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Agri-tourism advocates in Asia recognized for their achievements

The 2024 Lakbay Bukid Awardees (L-R) Filipino youth Francis Joseph Corral Perdigon of Butuan City, Iwayan Alit Artha Wiguna of Indonesia, Veronica M. Salupan of Bohol, Malaysian agricultural entrepreneur Albert Teo Chin Kion, and Davao-based farmer and chocolate maker Rex Victor P. Puentespina. (ECB/PIA7 Bohol/Photo courtesy of International School of Sustainable Tourism)

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol  (PIA) -- Advocates of farm tourism in Asia were recognized during the fourth Lakbay Bukid Awards hosted by the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST). 

The 2024 Lakbay Bukid Awards were given to three local and two foreign individuals and organizations who contributed to farm tourism development in Asia. 

The awarding was the highlight of the 7th Farm Tourism Conference held at Bellevue Resort in Panglao, Bohol from Feb. 26 to 28.

The awardees were Bohol-based entrepreneur Veronica M. Salupan, Davao-based farmer and chocolate maker Rex Victor P. Puentespina, Filipino youth Francis Joseph Corral Perdigon of Butuan City, Iwayan Alit Artha Wiguna of Indonesia, and Malaysian agricultural entrepreneur Albert Teo Chin Kion. 

The awardees are all known for their efforts to strengthen the agri-tourism industry.

They each received a cash prize of US$1,000 and a trophy.

‘Asin Tibuok’

Salupan of Tan Inong Asin Tibuok Kabilin in Alburquerque town in Bohol was recognized for her initiative to keep the pre-colonial tradition alive. 

Artisanal salt is recognized as one of the rarest and most expensive finishings in modern cuisines. It is described as the purest, cleanest, and most artisanal sea salt. 

Salupan of Tan Inong Asin Tibuok Kabilin in Albur, Bohol is keeping alive the pre colonial tradition of salt production. The town of Alburquerque in Bohol has been known for its artisanal and unique salt-making tradition known as Asin Tibuok. (Photo courtesy of Asin Tibuok Facebook page)

The effort of the company to train new generations of farmers in the production process is rekindling interest among entrepreneurs and tourists and drawing visitors to their production site in Albur. 

“Daku kaayo amuang pagpasalamat tungod sa usa ka prestigious award nga wala namo damha,” said Salupan. 

(We are very grateful for this prestigious award that we did not expect.) 

From the time when Asin Tibuok was not yet known and with the many challenges that they went through, Tan Inong Manufacturing Corp. did not stop their operations in making whole salt. 

Salupan said they soon started attracting more attention and the demand for salt increased. 

“Among ipadayon ang paghatag ug paghimo sa insakto ug dekalidad nga serbisyo o produkto nga Asin Tibuok, alang sa legacy sa amuang mga katigulangan nga maoy naghatag niini kanamo,” she added. 

(We will continue to provide and produce the exact and good quality service or product that is Asin Tibuok, to honor the legacy of our ancestors who gave it to us.)

Lakbay Bukid awardees

Puentespina of Malagos Chocolate was recognized for leading the chocolate revolution in the country and for training farmers, educating the youth, and manufacturing products that earned global recognition for Philippine-made chocolates. 

This has inspired the development of cocoa value chains in the country, creating jobs and benefitting many farmers. 

It has also served as a model for farmers in the development of cacao-based agri-tourism and more value-added products.

Perdigon, as the first youth awardee, was recognized for his passion to promote farming among the Filipino youth. 

Recognizing the importance of engaging the youth in agriculture, he helped turn their family farm in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte as a learning site for agriculture recognized by the Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center 13. 

His hands-on involvement in farm work demonstrates a genuine dedication to farming and rural development, and cultivates interest and enthusiasm for farming among the young people.

Wiguna of Bali, Indonesia was awarded for his contribution to enhancing the knowledge, skills, income of small farmers, nurturing the values and appreciation of farming among school children and the Bali community. 

He was also cited for developing the chocolate industry and eventually enhancing Indonesia’s tourism. 

Kion of Borneo Eco Tours was awarded for successfully establishing new tourism products in Borneo, such as13 villages at Kiulu Farmstays, Bamboo Hut Village, Kiulu Souvenirs and Craft Shop, Bamboo Capacity Building and art installation, and Bamboo Straw Manufacturing. 

Borneo Eco Tours handed over farmlands and assets worth more than 270,000 Malaysian ringgit (P3,203,959) to two of their productive farmers to manage. 

This has inspired Borneo Eco Tours to embark on Phase 2 to hand back the primary responsibility to the local community to operate their own products and enjoy their benefits. (ECB/PIA7 Bohol)

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Elvira Bongosia


Region 7

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