Toyuzo Hot Spring

At the heart of Nabunturan Compostela Valley Province is a humble yet awe-inspiring tourist destination known as Toyuzo Hot Spring Resort. The resort is part of the Mainit Protected Area & Landscape, which is why it is properly protected to ensure that the attraction can offer the best of nature.

Toyuzo Hot Spring is very accessible from Davao City, which makes it perfect as a destination for those who want a relaxing time or bond with their family. If you are travelling from Davao City, getting to Toyuzo Hot Spring is very easy. If you are taking a private car or vehicle, the travel time should take approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. But if you are travelling by bus or jeepney, it could go up to 3 hours. The bus will take you to Nabunturan proper wherein you must take another ride to Barangay Bukal where the hot spring is located.

The resort is named after the owner and offers a lot of relaxing facilities for its guests. They have a mini-jacuzzi pool and the well famed hot spring, which has drawn local and foreign visitors from various parts of the world. If you are a nature lover, the lush greenery that surrounds this resort is a major treat. Other amenities include a steam bath, which is actually a big cave that serves as a sauna bath that emits lukewarm water. There are also swimming pools for the adults and kids, alike.

There are cottages available for day tour or overnight guests, which should give you plenty to choose from. A few years ago, there were only a few cottages available, but as the resort has gotten more popular and they had more visitors, there are more cottages that were built on the resort to accommodate all guests. You need not worry though as these cottages are very affordable at PhP 100. They have two choices for overnight cottages, depending on the size and number of people it can accommodate. The overnight cottage good for 3 pax is available at PhP 750, while the one that is ideal for 10 people is priced at PhP 1,500. You can also rent tents, if you want, and they will set you back at PhP 350. The entrance fee for adults and kids are very affordable, which is priced at PhP 40, and PhP 35, respectively.

There is a canteen inside the resort, but you can buy food from outside of Toyuzo Hot Spring. You may also bring your own food, if you like. You can therefore have lots of options to fill your tummies, especially after an exhausting swim.

Enjoying some R & R does not have to be costly. In a a secluded place in northern part of Davao City, you will find a treasure in Toyuzo Hot Spring. They have basic amenities to ensure that you will have a relaxing and bonding time with the entire family or your friends.

Lake Sebu

Are you looking for a unique tourist destination? Lake Sebu in South Cotabato might just be what you are looking for. This is ideal for the culturally inclined because the site is more than just a tourist attraction as it is recognized by UNESCO as a cultural landscape in Mindanao. By definition, a “cultural landscape” is any distinctive geographical area that showcases a unique balance between the work of man, culture, and nature. And there is no other tourist destination in the Philippines that could represent it better than Lake Sebu does.

To get to Lake Sebu, there are various choices of transportation that you can opt for. The travel time from the General Santos airport is approximately 2-3 hours depending on the form of transportation you use. If you are using public transportation, you need to take up to four different connections in order to reach your destination. From the airport, you must ride the bus at the General Santos bus terminal to Koronadal. Once in Koronadal, you take another bus leading to Surallah and then ride another van to take you to Lake Sebu. Since the van might take a while as they wait for other passengers, you can opt for the “habal-habal” or single motorcycle for a special trip to Lake Sebu.

There are many activities and sights to feast your eyes on and fill your time when you visit Lake Sebu. There are local guides that are willing to take you around for a minimal fee. You can also navigate around the lakes by renting a boat for a fixed price of PhP 400, which can seat up to 15 to 20 people max. In these tour guides, you will learn about the historical background and other essential cultural information of Lake Sebu.

You may also trek down the entire expanse of Lake Sebu to explore its 2 great lakes and 7 waterfalls, which are very popular amongst visitors. The first waterfall, also known as Dongon Falls, is easy to access. The last two falls are the most difficult to access and might require a lot of walking before you can reach them. However, all of them are worth the effort because these falls are breathtaking and beyond description, especially for those who embrace natural attractions.

If you hate walking from one falls to another, there is another way for you to navigate them and in a different perspective – that is by taking the zipline. During the zipline ride, you will fly over the second, third, fourth, and fifth waterfalls. The cost for the zipline is quite cheap at PhP 200, especially considering the view that you will be able to witness throughout the ride. Plus, it is an instant source of adventure during your Lake Sebu vacation.

The beauty and cultural value of Lake Sebu makes it one of the most famous tourist destinations in the Philippines. If you want to be awed by the sheer beauty of nature and get some insight into the cultural history of South Cotabato, you know where to go on your next vacation!

Lake Agco

Lake Agco is quickly earning its reputation as one of Mindanao's top tourist destinations. Officially known as Lake Agco Mahomanoy Mountain Resort, it is strategically located at the foot of Mt. Apo (the country's highest peak) in Ilomavis, Kidapawan City. The tourism industry in the Philippines has recognized its potential in attracting local and foreign tourists, which is why they have worked to develop and improve this site while also embracing nature as the main attraction.

Aside from the beautiful scenery of the nearby Mt. Apo, Lake Agco resort offers visitors with a breathtaking view of nearby falls, lakes, and lagoons. There is also a rich array of flora and fauna in the area, which continues to thrive and offer something for tourists to feast their eyes on. Some of the climbers to Mt. Apo often stop by Lake Agco for a dip or simply to relax. This is one reason why Lake Agco is flocked by tourists from all parts of the country and the world all-year round.

Lake Agco is operated and managed by the Community of Local Agribusiness Partners Multi-Purpose Cooperative. They are responsible for overseeing the resort's day to day operations. This cooperative is made up of farmers and tribal groups that was formed through the efforts of Social Corporate Responsibility Program. One of their main goals is to help protect and preserve watershed areas and other natural environment features in the region.

Visitors to Lake Agco will bask in the lush greeneries offered by the surrounding forest that make up Mt. Apo's foothill. Lake Agco, one of the four major lakes in the area, provides the main water source in the resort.

Both hot and cold water meet at an elevation of 1,250 meters, wherein the cold and hot springs are frequented by tourists who wanted to enjoy a dip while checking out the wonderful sights in the resort. The hot spring is known to be hot enough that it can even boil an egg if you leave it for a few minutes! This is made possible by an underground vent and the presence of the mineral Sulfur, which is also celebrated for its medicinal value. There is also a 25-meter outdoor swimming pool wherein the entire family can enjoy and relax.

For all those who are interested to visit Lake Agco, it is a 24-kilometer drive from Kidapawan City. Thankfully, the road leading up to Barangay Ilomavis is well maintained to ensure a comfortable ride. If you do not have a private vehicle, you can also ride a jeep or van. The approximate travel time takes 45 minutes. There also other options for public transport, such as a single motorcycle or locally known as “habal-habal”, which costs PhP 70 per person. The entrance fee is also very affordable at PhP 15 and the cottages can be rented for approximately PhP 200. If there are no more cottages available, you may set up your own tent at their campsites.

Lake Agco Mountain Resort has been dubbed as the “Eden of Kidapawan”, wherein Eden is another famous nature park or resort in Davao City, Philippines. It is a place wherein you can experience nature at its best and is a vacation you won't soon forget.

Camp Sabros

Camp Sabros is the ultimate destination for those who want a thrill-seeking adventure. This famous attraction is located at Sitio Barras, Brgy. Kapatagan, Digos City and was launched in December of 2007, it has enjoyed tremendous popularity that tourists from other parts of the country flock here. There is more in store here for you, so here are some information that will help you plan out a vacation to Camp Sabros.

This eco-adventure destination is approximately 2-3 hours away from Davao City, depending on whether you choose to commute or take a private vehicle. If you are going to commute, you can ride a bus bound for Digos City at the Ecoland Terminal. Once you reach the Digos City Terminal, hire a tricycle to take you to the old Digos Terminal. You will find more vans there that will bring you to Camp Sabros.

If you are driving your own vehicle, follow the National Highway leading to Digos City until you see the “Welcome to the Lion City of Digos” sign and take the right road as soon as you see a fork at the road. Turn right to the first road you will find there and follow the sign that says “This way to Kapatagan”. This will be a 25-kilometer drive until you reach the checkpoint at Sitio Barras and that is where you will find Camp Sabros. Additional travel tips: make sure that you take an SUV or four-wheel vehicle to make it easier to navigate through the rough road, which can be difficult to pass, especially if it is raining.

The site of Camp Sabros offers cold weather all year round because it is 3,980 feet above sea level. It is most famous for its zipline attraction, wherein it offers two of the country's longest zip lines at 380 and 400 meters long. Both zip lines are 180 feet off the ground! They do offer promos during off-peak seasons, so those interested should be on the lookout for that.

You can get a promo package for all rides at PhP 300 per person, which includes 2 tandem rides at the 380-meter zip line, 1 solo ride at the 400-meter zip line, and a cable lift ride. If you want to opt for individual rides, the prices are as follows: cable lift ride at PhP 100/pax, tandem zipline ride at PhP 150/pax, solo zipline ride at PhP 300/pax, and all rides including the top rappel at PhP 500/pax.

There are also cottages available for overnight accommodations for those who wanted to stay in the location for longer. Prices for these cottages range from PhP 1,500 to PhP 2,000 per night. There are no corkage fees or entrance fees, however. You can bring your own food and drinks to the resort without incurring additional fees. Although guests are allowed to stay overnight, the zipline facilities are open only from 8 AM to 5.30 PM.

Camp Sabros is nestled at a strategic location that offers guests with a cold weather throughout the year and a panoramic view of the nearby Mt. Apo. Whether you are traveling here for the adventure or the ability to embrace nature (or both!), you will not be disappointed. In fact, you might find yourself wanting to come back!

Bamboo Garden Resort

The idea of having a popular resort situated in ComVal Province might struck some people as odd. However, Bamboo Garden Resort is slowly building its own fan base, whether from ComVal locals or those from other parts of the region. It is a perfect blend of natural beauty and modern facilities to offer a relaxing stay for all its visitors. The resort had its soft opening on May 2006 and has since been growing in terms of the number of visitors and the amenities they offer.

Bamboo Garden Resort is situated in New Bataan, Compostela Valley Province in Davao del Norte. There are two ways to get to this resort: public or private transport. Those who are opting for a public transport must take the bus bound for New Bataan and you must drop off at the New Bataan Terminal. Then, hail a single motorcycle to bring you straight to the Bamboo Garden Resort. If you are traveling with your own private vehicle, you must drive through the highway that leads toward the city of Tagum. You know when you have reached the resort when you see the signboard and the sculpture with the resort's name in it.

The entrance fee to the resort is comparably cheaper than other resorts. For instance, entrance fee for adults are priced at PhP 20, while kids must pay only PhP 10. There are also cottages available for rent for day tour at PhP 75. Meanwhile, those who intend to stay overnight can rent the closed cottages at PhP 1,000 each. The resort itself is developed from the Cualing family's 12-hectare property and has evolved from a small family business into one of the top tourist destinations in the province.

There are several amenities that can be found at Bamboo Garden Resort, such as a function hall, cold spring water, canteen, and a bar. The main attraction though is their large swimming pool that is made from the cold spring water from the nearby hill. Hence, it is really relaxing for you and your family to swim in the spring water because it is cold, fresh, and natural. There are also kiddie pools available so parents won't have to worry about their child's safety.

Aside from the pool and the modern amenities available at Bamboo Garden Resort, there are more in store for visitors to this spot. There is a beautiful view of the nearby hillside that is swarmed with lush greeneries and trees. This is therefore the perfect getaway from the buzz of the city and to just unwind while having a good time.

Bamboo Garden Resort is another one to add into your list of inland resort options in the region. For the ComVal residents who have no easy access to sea, this is a great way to cool off and have quality bonding time with the family.

Passig Islet: Hidden Island in Davao del Sur

If you are looking for a tropical getaway in Mindanao, Philippines, but only have a shoestring budget to work with, then Passig Islet offers the perfect destination. There are several world-class tropical destinations in Mindanao, particularly in the Davao region, but most of them are crowded with lots of tourists coming in at various times of the year. This once secret islet is slowly but surely gaining popularity as top destination choice in the region but it still offers a lot of promise for those who want a memorable getaway.

Passig Islet is located at Sitio Bato in Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur. It is therefore accessible from the city of Digos and the national highway, so you can stop here if you happen to pass along. The official name for this tourist destination is Passig Islet Aqua-Eco Park Resort, which was developed out of the provincial government's effort to boost the tourism industry in the region.

There is a long wooden footbridge (now famous on its own as a landmark for this area) that visitors need to walk through to reach the end wherein there are bancas waiting to take them to Passig Islet. This bridge was initially constructed to connect the islet to the mainland and provide added mobility for all personnel tasked at maintaining the islet. However, the bridge was destroyed and was reconstructed although it no longer stretched out onto the islet.

All visitors to Passig Islet need to pay PhP 20 for the boat ride, which takes roughly 5 minutes. However, you can hire the entire boat for PhP 100. Make sure you ask the boat driver's mobile number so you can communicate with them in case you need to take a trip back to the mainland. The banca ride in itself is already quite stunning as you have a 360-degree view of the sea, the islet from away, and the surrounding mountains.

Accommodation at the resort is fairly affordable, especially in comparison to other more popular resorts in the region. Adults must pay only PhP 15 for the entrance fee while the kids' entrance fee (good for 7 to 12 years old) is at PhP 10. There are several choices of cottages at the resort that varies in terms of the number of people and the type of accommodation (day tour or overnight). The mini cottages are priced at PhP 100, small cottages at PhP 150, medium cottages at PhP 250, and large cottages for overnight and with rooms are priced at PhP 500. They also have a functional hall that costs PhP 5,500, which is ideal if you want to hold major gatherings on the site.

The beach is good but do not expect it to be as excellent as other famous beach resorts in the Philippines, such as Boracay. Although it has white sand, it is a bit coarse and there might be a lot of broken corals, so be careful.

The affordability of the site and its beautiful view make it a perfect alternative if you want a true escape and be away from the chaos of the city.

Five New England Ice Cream Spots Receives Honors from FOOD AND WINE

Crescent Ridge Dairy, Sharon, Mass. (photo by Eric H.)
We were delighted to read that five New England ice cream shops and stands made FOOD AND WINE'S "Best Ice Cream Spots in the U.S."  They are: Christina's in Cambridge, Mass., Mt. Desert Ice Cream in Bar Harbor, Maine, Four Seas in Centerville, Mass. (Cape Cod), Crescent Ridge Dairy in Sharon, Mass. and Anabelle's in Portsmouth, N.H.

Congratulations on this "cool" honor. We personally love Four Seas with its lemon crisp and cantaloupe ice creams (yes, the latter tastes really good)!

It's a nice time of the year for ice cream and we recommend you checking out these places, if in that specific area.