Visitors usually fly to Region IX or the Zamboanga Peninsula to either take in the view of its mountainous landscape or relax at its many beaches. But, like many provinces in the Philippines, the peninsula is more than that.
While its natural wonders and its cultural features such as colorful mosques and sailboats are not to be missed, the peninsula has one underrated tourism activity that should be on your itinerary: farming.
A new tour introduced by the Department of Tourism (DOT) has integrated farming and leisure as a way to unwind and connect with nature. The Agri-Explore Zambosur tour takes you off the beaten path of resorts and common sights and gives you a chance to get your hands dirty.
The two-day, one-night excursion around the Zamboanga peninsula is filled with activities from farming and fishing to sightseeing and adventure sports.
The activity-packed tour kicks off with stevia and peppermint tasting, lettuce harvesting, salad tasting, and an eco-trek at ZDS Eco-farm. After that, you’ll be making your way to Greenhouse 22—a fishing station and restaurant. There, you’ll learn more about aquaponics and taste a plethora of tilapia they grow in-house.
The tour’s next stop is Saniel Integrated Farm, where you can choose a farm activity and reward yourself through a guided meditation afterward. For livestock enthusiasts, a tour of a chicken hatchery with a live feed formulation demo is what awaits at Mahayag Livestock Breeding Center—the fourth stop of the tour.
After a long day of farming and learning, you’ll take a serene tour of El Dorado Mountain Resort’s (entrance Php 50 for adults, Php 30 for kids) orchard, bask in the beauty of its hilltop view, and even take a dip in their spring pool for maximum relaxation.
The tour continues with a visit to Paglinawan Organic Eco Farm (entrance Php 50 per person) where you’ll see a live demonstration of organic rainbow rice and turmeric process. This stop also includes a hands-on excursion, where you’ll get to plant and plow rice on the property.
For the social media-savvy, there are tons of picture-perfect moments waiting for you at RJWJ Nature Park (Php 20 for day tour entrance and Php 50 for overnight entrance).
The park—a mere 20 minutes away—is famous for its unhampered view of the Sea of Clouds, which can serve as a capture-worthy backdrop.
The second-to-the-last stop is an hour and a half-long ride to FMV Sports Adventure, where you can get your adrenaline pumping through an ATV ride (Php 500) and a friendly paintball match (Php 250).
The final stop of the Agri-Explore Zambosur tour is the Hillside Botanical Garden (entrance Php 50 per adult). Hillside Botanical Garden boasts of a sprawling property filled with scenic views and attractions like the hobbit house, rabbit hutch, and more.
You can book through partner travel agencies like iTravel Tourist Lane, Travelmax Travel and Tours, and MTR Travel Specialists.
Traveling in the country post-pandemic isn’t just about leaving your house, it’s also an opportunity to help other people. As an agricultural country, our farmers deserve so much support and respect.
This tour can serve as a means to show our appreciation, reconnect with nature, and the farmers who work hard every day to make our meals possible.
All tourist destinations in Zamboanga have health and safety protocols in place to protect locals and visitors alike. Everyone is expected to comply by wearing face masks, regularly washing their hands, and practicing physical distancing.
To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit www.philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel or the Google Playstore.