SITIO LA PRESA is the name of the fictional strawberry farm that is home to Agnes (Liza Soberano) and the setting of her love story with Xander (Enrique Gil) in the teleserye Forevermore. (Watch the Forevermore Pilot Episode)
The actual Sitio Pungayan in Mt. Kabuyao, Tuba, Benguet has now adopted “La Presa” as its magical name, and has become a popular tourist spot for Baguio goers. It has attracted local tourists who want to relive the Forevermore love story.
Sitio Pungayan has managed to create a whole tourism economy around the La Presa branding–La Presa Strawberries, La Presa Vegetables, La Presa Jam, La Presa Souvenirs, and maybe even a La Presa Inn in the future. While this resulted in a lot of jobs and businesses in the sitio, uncontrolled commercialization is threatening the natural beauty, appeal, and smell of the place, plus endangering the water catchment area of Baguio.
Here’s what to expect before deciding to go or not to La Presa…
We visited La Presa while Forevermore was shooting its finale week episode 146 (May 18, 2015).
La Presa is 30 minutes away from Baguio City and located on the highest point of Mount Kabuyao.
The municipality started charging a P25 environmental fee per head (minus the driver and the kids).
As you go up to La Presa, you’ll be treated to this awesome view of the City of Baguio.
The best vantage point is at Cafe in the Sky, which has now has become a destination wedding venue in Baguio.
The road to La Presa is small, becoming a three lane street with chaotic parking.
La Presa merchandise and souvenir shops are popping up on the road going to the sitio.
Hawkers selling silver jewelry are friendly and not aggressive.
You have to pay P5 to pee and P10 to poo. Are there even proper waste management facilities here? Can the water supply cope with the volume of tourists?
The vegetable plantation all around La Presa is beautiful.
You can pay P180 per kilo to pick your own broccoli straight from the farm.
I like this house selling potted plants for your garden…
…and this stall selling Wild Honey.
Some of the hawkers are selling overpriced street food–P40 for peanuts!
Mixed nuts and candies for the little ones.
These makeshift stalls along the short hiking route to La Presa aren’t very pleasing to the see.
Some entrepreneurial people have even monetized picture taking with this La Presa view as the backdrop.
I particularly like this La Presa Vegetable Market where you can get cheap Benguet vegetables direct from the source.
(Note: Unfortunately, there are no strawberries in La Presa.)
La Presa merchandising for the die hard fans of #Forevermore.
The place is very crowded. It’s amazing how Forevermore has transformed this quiet sitio into an overnight tourism sensation.
The mountain view is breathtaking and made the trip worthwhile despite the traffic and the crowd.
After the final episodes of Forevermore airing this week, there’s no doubt about the lasting impact it has created for La Presa–for better or for worse.
Before, this place was simply known as the highest point near Baguio and a popular biking route to the radar. But now, it’s transforming into a chaotic tourist spot like Mines View or Session Road.
LA PRESA is indeed a magical place on top of Mount Kabuyao where the love story of Agnes and Xander lives on. But I do hope we can save it from becoming a congested tourism disaster and transform it into a sustainable eco-tourism destination instead.
La Presa needs help–let’s save it from becoming La Parusa #Forevermore!
Sitio Pungayan on Mt. Kabuyao, Tuba, Benguet
How to get there:
By car, you can use Waze to guide you for directions to Sitio La Presa. The entry point is in the Bakakeng area along Marcos Highway.
You can also get there by taxi, but they are now charging P800-P1,000 per roundtrip from Baguio to La Presa.
Live an Awesome Life,
Disclosure: I’m not connected with the people behind Forevermore. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.
P.S. It’s 30-45 minutes away from Baguio City. The best time to go is early in the morning. Allot about an hour for the hike to Sitio La Presa, the picture taking, and the shopping, and another hour for traffic congestion.
4 thoughts on “SITIO LA PRESA: Will Tourism Destroy its Natural Beauty? #LaParusa #Forevermore (A Case Study)”
where does the environmental fee go? boracay used to be the best beach in ph, top beaches in the world, how has it been now..?
pinoy capitalizes on everything they could and mostly its a temporary thing, squeeze out til the last drop, and they don’t give room preservation of natural environment, and when pinky realise what they did, its too late…
there are a lot of beautiful thing in the ph, yet pinoys doesn’t know how to conserve, its really a pity, i hope we all learn rom previous tragedies that had met us, ormoc victims, de forestation of bagiuo, some parts of subic, palawan, and a lot more…
Unless the people are conscious enough to care about the environment and don’t think that people will pick up their trash after them, then La Presa is doomed. That’s all I have to say.
I’ve seen similar things with some of the Russian regions and cities and I’m afraid that the same will happen with Cuba. Recently we went to St. Petersburg by Travel all Russia agency and it has changed a lot since I’ve been there 10 years ago.. Some of the changes are good, but the place is loosing it’s credentials.. On the other hand, I think it’s something we need to accept. Some of the changes are for the good to the locals, but for the tourists it looks like the place is loosing it’s identity.
It’s 2022… Well what do you say? DID IT?
Or did you just stop at writing your essay?