Beyond Mysteries: Sohoton Cove National Park|Part 2

Here’s Part 2 of our Bucas Grande and Sohoton Cove tour.

Our next stop was the Sohoton Cove National Park Tourism Office where we had to register our names and transfer to a smaller boat in order to explore Sohoton Cove.

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From afar, we already saw many boats surrounding the registration building. It took us almost ten minutes to find a space to dock ours. We saw many people waiting for their turn to register.

When it was our turn, we were told that they’re not accepting further visitors for the day. Wait, what? It so happen that there were too many people on that day and that they couldn’t accommodate everyone. 😥

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I went back to the registration table and plead. With my persuasive attitude, I was told that they might reopen the registration after two or three hours when there is already an available boat. But we had to be on stand-by because it’s a first-come-first-serve basis and they’re not accepting advance booking payment.

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We thought, we would be wasting our time waiting for them to reopen. 😦 Again, I gathered guts and with my convincing power, we were able to secure the first slot once it would be reopened.

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While waiting, we went back to our boat and our boatmen steered it to another part of the island. There, we took a dip in the water. At first I was hesitant to join the gang because the water was deep blue which means it was very deep. I had my life vest but I was worried about what could be lurking underneath. (Eh, sharks, crocodiles. :p nyahaha)

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After about 30 minutes, we were called and told that we could already register. (That’s faster than we thought.) We hurriedly got off from the water and went back to the registration area. After paying for the necessary fees for the tour, we were given life vests and we waited for our tour guide.

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We were divided into two groups because one boat could only have seven passengers the most. Our tour guide introduced himself and our boatman. They seemed to be very experienced and have known the place like the back of their hands.

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Then he told us that we were already about to enter the Sohoton National Park. He pointed to a cove and said that we were to pass through it. From a far, I doubted our boat to go through it because it was very small.

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The entrance.

During high tides, the cave is impassable not unless you dive underwater. This is where Sohoton Cove got its namesake — from the Visayan word so-oton which means to pass through a small opening.

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The entrance.

And tada! We’re now in Sohoton Cove National Park!

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See how small it was.
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Tiil sa Kabayo or Horse’s Feet.

Not far from the entrance, is this oddly shaped rock which they consider a very important landmark. They fondly call it “Tiil sa Kabayo”  or a horse’s feet.

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The fjord, and these muffin-like islets inside the cove looked very similar to each other. Those who are unfamiliar of the place would certainly get lost, even our guides admitted that they could be lost, too if not because of that Tiil sa Kabayo landmark near the entryway.

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As we went deeper the Sohoton Cove National Park, our guide continued feeding us information about the place. He also showed us this very unique limestone cliff. I said it’s unique because all islets inside the cove are forested but this cliff’s face. We just forgot its name. Sorry.

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Our first stop for the tour was Hagukan Cave. It got its name from the term “haguk” which means snore. They said, if you’re lucky, you could hear snores from the cave which is created by the waves that goes in and out of it. Guess, we’re not the lucky ones because we did not hear it. Pffft!

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Taken from the inside of the cave.

For one to enter the cave, we had to dive for 3-5 seconds through the entrance of the cave. If we had a little luck  that time, that was because the tide did not reach the ceiling of the entrance yet, thus we only had to float upon entering. Inside was a huge cavern hiding healthy stalactites.

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After swimming inside Hagukan Cave, we boarded back our boat and head to our next stop, the Magkukuob Cave. Only few of us went inside because we were told that the only exit was to jump from a 15-feet platform. I did not do that but Ace did.

We skipped the Jellyfish island because we ran out of time and the tide was rising. We had to be out the cove before it submerged in the water and trap us inside the National Park. It was getting dark when we arrived at the Tourism Center. We hurriedly transferred to our bigger boat so we could go home.

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It was getting dark on our way back to the port of Hayanggabon. We were rewarded with the glimpse of a wonderful sunset while cruising through Sohoton Bay.

We really had a great time exploring Bucas Grande’s pride. With positive attitude, we were able to make those misadventures an adventure itself. Because we believe that the twists and turns that we had experienced was what made our experience worthwhile and worth telling. 😀

Thank you, Bucas Grande for such a wonderful experience!

Over to you, have you had misadventures that are worth telling? We’d love to hear it from you. Leave us some words.

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi.

 

P.S A huge thanks to our friend Annel Hope Mayuga and to her wonderful family for adopting us during our four days stay in Surigao. Thank you for your warm welcome and for making this venture possible. ’til next time.

Bucas Grande Island & Sohoton Bay | Part 1

Let me start this post with an aerial photo of Bucas Grande Islands which would surely ignite every itchy feet’s curiosity.

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Photo credit to the owner. (Source)

We know it’s a cliche, everyone says to lower our expectations. But, could you blame us for expecting too much? Photos posted on Facebook , Instagram, and other social media sites spell HIGH EXPECTATION.

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We already had posted a photo diary about of Surigao experience here. An invite from a good friend brought us to the beautiful City of Island Adventures and gave us the chance to experience a non-stop island hopping. 😀

So, how was our Bucas Grande Islands and Sohoton Bay experience?

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Port of Hayanggabon.

It was already 7:00am when we arrived in Surigao. A van picked us up to bring us to the Port of Hayanggabon where our Bucas Grande Island adventure awaited. We dropped by our host’s house to leave some of our belongings and immediately resumed our journey for the day.

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Our boat.

At the port, a medium-sized motorized boat waited for us. We quickly get on the boat and had our breakfast on board. We were very busy filling our hungry tummies, without knowing, we were already in the middle of Sohoton Bay.

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Sohoton Bay

Our major tour for the day was Sohoton Cove National Park. Since it was still a high tide, our boatmen toured us to other islands around Sohoton Bay. Our first stop is the Crystal and Bolitas Cave.

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The Gang.

Unfortunately, I did not have a decent photo inside the cave. But just a heads up, Crystal Cave is a huge cavern with stalagmites and stalactites shining like crystals while Bolitas Cave got its name from the strange rock formations inside that resembles to that of a pellet. (Here’s a perfect post that best describes what I’m trying to say.)

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A boat-shaped rock.

After we explored the two caves and done our photo-ops, we hopped back to our boat to explore another island. As our boatmen expertly maneuvered our boat avoiding the shallow water, we noticed this boat-like rock which is perfectly shaped by time. Look how amazing nature is!

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After a few minutes, we were in front of another island. It was fronting a cliff and it looked like a developed resort. We agreed not to drop there and just find another place where we can grill our fish for lunch so we won’t run out of time.

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Demi basking under the sun.

Our boatmen brought us to this nearly isolated islet. We saw a small hut when we were about to dock our boat. We learned that the hut was for the caretaker of the island but no one was around except the two kind big dogs. But not too long, a small banca arrived and we reckoned he was the said caretaker because the dogs greeted him sweetly.

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He was very kind and told us that he lives alone in this part of the island but there are frequent visitors who drop by, too.

For a while, we had the whole island for ourselves. While some of us prepared our food, others were having a great time exploring the island, taking Instagram worthy photos. I couldn’t help sharing this photo below that best describes how ‘struggle was real’ just to show that beautiful photos on Facebook and IG. 😀

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Behind the scenes.
SOhoton Behind The scene
Behind the scenes.

😀 Anyway, after our lunch and that crazy photo-ops, another group of visitors were headed to our spot. We decided to pack up and gave them the chance to enjoy the place like we did.

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Next stop, Sohoton Cove National Park. But I will save that on the later post. 😀 So, kindly stay tuned for that.

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Ace and Demi enjoying the white beach in an island of Bucas Grande.

We hope you enjoyed our Bucas Grande Island and Sohoton Bay photo diary.

 

‘Til our next story.

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

P.S A huge thanks to our friend Annel Hope Mayuga and to her wonderful family for adopting us during our four days stay in Surigao. Thank you for your warm welcome and for making this venture possible. ’til next time.

We Survived Our First Trek With a Toddler. | Tips and Lessons

Love her, but leave her wild. ~ Articus, To Kill a Mockingbird

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Ahkirah at Mt Mago.

Two weeks ago, we ticked off another thing from our bucket list — trek with a toddler. Since Ace and I started scaling mountains, it had been our ‘wish‘ to bring our kid(s) with us. As adventurers who value the outdoors, we believe that kids learn life’s little lessons quickly when they are on an adventure. Although we are not blessed with one yet, it did not really bother us because we have nieces and nephews whom we can bring anyway.

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First things first. Friends, meet my sister’s two-year old daughter, Ahkirah. She is the brave soul whom we took with us during our Boundary Climb to Mt Mago two weeks ago.

Like most of our ‘first‘ experiences, the said climb was unplanned and spontaneous. Admittedly, we also wondered how we could survive it, but we did!

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Ahkirah and Demi at the boundary! Hooray!

Here are few things we did to survive it:

  • Never hurry. Let the kid explore.

Kirah toddles a lot. She stopped at anything that interests her. We stopped to pick some wild flowers, we stopped to count the butterflies, we stopped to watch domesticated animals along the way. Knowing that it was her first trekking experience, we let her do just like that. We didn’t want to make her first trek a traumatizing one, instead, we want it to be an adventure that would inspire her young soul to do it again and again. 😀

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  • Bring out the kid in us.

We know that kids get bored quickly. Thankfully, the mountain has a lot of things to entertain the kid’s eyes. However, leaving it to the mountain is not enough. When she got tired, we sang nursery songs and made up funny stories.

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  • Cooperate.

No matter how slow our pace was or how many times we stopped, that one and a half hour climb to the boundary is truly exhausting for Ahkirah. We took turns to carry her when she didn’t feel like walking anymore.

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  • Take short breaks.

Whether we’re traveling with a kid or not, breaks are essential for trips and excursion to give our muscles enough time to relax and regain energy. But we have to limit our breaks into three minutes so we won’t feel more tired.

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  • Stay hydrated and munch on trail foods.

Food is life, water is ‘lifer‘. 😀 I mean, as much as food is important, water is more important. Due to the lack of planning, we only brought 4.5 liters of water with us. We forgot that there was no water source near the summit. We already consumed everything before our descent. Thankfully, we passed by a small community and ask for some refill. As for Ahkirah, we also let her munch on chocolates and sweets.

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  • Embrace dirt.

Get ready to get dirty! Because getting dirty is an adventure itself. We came for dirt, heat, and mud and we got it all. Afterall, the dirt can be washed away, but the memories will last a lifetime.

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  • Always encourage.

Paulo Coelho once said, “Only children believe they’re capable of everything“. But I think, behind every child who believes in himself is someone who believes in him first. I noticed, Kirah becomes more determined to walk farther when we tell her that she could. During our entire hike, we never fail to encourage and praise her for doing a great job.

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And lastly,

  • Teach kids the LNT (Leave No Trace) Principle

Teach the kids so it won’t be necessary to teach adults. I carried a plastic bag with our trash on it on our way back home. Ahkirah asked me why I brought garbage with me, I answered and explained to her the importance of not leaving our trash in the mountains. I reckoned she understood it and I admire her inquisitive attitude. 🙂 It is important to start teaching the kids about caring the nature no matter how old they are. Afterall, it’s for their own future.

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Children are not things to be moulded, but people to be unfolded. ~ Jess Lair

 

We hope you find these tips and lessons helpful. Stay tuned for our Boundary Climb to Mt Mago story in a later post.

Over to you. Have you trekked with a kid before?

 

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

Mangitngit Falls in Middle Earth Spring Resort | Discover Carmen

Carmen is known to be home of cold springs. If you need a quick break from the heat in the city, Carmen is your place to go. Head to Durano Eco Farm if you want to swim in the midst of a rainforest or you can simply take a dip in Uragay Spring Resort.

Not too long ago, another cold spring resort opened its home for the public. It is the Middle Earth Spring Resort.

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So, the misadventure that we had brought us here. Wait, did I say it brought us to Mangitngit Falls? Yeah, I did. And yes, we’re here!!

So what happened to Mangitngit Falls? 

Just a quick lookback in 2007, the falls met a tragic fate — a landslide that took two lives. It resulted to the closure and the prohibition of going or coming near the falls. 

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Mangitngit Falls, Carmen, Cebu

Years had passed… the public are now given a chance to see the beauty of this infamous waterfalls again.  As Mangitngit Falls opened its door to the people, so as Middle Earth Spring Resort which serves as the living room of the place.

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Middle Earth Spring Resort

Middle Earth Spring Resort is tucked in lower Natimao-an, Carmen, Cebu. This is the gateway to glimpse Mangitngit Falls.

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The resort has three swimming pools. All pools are filled with a free-flowing, non-chlorinated water from the spring where the water from Mangitngit falls was also coming from.

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The water is ice-cold. But my niece Ahkirah really had a great time despite shivering from the cold. She really had a great resistance with cold temperature.

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While waiting for Ace to finish grilling the fish for lunch, we soaked this bottle of softdrinks in the flowing water.

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And, voila!!! That’s an instant chiller! 😀

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So, while the hubby was preparing our lunch, I explored the place and looked for the waterfalls. Because admittedly, I was not after the spring resort, I was much more interested with the falls.

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I was hoping to get a close shot with it, unfortunately, fences are being put to keep the visitors off and from getting near.

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I learned that the falls have three tiers. As much as I want to get a shot of each tiers, it’s not possible not unless you’re willing to take a risk and pay a fine for punishment. 😥

 

As I continued exploring the place and looked for a nice angle to see Mangitngit Falls, hubby joined me. We went down a stairway that leads to the middle of the forest.

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But, the forest is completely tamed, as the stairs was concreted and a viewing deck was made. This is where the visitors could glimpse Mangitngit Falls.

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This is already the closest shot one could get because the rest of the area is off-limit. It was like, Mangitngit Falls is dropping proudly. (So near, yet so far, eh?)

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A proof that the place is a landslide prone area. 

Just few meters from the basin of the falls, we noticed this eroded soil. The erosion looked fresh as if it happened just few days ago.

I researched about the closure of Mangitngit Falls several years ago. Geologists had inspected the soil and found out that the rocks surrounding the waterfall are phorus — a soft kind of rock that is prone to landslide.

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As much as we wanted to go near, keeping off is for our own good and safety. Perhaps, Mangitngit Falls is made for our eyes only. We personally thought that the prohibition is also beneficial for the falls itself because in this way, the falls would remain safe from the cruel hands of the people.

Nonetheless, we were glad to see the beauty of the falls even from afar. For now, let the visitors just see it this way and settle for the same water in the spring resort. 😀

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How to get to Middle Earth Spring Resort? 

Ride a bus from the North Bus Terminal. Any buses bound to north will pass by Carmen. Ask the driver to drop you off at the town’s public market. (Fare Php40.) From there, you can hail a motorcycle that will take you to the resort. (Fare is Php35/person.)

Fees and Amenities: 

The resort has an entrance fee of Php50 (adults) and Php30 (kids). There are cottages and kiosks for Php400-500. There are tables and chairs for rent for Php200.

The resort also have a karaoke for rent, although I haven’t asked the rental fee.

There is no restaurant in the area. We suggest you bring your own provisions.

 

We hope you find this post and guide helpful.

Over to you. What do you think about the falls’ prohibition?

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi.

The Weekend Misadventure That Brought Us to Mangitngit Falls.

A weekend when the hubby and I were off for an adventure, like ANY adventure but the universe had conspired not to make it happen.

One Saturday morning, we went to Sogod, Cebu for some appointment. Fortunately, the appointment was done early. By 1:15 pm, we’re already free for the rest of the day. So, we decided to visit Maravilla Resort in Tabuelan, Cebu which is only few kilometers from Sogod. However, the only way to go there when you are commuting is by bus. So we started waiting for a bus ride to the place.

After an hour of waiting, we were still unable to catch a ride. The buses that ply to Tabuelan are scarce and if there were any, they were jampacked with passengers to the extent that even the rooftops of the buses are occupied. We were not in a hurry so we resolved to wait for another two hours. But it was all in vain.

It was 4:00 pm and we were still waiting. Surprisingly, none of us got impatient which was very unusual. Until a concerned local noticed that we had been waiting for hours, he approached and told us that it was Tabuelan’s annual fiesta and it was also a San Juan (water fest). By that being said, it meant, it’s impossible to catch a bus ride to that place because people from the city were going home since it also happened to be a long weekend.

But we were still in for an adventure!!! We agreed to just hop on any bus and go where it would take us. Thirty minutes passed and not a single bus passed. (What?) It was already 4:30 and I already felt like I was about to give up the waiting game. Ooopps, wait! Three buses were coming — one for Borbon, one for Hagnaya Port, and the other one for Maya. Let’s see. The bus for Borbon was also jampacked, the same thing for Hagnaya Port because people were trying to catch the last trip boat ride to Bantayan Island. And Maya…oh, Maya. Wait, where is Maya? We don’t have any idea where is Maya!!!!

Yeah, we did not take that bus because we don’t have any idea where is Maya. 😀 So, after few minutes of laughing at our situation, we decided to just go back to the city and watch movies or maybe eat in a seafood restaurant. While on the bus, we thought about what happened and we were very amused. We didn’t know but we were not annoyed nor upset with the situation. 😀

The bus stopped-over Carmen for pee-break and some snacks. We still have not recovered from our epic misadventure, we agreed to spend the night in my sister’s house because we were already hungry. We forgot to have lunch because of that waiting game. (No, actually we were aware of that but we didn’t want to miss a bus so we kept waiting and waiting and oh…hunger was what we got.) 

Dinner, finally!!! So, while eating dinner, we talked about going for a swim the next day. We heard about Middle Earth Spring Resort which is also now the home of the infamous Mangitngit Falls.

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Mangitngit Falls, Carmen, Cebu

I’ll give you something to look forward to. 😀 I know this has been a long narrative of our misadventure, I don’t want to ruin my Mangitngit Falls’ story along with these. So stay tuned for my Mangitngit Falls and Middle Earth Spring Resort story on the later post. 😀

LESSON:

Some plans are not meant to be realized. We have to accept that there are things and circumstances that won’t go as planned. Some inauspicious situations will lead us to a more worthwhile experiences.

Life starts when we learn to see our misdaventures as adventures. 

 

So, what do you think about our misadventure? Have you had any experiences similar to this? What did you do? We’d love to hear from you.

 

‘Til next misdaventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

Gatubod Spring Resort | Review

In a tropical country like ours, cold spring resorts are really helpful to escape the heat. No wonder why mountain resorts are thriving nowadays. One is Gatubod Spring Resort in Compostela, Cebu.

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Gatubod Spring Resort is located in Barangay Basak, Compostela, Cebu. It’s actually just one kilometer away from our house. This resort is owned by the famous Quiño clan in the town who also happens to own Green Lagoon Park.

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The Resort:

The resort has three pools. The first pool is what welcomes you upon entering. It has a depth of 7ft. The second pool is the kids’ pool which also serves as the launching pool for the slides. The third one is the widest and has a depth of 2ft to 6ft. It also has a mini waterfall for those who wanted a water-massage.

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The resort has two long slides that guests could enjoy. As of this writing, they have the longest slide in the northern Cebu. During our last visit, only one slide is operational due to some accidents and complains about the steepness and shape of the slide.

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There are cottages for rent and tables for rent but no rooms for overnight stays.

No corkage. Grilling station is also available.

They have a wide car park across the resort.

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REVIEW:

Gatubod Spring Resort like Green Lagoon Park is also a family-oriented resort. However, it could be crowded during weekends and holidays. My advice is to book in advance or go early.

They don’t have rooms or at least lockers to leave your important belongings. Therefore, you have to take turns in swimming so someone could look after your things.

The resort doesn’t have a restaurant so better bring your own food. Good thing because there is no corkage fee. 😀

 The staffs are friendly and approachable.

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How To Get There:

*From Sm/Mandaue, just ride a jeepney or bus going to Compostela or Danao. Ask the driver to drop you off in Compostela Public Market or in Guimbal, corner going to Virginia Foods Inc.. There are motorcycles for hire (habal-habal) and will take you to the resort. The travel from the market is 15-20 minutes.

More Information:

 *Entrance Fee — Php30 (Kids) / Php60 (Adult)

*Cottages: Ranges from Php250 – Php500

*No corkage

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I hope you find this review helpful. 🙂 Should you find any mistakes or changes, feel free to contact us or drop us a comment below. We’d appreciate it.

‘Til next time!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

P.S Another post about our Gatubod Spring Resort adventure also appears on Side by Side blog.

12 Songs I Wish I Could Sing For Him.

And suddenly, all the love songs were about you.

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One year down!

Okay, so today is our anniversary. I want to sing him a love song but my voice makes it sound like a nursery rhyme. 😥

I have to admit it, singing was one of my BIGGEST frustrations until life hit me and made me realize that I was just adding ‘problem’ to the society. 😀 Anyway, yeah I did not finish the song because I don’t want to make the hubby sick.

 

Daot, if I could sing for you once more, here’s 12 songs I wish I to sing:

1. THIS IS WHY I NEED YOU ~~ Jesse Ruben

You make my weakness less weak.
You make the bottom less deep.
You make the waiting feel shorter.
You make my crazy feel normal, every time.
You are the who, love is the what, and this is the why. 

 2. PILLOWTALK ~~ Zayn Malik

Nobody but you, ‘body but me
‘Body but us, bodies together
I love to hold you close, tonight and always
I love to wake up next to you

3. COLD WATER ~~ Major Lazer (feat. Justin Bieber & MO)

And if you feel you’re sinking,
I will jump right over into cold, cold water for you
And although time may take us into different places
I will still be patient with you
And I hope you know

4. SAY YOU WON’T LET GO ~~ James Arthur

I’m gonna love you till
My lungs give out.
I promise till death we part like in our vows.
So I wrote this song for you, now everybody knows
‘Cause now it’s just you and me till we’re grey and old
Just say you won’t let go
Just say you won’t let go

5. LET ME LOVE YOU ~~ DJ Snake (feat. Justin Bieber)

Don’t fall asleep
At the wheel, we’ve got a million miles ahead of us
Miles ahead of us
All that we need
Is a rude awakening to know we’re good enough
Know we’re good enough

6. PERFECT STRANGERS ~~ Jonas Blue (feat. JP Cooper)

Who knows the secret tomorrow will hold?
We don’t really need to know
‘Cause you’re here with me now, I don’t want you to go
You’re here with me now, I don’t want you to go

7. THINKING OUT LOUD ~~ Ed Sheeran

Darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And baby my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Oh me I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am

8. ALL OF ME ~~ John Legend

Cause all of me, loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges,
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning

9. SWEET CREATURE ~~ Harry Styles

Sweet creature, sweet creature
Wherever I go, you bring me home
Sweet creature, sweet creature
When I run out of road, you bring me home

10. SHAPE OF YOU ~~ Ed Sheeran

I’m in love with your body
Every day discovering something brand new
I’m in love with the shape of you

11. IN CASE YOU DIDN’T KNOW ~~ Brett Young

You’ve got all of me
I belong to you
Yeah, you’re my everything

In case you didn’t know
I’m crazy bout you
I would be lying if I said
That I could live this life without you

12. ISSUES ~~ Julia Michaels

‘Cause I got issues
But you got ’em too
So give ’em all to me
And I’ll give mine to you
Bask in the glory
Of all our problems
‘Cause we got the kind of love
It takes to solve ’em

Yeah, I got issues
And one of them is how bad I need you.