Exploring Dalaguete, North of Cebu

 

My last post before this was probably two years ago when I left my previous company and decided to just do home based jobs during which I had ample of times going to not-so-far places. Then I was preoccupied with so many projects and totally lost interest to travel until I broke my ankle last Christmas and was unable to walk for more than three months. I stayed at home in my little hometown away from the hassles and bustles of the Metropolitan. The first few days was pure bliss, a total escape from my daily expenses and my daily routine of waking up at seven o’clock in the evening and going to work from ten prime meridian till six anti meridian.  Then the following days seemed to turn a little somber and I suddenly realized that I was stuck. Unable to do the things I usually do at home which include but not limited to going to our local beaches or do a little trek somewhere familiar. I became bored. It was a fact I couldn’t do anything about. Then I said to myself that if I can ever walk again, I would start doing things I have not thought of doing before having the injury. One of which is traveling to both known and unknown places – not much of a very-life-changing revelation, I know haha! On a more serious note, when you lose something you would not have thought of losing such as the ability to walk, you will realize its importance and the measure of opportunities and time you have taken for granted. Not a very unfamiliar story but I’m quite sure it doesn’t happen to everybody.

So in connection to that not-so-drastic moment of enlightenment I’ve encountered, I have made my first ever trip, within the province of Cebu. Well, that was after my Lanipao Rainforest visit some years ago. And because my right foot was still suffering from atrophy, and the doctor strongly advised me not to go to high places within a year from the incident, I and my long time friend James have decided to just crash out trekking and anything related to excessive walks. Take note that we didn’t have itinerary for this trip and we just let it that way. It was initially planned in less than an hour during work hours and then we never talked about it until the day of travel. And because of that, we forgot bringing a lot of necessary things.

So here are some of the mobile photos we managed to take from the places we went to.

This is the mini public museum of the beautiful Dalaguete. It’s situated right in the heart of the town in front of its rotunda.

We went off the bus at around 11:00am since Dalaguete is more or less a 3-hour drive from the city and we left Cebu City’s South Bus Terminal at around 8:00am. So we decided to have our lunch at the town’s famous Mama’s Batchoy.

They say if you wanna feature an establishment or something you gotta do the obligatory door shot. So there you go 😂

Mama’s Batchoy basically serves typical Filipino dish known to us as “karenderya foods”. What’s making it different from the rest is they cooked it with all the ingredients in. So that each dish offers authentic taste that would not disappoint.

My friend James enjoying our lunch consisting of escabeche, tinulang isda, veggies and pork bola-bola. Oh, and not to forget the RICE.

But what makes Mama’s Batchoy really standout is the dish where the shop was named after – the batchoy. Batchoy is just basically a noodle soup made with pork organs, crushed pork cracklings, chicken stock and beef loin. But Mama must have a secret potion that makes her batchoy one of a kind as the shop have now become everyone’s favorite and a place to recommend.

After having our sumptuous lunch, we started our exploration by riding a tricycle for 10 peso each going to San Guillermo de Aquitania Parish Church, the town’s patron and is said to be one of the oldest churches in the province.

On a tricycle with Kuya Gwapo peering for a groufie.

San Guillermo de Aquitania Parish Church was only a less than ten minute drive from Mama’s Bachoy.

The proud façade of San Guillermo de Aquitania Parish church under a not-so-bluish sky.

Unfortunately enough, my OppoF1S is not designed for wide-screen captures so let’s just say, let’s help each other connect the pieces of the puzzle.

Checking the fine details of San Guillermo de Aquitania arcade.

This is the left wing of the church. It could be an additional structure which is more recent than the main edifice, or it could also be as old as the main structure itself but has been recently restored because the texture of its exterior is somewhat too smooth for a stonewall. Then again, there is no way for me to prove it because we didn’t even bother to talk to someone credible to give out such information. We just stood there, took random shots while appreciating its beauty and then gone.

This is the façade of the San Guillermo de Aquitania. And yes, that was me standing there black as coal. No, I tried to make the color darker because the original image was too bright the wall details was not visible enough. So yeah, a little sacrifice should do 🙂

The San Guillermo de Aquitania bell tower.

After witnessing the beauty of the olden day architecture, we headed to a more diverse and exotic natural wonder, the enchanting Obong Spring. It is a fresh water spring that flows near the beach. Because of its proximity, the current of the sea prevented the steady outpour to flow directly to the open making the water brackish. Obong Spring itself is an estuary,  a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea.

Visitors enjoying the coolness of Obong Spring under the heat of the sun.

If you are wondering why there were only a number of photos in this location, well, unfortunately enough, I accidentally deleted most of them because I was sleepless for almost 24 hours straight from a night shift and my body and brain were no longer coordinating.

This has to be the brackish where Mangroves naturally grows.

The water in Obong Spring was so cold, it was really a temptation on a hot summer afternoon but unlike James who enjoyed the water like a 9th grader, I chose not to dive in because I didn’t wanna tire myself more and sleep the day through.

After getting ourselves bewitched by the enchanting atmosphere of Obong Spring, we went to get ourselves on a habal-habal to take us to Brgy. Maloray, the topmost part of Dalaguete, for a promise of strawberry goodness. I kind of disagreed at first of the one-way 150 peso fare each. I thought that was overpricing. But it took us more or less than an hour to reach Sergio’s Farm, the farm that cultivates Organic Strawberry. Not to mention the buhis-buhay experience from under construction road winds along the cliffs, which was built at a very steep angle, it felt like the cliff is going to swallow you every time you look down. So I realized the fare was just fair.

The most heartbreaking experience happened when we reached the farm and I learned that the dirt road toward the farm which is a few meters away from the main road was also very steep, it was preventing me to witness the strawberries. So I had zero to none photo taken except for the single shot of this mini rice terraces which is a little too cute for me to remain at a ‘beast mode’ level.

Mini rice terraces at the side of Brgy. Maloray’s main road which serves to be the entrance of the farm.

Brgy. Maloray has a lot of Pine Niddles and White Pine Trees going on. You can see them in almost every roadsides and hills like they were a day old shaven mustache on a man’s chin. I was thinking of stopping by a group of White Pine Trees on our way to the town for a few snaps but I felt a twinge on my right foot so I decided not to.

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Veggie tramline project in Brgy. Mantalongon.

On our way back, we stopped over a veggie tramline project which were similar to cable cars. These tramlines are connected to different mountainous barangays in the topmost part of Dalaguete. It is in these barangays where the vegetable basket in the Province of Cebu is located, particularly in barangay Mantalongon. So these tramlines are really a necessity.

After hitting the town, we went directly to Tingko Beach Resort in Alcoy, the neighboring town in the south of Dalaguete to chill and stay for the night.

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The waters of Tingko Beach.

We arrived in Tingko Beach Resort at almost 6:00pm. The weather was not fine and raindrops were gonna fall anytime. While we were trying to relax at the beachfront, we noticed pieces of trash scattered everywhere and the sight somewhat made us change our minds.

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It was a high tide so what was left of the supposed shoreline was the rocky part of it and it also turned us off. Plus the weather.

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So instead of camping overnight, we both have agreed to go back to the city.

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And that’s a wrap!

 

TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES

  • Bus fare from Cebu South Bus Terminal to Dalaguete proper: ₱240 (two-way)
  • Tricycle fare from Mama’s Batchoy to San Guillermo de Aquitania Parish: ₱10
  • Tricycle fare from  San Guillermo de Aquitania Parish to Obong Spring: ₱10
  • Habal-habal fare from Obong Spring to Segio’s Farm in Mantalongon: ₱300 (two-way)
  • Strawberry Farm entrance fee: ₱50
  • Tricycle fare from Dalaguete to Tingko Beach Resort, Alcoy: ₱20
  • Tingko Beach Resort entrance fee:  ₱100

TOTAL: ₱730

Plantation Bay Resort & Spa – Top 25 Resorts in Asia

It’s the end of May. For some, this could be an ominous sign of huge back-to-school expenses. For many Filipinos who habitually loaf on beaches, this could only mean one thing – summer is almost over, a heart wrenching and invincible truth.  And I’m one of the many who feel the same. And in respect of that feeling, I decided to pay a short visit to one of the City’s nearest and well-known resorts called Plantation Bay Resort and Spa.

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Plantation Bay Resort and Spa has been listed as one of the top 25 resorts in Asia by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine.

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Located in Marigondon, Mactan Island, Cebu, it’s a thirty minute to an hour drive from Cebu City by cab for around ₱200.00 or more, 34 km from the City center and 16 km from the airport.

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The resort has a long list of recreational facilities, water sports and other activities.

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It also offers elegant rooms, fitness room, kid’s club, spa, coffee shops and world class restaurants that offer Asian and Italian cuisine.

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Here are some of the photos I got from my very short visit courtesy of my beloved cheap camera.

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This is generally what you’ll see when you enter the main lobby of the resort.

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They have two types of lagoons, salt water and freshwater.

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This is a portion of the freshwater area at the left side of the resort. The islet with a Fire Tree is the foremost part of Kilimanjaro Kafe.

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It’s a top-notch restaurant that offers Filipino and Continental food.

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This part here is the saltwater lagoon. Saltwater because they supply it with seawater which is located right beside the resort.

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The whole place is surrounded by body of water so they had to create narrow bridges and walkways so people can easily cross from one side to the other.

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Aside from bridges and walkways, they also have chauffeur-driven golf carts which will take you around 7 hectares of sun-kissed beaches, free of charge.

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One of its highlights and means of transpiration is the famous Tartanilla, a horse-drawn carriage that will also take you throughout the resort.

Trivia: They have the friendliest staffs that speak fluent American English.

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This swimming pool with a European gazebo is located at the back part of one of the lagoon view hotel rooms. I forgot what it’s called though. They have strange hotel room names. The resort have three types of rooms, the Pool View,  Lagoon View and the Lagoon Side.

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This is how a Lagoon Side room looked like.

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You can see a lot of this around the resort. This is called lagoon gazebo, one of the resort’s highlights.

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This is just one of the few man-made islets you can find around the area.

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A close up shot of one of the walkways. This is a clear indication that I already got bored. Well, I personally think that this should be featured on a Valentine”s Day. What do you think?

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This is the main lobby of Kilimanjaro Kafe which features international and Filipino favorites, a special children’s menu, and world-famous Breakfast Buffet.

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Biking is one of the resort’s recreational activities and is free of charge.

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The place is practically surrounded by man-made tourist attractions so if you are willing to go around the 7-hectare resort you will find many interesting things like this.

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Plantation Bay Resort and Spa is literally hidden away between clear blue bodies of water and tropical surroundings.

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Unlike the beach, here, you can enjoy the freshness of the waters while taking advantage of the cool shades of the huge trees.

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This is one of the many boardwalks you can find around the many lagoons and pools throughout the resort.

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This is the outermost part of the resort where you can enjoy parasailing, jet skiing, and banana boat rides.

FACILITIES

  • Restaurant
  • Coffee Shop
  • Lounge Bar
  • Beach Access
  • Outdoor Swimming Pool
  • Outdoor Jacuzzi
  • Business Center
  • Conference Rooms
  • Function Rooms
  • Water Sports
  • Gift shop
  • Concierge
  • Room Service
  • Laundry Services
  • Massage Services
  • Babysitting
  • Tennis Court
  • Games Room
  • Children’s Playground
  • Safety Deposit Box
  • Hotel-Airport Transfers
  • Tour Arrangements
  • 24-hour Front Desk
  • Car Park
  • Backup Generator
  • 24-hour Security Guard

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ROOM FEATURES

 Poolside Room

  • Air Conditioning
  • Hot and Cold Shower
  • Cable TV
  • Minibar
  • WiFi Internet Access
  • NDD/IDD Telephone
  • Balcony
  • Outdoor Seating Area
  • Swimming Pool View
  • Swimming Pool Access
  • In-room Safe
  • 2 Queen Size Beds
  • Good for 2 Guests

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Lagoon View Room

  • Air Conditioning
  • Hot and Cold Shower
  • Bathtub
  • Cable TV
  • Minibar
  • Coffee and Tea Making Facility
  • WiFi Internet Access
  • NDD/IDD Telephone
  • Living Area
  • Balcony
  • Outdoor Seating Area
  • Lagoon View
  • In-room Safe
  • 1 King Size Bed
  • Good for 2 Guests

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Lagoon Side Room

  • Air Conditioning
  • Hot and Cold Shower
  • Bathtub
  • Cable TV
  • Minibar
  • Coffee and Tea Making Facility
  • WiFi Internet Access
  • NDD/IDD Telephone
  • In-room Safe
  • Living Area
  • Balcony
  • Outdoor Seating Area
  • Lagoon View
  • Lagoon Access
  • 2 Queen Size Beds
  • Good for 2 Guests

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I was there for half a day taking pictures, roaming around the place like a lost corgi, wined and dined with my niece’s colleagues, so it was kind of fast forward experience and I got nothing much to tell.

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I hope the few photos I posted were enough to give you the idea of what the place can offer.

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I was asked if I was paid to do this. My answer is no. Nobody paid me to do this, I’m just here to share my experience and show the world what my cheap camera can do.

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Lanipao Rainforest – Cebu’s Hidden Treasure

Although the Philippines has been known for its tropical climate, ironically, Filipinos are still fond of summer. We welcome one of the warmest seasons like how people from colder countries do. And since it’s the start of summer, travelers and beach bums are starting to work on their to-do-lists because in the Philippines, summer means party.

Well, I’m not much of a traveler but I love the beach like how I love getting a free meal. I love the sea, its musky smell, its brilliant color, the feel of the shifting sand beneath my feet and finally, the awesome booties scattered everywhere like trash. Yes, like trash.

Now let me tell you what’s on my summer bucket list for the last decade:

1. Beach

2. Beach

3. Beach.

Doesn’t it surprise you? Well, I think it should.

I’m always excited to go to the beach and get myself toasted regardless of my current relative mass. There is something about summer that changes a person’s mood or aura in a more positive manner. It doesn’t only change a person’s personal outlook, it also intensifies the jubilant atmosphere that we already have. I, for one, would involuntarily turn into a masochist during summer, beating myself up with ultraviolet rays (so help me God).

But just a week ago, I decided to give my bucket list a little revision. Just for a change. I wanted to do something new or go to a slightly different place other than the beach. Maybe go to a lake or mountain climb or maybe just do a simple road trip. But I know road trips can sometimes be deceiving because it often leads me to beaches. Luckily, a friend told me about a place near the city where we can hang out with and have our summer kickoff.

The place is located in the mountainous part of Guadalupe, Cebu City called Lanipao Rainforest, a twenty to thirty minute drive from Guadalupe proper by motorcycle locally known as habal-habal. Fare is between forty to fifty pesos depending on how good you are at haggling.

So to satisfy your curiosity, here are some amateur photos we took with my infamous cheap camera.

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This is the gated entrance. We were greeted with huge trees, thick bushes and fresh mountain air. The entrance doesn’t have a doorbell, you really have to call the caretaker out to be able to get in.  At the left side are outdoor wood log table and chairs. At the right side of it is the base of a mountain.

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This is the right side of the entrance. The edifice serves as a front office that didn’t have a receptionist.

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This is the opposite side of the entrance. The blue tin roof under the mango tree is actually a tree house  where
the caretaker lives. The garden pavilion is for their pets.

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And this is me trying the infamous “selfie”. I was trying to get a full view of the entrance but failed. Those colorful objects hanging on the tree were actually Christmas lanterns. Maybe the caretaker got too lazy to took them down.

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We had to go down by this concrete stairway in order to access the swimming pool. Yes, the water hose is a part of it. If you’re too stupid not to watch your steps, you’ll surely reach the pool head first.

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This castle-like deck serves as the base of the twin slides. And yes, there’s the water hose. I’m starting to think it’s part of the exterior design.

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This is one of the cottages/kiosks/shack which is made of nipa and bamboo. It will cost you 250 for a day and ₱1200 if you wanna stay overnight. 

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This is how the shack looked like up close. Very typical and user friendly.

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This is how the first pool looked like from our shack. The pool itself is surrounded by canopy of native trees. 

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From our shack, we had to take few more steps to reach the first pool. Oh yes, the water hose.

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My friends showed their underarms off while enjoying the slide. 

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This is how the slides looked like when viewed from the pool. What’s so special about it is unlike most slides, they were supported by the ground itself going downhill.

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The area is enclosed with mountains on each side and is practically surrounded with variety of plants and trees in all shapes and sizes. You can even see huge chunks of limestone everywhere. 

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A late afternoon view of the place when viewed from a higher ground. Lanipao Rainforest is mainly located at the very edge of a stream in Sapangdaku, Guadalupe. When we got their the stream was all dried up so I don’t know how it is going to look like when there’s water in it.

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The kids pool is located at the lowest part of the area. The pool were divided into three parts according to depth. The largest shack can also be found at the lowest level opposite to the pool. 

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On the photo is a huge rock in front of the kids pool. As I have mentioned earlier,  chunks of rocks can be seen everywhere because the place is a part of a dried up stream.

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Taken in the lowest part of the place nearest to the stream with part of the larger shack seen on the photo.

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The place also has playground for kids. On the photo is a playhouse made of wood and plastic which is great for toddlers and even bigger kids.

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The playground, although underdeveloped, is promising.  It can surely be one of the place’s highlights once it will be fully developed.  This kids section is soon to have zip line for kids and motor rides.

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In the opposite side of the place across the stream, adjoined by an iron bridge are two developing villas. They are going to be fully furnished cabins with small kitchen and two rooms for ₱4,500 a night and each can accommodate 4 to 6 persons.

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This is the front view of one of the villas. The exterior part were designed to look like round timbered walls but
they’re actually concrete walls at a closer look.

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This is the villa’s interior. I was trying to take a picture of its bedroom at the second level but the paint was still wet at that time and I didn’t want to mess it up so you can only see a small portion of the area. It is designed to maximize space which is good for small houses like this.

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On the photo is the tiny kitchen and the bathroom.

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This is the marbled stairway from the villas down to the bridge. And since there’s an ongoing construction, wood pieces, ropes and water hose can be seen here. Yes, the infamous water hose.

If you are a nature lover or a conservationist, this place is just right for you. It’s peaceful and relaxing and is great for recreational activities. Just be careful with your kids on those rocky slopes, concrete stairways and the stream itself especially on rainy days. And one more thing, you must bring enough foods because there are no stores in the area and the resort itself only offers soft drinks. I remember seeing a “No alcoholic drinks allowed” sign somewhere but it looked too old and abandoned and the paint was hardly visible so I’m not so sure if they’re still implementing it. The area is a dead end so if you don’t have a car, make sure to tell the habal-habal driver to take you back to Guadalupe church on a specific hour.

My overall experience in Lanipao Rainforest was great with the place’s unique feel and the presence of my fun loving friends. If I were to rate the services and the place itself from 1 to 10, I’d give it a 6.

Basic Expenses:
₱8.00 – jeepney fare to Guadalupe church
₱100.00 – habal-habal fare (back and forth)
₱50.00 – resort’s entrance fee
₱250 – daytime cottage

₱250/day – cottage
₱1200/night – cottage
₱4500 /night – villa (good for 6)