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A sneak preview
In 2001, the 658-hectare campus of the nearly century-old Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in the Science City of Muñoz was declared as the model agri-tourism site for Luzon under the Philippine Agri-tourism Program of the Department of Tourism and the Department of Agriculture, in coordination with the University of the Philippines-Asian Institute of Tourism.

CLSU thus joined the elite group of only three places in the country that have been declared as agri-tourism sites -- including a pearl farm in the Visayas and a banana plantation in Mindanao. 

The tourism department developed an educational tour package that highlights the role played by CLSU in the promotion of agri-tourism as a major source of education for both local and foreign tourists, and economic livelihood for the local population.

The flags flying at CLSU proudly
declare it as a Filipino and a Novo Ecijano institution.

A marker shows the university's unique status
as an agri-tourism site.

The plaque bestowing the honor to the university
was installed in fitting ceremonies on October 18, 2001.

The agri-tour starts at the university's Public Affairs Office
where visitors are given an overall view of the university.

Visitors are then led around the office compound
where there's a showcase of urban agriculture...

It demonstrates the possibilities of receptacle farming
in urban settings, using discarded tires, plastic bags, cans...

...and racks.

The campus is one big forest...

... with many trees as old as the university itself -- 
a hundred years.

The plants and trees are properly identified to
the delight of visitors who find themselves
standing next to species they never thought they'd find
in Nueva Ecija -- durian, for instance...

... and lanzones.

For additional income and to help preserve the environment,
CLSU has undertaken a massive tree planting all over the campus.
The university now has (hold your breath!) over 15,000 new fruit trees
including 4,500 mango, 3,000 calamansi, 3,000 tissue-cultured banana,
1,200 atis, 1,160 mangosteen, 600 rambutan, and 560 sweet tamarind trees among others. 
Forest trees planted include 5,200 mahogany, 4,100 narra,
1,000 bamboo and thousands of other varieties.

Around every bend is a vista of nature and man 
working harmoniously -- a pergola set beside a stream, for instance...

... a lotus-adorned pond.

Even a grove of tamarind trees never looked so picturesque.

One can even spot aviaries under shady spots.

Along the tour route are the pioneering technologies that CLSU
is known for -- greenhouses funded and built by the Israeli government...

... and the CLSU versions...

... where vegetables are grown under controlled conditions.
The greenhouse technology has been adopted by
several Nueva Ecija towns.

The Small Ruminant Center -- one of the university's 
research centers for fowls, farm animals and fish -- is engaged in 
the upgrading of native goats...

... through embryo transfer from imported breeds.

The university's quail and chicken farms...

... produce and supply eggs and meat to local markets.

Traces of CLSU's century-old past can be seen in
some of the buildings that continue to be used,
like the American regime post office, some living quarters...

...and the familiar CLSU landmark,
the water tank.

Among the surprises that the campus offers
is a unique monument of Dr. Jose Rizal... 

... showing the national hero clad in Barong Tagalog.

The Central Luzon State University philosophy states:

"The ultimate measure of the effectiveness of any institution of higher learning is its contribution to and impact on the educational, economic, social, cultural and political well-being, and environmental consciousness of the peoples it serves."

The agri-tour clearly drives home that message.

Digital photos and text by Ramon R. Valmonte
October 2003