Aug 26, 2017

A trip to a grape farm


I still remember the funny trip we had up north which transpired out of boredom and urge to seek for something new.
Back in 2015, I decided to organize a day trip to a newly emerging grape farm in Bauang, La Union - the Gapuz Grapes Farm. The farm is owned by the Gapuz family who were once a worker of a large grape farm in the province and then decided to grow their own grapes after acquiring a land where they could plant on.

Ate Mabel and I, take a pose with Danica.
The daughter named Danica, that we happen to interview in a Go Negosyo event, became very instrumental in popularizing and bringing their farm to mainstream. She graduated from Saint Louie University, aside from managing their own grape farm she keeps a job in Makati related to marketing and advertising.

A vineyard is probably one of the least fruits Filipinos see with the naked eye, along with apple and orange (or a persimmon tree?). And I never knew, Philippines has its own vineyard. So when I knew of the farm, I immediately took interest and kept Danica's business card hoping I can make use of it in the future -and I did. 
Who to travel with is always my dilemma in planning for a trip, because choosing the right people is a very crucial factor in enjoying my travels. Gladly two of my friends agreed to come and were excited because they haven't seen one too!
The funny thing is, I would've wanted it to be a two-day trip but they decided to make it a day only because my other ate had other things to do the day after. And so I went along with the idea... 
We took the old-bumpy bus that only comes once a day in Baloc (we waited for two hours! urggghh!). It was very frail that any moment it'll break - the seats handles are too rusty and gives the most uncomfortable ride ever. We laugh so hard at each bump as we were seated at the very end of it. As the old bus stops in Pangasinan, we again took another bus bound for Ilocos that will pass by La Union. I can't remember but I think it was a 2-3 hour bus ride, and we asked the driver to drop us off the arc saying "Welcome to Bauang, La Union". 
The farm is located quite off the road so we had to take the tricycle. Seated on the driver's backseat, we rode off to a neighborhood whose backyard's a vineyard instead of the usual ornamentals. My eyes were awed with the variety of grapes planted in each neighborhood until we arrived to a simple yet attractive vineyard in green with purple dangling - it was finally it and with quite a number of visitors. The harvesting already started early April, and we had the trip first week of May but still there were plenty of grapes to choose from. One of Danica's relatives taught us how to DIY harvest then gave us tiny scissors for cutting and baskets to place our harvest. The moment Danica posted  the DIY grape harvesting on fb it draw so much attention, a lot of people visited them already. We took photos as much as we can and ate our lunch there after. 
The only photo we have of Danica's father.
The family was very humble and keeps their doors open to relatives willing to help them with the business. Grapes are very hard to manage as it needs pruning and protection from rain. But Danica's father was a dedicated grape farmer who studied growing grapes for many years. And now it all paid off.


With no much time to stay at the farm, we took our leave after 3 hours of selfies and photo ops (hahaha), going back was even more terrible. We waited for the bus for 3 hours yet nothing came (and we missed the one that passed). So we decided to wait for the bus in San Fernando City. We were worried because we had to go back in time or ate will miss her travel by tomorrow so we decided to take a cutting trip - we took the bus bound for Cubao and dropped off in Urdaneta, Pangasinan. Then took another one enroute Isabela which passes by San Jose. From San Jose we travelled by xlt (a public jeepney) to Munoz. Didn't I say we were in the aisle seat all through out that bus ride? because we do. We arrived at around 3am in Brgy. Maligaya. Yet we still managed to laugh (and took a selfie!) after all that crazy transportation dilemma.
But that was one of my memorable trips in Nueva Ecija, and the grapes too!


Are you interested to go there? For inquiries visit Gapuz Grapes Farm on their official Facebook page
or contact them at: Email: joegapvz@gmail.com; Mobile:  0915 778 4594;