THE opening of the first agri-tourism park in South Cotabato attracted more than 10,000 tourists since it opened its doors to the public in May this year, said the farm’s general manager.
Blooming Petals Inc. in Tupi, South Cotabo, which had been in the flower plantation business since 1995, recently opened up the first agri-tourism park in South Cotabato located at their flower farm last May 27 this year.
According to Blooming Petals Inc. general manager Anna Liza Villalon, when they opened their agri-tourism park, with the sunflower plantation as the highlight, there was a great surge of tourists, some just coming from Tupi while others were from nearby provinces.
“We didn’t really expect that much people when we launched it. But maybe because of the power of social media, there were a lot of visitors, who came were interested with the sunflowers especially. And maybe because our entrance is very cheap. At P30, even the students can come here,” said Villalon.
Aside from the sunflower plantation carefully landscaped and carefully grown, the entire 13-hectare flower and vegetable plantation of Blooming Petals Inc. also has a wide display of chrysanthemums and rare vegetables such as assorted lettuce, bell peppers, Japanese cucumber, French beans, and red radish.
Because of the weather in Tupi, South Coatabato is a lot colder than then other municipalities in South Coatabato, these vegetables were able to grow in their farm.
Out of the 13-hectare area, around 8-hectares was opened to the public, who are not only limited to take a picture with the sunflowers but also with the chrysanthemums and the vegetables as well. The farm has a pick-and-pay or farm-to-table concept to assure customers that their vegetables are indeed very fresh.
“Tupi was given the title of being the Fruit and ‘Flower Basket of the South’ so we thought it would also be a good idea to establish Blooming Petals as a tourist destination,” she said.
Sunflower, being a seasonal flower, was on its full bloom when the agri-tourism park opened in May 27, however the farm had to close the sunflower plantation as early as June 13 due to heavy rainfall that had started to come early in Tupi. But Villalon said it was such a great success as the total arrivals of more 10,000 visitors from May 27 to June 12 exceeded their expectations.
“Based on our experience, sunflowers usually wither down by June 17 or 18 but due to rain, we had to close the sunflower plantation early,” said Villalon adding they still had visitors coming after June 12 and enjoying their chrysanthemum plantations and fresh vegetable plantations.
Currently, they have a mini restaurant in the park, which offers Juicy beef burger and Garlic Chicken with rice and veggie salad, with ingredients freshly picked from their farms.
She said they further plan to develop their agri-tourism park with more varied flowers to attract tourists and accommodation services with more improved landscape as well.
Blooming Petals Inc. is located at Purok 3A, Tupi, and is open every day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entrance fees are only P30 for adults and P20 for children.