Scaled (700+ MASL) Mt Mago With a Toddler | The Boundary Climb

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The Boundary Climb.

One gloomy Saturday, together with our good friend Niña, we decided to do the boundary climb to Mount Mago in Carmen, Cebu. Because of the last-minute decision, I asked my sister’s husband who happens to live in Carmen, to take us to the jump-off point.

We were already in their house when he told us that no one could look after my niece, Ahkirah. Without hesitation, I said we’re going to take her with us. And off we go!

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The motorcycle ride.

We never expected an hour butt-aching ride to the jump off point. The road was slippery because of the other night’s rain and fog.

When we passed by Durano Eco Farm and the Lhuiller’s Farm, the temperature dropped lower than expected which meant we were already in a higher altitude. We saw a lot of pine trees and vegetation that only grow in cold places, too.

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After we passed by the Lhuiller’s Ranch, we had a quick stop over at an intersecting road separated by a perfect muffin-like hill. While waiting to ease the pain on our behind due to that painstaking ride, Niña and I agreed to climb the little hill with Ahkirah.

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Free!

And oh, I don’t know how to describe how we felt but we wished to just stay at the top and end our jaunt there because it was just AMAZING!

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Soaring high!

The top of the hill is denuded perhaps because of the recent dry season. The soil was red, like really red. While we were on top, we called Ace and Dan-Dan to climb and see it. We felt like we were already on the top of the world. The colors around were so rich and fulfilling to the eye. I, personally, admired how the colors green, blue, red and white complimented each other.

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We arrived at Barangay Santican which is the jump off point of the trek. The person who was assigned to list our names for registration was not around, instead, we were given two young lads to guide us to the boundary.

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We immediately started our hike after Ahkirah devoured one hanging rice. We walked through a fully established trail but it was muddy because of the rain on the previous night. Ahkirah, on the other hand, walked for few minutes and asked to be carried because it was muddy and she was having a hard time walking. We took turns in carrying her. And when she has rested her feet enough, she also asked to be put down and walk by herself. Now, I see a future adventurer in her.

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Hindi pa ako pagod, bes. Siya lang naman napagod eh.

Few meter from the jump-off point, we passed by a couple of houses and eventually, grassy slopes.  Although it was cloudy, I thought the weather was with us because it was not hot.

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We had to stop for short breaks to regain energy. Actually, the hike was not very draining because the trail was pretty established and the hills are not too high.

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The only problem we had, I guess, was the amorseco grass that clings to Niña’s and Ahkirah’s pants and shorts. Ahkira complained that it was itchy so we had to make a few stops to remove some of them so she can walk with ease.

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Buti pa ang amorseco, clingy at nag stay.

But those clingy grass did not make our trek less enjoyable. We were rewarded with a wonderful sight of the grassy slopes, green with envy.

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Look at that wonderful verdure! Made me want to stay here and paint.

After almost two hours of trekking through valleys and plains, we finally arrived at the boundary sign. Imagine being in three towns at the same time?

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I feel awesome~~~!!!

I couldn’t forget Ahkirah’s face when I told her she did it! She was very happy and ecstatic as she ran towards me in the boundary sign with her dad following her.

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Yes! You did it, baby!!!

I bet her dad was very proud because I am. Considering her age and her inexperience, surviving that two-hour journey was indeed a BIG accomplishment for a two-year old kid.

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Congratulations, Kida!!! Tita is very proud of you.

After feeding our eyes and souls with the refreshing sight around, we ate our lunch to replenish our tummies. After a while, the clouds above us became darker. As much as we wanted to stay longer, we couldn’t risk soaking in the rain with Ahkirah.

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But as we started to descend, the wind seemed to have blown the clouds away. 😀 Which was a really good thing, so we didn’t have to hurry home.

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We were given a good chance to bask in nature and take photos to remind us of the beauty of the place. Ahkirah had a great time running in the field while we were happily watching.

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You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is calling… so, get on your way!

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Ahkirah at Mt Mago.

When we arrived at the basketball court where we left our motorcycles, the rain started pouring heavily, as if heaven waited for us to find shelter. While waiting for the rain to stop, we had fun watching some kids feeding bananas to a little monkey in a sari-sari store across the basketball court.

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As soon as the pouring stopped, we headed home feeling contented and happy with our experience.

Just when we thought our jaunt had enough surprises…

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Sea of clouds!!!

As we passed by the red hill where we stopped on our way to the jump-off point, a sea of clouds showed up to complete our AWESOME experience.

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Drifting away.

We were so amazed by the sight of it. Words of amazement and gratefulness were all we uttered. We stared at it until it started drifting away before we realized to take a photo.

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Sea of clouds bidding goodbye!

Although we were unable to take a photo of clouds floating near us because we were very consumed by the sight, the picture of it is painted in our memory and that’s what matters most.

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Hooray for the wonderful experience!

Our worthwhile experience is something no words can really define — not even this thousand-word post. Mt Mago is not a mountain of struggles and not for people who wanted it extreme. But for a two-year-old kid’s first trekking experience? It is something she’d treasure forever. And if she forgot it, I will never get tired telling her how she scaled a 700+ Masl mountain for two hours when she was only a two-year old. 

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I did it! — Ahkirah

Should I come back? Definitely!

Thank you for reading this long story about our boundary climb to Mt Mago. We appreciate it. So, how did we survive our trek with a two-year old child? You can read our post about the tips and lessons on how to survive a trek with a toddler.

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi and Ahkirah.

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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.

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.

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.

A Weekend Dip. | Durano Eco Farm and Spring Resort

It’s summer time! Treat yourself a dip in a cold spring in the middle of a rainforest.

Side by Side

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. ~ John Muir

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Last weekend, we planned to climb the highest mountain peak in the northern Cebu, but the weather got on our way. It would be very dangerous for us to climb because it was slippery and we’re afraid of landslides. As much as we want it, but we had to choice but to cancel our plan.

However, our feet really itched for an adventure. So, we decided to have a dip in a cold spring instead.

Situated in Barangay Corte, Carmen, Cebu is a place where one could take a dip in a cold spring in the middle of a rainforest. I’m talking about Durano Eco Farm Spring and Resort.

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If you’re someone who is sick of chlorinated water and wants a natural one that flows from a cold spring, then this place is perfect for you. The…

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Travel Guide | Coal Mountain Resort

In the trees, in the breeze… seek nature’s peace and bliss. 

Hello, everyone! Here’s a travel guide for those who have been asking us how to get to Coal Mountain Resort in Argao, Cebu. You can click here if you want to hear our story about our wonderful experience in the resort.

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Ace and Demi’s travel guide to Coal Mountain Resort

Where: The resort is hidden in Barangay Linut-od, Argao, Cebu — a one-hour bumpy motorcycle ride from the town proper.

How to get there: Argao is located in the southeastern part of the province, approximately 67 kilometers from Cebu City.

  • You can reach the town by taking a bus bound to Dalaguete or Alcoy from the Cebu South Bus Terminal. Tell the driver to drop you off at the town proper of Argao. Travel time would take you around one to two hours, bus fare — Php70.
  • From there, hail a habal-habal (motorcycle) to take you to Barangay Linut-od. Travel time is approximately one hour, fare is Php130 (one way) for daytrip. We suggest you book for a back and forth ride because motorcycle going back to the town is scarce in the resort.

What to expect: You can learn about what we did in the resort by clicking the highlighted word. :* Click me!!!

  • The resort has three swimming pools — mango-shaped is 4ft, heart-shaped is 7ft, largest pool is 16ft and has 7ft general depth. In order to get to the third pool, one should walk through the hanging bridge.
  • They also offer aerial adventures like zip-lining and cable car riding.
  • The resort has a coal mining demo which allows guests to explore a sample of a coal mine tunnel that stretches up to 145 meters long and is 70 feet below the ground.
  • There is also a mini zoo in the resort which showcase different bird species, snakes, ostriches, monkeys and more.

Accommodations and Such:

  • They have deluxe rooms good for two to four people with airconditioner, private bathroom with hot and cold shower, and local television. (Php2500/night)
  • The resort also has family rooms for group of 6 to 10 people. (Php1500/night)
  • There are nipa huts for rent, too. It can house 4 to 6 people. (Php1000)
  • One can opt to pitch tents in the camping area as well.
  • The resort also has a function hall that could accommodate 40 to 50 people. (Php1000/day)
  • They also have a multi-purpose covered court for team building activities. (Php1500)
  • For food, they don’t have corkage fees except for softdrinks and beers. The resort also has a restaurant where you can order farm-to-table meal. We personally suggest you try their sinigang soup (it’s savory).

Who to contact:

  • For motorcycle service we suggest our awesome driver Kuya Elias. Reach him through this number: 0908 778 8701. You can negotiate the fare with him if you wish to stay overnight in the resort.
  •  For bookings and other resort information, you can contact them at 0918 965 6081.

Tips and Reminders:

  • Book your rooms at least a week ahead. The resort is usually full on weekends.
  • Always ask the locals if your traveling on a private car because the road to the resort is confusing as there were no signs. Ask, ask and ask.
  • The road going there is bumpy and requires a skilled driver. We personally suggest our driver for you.
  • We suggest you bring a jacket if you wish to star-gaze at night because the temperature drops real low when the evening comes.
  • VERY IMPORTANT!!! The rates and fees above are based on our visit last February 17, 2017. It may change without prior notice. Feel free to notify us if there were any changes.
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Ace and Demi full geared for the mining demo. 

 Love her, but leave her wild.

~~ Articus, To Kill A Mockingbird

 

Until our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

Travel Guide | Catmon River Trekking

We’ve been told to keep this a secret but I just feel that ain’t right.

Whilst the blame that some people are throwing to us, bloggers, I’m still posting this travel guide for those who are interested to experience and discover Catmon. We expect everybody to practice responsible tourism and give others the chance to witness the beauty of the place, too. 🙂 

As promised, a travel guide for our Catmon river trekking adventure.

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Tinubdan Falls in Catmon, Cebu

Where:  The trek started at Barangay Tabili Elementary School. You can choose to trek upstream or downstream depending on your capacity. 😀

How to get there: Ride a north-bound bus in the North Bus Terminal and tell the driver to drop you off in corner Katambisan, Barangay Corazon, Catmon. Travel time should not take more than two hours for moderate traffic. Bus fare from terminal to Catmon — Php78. From corner Katambisan, hail a motorcycle to take you to Barangay Tabili Elementary School. We suggest you meet your guides first before going there and they will make the negotations for you. Motorcycle fare — Php50.

Who to contact: Our awesome guide was Mr Kyno Lim Dumlao. He knows the place like the back of his hands so we suggest you contact him. He also conducts guideship to Mt Kapayas and other destinations that requires extreme adventures. You can reach him through this number: 0999 325 9621 😀 You can also negotiate the fee with him.

Tips and Reminders: **Wear proper clothing and footwear for this activity. **Bring enough water to keep yourself hydrated during the entire adventure. **Expect to plunge in the water so bring your dry bags with you to protect your personal belongings like phones and wallets. **The trek would last more than two hours, you can bring trail snacks with you but be mindful of your trash. **You will be chasing waterfalls, if the place is not what you expected, just enjoy the moment and stop comparing. This place is unique in its own way and that’s what makes it beautiful. **And lastly, LEAVE NO TRACE!!! 😀

Expenses: 

  • Php176  — bus fare (back and forth)
  • Php100 — motorcycle fare (back and forth)
  • Php200 — guide fee

Total: Php456 (Note: This was our individual expense. Food expenses are not included for you may have different preferences.)

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Tinubdan Falls, Catmon

We hope you’ll enjoy trekking the rivers of Catmon as much as we did. We’d love to hear your stories about your adventure, too. Update us! 😀 

’til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi.