April 2014 – Calawagan Mountain Resort, Paluan (Occidental Mindoro)

CalawaganAllow me to take you through our second-to-the-last day in Occidental Mindoro, spent (unexpectedly) at the Calawagan Mountain Resort in Paluan. How we got there is a story all its own. I have something to admit, though…

I didn’t know the whole “mountain resort” full name until I was about to blog this. Once again, Google saved my life – before that, all I knew was “Calawagan” and “Paluan”, and I couldn’t even make heads or tails of which was which. Le sigh. I definitely need to be a more alert blogger next time. (And that includes posting on time!!!)

With my pre-post rants out of the way, let’s continue!

MindoroMindoroWhat I forgot to tell you in the previous post was that we got to drop by another place, boasting the longest island-to-island zipline in the world. I was supposed to take a picture of the sign with the name and relevant info in it, but it rained like crazy shortly after our mini photo session with the near-invisible zipline, so we quickly made a beeline for the car.

MindoroMindoroMindoroThe above photo is of our host family: Tita Tessie, Kuya Fredo, and all the anak and whatnot.

MindoroMindoroMy 50-mm lens couldn’t get the whole view, and I fuddled with the panorama feature on our phones before giving up on it – but trust me when I say that looking out and seeing coral reefs like this all over the ocean is pretty breathtaking.

MindoroMindoroThe next morning, we finally went to visit the ostriches (who knew?) living a few steps away from our house inside the prison compound. Naturally, Julio, one of the younger brothers, had already beat us to it a few mornings ago.

MindoroMindoroIt was fun playing around with them (granted, they are a bit stinky…), but it was more heartwarming to see that they are now being cared for. From the state of their bodies and feathers, it was pretty obvious that they had been abandoned and not cared for properly, and a chat with one of the prison wardens confirmed this. Now, they still have quite a bit of limited space, but at least they’re being looked after now!

MindoroMindoroOur resident daredevil, Maru, attempting to pluck a feather…

Mindoro…and getting it! 😀

MindoroMindoroMindoroMindoroDuring the drive to our next destination, we came upon this incredibly heartbreaking sight. I’m not a save-nature fanatic by all means, but it is our world we’re living in, and so I’m conscious about choices that we can better improve on. Just treat it as your own little contribution to nature and the world. Needless to say, when I saw this, it broke my heart to see this, better known in the Philippines as kaingin, still going on. The place has such a vast expanse of land and trees, but because of the combination of short-sightedness and lack of education in our fellow Filipinos, things like this still happen. I mean, this went on for hours – did not one single government official see this happening?

CalawaganCalawaganCalawaganFickle as it sounds, most of the sadness was quickly wiped away by wonder and curiosity once we got to our new location – Paluan! Apparently, contrary to what I thought, Calawagan is the name of this resort we landed in, and not the place itself.

CalawaganCalawaganCalawaganCalawaganAs you may have noticed, the whole place is replete with nature – namely, giant rocks stacked upon each other and cool, refreshing spring water. It wasn’t very hot that day, so the water felt more cold than refreshing to us; if it had been a sweltering summer day, we would have gladly jumped in right that minute!

CalawaganCalawaganCalawaganCalawaganA few of us went ahead to mini-explore while the “adults” (yeah, like I wasn’t one) arranged for accommodations. That explains the “unexpected” part – we were supposed to go home that day, but since we were able to get accommodations, we decided to extend for one more night. Anyway, exploring = more picture taking!

CalawaganCalawaganCalawaganCalawaganCalawaganA few of us couldn’t resist dipping our feet into the water. I mean, look at that – did that not make you want to jump in?

Speaking of accommodations, I got a few pictures of that, too, just in case you were expecting “luxury resort”:

CalawaganCalawaganIt’s actually not bad, though. It’s like sleeping over in someone’s house for the night. At night, all you have are electric fans, but it gets cool enough that you won’t even need them sometimes. Get ready for smaller restrooms, though – not that it’s going to be a problem. Right? Right? 🙂

CalawaganCalawaganGood food… (that’s freshly caught yellowfin tuna you’re looking at there!)

CalawaganCalawaganCalawaganCalawaganCalawagan…and good company, no matter how simple your accommodations or how crowded some situations may be, always make for a fun and memorable trip. Exactly what I may have been repeating for several blog posts now.

CalawaganWait until you see how the adults decided to upstage us with their own romantic photo shoots!

CalawaganCalawaganCalawaganCalawaganI mean, what could you say? 😀 More swimming adventures in the next post!



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