Skip to main content

Yes Meding, Grapes Grow In The Philippines!

I got a viber message from my friend Dom Hernandez asking if I'm free Monday for a day trip to La Union to look at vineyards. My first response was "we grow grapes in the Philippines?" and he replied with a photograph of three happy people clowning under the grape vines. I immediately marked my calendar and moved a few appointments to the evening. This was my kind of trip, only Julie Andrews can stop me from going.
The visit to the vineyards was arranged by the Department of Agriculture. The department's charming undersecretary Berna Romulo-Puyat invited food writers and wine connoisseurs to look at the many possibilities of these locally grown grapes.
Avelino Lomboy started planting grapes in Bauang, La Union in the 70s. President Corazon Aquino visited in 1988, picking grapes herself from Mr. Lomboy's lovely vineyard. Today, there are more vineyards in La Union. You can see them in between mango orchards and tobacco plantations. The province has wisely diversified its crops making good use of its rich soil and bright sun.
Soon, with the opening of the TPLEX, it would take only three hours from Manila to La Union by car. One can go during harvest season and enjoy grape picking and a picnic under the shade of the grape trellises.
I went home with a kilo of sweet grapes I picked myself, they go for P120./kilo. I write this in remembrance of my yaya Meding who would have been celebrating her birthday today. She would have not believed my amazing story about the vineyards but would have enjoyed the grapes for sure. Yes Meding, may ubas na sa Pilipinas.

If you love grapes and road trips, check out

Twenty-five minutes by plane, La Union.

The San Fernando Airport in La Union.

Throwback: President Corazon Aquino visits the Lomboy vineyard, Good Friday 1988

The sun shines much brighter in La Union.

It is true! Grapes grow in the Philippines.

My height is just right for grape picking!

Sevrine Miailhe and Berna Romulo-Puyat checking out the grapes.

Dom Hernandez does a "GrapeFie".

Picnic under the trellises at the Gapuz Grape Farm.

Chef Henny Sison and mixologist Enzo Lim.



The star of our feast.

The future looks bright for growing grapes in the Philippines.

Loving grapes and loving the Philippines, Enzo Lim, Dom Hernandez, me, Berna Romulo-Puyat,
Sevrine and Edouard Miailhe.


  1. Thank you po Sir JC Buendia for sharing our story. Agyaman Kami - from Lomboy Farms

  2. Can we feature this article to our website

  3. Sayang hindi natuloy ang La Union trip ko last May :( hopefully next year. Promising ang grapes industry ng Bauang


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The House Of Dr. Luis Santos

Our tour of Malolos continues, from the Cojuangco ancestral house, our gracious host Melecio Cojuangco brought us to the house of Dr. Luis Santos. Mel arranged the visit with one of the heirs of Dr. Santos, George Imperial. From the outside, one would already be in awe of the sheer size of the house. The house was built in 1933, according to the marker by the gate. Upon entering, you will marvel at the grand staircase, the expansive receiving room and the foyer filled with hard bound medical books and mementos of Dr. Santos' career as a well loved doctor in this town. The second floor was something else, as our group slowly ascended the magnificent staircase, my heart literally skipped a beat at the sight of the ceiling mural and Art Deco details. We found out later that the mural was painted by the great Fernando Amorsolo himself. There was a private chapel in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes and a be…

The Cojuangco Ancestral House

Our next journey takes us to a historic town in Bulacan, thirty minutes north of Manila. My road trip buddies, my college friends who all share with me the same fascination for heritage houses were privileged by an invitation from Melecio Cojuangco to visit their ancestral house in Malolos. Mel, his cousin in law Marissa Lopa, Rima Datuin and Evelyn Bautista and I discovered each other's funny bonebecause of our love for the ice cream served in a huge bowl at Peninsula Manila's lobby. One evening, to justify our appetite, we pretended it was my birthday and we had the string quartet play happy birthday for me, from then on, we became good friends. Mel's grandfather, Jose Cojuangco was born at the Malolos house, very near the Barasoain Church. Jose's mother traded rice from Nueva Ecija, sacks transported by boat via the river at the back of the kamalig to Binondo, Manila. Like most turn of the century houses, the Cojuangco house uses piedra china stones for the ground …

Her Name Means Peace

I started blogging five years ago after reading the book Life On The Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers. So touched was I from the story, I named my blog My Refrigerator Door. Ms. Kuipers wonderfully weaved a story about a daughter and her mother who battled with breast cancer in a series of notes posted on the refrigerator door. Last Sunday, at the funeral of Tita Passy, Paz Cojuangco-Teopaco, I was reminded of that beautiful book. She too fought a long battle with the disease, but in her suffering, she has brought her family back together. I met the Teopacos through my good friend Kris Aquino. In one of Kris's anniversary specials on TV, I was introduced by Kris' mother, President Cory to her youngest sister, Passy. After that, I got to bond with Kris's cousins, Tita Passy's daughters, Marla and Rina in a summer trip to Mindoro. Sharing the same love for sentimental music, and deep affection for Kris's son Joshua, Rina and I became the best of friends. I would ofte…