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

 

Glamping | Glamorous Backyard Camping in Formosa Camp Resort

Outdoor enthusiasts like us always love the idea of camping and disconnecting from the comforts of home. Sometimes, we also love a glamorous stay in a hotel or resort. But what happens when glamour and camping meet? It would be awesomely called “glamping”.

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The camping ground.

Glamping is a fusion of glamour and camping. It is more like a luxurious camping experience. Glamping comes in different forms — tents, treehouses, cabins, etc.

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Niña and Demi feeling comfy inside the tent.

Glamping is starting to make its name in Cebu especially in the southern part of the province. Just recently, a new resort in the Northern part opened its door for this upgraded camping experience.  It’s no other than Formosa Camp Resort.

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Ace with Mr. Huang, the resort’s owner.

Situated on the coast of Bagsawe, Tuburan, Cebu, Formosa Camp Resort is owned by the very kind and accommodating couple, Mr. and Mrs. Huang.

Mrs. Huang told us that the resort used to be their family’s rest house. Since Tuburan’s tourism is booming because of the attractions nearby, they came up with the idea of turning their once vacation house into a resort that offers glamping.

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Niña and Demi in the villa’s door.

In the height of tropical depression Urduja, Ace and I, together with our good friend, Niña, went to Formosa Camp Resort to try camping glamorously. The night before that, we were filled with doubt whether to pursue or cancel our plan because of the typhoon’s threat. In spite of that, we still carried out our plan.

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The swimming pool.

The bad weather caused a heavy traffic in the city which delayed us. It was already 4 pm when we arrived at the resort. It was raining and the wind was relatively strong. The lady owner welcomed us with a warm smile that instantly warmed us as well. After few introductions, she showed us our tent. It was pitched in front of the villa next to another tent that was good for 4 people.

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Glamping tents.

Our tent was their newest tent that is good for 5 people. It is divided into two compartments, each with a cozy bed. It also has 4 collapsible picnic chairs and there was a picnic table in front. Supposedly, the tent should be placed on their camping ground but because of the strong wind, it was temporarily pitched in the front yard.

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Niña and Ace inside our tent.

We settled our things inside our tent and went to the town proper to eat our dinner. The resort doesn’t have a cafe or restaurant but guests can use the kitchen and grill should they wish to cook or make their own food.

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The pool at night.

When we returned, the resort’s swimming pool was all lit up. It looked very inviting but the air was too cold for a swim. So we decided to stay at the picnic table while shooting the breeze. But we couldn’t resist the idea of going for a night swim thinking we were only staying for a night.

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After few minutes, Niña and I found ourselves dipping into the pool. 😀 Ace didn’t dare to do so because he was feeling cold.

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However, we did not stay in the pool for too long because it started to drizzle again. After washing up, the three of us ate snacks and talked about our future plans of coming back there. Ace played a music on his phone and entertained us with his weird dance steps. As soon as my hair dried up we then called it a night.

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The next morning, we woke up to a fine weather. We were very happy, Niña couldn’t keep thanking the heavens. After finishing our coffee, Nina and I changed into our swimming clothes. We then strolled the rest of the resort’s vicinity.

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Ace and Demi playing sweet.

Aside from the swimming pool, guests can also go down to the beach area. Although the beach is not really ideal for swimming, its smell was refreshing. There are also swings for those who just wanted to relax and listen to the waves.

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The candidly scripted pose.

Ace really had a great time practicing his phone-photography hobby with me and Niña as his willing victims.

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Ace and Demi.

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Niña and Demi

After we had enough modeling, we decided to go back to the pool and swam. To our surprise, the water was colder than last night. 😀 There were not too many people in the resort. Ace was able to show off his flying skills.

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Ace and his flying skills.

After an hour in the pool, we decided to wash up and pack our things since we were checking out at 12:00. As soon as we’re ready, we went to the villa to settle our fees.

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The villa.

Mrs. Huang was very kind to let us see the rooms of the villa. It has 5 rooms that could accommodate at least 20 people. The villa and the resort can also be rented exclusively. (As of writing, Formosa Camp Resort is on its soft opening so we prefer not to post the rates. Rest assured it is very affordable. For rates and other questions, you may contact the resort directly.)

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Demi and Niña in the villa’s living room.

What can we say?

We just had a GREAT glamping experience. Typhoon Urduja did not hinder us from having a wonderful stay in Formosa Camp Resort. Should we come back for more? DEFINITELY!!!

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Ace and Demi in Formosa Camp Resort.

HOW TO GET THERE: 

  • (Via Transcentral Hi-way)  Take a V-hire from Ayala terminal to Tuburan. (Fare is Php140). Then ride a tricycle from the Tuburan town proper to Formosa Resort. (Fare: Php10) **Travel time: 2 hours
  • (Via Toledo)  Ride a bus from the South Bus Terminal to Toledo/Tuburan. (Fare is around Php100) ** Travel time: 3-4 hours. 
  • (Via Tabuelan)  Ride a bus from the North Bus Terminal to Tuburan via Lugo/Sogod. (Fare is around P100/head). **Travel time 3-4 hours

 

OTHER INFORMATION: 

  • For bookings and other inquiries, you may contact the resort directly through their Facebook page or call 0998-995-5166.
  • They accept walk-ins but subject to availability of the date. You may contact them ahead for your preferred dates to avoid inconvenience.
  • The resort is open for day-use from 8 AM to 4 PM
  • The pool is open until 9 PM for overnight guests.
  • 2 PM check-in; 12NN the next day check-out
  • NO Corkage. 

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Niña, Ace and Demi

Great things never came from comfort zones.

Thank you for the great experience, Formosa. ’til next time.

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A treat before going back to the city! Grilled banana. Yum!

Over to you, have you been glamping? Which do you prefer, camping in the mountains or woods OR a staycation in a hotel or resort?