The D-Shaped province of Misamis Occidental truly proves its promising potential within the tourismscape of the Philippines. Surrounded by the mainstream destinations of Dakak of Zamboanga del Norte and the regional center of Cagayan De Oro, the province kept on placing yets its best cards in its continuing process of improving and developing its exquisite destinations. Having its own vital air and sea links, indeed, it is never arduous to explore its fringes and cores. One thing that is striking and evidently very #MisOcc is the unique towering Mt. Malindang range. As you land and dock at its own ports of entry, it is hard not to notice its massive crown. The high and mighty peaks jutting against the skyline and cloud line prove its majestic rule over the lowlands and surrounding waters.
This volcanic portion exudes such mysticism that indeed tickles my interest. What could be on its slopes and caldera? One would not think initially, but a sprawling strawberry plantation lies on one of its healthy inactive calderas – one of which is Pines Strawberry Farm by managed by a local Sir Anjon Rado located in the Municipality of Don Victoriano – which locals coin as DonVic.
Benguet province of the Cordilleras holds its prime spot as the destination of choice to experience such strawberry farm experience, but Misamis Occidental has also its say with regards to this. Thanks to the natural and healthy volcanic soil, a steady stream of clean fresh water and the almost consistent climate that the area has. This is the valuable gift from Mother Nature that strawberry farmer Sir Anjon harnessed to produce this lovely dark pinkish plump and pointy produce. Having learned the practices of cultivating strawberries from Benguet, he brought home the skill and eventually created his own masterwork – a quality which indeed challenges ones from Benguet. His hard work finally reaps a lot of gains, from a steady wholesale market in Dipolog, Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, and the chance also to train more strawberry farmers. More than cultivating fresh and plumpy strawberries, Sir Anjon is also able to produce its own line of jams – a product which has a longer shelf life.
More than these exquisite berries you can pick and pay for is the amazing story and the journey of Sir Anjon on how he persevered in such an agricultural feat despite living in this modern and “instant” era. While employing locals, he is able to partake in spurring economic activity in their town.
LET’S TALK ABOUT DONVIC
If you are from Luzon or Visayas, or anywhere farfetched from Mindanao, you would not recognize DonVic yet. Mention of Misamis Occidental would instantaneously be, Ozamis, Tangub or Oroquieta, maybe let’s add Clarin. These are what I coin as “usuals”. The adventurer dwelling in me leads me to great interest to an idyllic and high-altitude place like Don Victoriano. It is a Fourth Class Municipality located at the Western Borders of Misamis Occidental and geographically separated by the Malindang Mountain Ranges. In its early years, one from the commercial centers of the province needs to yet to traverse borders just to reach the municipality. When a new provincial road slicing through the hills and slopes is finished, the long commute is almost slashed in half, connecting the town to the main arteries of the province.
Hidden in its nooks and crannies, lies amazing destinations, tourism spots and viewpoints – for having blest with the undulating slopes of the Malindang range – the potential is seemingly endless. Our day of exploration of DonVic is not enough as we just barely scratched the surface of its tourismscape. Given the opportunity, I would spend a week here and explore more of its destination and understand deeply the Subanen culture.
HOW TO GO HERE:
Set first your arrival in Misamis Occidental, either by Air at Ozamis Airport or by sea by Ozamis or Plaridel. From there, take public transportation to Don Victoriano. Visit their Tourism Office and arrange for your transportation going to the farm. It would another hour to get to the caldera. The way is long but get rewarded with the amazing breathtaking views once at the fringes of the caldera. The view is outwardly and truly amazing. The spiky peaks piercing through the cloudline and healthy forest it fosters plus the fresh cool mountain breeze blasting on you while on a pickup back ride are the greatest rewards of the long transit. No hike is required as you would alight near the entrance of the farm. A Php50 entrance is required before you enter its premises.
Message the Don Victoriano Tourism FB account for inquiries.