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Feature: Newly-opened bee farm expected to attract visitors to Valencia town

A new place to “bee-sit” in Valencia, Negros Oriental. The V-Hive at the Ruins, the newest agri-tourism venture of the municipal government, offers educational tours for students and bee enthusiasts. (KAT/PIA7-Negros Oriental)

Tourists coming to Valencia town in Negros Oriental will “bee” delighted to visit its newest tourist attraction, which offers an immersive and educational experience for children and adults.

Located within the town’s agro-industrial site alongside Okoy River in Brgy. Palinpinon, the V-Hive at the Ruins is the latest agri-tourism venture of the municipal government.

It showcases the methods of preserving native stingless bees or “kiwot” and teaches visitors on the importance of bees in the ecosystem.

The site is referred to as “the ruins” as it is a former bungalow house that was destroyed by typhoon Sendong in 2011. 

In here, kiwots are bred inside bamboo cylinders, old clay flower pots, and coconut shells placed above the walls for the safety of the visitors.

The walls are painted with bee illustrations and posters with information on bees and the process of harvesting honey can be seen around the old house. 

Although kiwots are known to be stingless, visitors are told not to poke their shelters as they can still swarm around their attackers and get inside a person’s body through the nose, ears, or mouth.

Aside from the native stingless bees, European honey bees or Apis Mellifera are also bred inside the improvised beehives.

Beside the ruins of the old house is a function hall where educational sessions and beekeeping demonstrations for tourists are held.

A lush foliage surrounds the area, making the place conducive for beekeeping or bee farming.

Although the V-Hive at the Ruins formally opened its doors to the public on October 10, 2023, it has already been accommodating educational tours for elementary students.

Valencia is a first-class municipality located 9 kilometers west and uphill of Dumaguete City, the capital city of Negros Oriental.

Valencia Municipal Agriculturist Lyndon Escalante (right) explains how native stingless bees or kiwot are bred inside the V-Hive at the Ruins, the town's latest agri-tourism attraction. (KAT/PIA7-Negros Oriental)
Achieving three SDGs through agri-tourism

Valencia Municipal Agriculturist Lyndon Escalante said the local government unit (LGU) hopes to achieve three Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, namely: food security, ending hunger, and biodiversity conservation.

This venture came about when town officials noticed a decline in the production of local fruits like lanzones and rambutan, said Escalante. 

They attributed it to the disappearance of kiwots in the lowlands caused by home construction projects. 

Kiwots serve as natural pollinators for the trees.

“Atong mga kabalayan nag-revolutionize na from bamboo nahimo concrete. Naa jud relationship sa pagka-menos sa mga buyog tungod sa pagdaghan sa mga balay na nausob from bamboo to concrete (We have revolutionized the way we build our homes. We have shifted to using concrete from bamboo. There is a relationship between the decrease of the kiwot population and the increase of concrete houses),” Escalante said.

A child inspects a beehive during a learning session at the V-Hive at the Ruins in Valencia, Negros Oriental. The place aims to be an educational facility for people to learn the importance of bees in nature, aside from being an agri-tourism site. (Photo courtesy of Valencia Municipal Tourism Office FB Page)

An article from the Haribon Foundation website explained that kiwots usually set up their nests in old bamboos or wooden structures.

Escalante said that they wish to further increase the kiwot population in the lowlands through the V-Hive to encourage more natural pollinators to propagate and spread fruit bearing trees in the municipality.

Since it is also a bee farm, honey will also be produced at the ruins, which will also contribute in the LGU’s food security efforts.

The V-Hive at the Ruins serves as the breeding hub and shelter for the native stingless bees to help their population thrive.

An article from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) website cited that the main role of bees in nature is to help plants reproduce, but their existence are threatened due to pesticides, climate change, and air pollution.

“Bee populations have been declining globally over recent decades due to habitat loss, intensive farming practices, changes in weather patterns and the excessive use of agrochemicals such as pesticides. This in turn poses a threat to a variety of plants critical to human well-being and livelihoods,” the UNEP cited.

Escalante said they ensure that this advocacy is explained to their visitors during their learning sessions.

Imparting the importance of bees in nature. A facilitator at The V-Hive at the Ruins holds an educational session about bees. (Photo courtesy of Valencia Municipal Tourism FB Page)
More livelihood for farmers

The V-Hive will not only serve as an agri-tourism site but also a demo farm for beekeeping and honey farming.

It will also function as a training facility for farmers and beekeepers on sustainable farming to  provide additional livelihood opportunities for them.

Escalante said they are planning to organize bee farmers in the town.

“Kaning amoang mga gipang-culture na stingless bees ug European bees. Amo ni idisperse sa ilaha. Sila na ang mogalam basta naa sila training na insakto amo sila tagaan og hive or colony sila na ang magpadaghan (The bees we breed here are the stingless bees and the European bee. We will distribute hives or colonies to them. We will train them so they will know how to breed them),” Escalante said.

He added that once they are able to produce their own honey, the LGU will buy it from them and sell it to the public through the Pasalubong Center inside the Valencia Tourism Office, as well as the flea market every Sunday at the Valencia Municipal Plaza.

Forty bamboo cylinders or “kasugong” for kiwots can only produce one liter of honey annually. 

But farmers can sell more honey if it is complemented with the European honey bee, which can produce around five to six liters of honey annually, said Escalante. 

Aside from harvesting honey, which is the main product of bee farming, other family members can also earn by selling by-products such as beeswax, an ingredient in beauty products.

Tourists can take photos with placards showing "hugot" signs around the V-Hive for a more fun experience while touring the site. (KAT/PIA7-Negros Oriental)
Tourism circuit

Currently, visitors at the V-Hive can see a glimpse of the bamboo cylinders and other breeding facilities of kiwot and the European honey bees. 

They can also observe how they behave inside their hives or colonies and how they make honey. 

They can also take photos around the place while carrying placards with “hugot” or inspiring messages to add some fun in their tour around the hive.

Once the bees produce honey, the Municipal Agriculturist Office, which runs the place, will also hold honey harvesting demonstrations and tasting for their visitors.

Municipal Tourism Officer Designate Desiderio A. Tilos Jr. said they will include this in the town’s tourism circuit. 

“Naa tay mga group of tourists na moari sa Valencia, ato na siyang i-apil na especially katong mohimo og day tours (When we have tourists taking day tours we will include this in their itinerary),” Tilos said.

There is no entrance fee at the V-Hive at the Ruins, and Escalante said the area will be further developed for more agri-tourism activities. (RAL/PIA7 Negros Oriental) 

About the Author

Roi Anthoni Lomotan


Region 7

Roi Anthoni Lomotan is an Information Officer at Philippine Information Agency (PIA) - 7. He is currently based in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. His job at PIA includes covering general beat assignments and other important events in the province.

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