Heaven In the Border | Borderside Mountain Resort

Head to the border but do not cross the line.

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For office people like us who spend the whole week in the city, beating deadlines and dealing with the daily traffic jams, nothing is more comforting than spending a weekend in a place that guarantees relaxation and peace. Most of us seek refuge in the refreshing feel of the mountain, while others prefer the calmness of the sea.

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Beaches are the common go-to place to unwind and chill because they are readily accessible. However, beach resorts tend to be crowded and busy on weekends. This gives way to the rise of mountain resorts.

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So, we were very hyped up when we learned about Borderside Mountain Resort in Compostela, just five minutes away from our house. Tucked near the border of Compostela and Danao, this resort lies peacefully in Bugho, Bagalnga, a far-flung barangay of the former.

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It isn’t as accessible as Gatubod Spring Resort in Basak, so only a few people know about this place. We never got the chance to visit it, not until last weekend. Ace and I went on a road trip with Elliot, and we decided to check it out. (Ways on how to get there is written below.) 

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As soon as we got off from the motorcycle, I instantly fell in love with the place. It was quiet, laid-back and refreshing. I like how it doesn’t feel like a commercial resort but a rest house. The entrance of the resort is canopied by the lush foliage of the bamboo and mango trees. Upon entering the premises, you have to climb the staircase going to the swimming pool. The pool is 4-6 feet deep. On its right side is the house which you can rent for Php2000/night, and on its left is their mini-forest.

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Aside from the serenity of the place, one thing that stands out the most is the cleanliness of the resort. I wonder how I couldn’t see a single falling leaf even when the whole place is surrounded by plants and trees. I think the caretakers are very meticulous in cleaning and sweeping them. I also want to mention how friendly and accommodating they were.

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RATES and OTHER INFORMATION:

HOW TO GET THERE: 

From Compostela, Borderside Mountain Resort can be accessed through Canamucan and/or Buluang road. If you opt for Canamucan road, it is the corner going to Virginia and Gatubod Spring Resort. The road is established, but prepare for an uphill drive when you start to enter the corner street going to Barangay Bagalnga proper. If you choose Buluang road, it is the corner going to Q-Park and Paradise Hills Mountain Resort. Some parts of the street are a bit rough after you pass by Paradise Hills.

You can ride a motorcycle or habal-habal from Compostela Public Market to the resort. The fare is Php40-50 per person. Tell the driver that you are going to Borderside Mountain Resort in Bugho, Bagalnga.

Recommended driver: Alfie — 09108490689

Entrance Fees:

  • Php100/head — Adult
  • Php50/head – kids

Cottages: Php250

Tables: Php200

For overnight stay: (They have rooms under construction.)

  • House: Php2000
  • Own Tent: Php200
  • Resort tent: Php500

For more information, you may contact these numbers:

  • 564-2161
  • 423-4947
  • 09088631029
  • 09420915982

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It’s a garden…it’s a farm… it’s a mountain resort.

~Borderside Mountain Resort

 

 

’til next refreshing guide, everyone!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

 

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

 

Taste of Spain in Argao, Cebu

We couldn’t seem to get enough of the towns in the southern part of Cebu. After that South Cebu Tour we had last year, we thought we’ll have to give North Cebu its time to shine. But that time has not come yet. There’s still so much more to South Cebu that we couldn’t move on.

Last February, the hubby and I celebrated our Valentine’s Day in Coal Mountain Resort in Argao, Cebu. But I’ll talk about that in a later post. For now, let’s see what Argao has in store for us.

Half of our second day in this municipality was spent walking in the town proper. It’s amazing how Argao managed to keep the Spanish flavor around.

  • Cabecera de Argao

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Argao, Cebu

Just a minute or two walk from the main road, the town hides the remnants of the Spanish era, from the church to the government buildings.

  • Saint Michael, the Archangel Parish

Our first stop was the 200-year old church of Saint Michael, the Archangel.

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Ace and Demi in Argao, Cebu

Just like most churches in Southern Cebu, this church walls are also made from coral stones. The facade contains articulate carvings depicting the patron saint displayed on its niche. There are urn-like finials flanked at each corner of the pediment. It’s great that they have preserved this old structure.

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The interior.

You should not miss checking the interior of the parish, too. The ceiling immediately caught our attention because of the colorful painting that depicts that archangel’s life. We did not have the chance to check the altar because it was under rennovation.

  • The Hall of Justice.

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Argao’s Hall of Justice.

Second stop, was the town’s Hall of Justice.  One of the edifice in the town that shows evident Spanish taste. This served as military barracks during the old times but now functions as the Hall of Justice.

  • Torta, Argao’s delicacy.   

Have you tasted that delish sweet flatbread called “torta“? How was it? If you think it wasn’t delicious then you have not tasted Argao’s torta. 🙂

I say, “Torta is Argao, and Argao is Torta!”

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Home of delish tortas.

When you visit the town, don’t you dare miss this delish delicacy. Argao is known for its homemade tortas that are traditionally baked in a clay oven and they use tuba (coconut wine) as the leavening agent. They said “with time, it gets tastier” or “magkadugay, magkalami“. Hmmm? I ate mine after two weeks, I say they’re right. 🙂

  • Nature Park.

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Argao’s nature park. 

The town also has a nature park where you can relax and think about your existence. (Kidding.) They offer canoing for only Php10. You can have a picnic or try their wall climbing, too. The park has an entrance of Php5.

Personal rambling:

Our short jaunt in the town proper brought to us a Spanish flavor. Despite the pain the era had caused us, it’s nice to know how we are so forgiving, how we showed importance to its legacy. It would be easy to move on from the Spanish colony by destroying everything that reminds us of that time, but we chose not to. Because these…these things is a constant reminder of how our great grandparents fought for our freedom. A constant reminder that we have to take care of this sovereignty we have now. A constant reminder that we had been a slave once and we should not go back to being one anymore. 🙂

We hope you enjoyed our virtual diary about Argao.

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

 

Garden by The Lake | TIEZA Botanical Garden

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TIEZA Botanical Garden

Bloom where you are planted! ~ Anonymous

It has been a while since the infamous Sirao Flower Farm made a fuss all over the web. Curious visitors flocked the place but sadly, due to some people’s negligence, the farm suffered an unfortunate fate. Some were lucky to have witnessed the beauty of the place yet, I wasn’t one of them. When I visited Sirao Flower Farm last January, I did not see any of those that I saw in the internet. All I found were newly sprouting plants finger-span length. The local farmers were trying so hard, pouring their sweats to cultivate those plants, I just hope people know that and we should be responsible enough to take care of the vegetations, too. Let us not be selfish and say “I paid for this. I paid an entrance fee.” Paying the entrance fee does not give us the right to step and kill those flowers. Our money can’t afford the hardwork of the farmers who are working so hard to give us this wonderful view.

(I’m not here to scold or act like ‘I-know-everything-right’. I’m just saying.  LET US DO OUR PART!!!)

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Anyway, here’s another fruit of our local farmers’ labor. The former Philippine Tourism Authority which is now called TIEZA (Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority) is developing the formerly Kan-Irag golf-course located in Barangay Malubog, Busay into a botanical garden by the lake.

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According to the farmers whom we talked to, this lake was once a small hollow filled with rainwater then it resembled a lake. There were wild floras growing around the area and it showed a great potential to become a scenic garden by the lake, hence this project.

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Despite not being able to see the wonderful beauty of Sirao Flower Farm, I am beyond lucky to have seen this enticing beauty of this new attraction. My hopes for this place not to experience downfall because of people’s lack of discipline. Let’s give others the chance to see this beauty.

Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but pictures. Kill nothing but time.

 

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Demi in Kan-irag Golf Course.

You might want to visit the place. You can contact our kind driver to take you there just in case you are commuting. Here’s Kuya Roel’s number: 0919-954-4254. If you have your private transport, the place can be accessed through the transcentral highway via JY Lahug and take turn towards the corner of Busay Holiday Pool. You can also ask the locals for directions.

The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes. ~ Mark Nepo

 

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi