Community tourism success story

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Saturday, August 23, 2014


THE Beginning. It was sometime in 1976 when the Adela Community Organization was founded. The community leaders who are sugarcane workers were made to attend the leadership and awareness seminar-workshop under Sr. Michelle Gamboa at Talamnan Training Center in Hda. Tagbanon, Cadiz City. The training was sponsored by Chito Foundation Inc.

Hda. Adela in Silay City is owned by the Unson Family. The “hacendados” (owners) and the sugarcane workers decided to have a community organization to attain human growth and development. The workers and the owners were able to reach the same level of orientation. The work in the farm is partnership. The owners provide the land and the capital, and the workers give their best to come up with good sugar production.

The semi-feudal set up in Negros haciendas was altered in Hda. Adela because the owners and the workers decided to set up rules on community and work management. The community liturgical services, group dynamics, and the meetings of the Adela Community Organization (ACO) was regularly done to monitor and to measure the positive impact of the values gained from the spiritual-economic-social interactions.

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The Growth. The foundation had a merger with volunteer social workers who are hacienda owners, workers, and professionals. That gave birth to Binhi-Chito Foundation Inc. It was good to know that the sugarcane plantation owners became social workers in their haciendas. Social action programs were created in the communities . . . pre-school education, feeding program, school loan, hog raising, fruit-delicacy selling, group farming and backyard gardening.

Hda. Adela community officers implemented what the members approved during the meeting . . . no gambling in the community, no selling of alcohol, curfew hour observance, organizing of “ronda system” and there should be time for community liturgical services, sports program, fiesta celebration, holding of bazaar, and accommodation of visitors for the hacienda immersion program.

Change of Name. The sugarcane workers of Hda. Adela have benefited from their skills, abilities and capacity to grow as a social organization. After 38 years of existence and partnership with the second and third generation of hacienda owners, the community organization has registered with Securities and Exchange Commission with the legal name as “Asosasyon sang mga Mangunguma sa Adela” (AMA). The acronym AMA could also mean father. The father is a symbol of strong leadership. A father leads and could be a patriarch.

After many years of existence, the village of the sugarcane workers has evolved as Hda. Adela Folklore Village. Former Mayor Edwin Velez approved the construction of a tourism center (1997) in Hda. Adela. Hda. Adela Folklore Village since then has become a venue for the community based-tourism of Silay. The farm could be visited anytime by students, professionals and cultural workers who are interested to know what’s behind the sugar industry.

A hacienda tour could be conducted featuring the “bodega” (warehouse) wherein visitors would find sacks of fertilizer, rice supply for the workers especially during the off-milling season), farm implements and anything needed for the farm. Annexed to the bodega is the clerk’s office.

Near the bodega is the house of the “encargado” (overseer) and very near his house is the “garahe” (garage) where the tractors are parked. That portion serves also as the repair shop. It has the smell of gasoline and motor oil. Nearby is the quarters of the “sacadas” (the transient workers).They could be from Panay or Negros Occidental who go to Hda. Adela during milling season. They are brought here by a contratista (contractor).

Visitors or tourists coming to Hda. Adela would be treated to a “caro-carabo” ride, sugarcane munching, bloodless cockfight, animal feeding, and cultural numbers from children and teenagers. Your new friends will invite you to their houses so that you can meet the members of their family. They will tell foreigners how to eat santol, indian mango, coconut, pili nut, and star apple.

They will play with you the piko, bagol, tumba-patis, tubiganay, panagu-ay and balay-balay. They are also ready to engage in volleyball and basketball. The old folks will chant San Roque hymns or lull you to laughter with their dancing-song. Visiting Hda. Adela in Silay City is reliving our cultural heritage. This community-based tourism has been nurtured by us because this is legacy that we could still leave for the next generation. This is treasuring the past and illuminating the future.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 23, 2014.

Opinion

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