Gora: Bangkong Kahoy Valley, Dolores, Quezon

In Bangkong Kahoy Valley Eco Resort, in Dolores, Quezon, we stayed in a cottage without walls, making the outside – a tennis court, of all things – as much a part of the inside.

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We loved our straightforward beds and our hanging mosquito nets.

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The cottage comes at PHP 1,600 for four people. There are smaller and bigger cottages. There is also a lodge on the property which has queen-size beds, Wi-Fi, and television, at PHP 6,000 per room. It also has its own restaurant which serves good hot meals cooked by the same warm woman takes your orders, who is also the lodge’s caretaker.

Bangkong Kahoy contemplates, on one side, Banahaw, considered a sacred mountain, home of healers, and, on the other, Cristobal, known as the Devil’s Mountain.

Sacred mountain Banahaw.
Sacred mountain Banahaw.
Mt Cristobal, I think.
Mt Cristobal, I think.

The cool climate is friendly to growing raspberries, lettuce, and all manner of flower.

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The resort’s tap water comes from a tubod at the summit of Banahaw, and tastes clean and primeval.

Bangkong Kahoy's water comes from a tubod or spring at the summit of Mt Banahaw.
Bangkong Kahoy’s water comes from a tubod or spring at the summit of Mt Banahaw.

You can go up the summit where there is also a grotto of the Virgin Mary. For a small fee, a guide will make sure you won’t get lost in the thicket of trees and birdsong.

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On our way up there, we passed by a tractor in the middle of an obviously recently cleared land, a reminder of the steep price trees had had to pay to create this getaway. We were told it would be for some sport (football? mini-golf course?) – how odd to bring the city to where you’ve gone to take a break from it. A small basketball court would cut it in a place built for quiet than competition.

Paving paradise to put up a football field.
Paving paradise to put up a football field.

Still another way to pass the time in Bangkang Kahoy is star-gazing, because there is no smog, unlike in Manila, to conceal an always illumined sky.

Bankong Kahoy Eco Resort, Dolores, Quezon. Contact: Mobile: +63 929 819 8537 or email at bkvalley@gmail.com.                                                                                                                                         

My friend drove so I don’t know how to get there, unfortunately. It was quite hard finding it, and we had to stop and ask for directions many times, but obviously worth every wrong turn. Aside from the lodge restaurant, there is a smaller café which offers affordable buffet meals.