Mindanao Travelogue Series Part VII
Our last night in Mindanao was spent glamping at Taglucop Strawberry Hills in Bukidnon, which offers the camping experience without the hassles of setting up your own camp or without the convenience of restrooms.
We didn’t immediately go to our yurts (I recently discovered this word as round tents) but lounged instead at the romantic restaurant/lobby/receiving area of the place. The air is relatively cool at night, and wearing a sweater or a jacket is necessary to feel warm. The site has plants all over, such as herbs and green leafy vegetables, which I suspect are sources of ingredients for our dinner.
While waiting for dinner to arrive, we were served dry white wines and graze appetizers composed of cheese, crackers, cured meats, and fruits. It is also the best place to chill, relax and unwind after a long day touring around Mindanao.
Dinner was absolutely delicious, not to mention healthy. When it was time for us to go camping, we descended to a field of strawberries, but since it was nighttime, we would have to wait in the morning to enjoy the view. A golf cart assisted us in going to our respective “glamps” and our luggage.
“Glamps” looked like miniature stars shining brightly in pitch dark mountains which fell from the sky. They look incredibly beautiful to look at, even from afar. The moment we got inside, the place looked even better as I could not imagine a tent could look even better than a hotel. Everything is so posh, comfortable, and luxurious inside, made even more romantic by the fact we’re up in the mountains camping under the starry night sky.
They set a bonfire before we ended the night as we had our drinks and melted our smores. This place is the stuff of dreams and definitely one of my favorite destinations of the tour.
We set the alarm for 5:00 in the morning to capture the beautiful sunrise and enjoy the breathtaking view. Breakfast was at the same dining area within our tent, and the food was fresh, fresh, fresh! We had a sauna right outside our tent, but there wasn’t enough time for us to fully enjoy it.
It is the perfect evening to spend our last night in Mindanao.
Malagos Garden Resort and Chocolate Museum at Davao Mindanao
Before heading out to the airport, we visited the world-famous Malagos Garden Resort for our last stop. It is home to internationally acclaimed Philippine chocolates made from high-quality Philippine cacao and Tree-To-Bar processes promoting sustainable farming. Malagos Chocolates aim to put the Philippines on the chocolate map of the world.
Inside, you will see vast gardens creating a perfect romantic atmosphere; you can almost imagine your garden wedding held here. They also have a bird park and got acquainted with some of their beautiful and visitors-friendly parrots. We walked some more to the Museum and the long history of international award-winning Philippine cacao spawning from the country’s tropical climate. As we went further inside, we came across Chocolate Laboratory, and you can make your own chocolates and put whatever filling you desire. I chose bags and shoe mold and put classic toppings like rock salt, cashews, and one wild ingredient: candied durian. It was delicious and a melt-in-your-mouth experience.
As I flew home, I still relish the places I’ve been — places I never expected I would have the opportunity to see and explore. Indeed, there’s just so much to see and have fun in our homeland. For one thing, I thought that history and travel make a person whole. Without it, life would not be as exciting, enriching and enjoyable.
Life’s journey continues.
Mary Lou Cunanan is a regular Lifestyle columnist of the Philippine Daily Mirror. She is a writer, world traveler, and a Filipina who is very proud of her identity, whose life mission is always to cover stories of amazing Filipinos, events, organizations, and businesses globally to celebrate and champion what makes Filipinos unique wherever they may be.