledge.

A 3-Day Sustainable and Agriculture and Livelihood Trainings is conducted that include Banana, Pineapple, Ginger, Coconut, Stevia, Cassava, Turmeric, Sweet Potato and Squash Production and Processing, Culinary Herb Processing, Vermi Composting and Processing, Organic Fertilizer Production, Organic Feed Formulation, Refreshing Organic Herbs Processing, Infused Vinegar, Duck Raising and Processing, native Chicken Production and Processing and Hito Fattening for Business.

The courses will give you a chance to experience the joy of working with living, organic soils and crops, as well as understanding the principles and practices behind the method of maintaining them. All course topics will be covered both theoretically and experientially. You will also have an opportunity to meet and interact with local growers and farmers who have dedicated their lives to organic production methods.

Many people associate the topic of tourism with overcrowded, chaotic attractions that result in communities that are overrun with tourists. These images can discourage our farmers and other small entrepreneurs from considering Farmtourism as a method of enhancing agriculture revenues. However, the best way to view Farmtourism is to see it much like ecotourism in that it is often low impact, small scale, and education focused.

The learnings available at the KRYZ Vocational and Technical School, Inc and Connie Carillo Diversified Farm are very broad and can be tailored to fit each individual farm or farmer situation. Because most farms in Iloilo are operated by small landowners, there is great opportunity for customization and uniqueness in Farmtourism attractions.

For more information, please contact Mrs. Connie Carillo at 09089289284 or Mr. Sancho Carillo at 09072365960 or Dennis Lampon at 09777152007.

Saturday, December 2, 2017


Damires Hills Terra Verde, Barangay Damires, Janiuay, Iloilo

The Provincial Culture, Arts, History and Tourism Office of the Iloilo Provincial Government with the Department of Tourism Regional VI Office, DTI and Robinsons Iloilo will celebrate its first AGRIBYAHE event on December 5-8, 2017 at the event center of Robinsons Jaro. The event with an exhibition programme is supported by BUGANA a showcase of backyard industries in the province of Iloilo.

Mrs. Connie Carillo lecturing farm students in Connie Carillo Diversified Farm, Bingawan, Iloilo

AGRIBYAHE is a unique,-specialized rural tourism exhibition event that is designed to be a meeting platform between agri-entrepreneurs and tour operators, to see this new business concept relationship established resulting to the development of rural tourism products - brands and networks.

farmers and farm students at wok at Connie Carillo Diversified farm in Bingawan, Iloilo

The aim of AGRIBYAHE is to discover the role Farmtourism plays in sustaining tourism and agriculture in the province of Iloilo, and the factors impacting on its further development. The event also aims to provide the much needed exposure of local farmers to domestic buyers. It will also develop and strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit among farmers and most especially, promote Farm Tourism in the province.

Balboa Farm in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo

Tourism in rural Iloilo is growing because economic developers are gradually embracing tourism and cottage industries as viable means for diversifying their investment and increasing wealth of farmers and farm communities.

EPHRATHAH Farms in Barangay Sariri, Badiangan, Iloilo

Rural farms are becoming attractive tourist destinations also because more visitors are interested for "simpler" time.  Visitors want to escape the hustle of city life and connect with natural and cultural heritage and enjoy a richer and authentic leisure experience. They want to learn, connect with genuine people engaged in a rural or agricultural lifestyle.

Connie Carillo Diversified Farm in Bingawan, Iloilo

Many of us have a farm somewhere on our family tree. Maybe our parents were raised on a farm, or we have fond memories of spending summers on our grandparents' farms. Agritourism rekindles the positive emotions from these family visits.

horseback riding at Balboa Farm, Barotac Viejo

People want a new experience - an escape from the stress of early mornings and late afternoon traffic jams and tiring daily routine workload. Still many would be interested to enjoy a drive to rural Iloilo and spend the day visiting farms that can offer wonderful unique experiences, especially in these times.

University of Iloilo - Phinma tourism students at Balboa Farm, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo

Picking your own vegetables or fruits in season in a beautiful field, harvesting eggs, a carabao-driven cart ride probably or feeding the goats and doves are just a few of the fun and fabulous activities waiting for you.

Orchard Valley in Pavia

Farmtourism is not only an educational endeavour; it also generates farm profitability by drawing in tourists from all over. Farmtourism is all about generating farm profitability in innovative ways.

For more information, please contact the Provincial Culture, Arts, History and Tourism Office at (033) 3384910.

Peace and Tranquility of Village Life Proudly Preserved at Damires Hills Terra Verde

Damires Hills Tierra Verde in Barangay Damires, Janiuay, Iloilo has been a popular rural escape for many city folks. It has a good range of quality farm resort accommodation to choose from.  With Farmtourism in this area of the province being particularly popular, it has maintained much of its natural charm, a charm you will find abundant in this welcoming farm resort.

Visitors can get that “remoteness feel” with its neighboring towns, its  distinctive local accent, an abundance of clean, cool air, homely traditional dishes and the overall warmth and friendliness of the people.

Farmtourism is getting popular for the province, with farm holidays spent in Damires Hills Tierra Verde being especially fashionable. It was, and is, farming municipality after all and it became a nice example of how tourism do not eat up traditional industries, given the right environment and the right type of tourist it can fit in fairly seamlessly to what is already there. So despite the tourism boom for the province, the resort seems to get it right, and accordingly standards are very competitive. Quality and comfort in some really authentic, peaceful rural settings.

The stay to its rolling hills approximately measuring 40 hectares where 16 hectares were developed to facilitate tidy little cottages and accommodation units and areas for leisure that are such an antidote to the stresses of the city.

The area has 33 rooms all in all. Its newly-opened Heliconia Hotel houses 20 standard rooms good for double or triple occupancies with free breakfast for two. The view is mainly hilly and green, everything is tidy and clean with well-tended farmlands with patches or pretty little villages. It has eight (8) family-style rooms that can accommodate to a maximum of 8 persons per room and five (5) additional garden standard rooms to a maximum of three occupants per room inclusive of breakfast for two persons.

With open cottages being possibly the most popular choice, you will find that the personnel here have a long and well- deserved reputation for looking after visitors and guests and are unlikely to be disappointed. It has three (3) big open cottages for a maximum of 40 persons, consumable for food and drinks and 15 more for a maximum of 15 persons per cottage, consumable for food and drinks. Thee cottages are positioned on a beautifully serene area of rolling hills and meadowland.

There are many things to do in the area. Visitors will surely enjoy swimming to its adult infinity pool and kiddie pools. For the adventurous in spirit, dare the canopy walk suspended 214 feet above the ground with a length of 218 meters. Or try its two-stationed zip-line with 375 meters on its first station and another 180 meters to its last station.  Ride around the hilly terrain of the resort in ATVs with 10 units available. The area also has a hiking trail on its rolling hills and woodlands.

From Damires Hills Terra Verda, this municipality is steeped in Iloilo’s history. It has many points of interest to the tourist, the ruins of the old St. Julian Parish, Janiuay Catholic Cemetery, Baraslon Cave and to name but a few, but those that stop over and on a countryside drive from the city are missing out on the joy of a drive across few more farm resorts in neighboring municipalities with beautifully peaceful areas of gentle hills and green fields that attracts city dwellers.

Your farmstay in Damires Hills is generally somewhat a bit of upmarket affair, and you can expect excellent service and hotel comforts but at something of a premium. For more information, please call (033) 3968144/ 5316519 or at 09399060689/ 09176325901. For city bookings at the Ground floor of Carmelita Building, Quezon Street with telephone numbers (033) 3369670/ 3373882. You may also email them at or like them at Facebook at

Empowering Bitas Through Burihan Festival

Barangay Bitas, Tigbauan, Iloilo will celebrate its annual religious fiesta highlighting the 9th Burihan Festival on February 3-11, 20...