Belonging to a stress-ridden industry, there was always that point wherein I breakdown, freak out altogether, and would just literally pack my bags and leave the city. It has been this story most of the time that it is very rare for me and my partner to plan a trip way ahead of time. This blog is about one of those few and far between instances.
I’ll take you back to 2009: my partner and I never had that out of town trip where we experienced the definition of luxury of the real R & R. It was all about backpacking from the very beginning. We both knew heading north of the Metro is an ideal bet so we researched for a good place to go. We somehow ended up with SBMA and a secluded-sounding resort named Mountain Woods.
We booked our stay in the resort’s Manila office and a week after, headed to our destination. We rode the Victory Liner Bus in Cubao going to Zambales and asked to be dropped off to the nearest point to Subic. As soon as we disembarked at SBMA, we rode a cab from the main gate of the free port to the resort. We were surprised at how high the fare was but soon realized that the place is far from the main port. The hotel is literally high up the mountain!
I could clearly remember how delighted I was upon arriving. We settled down at the hotel’s lobby while the staff finalized our arrangements. There was a grand piano, several jars and sculptures, and the Mediterranean feel was all too real.
By the time we got to our room, we were amazed by the canopy bed and how inviting the space was. The place was clean and the scent of the relaxing countryside was all over! The bathroom was cramped, honestly speaking, but the towels were warm and toiletries were complete.
We lazed around the pool until the sun set that day. It seemed that we were the only people on the resort as it was really peaceful and calm. We enjoyed the dusk talking about life and future plans. We were so young then, yet so old!
If there is something that we could not forget during our stay in Mountain Woods, it was definitely the dinner. Their Nilagang Baka is to die for! While we were dining, there was also a waiter beside us, ready to assist should we have requests. I ordered 2 rounds of watermelon shake. It was just too good! There was also good music playing, all coming from the piano in the lobby. We were very impressed by how we were treated too. There was no discrimination to individuals like us who would prefer to look casual on a very formal dinner.
After dinning, we were informed that we can borrow any of their DVD collections to view before going to bed. We decided to borrow David Blaine’s Street Magic and was scared shitless because of the creepiness of that man’s voice. I guess being in a far secluded area and watching shows about the unknown is not really a good combination.
We soon fell asleep, snuggled by the fresh and fragrant comforter. It was one of those nights that you can never forget because the relaxation and the feeling when you wake up is pretty much an uncommon benefit.
The next morning, breakfast was equally enjoyable and there were too much to see. I recalled seeing a rare avian flying straight to one of the glass doors. The poor fella’ was too dizzy because of the toxin released by the exotic lizard caught on its beak. Crazy, huh? But the good thing there is that the staff knew that they had to rescue the bird and bring it to the wildlife center of SBMA. Hats off to your guys!
And just as we were about to finish, a band of monkeys marched in and lounged by the pool. It was sooo cool! I checked one of the reviews on TripAdvisor wherein one guest complained that the monkeys can scare little kids and I completely disagree. This is a good opportunity for kids to understand and interact with nature! Sure, the freedom of the primates can impose some sort of danger, but hey, it’s not like you’re going to live with them overnight! Appreciating them from afar or even just letting them do their morning rounds, undisturbed, is communing with the beauty of nature.
We took photos all around the resort and admired the beautiful morning. We swam and ate over and over again. When it was finally time to leave, we were told that our reservation included a free trip to White Rock (yipee!). We thanked everyone and headed off. When we thought that we couldn’t get luckier, we rode a cab that was driven by a kind and accommodating driver which showed us around Subic free of charge! We took our photos by the lighthouse, of course!
This trip, no matter how long ago it was, would remain engraved on our memories. Mountain Woods was a big part of it. For some, the place may come of as pricey. But think about this: luxury comes once in a while for some. This may be your day!
How to Go to Mountain Woods:
1. Ride Victory Liner Bus bound to Olongapo City. The fare before was 230++ Php (that was too long ago…sorry)
2. Once you disembarked at SBMA, ride the Taxi going in the Freeport Zone. Give them the resort’s address which I will be indicating later on this blog. Fare is 500 Php
***Mountain Woods is located at Entemedor St., West Kalayaan Heights, Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBMA). You can visit Mountain Woods’ website HERE. It’s not updated but you can call their Manila office at (02) 709 2280 / (02) 709 6345 for more information.