Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Resort Finds: If you are adventurous and a nature lover, this one's for you | Beautiful Life

Photos by Monch Henares

A refreshing dip in the swimming pool amidst trees, and cabanas at Mount Purro Nature Reserve.


We have actually made CALABARZON (Calamba-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) our test driving playground lately because, for one, these provinces do not require a Travel Pass. Not to mention, there are still many beautiful places to discover here.


Our test-drive car is a Changan CS75 Plus, a compact crossover SUV 1.5 L 6AT, with a Turbo-charged Gasoline Direct Injection engine.


We had a comfortable drive to Mount Purro Nature Reserve, located in the Upper Marikina Watershed. This is essentially at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range in Rizal. Mount Purro, a mere 2-hour drive from Manila, is in the heart of a lush forest, in between rivers and brooks. It is a protected land area, where the owners, the Malvar family planted trees since the 1970s. A total of 7,000 trees planted cover the hills, all the way up to Malvar Peak, with a 360-degree view over-looking Laguna Bay, Antipolo, and Montalban.


Farm-style accommodations in the middle of lush greenery.


Indigenous people in this area are called the Dumagats. The tribe eventually adopted the resort owner, environmentalist Toto Malvar, whose grandfather was General Miguel Malvar, a Filipino General during the Philippine Revolution in 1901. Toto and his wife Baby, together with their children, Toton and Dr. TJ run this eco-park sanctuary.


Relaxing in a cabana.


A rustic wooden sign directing us to our Casita, one of the many guest rooms at Mount Purro.


Following strict protocols, guests are required to fill-up a health declaration form, 48 hours before check-in. Aside from Monch and I, there were two other couples, who enjoyed the spacious, forested property with us. 

We were billeted at a Casita, which was a bahay-kubo style guest room with a beautiful tiled bathroom. You need to bring your own towel and toiletries as Mount Purro has that back-to-nature vibe. There was no air-conditioning, as it was not really needed. The cool breeze was enough, and the sound of water at the nearby brook will lull you to sleep.


The Casita is a bahay-kubo style guest room.


Very cozy, and cool, no need for an air-conditioner.


Bathroom is a fully-tiled luxury with rain-shower, and hot water.


River Walk

It was a nice river walk, which we started at 3:30 in the afternoon. Total duration was two and a half hours, round-trip, including about 30 minutes of swimming. The first 15 minutes of the river tour was walking through the small streets in the village, leading to a river-side. 


Hike and swim by the river is one of the activities at Mount Purro.


This river bank is also a campsite for many locals.


Traversing through streams, rocks and a couple of dams was a refreshing experience. Bring a bottle of water, a small towel and an extra shirt with you. Our River Walk and Forest Hike was a guided tour by a 4th generation Dumagat, whom we called by her nickname, Pipoy. She was truly a gem, and we enjoyed her company. 


Swimming and making friends with our guide, Pipoy, a 4th generation Dumagat.


Forest Hike to Malvar Peak

Pipoy enjoyed our company too, that she volunteered to be our guide to Malvar Peak the following day. We started the hike at 5:30 in the morning because we wanted to be on the peak at 6:30 to view the famous sea of clouds. This time, our tiny group was joined by another couple, Karen and Karl. We appreciated the lush forest, the natural foliage of bamboos, palm, narra trees, and other native plants that grow in this protected land area. 


The trek in the forest was absolutely magical.


Wild flowers abound.


Our happy faces upon reaching Malvar Peak, and witnessing the sea of clouds.


Swimming Pool, Playground, and Bonfire

Aside from swimming in the river, we also tried out the nice pool at the resort. Surrounded by greens, cabanas and sunshine, the cool dip was a welcome luxury to us.

This eco-park is family-oriented, thus, is very kid-friendly. The playground is a child's dream of adventure and fun. A great venue for children to appreciate the outdoors.


A refreshing dip in the swimming pool amidst trees and cabanas.


A child's playground paradise.


Wall-climbing and slides for tots is a good start for appreciating the rugged outdoors.


Before going to bed, enjoy the bonfire for an hour or so, which is prepared nightly by the employees at Mount Purro. Pay Php150 to get your tray of hotdogs and marshmallows, which you can enjoy around the fire.

Personally, I think it was romantic to do this under the beautiful night sky full of stars (enter Coldplay song).


Nightly bonfire starts at 8:00 PM.


Adding fun to the bonfire activity was roasting hotdogs and marshmallows.


Home-Cooked Meals

Situated by the entrance of Mount Purro is Loli's Kitchen, a spacious dining area made of bamboo and dried palm leaves, giving it a cozy and earthy atmosphere. 


Facade of Loli's Kitchen, where guests dine.


Home-cooked meals are usually prepared by Baby or Loli Malvar with the help of her friendly staff. Due to the pandemic, the buffet is not available. In its place, we were served plated meals fit for a king and queen of the forest. They served Filipino and Western delicacies, which we both enjoyed.


Inside Loli's Kitchen.


Homey atmosphere.


Where families gather for a good home-cooked meal.


Plated dinner for two.


Breakfast was composed of tocino, egg, dilis with veggies, and garlic fried rice.


Bringing your family to Mount Purro using a Changan CS75 Plus would be very ideal, truly, a perfect match. Together, let's promote responsible tourism with the goal of preserving our environment. At Mount Purro, it was easy to commune with nature, appreciate beauty, discover people, pray to God, and embrace change.


Dumagats and their horses delivering fruits are regular scenes in the community.


Take that road trip, and be safe always.


We bought fruits from the locals, utilizing the spacious rear cargo area of the Changan CS75 Plus.


For more information about Changan, visit www.changanphil.com, follow on Facebook here, and Instagram @ChanganPhil

For rates, and to book at Mount Purro Nature Reserve, visit www.mountpurronaturereserve.com, follow on Facebook here, and Instagram @mountpurronaturereserve

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