MANAOAG, Pangasinan — Pangasinan fourth district Representative Christopher De Venecia aims to develop sampaguita farms at Barangay Baritao here as agricultural-tourism destinations in the province.
Some 15 to 20 minutes away from the famous pilgrimage site, Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Rosary of Manaoag, hundreds of sampaguita trees, as well as ilang-ilang trees, are being cultured by some 20 farmers here.
“When you find yourself in Manaoag, be sure to drop by the sampaguita farms in Barangay Baritao. You can check out (and take selfies) by hundreds of fragrant sampaguita trees from which the flowers are harvested daily. You can even talk to nearby residents if they can let you experience creating your own sampaguita lei. Been buying these things for years but it’s my first time to actually make them. Looking to organize and develop these farms as a bonafide agri-tourism spot in the district,” de Venecia said in his Facebook post on Friday.
De Venecia and his staff visited the farms, observed how sampaguita flowers are harvested, talked to some residents, and later they were given tutorial session on how to make a sampaguita and Ilang-Ilang leis.
“I read the thesis of students from University of the Philippines-Asian Institute of Tourism. Of the things they identified as potential for tourism is this sampaguita farm,” he said in an interview Friday.
De Venecia said he sees a big potential of agri-tourism site in Barangay Baritao, Manaoag.
“I’m having a lot of ideas now on how to develop this. Our visit here is a starter, we have a lot of things to do. We have to organize the farmers, we have to introduce the concept of agri-tourism and that it will give additional income to them,” he added.
Esther Quidilig, one of the owners of over 20 small sampaguita farms, said harvesting flowers starts as early as 5 a.m. The flowers are then brought home and lei makers start to create the lei using abaca threads which are sourced from Divisoria in Manila.
The lei makers, she added, can make an average of 3,000 leis per day during bloom season, which is usually from March to May, and 1,500 pieces during lean months.
Sampaguita flowers are available year round as the trees are well taken cared of.
They deliver their lei products to Dagupan City and other towns in Pangasinan, and as far as Baguio City, Quidilig said. Liwayway Yparraguirre / PNA – northboundasia.com