For all Filipinos, whether, Catholics, Protestants or Muslims, we all have one thing in common, Holy week means a long vacation for all of us.
Personally, I did not want to go out on Holy week for a vacation. I was thinking that I will spend time finishing my book, promoting my blog or spend my time watching some movies. However my wife wanted us to go out for an overnight stay at a beach resort somewhere in the Northern part of Cebu, specifically San Remigio which is famous for its white sandy beaches and its having the longest coast line in Cebu.
I was about to make a reservation when my parents called. They asked me where we will spend our Holy week. I told them about our plans. They said they also plan to stay overnight in Hidden Paradise, a mountain resort in San Fernando, Cebu (Around 20 kilometers from Cebu City and about 45 minutes to an hour drive from our house. (The place is also known as “CampXTerra” for outdoor adventurers. Check out their site: http://www.campxterra.com. Some pictures are courtesy of CampXterra) They said they will be booking two rooms if we wanted to go with them.
Who wouldn’t want a free overnight vacation? So we grabbed the opportunity. Later on my folks told me that they decided not to stay overnight so they just booked the room in our name.
I have been there several years ago when I attended the wedding of my friend Wimle Go and I love the place. I’ve always preferred the mountains over the beaches. My wife initially didn’t want to go because she has seen the pictures and she does not like the place. She really wanted to go to San Remegio. I convinced her to give the place a try. Reluctantly, she agreed.
By Thursday morning (March 20, 2008), my parents together with my brother, sisters and house help went ahead. We just followed together with my brother in laws and our house help. We first brought some provisions and then proceeded to San Fernando. From the main hi-way we have to drive another 7 kilometers going up to the mountain. We have to pass through a rough, unpaved portion of the road. Finally, we arrived at our destination.
We stayed at one of the “executive” bungalows. The view was magnificent! Hidden paradise has 4 pools in different locations. “Rooms” or Bungalows were built around the pools and gardens. More pools were being constructed as pool supplies were coming in. They also have several amenities such as Basketball courts, billiard tables and other stuff.
After having our lunch, we talked for a while and then took a dip at the pool. We then had some dinner and my parents have to leave. So I, my wife, our son, our house help and two of my brother in law stayed. They spent most of the time in the evening watching movies while I spent most of my time that night, writing blog posts on my laptop. The disadvantage about this place is that there are no phones in the rooms, no internet connection and no signal for mobile phones. However this could serve as a blessing in disguise because you will be forced to set aside your “worldly cares” in order that you could relax and focus on the majestic creation that God has made.
The next morning, I woke up at around 6:00 a.m to do some “mountain trekking” I hiked up the mountain at the back of the compound. I wanted to go back down the same way I came up, but because the terrain was so hilly I decided to take the main road and walk the way down. It was a bit longer but it was much safer compared to “sliding” your way down to the mountain side. It was then that I realized that mountain trekking is my thing. Enjoying the sights and sounds of nature and at the same time having an exhaustive workout by grabbing rocks and roots to do the climb is so much fun and exciting than just walking the treadmill or cycling in a stationary bike.
After almost 2 hours of trekking, I came back to the mountain resort compound. I rested for a while then shot some hoops at the nearby basketball court. Afterwards we did some swimming in the pool we grabbed some breakfast.
We hanged out for a while and at about 10 p.m. we packed our bags and headed for home.
That may only be a day and a half of vacation but what we experienced was really worth it. Truly the promise of a Hidden Paradise in the mountains of San Fernando has lived up to its name. This mountain resort will always be in my list of places to consider when taking a break from the hustles and bustles of city life.