Grape Picking and a Macho Temple, Bauang La Union
You read the title correctly, you can pick grapes right here in The Phils. Just a few hours north of Manila and there you are. We have now gone to a mango farm, picked sapinit (Filipino raspberry) and lastly, harvested grapes! If you asked me just a few years ago I would have said there is no way. I'll say it again, The Phils is getting everythaaaaang. :) How in the world did grapes end up in The Philippines? Let's find out.
"Mr. Avelino A. Lomboy, hailed as the 'Philippine Grape King' planted his first 20 cuttings in his backyard in 1972. After 2 arduous years of research and experimentation, the vines bore fruit. And as they say, the rest is history!" Courtesy of Lomboy Farms website.
The Lomboy family now has multiple farms and numerous varieties of crops. You can even pick dragon fruit, grapes and quapples all in one go. We only did grapes this trip and the process was short and sweet, max it was 30 minutes.
The location was super easy to find as it is on the main highway on your way to San Juan La Union, it is just 30 minutes before San Juan. We called before and made reservations but you don't necessarily need to. I expected more of a tour but we certainly didn't get one. We showed up to the main office that did have some orchards but they were not ready for picking at the time. A trike escorted us just a two minute drive up the road to the vines we would harvest from.
A trail lined with homes will lead you to the grape patch. As with most good fortune in The Philippines, the families who live along the trail were very kind and friendly. Do watch out for grey water along the trail.
After a very short walk, ta-da! The vines create a platform that you walk under and cut the grapes from. It was not too hot as it was shaded. The roof of grapes isn't too shallow but if you're taller be prepared to duck much of the time.
They have everything ready for you to complete your harvest; baskets, scissors and a scale. The kids thoroughly enjoyed cutting the grapes. It was 250php per kilo which I think is a little on the pricey side but we did this activity mainly for the experience. Plus, you pick the grapes right there and they are so fresh and crisp. Unfortunately for us, we are all too spoiled and don't love grapes with seeds which these grapes do in fact have. I have come to believe our food is much too tailored. The space itself is not so large but that doesn't stop these little guys from running wild and free. From daddy to baby, everyone in the family really enjoyed the activity. The total we spent was 700php and 30 minutes but the pay off was big so I would consider it a win. I loved that they checked our loot and cut out any rotten grapes before they weighed and totalled the amount. Wahoo for customer service! I can't believe I was born and raised in Sonoma California, "Wine Country", and didn't pick grapes until I was in my 30's in The Philippines. Oh the irony.
Things To Know:
Lomboy Farms offers a number of services for agriculture tourism including farm immersion programs and overnight accomodations. We did the pick and pay option for grapes only.
Address is La Union 68 Urayong Bauang, La Union t: 072-7052105
Drive north via McArthur hi-way. We are 300 meters ahead of the “Welcome to Bauang” arc. By Public Transport, take any bus plying Vigan, Laoag, La Union and Abra routes. Advise bus operator to drop you off in front of the farmhouse.
You can have a picnic on the grounds during your pick and pay time.
I wouldn't put this on my absolute must do list but it was a fun, quick and easy activity.
Read about our favorite beach getaway to La Union just north of Lomboy Farms.
***Just a quick tidbit about the bizarre title, yes we happened upon a really cool temple called Ma-cho Temple on our drive up. If you have the time take a stop and snap some photos. The place itself is really cool looking. The Ma-Cho Temple is located in San Fernando La Union and is a Taoist temple open to all worshipers no matter what religion. It was built in 1975 by the large Chinese community in San Fernando.
Things To Know:
Located on Ma-Cho Temple Drive it is just off the main highway, MacArthur Hwy/Manila/Manor.