Archive for Don Salvador Benedicto

Rapha Valley, your health and wellness destiny

Posted in Agri Tourism, Ecotourism, Environment, Green Hotels, Negros Occidental, Sustainable Living, Travel with tags , , , , , , on January 19, 2014 by Sustainability Guru

Rapha Valley Farm, Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental

Step back to nature and wellness country in Rapha Valley. Located amidst the unspoiled (well, almost) verdant highlands of Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB) in Philippine’s southern province of Negros Occidental, but for some spatter of garish, contrasting houses, visit this organic farm and return home a health and fitness buff! After a few hours of organic plants & garden orientation,  wholesome food talk and tasting with no less than its owners, medical doctor-turned-organic chef health guru, Dr. Albert Jo and wife Marilou (a Pharmacy Degree holder herself) regaling you with stories on toxic, GMO filled crappy cooking, you will swear off all processed and artificially enhanced supermarket and fast food!

 Getting there.It is a smooth, well-paved countryside, 75-minute drive from Bacolod City up to Barangay Kaliskis,  DSB Highway. A few meters past KM 48, you have to turn to an “off-road” drive (about two kilometers) as organic farms should be located away from the main road. Then after some almost interminable minutes wondering if you’ll ever get there, you reach the gate to paradise on this part of the planet!

 Rapha Valley Welcome

Organic Welcome. You will be met with hearty reception by shorts-and- apron clad waiters, with a fresh organic welcome drink along with Citronella infused ice-cold towels. Well thought out detail, especially after a long drive and to ward off mosquitoes. Sit back and soak in the natural beauty and greenery, as you will be offered cordial snacks of Black Rice Cakes with native and organic dips.

 Dr. Albert Jo, Proprietor, Health & Wellness Guru

Crops and herbs. Dr. Jo starts by giving a pre-farm tour talk on the basics of healthy eating as opposed to toxic, GMO-filled and artificially enhanced everyday food we buy from supermarkets, fast food and convenience stores. It was shocking to know that some foods that we eat can be downright horrifyingly deadly. Then we proceed with the personalized tour by Dr. Jo himself, first going down the valley as he points out the different crops, herbs and vegetables that can be grown at such an elevation. He shows, cuts some pieces and lets you smell or taste the different flowers, herbs and crops. Most important of all he explains the nutritional and/or medicinal value of each plant.

Rapha Valley Healthy Cuisine 

The Cuisine is medicine.  As your appetite is whetted up again with all the uphill and downhill exercise, you will be ready to relish the food served directly from their vast garden. This is no pig-out for typical freeloading foodies. This is a real deal, hale and hearty, mostly vegetarian, honey-sweetened (sugar free), low salt, low fat (even fat free) and no MSG gastronomy. At its healthiest & most original locavorism.   One of its culinary “open” secret is that they are cooked in clay pots, the old fashioned way, slow and correctly prepared. Another attention to detail is their menu system for first time visitors and fare choices for second or multi-visiting guests! Scrumptious pesco vegan and vegan choices include Herbs & Flowers Salad with choice of Dressing. We’ll reserve the rest of the gastronomy fare for you to discover!

Rapha Valley Casita 

Your casita in the Valley. Rapha Valley now boasts of simple cottages for an overnight or extended getaway from the city. Log cabin or country style casitas, landscaped for serenity and solitude, your comfy abode overlooks the southern country side and possibly even Guimaras Island across which can be seen on a clear day. The casitas offers you a relaxing space for retreat and repose atop the hinterlands of haciendas and sugarcane plantations!

RaphaValley DSB Repose 

Word of MouthRapha Valley is fast gaining popularity, not only for its scenic, cool location, lush greenery, and organic gardens, but also for its unique nutritious and all natural cuisine. It is an exquisite surprise not only for the senses and palate but also for your well-being!  On the Valley grounds, soak in the organic garden trails winding past water irrigations and humming birds; your Health & Wellness Guru will explain the fascinating unaffected garden ecosystem. Learn old world remedies and discover an all natural pharmacy (take note, the root word is “farm-acy”) within the gardens. What could be more delightful than relishing colorful edible flowers and vibrant pink hibiscus for a refreshing drink?

 Don Salvador Benedicto Waterfalls

Visit DSB nowRest and relax for a serene retreat in DSB or wander off to a nature adventure and exploration, before it’s proliferated with utterly hideous structures of vacation houses with no respect for character or sense of place. In our Sustainable Tourism advocacy for this town, we urge everyone who is going to build or develop a house or lodging facility to maintain the geographical character of the mountainous ecosystems, its natural topography, heritage, aesthetics and culture. By all means, we highly recommend observing our Green Hotels & Zero Carbon Resorts best practices!

Keep DSB green as Rapha Valley does to keep all guests hale and hearty! It’s not only for our good but also for our future generations’!

 For more information and Green Travel tips, visit our Green Travel Exchange. 

 

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Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB) taking up the Eco Challenge

Posted in Agri Tourism, Cultural Scenes, Environment, Good Governance, Responsible Travel with tags , , , , , on March 22, 2011 by Sustainability Guru

Don Salvador Benedicto’s Malatan-og Falls

Villa Ica Garden, Don Salvador Benedicto

The youngest municipality of Negros Occidental, Don Salvador Benedicto more popularly know for its acronym “DSB” is situated 2,495 feet above sea level at the mid-center of the province, 47 kilometers of good highway from capital city, Bacolod.  Its composite jurisdiction  includes two barangays (barrios) from Murcia town, three from San Carlos City and two of Calatrava. Established as a town in 1983, it was intended to consolidate the area into a separate and independent local government unit to counter the insurgency concentrated here.  The town got its name in honor of the late Vice-Governor Salvador Benedicto, who was part in setting the Revolutionary Government of Negros Island and Siquijor during the Japanese occupation last World War II. Today, this newfound town has surpassed geographical, economic and social challenges, with its 10-year strategic master plan for residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural & fishery development zones and because of this became a budding eco attraction in the province, albeit raw and emergent.

Rice Terraces at DSB, Agricultural showcase

Though DSB is still pretty much rural, almost like a big barrio, it has already literally paved the way for bigger things to come, such as its infrastructure: impeccable picturesque highway that is the envy and adjudged “most beautiful” in the country. Its climate is moderate; cool for Philippine tropical standards with an even rainfall distribution throughout the year. Among its rural attractions are historical Barangay Igmaya-an, one of the strongholds of the province’s Revolutionary Government during the Japanese Occupation; the Monument in honor of its namesake, Don Salvador Benedicto; the picturesque mountain ranges of Mt. Mandalagan and Mt. Canla-on;  the remarkable Rice Terraces, a mini-replica of Banaue’s; attractive Malatan-og Falls amidst the lush green forest, ideal for mountain trekking; the 45-meter Hanging Bridge at Barangay Igmaya-an and of course the Zigzag Road leading to the town and the impressive scenic freeway which provided the shortest route between San Carlos, the farthest city of the province to Bacolod, as well as network links to the rest of the Northern towns and cities. DSB prides itself with indigenous tribes still existing in the area and its folkloric fiesta “Kali-kalihan” commemorating the Feast of the Kali, a long lost culture of a genuine Filipino heritage and the oldest form of weaponry, the “Arnis or Escrima.”

DSB’s Kali-kalihan Festival. Photo courtesy of Maeng Java

With DSB Cultural Consultant Ismael Java, Writer-Director of “Anagas”

DSB officials are working towards providing the town with careful and conscientious advancement, slow but sure steps towards Sustainable development with its community based rural and agro tourism. In no time, it will be the country’s next green getaway hotspot.

with Tourism Officers, Cultural Consultant, Maeng Java

Last March 5, 2011, I re-visited DSB and gave a talk and presentation on Sustainable Tourism & Best Green Hospitality Practices, emphasizing the need to conserve its natural resources, with careful consideration for the local community while it embarks on new tourism development to ensure its sustainability for future generations.  Attended by DSB’s town officials and educators, invited guests from neighboring First District of the province comprised of councilors, tourism officers and civic leaders were also present.

Act from “Anagas” the musical, original Hiligaynon musical written & directed by Ismael Java.

I was happy to see several acts from “Anagas” which was especially presented by DSB’s Cultural Consultant, play director and writer, Ismael Java. Anagas is an original Hiligaynon (regional dialect) theatrical presentation with a profound message about the environment.

With these inspiring simple townsfolk and sincere officials dedicating their lives on the preservation of their town, we will be working together for The Negros Initiative framework of Conservation, Community Social Responsibility & Sustainable Tourism.

The Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development, Inc. (SSTDI) is leading the greening of  Negros Occidental and espousing Sustainable Tourism:  experience culture, cuisine, conservation and meaningful visits to Don Salvador Benedicto and other local communities. 

Don Salvador Benedicto is a proponent of The Negros Initiative led by SSTDI,  a Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility framework to be implemented with institutional partners Green Hotels, The Clean Blue & Zero Carbon Resorts. Sustainability Capacity Building and Training programs towards a green economy for destinations, cities and communities include Good Governance, Rio 21 Agenda, Waste Management/3Rs/MRF, Resilience, Disaster Prevention and Management. Educational programs can be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community in general. For more info, visit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.