La Huerta de Rosario is a rustic farm getaway where guests can enjoy a wonderful farm-to-table feast amid artistic surroundings. Visitors can experience harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables, taste it in the local cuisine served, and get inspired by the beauty of rural arts.
Located in Barangay Sta. Teresita in Baao, La Huerta is relatively near Naga City (my hometown) in the province of Camarines Sur in the Bicol region. I first visited La Huerta back in 2011 and my family and I have been coming back over the years.
La Huerta’s name comes from the Spanish for “orchard”. Owned and managed by artist Bernadette de los Santos, more popularly known as Bidibidi, La Huerta was originally idle land which she converted into a demo farm for off-season tomatoes in 2004. Now, it’s an agri-tourism destination and artists’ hangout in the Bicol region.
As a visual artist, Bidibidi uses her passion in arts and culture, her love for the environment, and her love for her hometown to revive local arts and transform this farming community into a destination spot for food, music, travel and crafts. I think her colorful floral paintings really reflect her cheerful personality. Check out this awesome profile feature and photo shoot about her titled “The Empress of Cool” in the progressive Bikol digital platform AGORA Magazine.
The farm itself and its grounds are beautifully landscaped, with a native nipa hut by the entrance and a paved walkway with leaf-shaped stepping stones leading into an airy hut where meals are served. The hut and furniture are made of wood and bamboo, with a sign of Baao from an old train station hanging in the restaurant area. Folk art touches like colorful patchwork tablecloths cover the dining tables while meals are served on pretty mismatched plates and cups.
The four-hectare farm is the first and only vegetable farm in the Bicol Region to earn the GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) Certification issued by the Department of Agriculture, which she uses in the farm’s restaurant and supplies to the local market. La Huerta raises vegetables such as eggplant, ampalaya, string beans, okra, squash, along with the occasional crops of sweet corn, bell pepper, snap beans, spring onions, ginger, lettuce and petchay. The fresh lowland vegetables are harvested just before they are cooked and served.
The farm has several open air venues and function rooms for events and dining. La Huerta serves all-day breakfast (P175), lunch (P250) and all-day buffet meals (am snacks, pm snacks and lunch for P390 min. of 20 pax) for events like training seminars for farmers, student’s field trips and meetings. It’s also an ideal place for art workshops, artistic and literary gatherings, or just simple family getaways because of the refreshing surroundings.
La Huerta can also customize the menu depending on the guest’s budget and what ingredients are in season. Breakfast usually consists of fresh farm eggs and homemade longganisa, oven fresh bread from the local bakery, seasonal fruits and beverages. Lunch is salad greens or pinakbet mix from the garden harvest, grilled local fish with tomato salsa, grilled poultry or pork with coco concoction, and lemon grass juice.
I absolutely love the farm’s vegetarian kare-kare which makes use of freshly harvested vegetables, which goes really well with lechon kawali. Guests can also harvest and purchase veggies from the garden. At the moment, meals and visits are by reservation only, as the owner hires a cook only when visitors are expected.
My nephew during trips to La Huerta in 2011 and 2014
Other amenities and services (including tables, chairs, sound system, reservations to nearby hotels and spa services, etc.) can be arranged prior to your visit. A new addition to the farm is La Casita de Teresa, a back-to-basics bed & breakfast for guests who want to stay overnight. There are also farm and Art & Crafts activities for guests doing day trips.
A few minutes drive from La Huerta in the Baao town center is Bidibidi’s residence, a bahay-na-bato which she has converted into another inspiring creative space. The ground floor of the house was renovated into Café des Artes, an art studio and gallery that displays paintings of Bicol artists.
The cafe serves coffee, tea, cakes and pastries from a local bakeshop by appointment. Since 2010, Bicol artists have held group exhibits, book launchings, poetry readings, and musical events here.
The cafe houses a collection of vintage books, art, and memorabilia, patchwork quilts, embroidered throw pillows, old bottles, teapots and bottles.
In Café des Artes, you can also see Bidibidi’s workshop for her F.A.R.M., (Fabulously and Absolutely Rural Made) Enterprises, a social enterprise that combines fashion with upcycling, while providing livelihood to local women and out-of-school youth in Baao.
According to Bidibidi, FARM embodies the principles of “recycling, re-purposing, refining and re-finding things. It’s about glorifying the old and the vintage.” Her artistic products like bracelets, earrings, cocktail rings and layered necklaces are made from used or discarded buttons, trimmings and other found objects. Bidibidi also hopes to revive and upgrade the art of embroidery, which the town of Baao was once known for.
For art enthusiasts or those looking for new destinations in Camarines Sur beyond the usual tourist haunts, these destinations will leave you inspired. Have lunch at La Huerta or coffee and cake at Cafe des Artes and of course meet this gracious bubbly woman behind the artistic spaces. Best of all, by purchasing products and paintings from the FARM, you will be helping the local families and boost the local economy.
- For inquiries and reservations, contact Bernadette de Los Santos at 0919-5887877
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
- Facebook: La Huerta de Rosario and Cafe des Artes
- Blog: www.farmbaao.blogspot.com
Additional photos courtesy of Bernadette de los Santos & Lorie Santos.