“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” – Masanobu Fukuoka
La Union is often equated to surfing. Most people visiting the smallest province of Ilocos Region come to try the waves of San Juan. But what most tourists do not know is that La Union is also home to locally grown grapes. These grape farms have been considered as added potential tourist attraction of the province in recent years.
I have tried picking fresh strawberries from the fields of La Trinidad since I have lived in Baguio for a number of years. And because I have been to Sagada on several occasions, I have also experienced picking oranges at the Rock Inn Orange Orchard. So when an opportunity to go to Bauang, La Union to see for myself the grape farms the town boasts, I instantly grabbed it.
Dubbed as the Fruit Basket of the North, Bauang is said to be the birthplace of the grapes industry in the Philippines. The industry may ave started more than 30 years ago but only in recent years that the grape farms of this coastal town have gained popularity. There are 2 well-known grape farms in this town, both located in Brgy. Urayong – Lomboy Farm and Gapuz Farm. (Although I have learned from my visit that there are other family owned farms starting to grow their grapes).
These grape farms are open to visitors who are eager to see real grapes and pick them first-hand. After a brief introduction as to how the grapes industry started in Bauang, a staff of Lomboy Farm showed me the grape vines. The grape vines were about 6 feet high. Different varieties of grapes are said to be grown by Lomboy Farm, and they come in different colors — green, violet/purple to red. They also grow other fruits like guapple, dragonfruit and even papaya.
I was handed in a clipper and a basket as I started picking my grapes. I asked which ones should I pick and was advised to choose the red colored fruits. I was also given a few pieces to taste. By the way, a kilo of grapes was worth P250 – P300. I have to admit, I was all smiles while picking. Never did I thought I’d be doing this activity here in our country. J
How To Reach the Grape Farms:
Hop on a La Union or Vigan or Laoag bound bus (like Dominion, Partas, Viron). Fare would be around Php350 – 400. Inform the driver that you be dropped off at Brgy. Urayong with the Bauang Arch as the main landmark. Travel time is 5 to 6 hours. Once in Urayong, you notice that there are several fruitstand selling various produce. You can ask the vendors where Lomboy or Gapuz Farm is. Both farms are within walking distance from the arch.
And so, the next time you plan your surfing spree in la Union, consider stopping by the grape farms of Bauang. (Note: Before you plan on a visit, check out if it is grapes season. You may visit the FB page of either Lomboy Farm or Gapuz Farm for more information).
Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’.