By Keith Anthony S. Fabro
With the launching of Brooke’s Point AgriWorld on Tuesday, March 19, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said it sees the potential of the first class southern Palawan town to evolve someday into a center of agri-tourism in the province.
DOT MIMAROPA Regional Director Danilo Intong said Brooke’s Point has so much agri-tourism potential. He added that the town’s 6-hectare AgriWorld in Sitio Lada, Barangay Pangobilian can be showcased as a model agritourism site that can be replicated all over the province.
“This is the challenge I’ll leave to the local government unit of Brooke’s Point: it should not only be AgriWorld. Probably, we have other private investments in farm tourism that we could start out here, so we could really come up with a Brooke’s Point that’s center of farm tourism,” Intong said.
AgriWorld’s launching coincided with the weeklong celebration of 14th Pista Y Ang Kaniyog’n (Coconut Festival). The site has been developed by the local government since 2017. It currently features coconut trees all over, flower and vegetable gardens, a duck hatchery, carabao ride stations, as well as two small pavilions, a couple of huts and comfort rooms.
The regional tourism chief said the town’s initiative to promote agri-tourism through AgriWorld is “worth commending.” He suggested, however, to “involve the community, not just the people within the local government.”
“Next year, I want to see communities managing it, because in our vision for tourism development, it should redound to opportunities and job creation. Hopefully, this will help a lot in stabilizing the economic uplift of the people of Brooke’s Point,” he stressed.
To further improve AgriWorld, Intong said: “Fill it with activity-oriented tourism. If you’re going to have a pond, make it not just fun to see but also fun to experience. Introduce boating, fishing and things like that.”
“Let’s prepare a place where memories can be built, a place that we want to linger in the minds of our visitors because it’s attractive and encourages repeat visits,” he added.
Mayor Mary Jean Feliciano, meanwhile, said the local government has already crafted a master plan for the site development, which includes constructing facilities that can accommodate events.
“We will put up a hall and cottages that can be used in holding weddings, reunions, team buildings for both public and private companies, and many more attractions and activities here in AgriWorld,” she said.
“Also, we’ll be partnering with the locals to build a restaurant here” that serves delicacies with coconut as the main ingredient, she added.
AgriWorld’s master plan, moreover, includes the construction of a cultural center, stingless bee farm facilities, and a playground, among others.
Feliciano called on the municipal board to “pass an ordinance institutionalizing the local government’s continuous support to AgriWorld, ” one of her administration’s legacies. Doing so, she said, “ensures the project sustainability” even after her allowed maximum office term ends in June 2022.
The mayor is also keen on developing orchards in Barangay Ipilan and Aribungos as the town’s added agri-tourism sites. “We can build small cottages there where visitors can stay for a few days during the harvest season. They will pay a certain amount and then pick fruits they can eat,” she said.