News and UpdatesIn the NewsBee farm to attract visitors to Valencia

Bee farm to attract visitors to Valencia

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Tourists coming to Valencia town in Negros Oriental will “bee” delighted to visit its newest tourist attraction, which offers an immersive and educational experience for children and adults.

Located within the town’s agro-industrial site alongside Okoy River in Brgy. Palinpinon, the V-Hive at the Ruins is the latest agri-tourism venture of the municipal government.

It showcases the methods of preserving native stingless bees or “kiwot” and teaches visitors on the importance of bees in the ecosystem.

The site is referred to as “the ruins” as it is a former bungalow house that was destroyed by typhoon Sendong in 2011.

In here, kiwots are bred inside bamboo cylinders, old clay flower pots, and coconut shells placed above the walls for the safety of the visitors.

The walls are painted with bee illustrations and posters with information on bees and the process of harvesting honey can be seen around the old house.

Although kiwots are known to be stingless, visitors are told not to poke their shelters as they can still swarm around their attackers and get inside a person’s body through the nose, ears, or mouth.

Aside from the native stingless bees, European honey bees or Apis Mellifera are also bred inside the improvised beehives.

Beside the ruins of the old house is a function hall where educational sessions and beekeeping demonstrations for tourists are held.

A lush foliage surrounds the area, making the place conducive for beekeeping or bee farming.

Although the V-Hive at the Ruins formally opened its doors to the public on October 10, 2023, it has already been accommodating educational tours for elementary students.

Valencia is a first-class municipality located 9 kilometers west and uphill of Dumaguete City, the capital city of Negros Oriental.

 

Achieving 3 SDGs through agri-tourism

Valencia Municipal Agriculturist Lyndon Escalante said the local government unit hopes to achieve three Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, namely: food security, ending hunger, and biodiversity conservation.

This venture came about when town officials noticed a decline in the production of local fruits like lanzones and rambutan, said Escalante.

They attributed it to the disappearance of kiwots in the lowlands caused by home construction projects.

Kiwots serve as natural pollinators for the trees.

“Atong mga kabalayan nag-revolutionize na from bamboo nahimo concrete. Naa jud relationship sa pagka-menos sa mga buyog tungod sa pagdaghan sa mga balay na nausob from bamboo to concrete (We have revolutionized the way we build our homes. We have shifted to using concrete from bamboo. There is a relationship between the decrease of the kiwot population and the increase of concrete houses),” Escalante said.

An article from the Haribon Foundation website explained that kiwots usually set up their nests in old bamboos or wooden structures.

Escalante said that they wish to further increase the kiwot population in the lowlands through the V-Hive to encourage more natural pollinators to propagate and spread fruit bearing trees in the municipality.

Since it is also a bee farm, honey will also be produced at the ruins, which will also contribute in the LGU’s food security efforts.

The V-Hive at the Ruins serves as the breeding hub and shelter for the native stingless bees to help their population thrive.

An article from the United Nations Environment Programme website cited that the main role of bees in nature is to help plants reproduce, but their existence are threatened due to pesticides, climate change, and air pollution.

“Bee populations have been declining globally over recent decades due to habitat loss, intensive farming practices, changes in weather patterns and the excessive use of agrochemicals such as pesticides. This in turn poses a threat to a variety of plants critical to human well-being and livelihoods,” the UNEP cited.

Escalante said they ensure that this advocacy is explained to their visitors during their learning sessions.

Tourism circuit

Currently, visitors at the V-Hive can see a glimpse of the bamboo cylinders and other breeding facilities of kiwot and the European honey bees.

They can also observe how they behave inside their hives or colonies and how they make honey.

They can also take photos around the place while carrying placards with hugot or inspiring messages to add some fun in their tour around the hive.

Once the bees produce honey, the Municipal Agriculturist Office, which runs the place, will also hold honey harvesting demonstrations and tasting for their visitors

Municipal Tourism Officer Designate Desiderio Tilos Jr. said they will include this in the town’s tourism circuit.

“Naa tay mga group of tourists na moari sa Valencia, ato na siyang i-apil na especially katong mohimo og day tours (When we have tourists taking day tours we will include this in their itinerary),” Tilos said.

There is no entrance fee at the V-Hive at the Ruins, and Escalante said the area will be further developed for more agri-tourism activities. (Roi Anthony Lomotan/PIA7 NegOr) 

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Photo Caption: A new place to “bee-sit” in Valencia, Negros Oriental is V-Hive at the Ruins, the newest agri-tourism venture of the municipal government which offers educational tours for students and bee enthusiasts. (Photo by KAT/PIA7-NegOr)

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