Weekend Escape : Visiting the Grapes Capital of the Philippines

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(Re-published article)

It was surreal. Parang nasa ibang bansa lang 🙂

I was struck knowing there is a grape plantation in the Philippines. It got me even more excited knowing that the grape farm and grape picking is located in La Union, where at first I’ve known only that La Union – perhaps due to the geographic location – is only best for its surfing culture owing ultimate list of beautiful beaches.

Summer is the best time to harvest grapes in La Union. So if you’re planning a late summer vacation to the beach, you can also stop and pick-your-own grapes. At the farm, the vines are around 6 feet tall, so kung matangkad ka, abot kamay mo lang yung mga grapes, but in this pic, I tried to swallow some of them.

Another blogger told that grapes has long been grown in La Union, but according to her it wasn’t until photos and articles of Bauang, La Union Grape Farms have gone viral in 2016 that this local secret was revealed to the world. Isn’t it awesome?

For many Filipinos, this is surprising since we thought that grapes can only be grown in places with cold weather. It was sunny and warm when we reached Bauang, La Union, that is why it is a good place to plant grapes.

Also, it is believed that La Union’s grape farm started by Avelino Lomboy who owns Lomboy Grape Farm. He started planting in the 70’s as a hobby and since then, it has grown into a large business. He shared his knowledge in viticulture to other families in Bauang and eventually, family-owned grape farms mushroomed in La Union.

However, according to a Facebook post by Gapuz Grape Farm, Alfonso Aromin was one of the first grape growers in La Union, Aromin’s Vineyard reportedly established in 1971.

Among an array of grape vineyards in La Union, we decided to visit th Gapuz Farm with their pick-and-pay scheme, where visitors are allowed to experience first-hand grape picking during in-season months. Gapuz Farms offers free entrance and an opportunity to learn how to cut the stems of the grapes properly. Guests are charged a minimum of Php 300 per kilogram of grapes. In addition, although we were not told by the management that Gapuz offers a boodle fight package for groups of 10, amounting to Php 1,500 inclusive of a farm tour and a generous spread of food and grape bunches.

To get there, hop on a bus bound for La Union, Vigan or Laoag, and get off at Brgy. Urayong. Travel time will take around five to six hours and will cost around Php 350-400. If riding a private vehicle, pass by TPLEX to cut down travel time by half.

Accommodation to Grape Farm tours usually happen on a first-come-first-served basis. Keep in mind to always check both Bauang-based farms’ Facebook pages to be informed of whether or not grapes are in-season.

I found my loves under the vines.
Must-try. Grape picking in LU 🙂
I am more than excited than the little man 🙂

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