Allow nature’s peace to flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. ~John Muir
I can start this post with a cliche about how time goes by so swiftly but that’s probably going to ruin everyone’s interest in reading this. Hence let me just ask, how did you spend your first two weeks of the year?
For Ace and I, the first two weeks had been fairly challenging and fun. We started the year with big risks, with him quitting his job to start a business venture soon and me starting a part-time job in the morning in an offline academy (which both the offline and morning part I haven’t done for four years). So, the past few days was a whirlwind of the adjustment process.
Perhaps that’s enough excuse to spend a weekend away from everything.
There’s this campsite that has been the talk of the town this week. Actually, Ace and I had been eyeing it since last year but never had the chance to visit it. I’m talking about Bacalla Woods Campsite. Fortunately, last weekend our plan finally came to life. Elliot’s celebrating his 8th months and we took him with us.
What made our adventure special and unique were our companions who came from four different countries. First was my offline student Hailey from Korea, joining with us were her friends, Airi from Japan and Yir from Taiwan. Later on the campsite, we were joined by Ian from Malaysia.
Our escape started in Mandaue where we agreed to meet up. After we bought some provisions, we immediately headed to the South Bus terminal to take a bus to San Fernando, Cebu. Not too long, we found ourselves inside a mini-bus. The view from outside the bus while we passed by the South Road Properties signaled a fine day ahead contrary to the rainy day forecast the other night.
The campsite is tucked in Libo, San Fernando, Cebu. As soon as we got off on the bus, we took a motorcycle to the place.
For those who are going on a private ride, looking for the campsite might be a little tricky since there aren’t any signs or directions along the way. But you can always ask the locals. Motorcycle drivers are also very familiar with the place.
Arriving at the place felt like home. As I stare at the log cabin, memories from my childhood when we used to visit my grandparent’s place in the countryside came flashing in. The campsite has no hint of lavishness nor a touch of modernity except the rice cooker. Everything is pretty basic.
I thought of it as a perfect opportunity for my foreign friends to get to know more about the Filipino culture.
We were welcomed by the friendly host of the campsite. We instantly felt like a family. I talked to the lady owner who kindly asks about our reservation. I like her! She did not flash a big smile on her face to make me or us comfortable. It’s just that, she didn’t need that, the place IS already comfortable. I was like casually talking to my aunt or my grandmother about something.
(Funny fact: I actually found it amusing because I am always cognizant about people welcoming guests with big smiles and colorful words to the point that they become “overly accommodating” and well “scripted” if you know what I mean. Personally, I don’t like people who keep asking if I’m okay or if I’m comfortable or anything like that. It really annoys me.)
So, Hailey, Airi, and Yir chose to stay in a hammock on the second floor of the cabin overlooking the mountains. While Ace, Elliot and I stayed on the tent that we brought with us. We were free to pitch the tent anywhere, and we decided to just put it near the entrance so we can easily look after our things.
Let’s go back to what made the fuss on the web recently.
Bacalla Woods Campsite is touted as the “Bali of Cebu” because of its infinity swing fronting the verdant mountains of the town. Its ropes are tied on a branch of the tree and it is suspended in the abyss.
Another thing that I love about the place was the fact that they are animal-friendly. Gosh, they have a lot of pets. Elliot had a great time running around and socializing with other dogs. He even chased chickens in the woods.
As the evening came close, the campsite already ran out of tents and hammocks for rent still more and more campers arrived. Some persistent ones agreed to find their own way to get through the night.
While Ace was busy preparing our dinner, we, on the other hand, were busy talking. It’s not every day you get to be in a circle of people with different nationalities, you know. So, yeah, we had a lot of talks — from cultures to languages. The talk just got louder and funnier when Ian who’s from Malaysia joined the group.
As soon as dinner was ready, we happily shared our food together. After eating, Yir and Airi volunteered to do the dishes.
Everybody enjoyed the rest of the night just listening to each other’s stories. It rained that night. Most campers especially those who stayed in hammocks gathered in the cabin for shelter. Hailey, Airi, Yir, and Ian had fun talking and having a drink with a group of call center agents. The night was filled with loud laughter going along the beat of the raindrops.
Almost everybody woke up early the next day hoping to catch the sunrise. Unfortunately, the sky was covered with thick clouds making it impossible to see the sun. Nonetheless, we were still excited because after breakfast we went trekking to Bugho falls.
We trekked on paved road and muddy trail for two hours. I am so proud of Elliot for surviving the hike, although, we had to carry him sometimes. When we arrived on the river, Elliot was at first afraid, but when he saw the flow of the water making bubbles as it hit a rock, he tried catching it. Eventually, he was enjoying. Ace and I did not swim because we had so much fun watching Elliot playing on the water.
We came back to the campsite in time for lunch. We changed clothes, packed our things and prepared to go home. We agreed to have our lunch at the town center so they can try Filipino dish.
Staying at the campsite was a wonderful experience for Ace, Elliot, and me. The disconnection made us reconnect with ourselves and with each other. Our foreign friends who joined us also made our stay worthwhile.
How to get there?
- Ride a bus from the South Bus Terminal and drop off at the Hidden Paradise Mountain Resort corner in Pitalo, San Fernando. (1-2hrs)
- Hail a habal-habal or motorcycle to the campsite. (20-30mins) Fare: 45/person
- You may bring your own food or cook at the campsite. You can also order from their menu but make sure to call them for reservation.
- There is NO SIGNAL in the area.
- If you’re not bringing your own hammock or tents, you may reserve in advance to avoid inconvenience.
- Php200 — Overnight entrance fee with breakfast
- Php100 — Day use entrance fee
- Php50 — Trekking to Bugho Falls
- Php150 — Hammock rental
- Php300 — Tent rental
- Don’t forget your insect repellents.
UPDATE: Bacalla Woods Campsite WILL NO LONGER ACCEPT WALK-INS. Advance booking or reservation is needed until further notice.
And lastly, ENJOY a life unplugged!
Over to you, when was the last time you have unplugged your life from modernity? We’d love to hear from you.
‘Til our next adventure!
Love, Ace and Demi plus Elliot