More often than not, Albay is the usual destination for school-sponsored tours owing to its numerous historical landmarks and cultural heritage sites. Yet, there is more to discover about the Province. The recent Albay Tour, organized by the Economics Cluster of the Social Sciences Department last 25 February, proves true to this.
Participants of the tour were students in Principles of Economics (ECOS001) and Microeconomics (BECM121/BMTM252/BECM123) classes. This educational trip aimed to aid students in appreciating various economic activities and how these could contribute to local and regional development. By exposing these economic realities, it was expected that students would be encouraged to study Bicol economy.
Packing for the Trip
Mr. Emmanuel Vito Abejero, Ph.D.(cand.), the over-all head of the activity, said that the educational tour is one of the requirements of currently enrolled students taking up Economics and Microeconomics this 2nd Semester, 2013 – 2014. As indicated in their course syllabi, students choose either doing research using economic theories in analyzing an economic problem or joining the exposure trip.
The itinerary of the tour included the Aboitiz Geothermal Power Plant and Putsan Ceramics Factory in Tiwi, Canaway Dairy Farm in Malilipot, the Embarcadero de Legazpi, Pinangat Production in Camalig and Longganiza Production in Guinobatan. These sites were chosen to represent different sectors of the economy and were coordinated by Ms. Carmel Padilla, Ph.D. (cand.), one of the tour facilitators.
The attendance of the tour reached more than 400 participants, occupying ten buses. Each bus was facilitated by a teacher with a partner staff or student.
To control the number of students per site, as some can only accommodate few students at a time, the trip was divided into two, Trip A and Trip B.
Trip A took the usual route to Albay, that is, the route taken by public utility vehicles from Naga to Legazpi, via Daang Maharlika Highway. Trip B took the new route to Albay via Sagñay – Tabaco Road.
The Longganiza Production in Guinobatan was demonstrated inside their municipal town hall. Longganiza is made of meat, usually ground pork, flavored with garlic and other spices, usually served for breakfast.It is the main product of the Municipality. Students and teachers also purchased longganiza after the demonstration as pasalubong (souvenirs, usually a regional delicacy or item).
In the Pinangat Capital of the World, Camalig, students learned how the famous Albay delicacy is prepared. Made from natong (Taro leaves), coconut milk, and chilli (the holy trinity of Bicol cuisine), students discovered why Camalig is famous for this product. A very versatile dish that can be made vegetarian or adjusted to meat-lovers, pinangat is a good accompaniment for any main viand. The secret of Camalig`s Pinangat lies on how the dish is prepared and the art that comes along with it. The dish must be cooked under constant flames so as to maintain the suppleness of the taro and render the oil from the coconut milk. The tying of the strings of Pinangat also indicates whether the Pinangat is spiced with chilli or not. Students also enjoyed Pinangat during the taste-test.
Students were also able to observe the actual milking of cows in the Canaway Dairy Farm. Now using updated technology, the Dairy Farm in Malilipot is deviating from traditional practices of milking but still maintains the serene, provincial climate suitable for harvesting animal produce. Students also enjoyed bottles of fresh and flavored milks while watching the demonstration.
The Aboitiz Geothermal Plant showed students how natural steam is converted into electricity and how it is supplied into houses. Engineers overseeing the power plant eagerly answered the questions of a student on why electricity is expensive here in Bicol. Also, they showed students the control room wherein orders of plant operations are given.
In Putsan Ceramics Factory, students marveled at the world-class pottery in Tiwi. They observed the process of making a work of art from a pile of soil using a potter`s wheel. Students were also able to understand the versatility of pottery and the numerous masterpieces it can create.
Students enjoyed their lunch in Embarcadero de Legazpi, a lifestyle hub located in the port of Albay`s capital. It houses a number of restaurants and provides a wide-array of clothing selection. Embarcadero also has sections for souvenir items and outdoor extreme sports.
After a long but fruitful day, buses returned to Ateneo at around 9:00 PM.
Mr.Abejero thanked all the participants and organizers of the educational tour. This is one of the activities of the Social Sciences Department to expose students to social realities as well as create new avenues for learning.