"I know they need something that's why they need to do something. You see great hope in their eyes."

[LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET, PHILIPPINES] ▬ For first time visitors, if we say strawberry farm, they'd think it's located in Baguio. Truth is, it's not located in Baguio but in La Trinidad. Anyway, that's another story. The point is, we think purely of strawberries. The strawberry farm of La Trinidad is more than the strawberries. Here, I'll tell you why.

STRAWBERRY FARM BAGUIO

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ A TYPICAL TOURIST-DAY SCENE IN STRAWBERRY FARM


I'd say this farm gained popularity due to its proximity to the tourist-laden city of Baguio. It's a nice, accessible option for people who want to experience things outside Baguio. But from strawberries, more things followed, appeared then became a mainstay. The following are the other faces of the Strawberry Farm.


▬ [1] Strawberry Farm as a Tourist Zone ▬


POPULARITY OF A PLACE, MOST of the time, may lead to the influx of tourists/visitors. In the strawberry farm, the scenario applies.

Just before you get close to the entrance of the strawberry farm, you may experience traffic jam and see these numerous tourist vans and private vehicles parked along the way especially during the peak season.

Just before you enter the farm, there are vendors and hawkers alluring you to buy their products—all for tourists.

STRAWBERRY FARM BAGUIO

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ THIS VENDOR ATTRACTS TOURISTS TO TRY HIS STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM.

STRAWBERRY FARM BAGUIO

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ HE FLIPS HIS STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM DOWN TO ENTERTAIN TOURISTS.


Yes, you'll see girls in their minis and shades and some people with their selfie pods, digital cameras and the whole family or friends in tow as their tour guide leads them the way.


▬ [2] Strawberry Farm as Commercial Zone ▬


THE TOURISM INDUSTRY IS A big business. But from that big business, there is a micro business. I am referring to the little merchants who rely on tourists for their little business to survive.

STRAWBERRY FARM BAGUIO

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ SHE SELLS STRAWBERRIES FOR A LIVING.

STRAWBERRY FARM BAGUIO

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ SHE PUTS THE PRODUCES IN SMALLER BOXES.

STRAWBERRY FARM BAGUIO

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ A VENDOR LOOKS AFTER THE PRODUCTS SHE SELLS

STRAWBERRY FARM BAGUIO

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ AN ARRAY OF STRAWBERRIES WITH BOTTLED GOODS IN FRONT


In the tourism industry, there is an economic activity. Both macro and micro businesses benefit. So when you see an untidy looking woman coming close to you to sell her strawberry key chains or freshly fried turon and it so happened that you're not interested, refuse politely before you raise your eyebrows and shoo them away. Hey, without you as tourist, they're not here anyway.


▬ [3] Strawberry Farm as Home to Other Crops ▬


THE STRAWBERRY FARM IS NOT actually all about strawberries as I mentioned above. Other crops are also cultivated here.

The most common alternative crop for strawberries that I noticed is the lettuce. However, I even spotted some sunflowers! If we base the land use to describe this farm, it is definitely a strawberry + lettuce farm. Sunflower comes pretty far at third.

STRAWBERRY FARM BAGUIO

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ SEEDLINGS NURTURED

STRAWBERRY FARM BAGUIO

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ LETTUCES GROWN UP


▬ [4] Strawberry Farm as Place for Regional Trade Fair ▬


THE STRAWBERRY FARM HAS EVOLVED rapidly from being just a farm to a trade space giving opportunity for other people to showcase their local products/produces. You'll notice that a plethora of local products are here. Some, like the wild honey that comes from the PROVINCE OF ABRA

ABRA


, have space here. This place is an unorganized, spontaneous trade fair.

I even encountered vendors who came from as far as Ifugao just to harness the huge tourist market in this touristy destination. With them is a basket of green rice they even offered me to taste for free. Some sell kakanins like banana cue, turon and others.

STRAWBERRY FARM BAGUIO

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ GREEN RICE FROM IFUGAO

STRAWBERRY FARM BAGUIO

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ PASSION FRUITS ARE PASSIONATELY HERE...

STRAWBERRY FARM BAGUIO

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ ...EVEN MARBLE POTATO, AND THAT MARVELOUS GREEN THING THERE.

STRAWBERRY FARM BAGUIO

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ PASALUBONG ALL YOU WANT!

STRAWBERRY FARM BAGUIO

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ SOUVENIRS NEVER RUN DRY.


▬ [5] Strawberry Farm as Place for Hope ▬


TOURISTS COME HERE TO SATISFY their curiosity; some to just have fun. But most of the non-tourists you see here aren't here just for fun. They have a purpose. They have a motivation.

Sometimes, you see these people tilling the fields and harvesting the crops. They're not doing this for a show but because they need to do it because it's their livelihood.

STRAWBERRY FARM BAGUIO

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ FARMERS UNDER THE HOT RAYS OF THE SUN


Sometimes, we fail to appreciate what these people do. Some tourists are even disappointed if there are vendors chasing after them or if the strawberry farm has no good view, because there are farmers in the middle, for them to take selfies. The truth is, this is their land, not ours visitors.

STRAWBERRY FARM BAGUIO

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ CHILDREN SELLING FRESH LETTUCE


As I walked around the farm, I saw a group of children selling fresh lettuce. What I saw melted my heart. The first time I saw them I already knew they are banking hopes in this tourist destination.

These children will not do this job for nothing. I know they need something that's why they need to do something. You see great hope in their eyes. They surely love meeting tourists because the more tourists they see, the more chances they can sell their fresh lettuce. You know, this is no longer about trade and commerce, this is already their chance to turn the hope into a bright future. At a very young age, they can now appreciate the importance of hard work. I'd say, these children will go far. And as tourist, we can bring hope and be part of their journey in life. ▬ to be continued...

INDEX: INSIDE THIS BLOG SERIES

AZALEA RESIDENCES HOTEL BAGUIO

[UP NEXT] ▬ THIS IS ANOTHER FARM BUT THE PLANTS CAN'T BE EATEN.


► BLOG SERIES: AZALEA SUMMER GETAWAY

Up Next: The next destination is also a farm. It is less touristy. There is less crowd and the plants/crops they cultivate can not be eaten. Soon on Part 5!

Part 1

[BAGUIO] ▬ VIP Treatment Vacation the Azalea Way


TEASER ► Inside the room, I felt like I'm a VIP again. This is probably one of the best rooms in Azalea. I felt privileged. This staycation kicks ass.

| Part 2

[BAGUIO] ▬ Ilocano Food Reigns at Kalapaw Restaurant


TEASER ► This restaurant highlights the Ilocos heritage and culture in spite of the fact that it's located in Baguio City.

| Part 3

[BAGUIO] ▬ Night Market at Harrison Road: What to See and Expect?


TEASER ► The foot traffic is huge. Merchants shout to encourage passersby to purchase their products. But some are just hawkers.

| Part 4 | Part 5

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ Bahong Flower Farm: Rose Capital of the Philippines


TEASER ► ...they will transform into beautiful, fully-bloomed flowers and that will be the end of their life because they will be cut and head straight to the flower shop.

| Part 6

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ Jewel Igorot Restaurant: Non-Igorots Should Eat Here!


TEASER ► Say anything you want to say and this cool restaurant along the main road in La Trinidad will still find its way to become superior.

| Part 7

[LA TRINIDAD] ▬ Jewel Igorot Museum and the Maid-to-Millionaire Story


TEASER ► Greatness does not only come from huge quantities and fat funds. My conviction is something is already great when you are able to put up that something from scratch with a purpose to educate and inspire.

| Part 8

[BAGUIO] ▬ Discovering More of Baguio the Amazing Race Way


TEASER ► We've explored the city under time pressure yet we were awed by these destinations that are truly timeless.

| Part 9

[BAGUIO] ▬ 2600 Gastropub: When Zip Code Turns Into Night Life


TEASER ► Then, the playlist went on and it made me wild, almost shedding tears, remembering the good old days in favor of nostalgia.

| Part 10

[TUBA] ▬ BenCab Museum: History, Arts and Culture


TEASER ► ...everywhere is a learning realm. Everywhere is an answer if you have questions. Everywhere is a definition if you look for meanings.

|

Part 11

[BAGUIO] ▬ Tam-awan Village: Old-School Igorot Living of Today


TEASER ► The present has almost erased all the things of the past but some individuals have always been interested in bringing the old back to present.

| Part 12

[BAGUIO] ▬ Tree Top Adventure: What to Expect? + Things You Must Know


TEASER ► The facilities are well-engineered—truly a work of the experts. Pine trees are part of the activities and they claim that no tree was harmed.

| Part 13

[BAGUIO] ► Azalea Residences Hotel Review: My Experiences in Details


TEASER ▬ The room where I stayed is even bigger than our house—complete with a kitchen, a dining area, a sala (with a couch and a twin bed) and another two rooms within the room. Swanky!



► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

[1] This experience was made possible through Azalea Residences Hotel in Baguio City. I was invited to experience the Azalea hospitality. My big gratitude to Azalea management.

[2] The maps I used below as well as those that appeared on tooltips are the works of Eugene Alvin Villar and Mike Gonzalez published on Wikipedia. Source: 1 | 2 | 3

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EDMAR GUQUIB, Travel Blogger
EDMARATION #TownExplorer


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EDMAR GUQUIB

Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano. Genuine Bigueño. Sucker of Long Land Trips. Loves the Highlands. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For sponsorship, advertising, event invites and collaborations email me at edmaration@gmail.com.

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