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Tourism in Pinamungajan reopens
By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Monday, November 23, 2020
Gov. Gwen Garcia and the Provincial Tourism Task Force visited the Lamac Multipurpose Cooperative Integrated Farm School in Barangay Lamac, Pinamungajan Thursday, November 19 where the town’s tourism industry was reopened after months of shutdown due to the pandemic. (Tonee Despojo)

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and the Provincial Tourism Task Force marked the reopening of Pinamungajan on November 19 with a tour to the Lamac Multipurpose Cooperative Integrated Farm School in Barangay Lamac.

Acknowledged as a benchmark for its best practices in cooperativism, Lamac Coop's farm school is one of two TESDA-accredited farm schools in the Province of Cebu that espouses organic farming.

Pinamungajan takes pride in the success story of Lamac Coop established in 1973 with an initial 70 farmer-members. Today it towers as an excellent template in the initiative of the Cebu Provincial Government dubbed "Enhanced Countryside Development."

As a coop which grew from an initial P3,500 seed money to assets close to P2 billion as of 2019, and membership of over a hundred thousand - and growing remarkably - it's best methods are seen to reinvigorate countryside farming and boost faster economic recovery.

Lamac Coop engages in farm tourism, a tourism magnet with its pick-and-pay scheme. This means that visitors can harvest vegetables, fruits, and other crops and produce and purchase them directly at the farm while enjoying the mountain scenery.

Maria Elena Canda-Limocon, general manager, said that because of health protocols the facility can only accommodate as of now a maximum of 75 guests at a time.

The farm has greenhouses, nipa huts with ornamental plants and herbs, aside from vegetables and fruits.

Hanging plants grow in pots made of woven coconut coirs crafted in the same facility.

Lamac Coop, which grew from its initial services in consumer marketing and financial lending, now has beach properties in Barangay Tajao aside from its famous mountain resort that serves as jump-off to natural tourism sites such as springs and waterfalls.

In recent years, its Hidden Valley Mountain Resort has given guests the experience to enjoy the pleasure of a wave pool, a zipline, a skybike, an infinity pool, and more modern accommodation through its colorful squash-shaped cottages that seemingly resemble Hobbit houses.

Farm tourism opportunities here has expanded to carabao milk processing and cheese making. Guests get their hands on in the milking of carabaos, offering a new experience up close with albino carabaos.

Milk products vary from chocobao (chocolate-carabao milk) to mangobao (mango-carabao milk). There's also caramilk ice cream production to go with rice and banana delicacies and squash crackers.

Since Lamac Coop Integrated Farm School offers training on hog raising, free range chicken production, biogas production, cacao growing, among others, in coordination with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for national certification, the site serves as a school on agricultural modernization.

Mayor Glenn Baricuatro welcomed Garcia and the Provincial Tourism Task Force in a reopening ceremony at the Hidden Valley Mountain Resort convention hall.

"Magpasalamat ko sa pag-reopen sa turismo dinhi sa atong Lungsod sa Pinamungajan, sa padayong pagpangga ni Gov Gwen sa atong lungsod," Baricuatro said.

Booking is through, the centralized portal wherein booking rates and health protocols and guidelines are stipulated based on Garcia's Executive Order No. 20-A.

Garcia and the Provincial Tourism Task Force took the reopening of tourism activities in the midwest section of the Province beginning with a stakeholders meeting in Toledo City in the morning of November 19. 

The task force is chaired by Garcia with Department of Tourism 7 Director Shalimar Hofer Tamano and Department of Trade and Industry 7 Assistant Secretary Asteria "Aster" Caberte as vice chairpersons. (Eleanor Valeros)