Into The Woods To Reconnect | Bacalla Woods Campsite

Allow nature’s peace to flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. ~John Muir

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The infinity swing. (Photo by Hailey)

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.

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Catchy signs made from the bark of a coconut tree.

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.

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The ASIAN gang! (L-R) Ian from Malaysia, Ace, Hailey from Korea, Airi from Japan, Demi, Yir from Taiwan.

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.

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Our view from the mini-bus while we passed by SRP. (Photo by Hailey)

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.

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Welcome home!

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.

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Hammocks and happiness! That’s exactly what there is!

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.)

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The rustic luxury. (Our tent is the orange one.)

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.

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Our friend’s hammock.

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.

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Swing like there’s no tomorrow. (Photo by Hailey)

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.

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The most photogenic cat in the campsite. (Photo by Hailey)

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.

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Life is indeed better in the mountains and in the woods!

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.

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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.

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(Photo by Hailey)

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.

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Elliot and Ace in 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.

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Visitors falling in line to try the infinity swing. (Photo by Hailey)

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.

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Ace and Demi plus Elliot. (Photo by Hailey)

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.

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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

Other information:

  • 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!

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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!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi plus Elliot

 

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Elliot’s First Trip To Camotes Island | Traveling With A Pet

Live.

Laugh.

Woof!

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Elliot in Camotes Island.

Camotes Island holds a special place in our hearts. It has been our favorite paradise to visit when we need to escape the busy life in the city and want some dose of the sea.

For the nth time, we visited the island again. But this time, we’re taking our furry bundle of joy, Elliot, on his first ever trip. (See how to get a local transport permit in Cebu here.)

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Playing in the sand.

Day 1

It was a fine day and the ocean was calm. We were thankful that the weather was with us. We almost missed the second ferry trip to the island, good thing we made it before it set forth. Another great thing was, we were allowed not to put Elliot inside the cage as long as we will stay on the lower deck.

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The ride was relatively smooth. We felt proud of Elliot because he was very brave. At first, I worried about him getting sea-sick, contrary to that, he was still very enthusiastic when we arrived on the island.

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Ace and Demi plus Elliot.

We rented a motorcycle so we can freely tour the island at any time of our convenience. We headed immediately to Santiago Bay to find a resort where pets are allowed to stay. Luckily, Bellavista Mare does.

After putting our things, we went to Pito’s Sutukil which is located in the beach area to have our lunch. After eating, we took Elliot for a walk in the wide shore. Elliot had so much fun playing and digging holes here and there. Ace and I really enjoyed watching him having fun like a little kid’s first time outdoor.

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Nanay and Elliot playing in the sand.

We decided to just stay in Santiago Bay on that day because we had to let Elliot get some res. We wanted to wait for the sunset but Elliot had sand all over his face and we needed to clean him up. We headed back to the resort. He fell asleep right after he was cleaned up. (I guess he was very tired.)

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Don’t be scared, Elliot.

Day 2

Elliot woke up early on our second day. He looked lively and excited for the day. He didn’t know we were taking him on his first swimming experience.

After breakfast, we changed to our swimming clothes and hit the beach. It was a low tide, knowing Santiago Bay, the shore stretches far during low tide. Ace hesitated to swim with us but we had to while the sun was not too hot.

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Good boy!

Our little boy was a bit scared but he eventually fought his fear. I can’t be any prouder of this furry baby. I let him follow me to the deeper water but his instinct was telling him to find the land. 😀

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Ace and Elliot.

Elliot seemed to enjoy it although, he clung to me most of the time because he felt cold. I noticed that when Ace dives his bod under the water, Elliot swam to him as if he’s ready to rescue his dad. That’s so sweet. I guess that’s a dog’s instinct, or what?

22552487_1727405890636801_4672825853317002151_nWe only stayed there for 15 minutes because the sun was starting to hurt and Elliot needed to drink water. So, we went back to the resort to wash up.

 

At around 11:00 am, we went to Lake Danao to have our lunch.

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We wanted to try their kayaking activity but the weather was too hot, we’re afraid Elliot couldn’t handle it. We roamed around the area after eating our lunch and went back to Mangudlong Rock Resort.

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Dig deeper, Elliot!

There were not too many guests at the resort. Elliot had a great time digging holes and fitting his body in it. We stayed there for an hour or so before going back to our resort. (We thought Elliot must have burnt few calories with all those digging.)

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Day 3

As we expected, Elliot woke up a little bit late the next morning. I wanted to go out to smell the morning dew, he got up and followed me outside although still feeling drowsy. Such a clingy pup!

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Elliot’s morning view. 

It’s our last day on the island. 😀 As soon as hubby got up, we went to a nearby bakery to have our breakfast. After that, Ace and I took another quick dip in the sea. Then, we went back to the resort to wash up and pack our things. While we were busy packing, Elliot, on the other hand, was sleeping in the corner. (The pup was dead tired.)

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Ace and Demi plus Elliot. 

And that capped Elliot’s first trip in the Lost Horizon of the South. 

Elliot may not be able to talk to us and tell us how he felt but we feel his happiness. Although we had to admit, he was HAPPIER when we arrived home. (Guess “there’s no place like home” trite also applies to pets, huh?)

Over to you, have you traveled with a pet? We’d love to hear from you, tell us about it!

’til Elliot’s next adventure with us!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi and Elliot.

 

 

 

 

How To Get A Local Transport Permit for Your Pet in Cebu. (Updated 2018)

Everyone, meet Elliot. 😀

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And he’s our new travel buddy!

Life just got better when this furry baby came to our life. We stood three months of not traveling because we have to wait ’til Elliot’s ready to travel with us. And finally, the wait is over!!!

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For Elliot’s first trip with us, we are taking him to the Lost Horizon of the South — Camotes Island.

First things first: the transport permit. 

Here are the easy steps on how to get one in Cebu:

1. Prepare the requirement(s):

  • The Rabies Vaccination Certificate (Your pet should have been vaccinated not more than one (1) year of age and not less than fourteen (14) days from the time of vaccination.)

2. Go to the Bureau of Quarantine and request for a Travel Permit.

3. Fill up the form with the following information:

  • Name of the Shipper
  • Address of Origin
  • Address of Destination
  • Type of Animal to be Shipped
  • Date of Travel
  • Purpose
  • Mode of Transport
  • Wait for the permit to be released. (Mine did not take 10 minutes.)

Important Notes:

* Bureau of Quarantine Cebu is located in BFAR 7 Compound, Arellano St., Cebu City. (Walk at the corner across the Police Station in Pier 1.

*Central Office: (02)925-4343 Email: baiquarantineph@gmail.com

* Only animals aged at least 3 months shall be allowed for shipment.

* For dogs and cats, you need to BRING them with you upon getting the permit. (Contrary to what I’ve read online. Glad I brought Elliot with me. The person after me was not given one because his dog was not with him. The staff said, it is to avoid ‘scam’ because some people outside are offering vaccination certificates-for-rent.  )

* You don’t have to be the owner nor the shipper to get the permit.

* There is NO FEE.

* In Cebu, the form to be filled-up is in Bisaya. So ask assistance from the staffs if you can’t understand. 😀

BONUS: For international transport (import and export) you may refer to this post http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/philippines.cfm for more information.

 

Should you find any error or changes to this application process, feel free to leave us a comment below. 😀

We’re excited to go on our first trip with Elliot. Stay updated for our adventure!

‘Til next time.

Love, Ace and Demi (and Elliot)