By Antonio G. Papa, Ph.D.
The Cavite State University (CvSU) established the Agri-Eco Tourism Park (AETP) in a sprawling 5-hectare area of its more than 70-hectare rustic and green landholding at the main campus – the Don Severino delas Alas Campus – in Indang, Cavite on July 15, 2021.
According to CvSU President Dr. Hernando D. Robles, “the establishment of CvSU-AETP is one of the University’s ways in bringing back the interest and appreciation of the people to agriculture by providing them [with] attractions, activities, services, amenities, and hands-on learning.”
At the CvSU-AETP, there are lots of things to see, experience, learn and something to buy. Prior to the tour, guests are held at the CvSU-AETP Information Center for a short briefing-orientation about the tour and a brief virtual presentation of the park.
After viewing the audio-visual presentation, the tour guide will lead the guests and will show them the two routes as passageways to the park. The first option is through the 100 concrete steps passing through the sloping vegetative ravine of around ten meters deep dubbed the Hagdan ng Kasaysayan.
The second option is to pass through a 20-meter long hanging bridge – called Tulay ng Karunungan. While roaming along the pathway, guests will see well-labeled plants and crops with corresponding identification and scientific names.
The tour guide will chronologically introduce guests to the following features of the AETP while trekking the 3-kilometer walk: 1. CvSU Bee Program, 2. Kapihan sa Kubo, 3. Technology demonstration hub on multi-storey cropping system, 4. Green house for ornamental plants and high-value vegetable crops, 5. FITS kiosk, 6. AETP Villas, 7. Technology-Innovation hub, 8. Birds paradise, 9. Native pigs and feathered animals, 10. Makapuno nutdragon fruit plantations, 11. Fish ponds, 12. NCRDEC Ecotrail, 13. CvSU Experiment station, 14, SPRINT Center, 15. CHARMS garden, and 16. CvSU lagoon.
The CvSU Bee Program
The CvSU Bee program supports instruction, research, extension and production functions of the University. It promotes the practice of beekeeping in the province of Cavite and the whole country.
CvSU conducts research to improve beekeeping practices, and post-harvest technologies. The research results are then disseminated to the community and are likewise utilized for instruction purposes.
Through the program, it extends assistance to starting beekeepers so as to strengthen their background and eventually lead them in running their own apiaries or meliponaries.
Kapihan sa Kubo
A few meters walk away from the CvSU Bee Program center, some nipa huts made of bamboo and roofed with nipa could serve as resting areas while sipping the CvSU Aguinaldo Barako Coffee Blend that can be ordered in the designated nearby cafeteria.
Technology demonstration hub on multi-storey cropping system
The coconut-based and coffee-based farming systems are showcased in a two-hectare area of the park. Multi-storey cropping system could be seen in the area – e.g. all these crops are systematically planted in the same area such as coconut, durian, rambutan, banana, guyabano, black pepper, and taro.
Green house for ornamental plants and vegetable crops
The green house – a rain shelter nursery and a protected structure for indoor ornamental plants and partially shaded high-value vegetable crops.
Adjacent to the green haven is the area where the six-unit Villa houses were built for rent. The house has a dimension of 6 meters by 7 meters and provides basic amenities such as two bedrooms, a shower and toilet in between the two rooms, a sala, and a dining area that’s very ideal for a family with two children. The unit house is very ideal for a newly-wed couple as the atmosphere is suited for honeymooners.
FITS Center kiosk
One of the potential amenities in the AETP is the presence of the Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center Kiosk with function hall for briefing and seminar purposes and an area for the display of CvSU products for sale. It also has a section for Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) materials for duplication and some for distribution to various groups of clientele.
A building in the central part of the park is designated as the Technology-Innovation hub of CvSU. The building has two sections. One is for the display of the available products produced by the University and the other section is for the display of the products by the various FITS centers in the province of Cavite.
Beneath the Technology-Innovation hub has a tree enclosed of net serving as cage of the local birds in captivity.
Native pigs and feathered animals
Another feature of the AETP is the pens for the native pigs and feathered animals such as native and heritage chickens.
Makapuno nut and dragon fruit plantations
Towards the southern portion of the AETP is a makapuno nut plantation. The makapuno nut is a special coconut that is full of meat and is used for sweets and as one of the ingredients for halo-halo.
On the other side of the area, a dragon fruit plantation can be seen. Dragon fruit production is one of the profitable crops being grown in the locality.
Four units of concrete fish ponds were constructed for the purpose of producing tilapia and other fish species.
After the fish ponds, the trail with around two-hectare area designated for the National Coffee Research, Development and Extension Center (NCRDEC) will be experienced. There are coffee plantations planted with various varieties of coffee, coffee nurseries, NCRDEC Center, and Coffee Museum – the first of its kind in the Philippines.
The center houses the small-scale processing facilities, coffee cupping laboratory, coffee tissue culture laboratory, and coffee field genebank.
CvSU Experiment station
Adjacent to NCRDEC is the CvSU Research Center’s experiment station. Various types of nurseries are planted with ornamental plants and high-value vegetable crops. The experiment station is equipped with agro-met facilities.
SPRINT stands for Sugar Palm Research, Information and Trade. The center serves as the nucleus for the implementation of research, development and extension program and agenda for kaong. SPRINT Center has the following features: office and conference room, green house, net house, vinegar fermentation area, kaong sugar processing area, compost production area, compost production area, and kaong demonstration farm.
CHARMS stands for Culinary Herbs, Aromatic and Medicinal Plants. The garden showcases the various crops that comprise the various above-mentioned groups crops as stated above.
The last leg for the tour is the CvSU lagoon with koi fishes and when given fish feeds entertain the guests.
So, what are you waiting for? Visit the CvSU Agri-Eco Tourism Park and enjoy your scheduled guided tour.
Photos by Antonio G. Papa, Ph.D.