5 highland farms you can visit to escape the summer heat

To escape the hot dry season heat, many people flock to beaches and highlands, but there are also farms to try visiting this season.

Last March 21, 2023, the state weather bureau just declared the start of the hot dry season, popularly known as summer, in the Philippines. The season typically spans from March to May and is characterized by generally hot and humid weather across large portions of the country.

To escape the hot dry season heat, many people flock to beaches and highlands, but there are also farms to try visiting this season:

Fresca Farm

FrescaFarm.jpeg Front view of Samgyup sa Farm restaurant. (Nico Buenaventura)

Less than two hours away from Manila, this farm near Tagaytay City offers quick relief from the busy urban life through an immersive farm and dining experience. Visitors can enjoy the greenery amidst the cool weather of Alfonso, Cavite, while having tasty samgyupsal meals. The unique setup of integrating a formerly lettuce farm with samgyup is itself a sustainable innovation to deal with the former's oversupply problem.

Read: Cavite farm’s “unli samgyup” proves that innovation unlocks unlimited opportunities

Vaikuntha Forest Farm

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Vaikuntha Forest Farm is nestled in the Sierra Madre Mountains, just a breath away from the Tanay, Rizal, and Quezon Province border. (Vaikuntha Forest Farm)

Named after the celestial abode of Vishnu, the Hindu god responsible for protecting and maintaining life on earth, this remote farm located in the Sierra Madre mountains can be a great go-to site to immerse themselves in nature. The Vaikuntha Forest Farm in Tanay, Rizal, offers visitors naturally-grown herbs, fruits, and vegetables, which they can enjoy while being off grid in the farm's lodges. It is also a good retreat venue where visitors can try learning other activities, such as yoga and first aid training.

Read: A remote forest farm in Rizal boasts of an all-natural and authentic farm experience

Umanika Eco-Cultural Farm

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Rose Mary and Datu Makadingding during Umanika Eco-Cultural Farm’s reopening day. (ATI Region X)

This farm located in the cool highlands of Bukidnon is an integrated farm and restaurant offering guests a holistic farming experience. The Umanika Eco-Cultural Farm in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, is an 8,200-square-meter organic farm where visitors can experience hands-on learning experience on organic agriculture, try different recreational activities, and lastly, indulge in a variety of delicious cuisines. Aside from growing crops, the farm also sells plant-based products, such as organic herbs, banana chips, and peanuts.

Read: Bukidnon natural farm guarantees good food and a great learning experience

Dubria Farm

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A coffee tree showing plentiful cherries. It is a Catimor Arabica, a variety known for its resistance to pests and diseases. (Daniel Maches)

In the foothills of Mount Apo in Mindanao, a thriving coffee farming community continues producing world-renowned coffee varieties. Though their area in Bansalan, Davao del Sur, is often known as a jumpoff point for a Mount Apo trek, it is also home to several hectares of coffee farms under the Balutakay Coffee Farmers Association (BACOFA), one of which is Dubria Farm. Visitors can have first-hand learning on coffee production in the highlands located around 1,500 meters above sea level. Aside from learning, they can also have a taste of award-winning coffee suitable in the area's cold climate.

Read: Coffee farmers on Mt. Apo’s foothills produce internationally-acclaimed coffee

Haight Farm

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Blue potatoes from Haight Farm. (Haight Farm)

This century-old farm located in the cold highlands of Atok, Benguet, is a great destination to learn both agriculture and history. Aside from its renowned blue potatoes, the Haight Farm offers highland vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, and more. Visitors can experience harvesting the crops on their own. Aside from crops, the farm also has a Sakura Park, a flower farm where around thirty sakura (Prunus serrulata) trees grow.

Read: A century-old farm in Benguet endures

The generally good weather during the hot dry season is a perfect opportunity to pack up and immerse in the beauty of farming while escaping the heat in the urban jungle. In highland farms, let the eyes indulge in the natural colorful sceneries, the skin feel relief from the heat, and feed the stomach with sumptuous healthy cuisines.