Carl Martin Agustin
ANN/INQUIRER – In a country rich with famous holiday and tourist destinations, there is no shortage of places here in the Philippines where you can’t scratch that itch for a little rest.
Sometimes it just does wonders to distance ourselves from the things that stress and tire us. From famous cities such as Baguio and Cebu to natural wonderlands like Boracay and Palawan, there are many retreats one can choose from.
If the goal, however, is to discover something brand new, perhaps what is popular isn’t the correct choice. Luckily in the south, there are tonnes of unheard, if not better spots that can serve as the location of your next food trip or sightseeing adventure. Moreover, unwind responsibly with a brand of ecotourism that can only be seen here leaving you free to enjoy without worrying about hurting or disturbing the environment.
THE JOURNEY OVER THE DESTINATION
From the get-go, you are treated to a breath of fresh air just as soon as you make your way down south. In a country known for its heavy traffic, the travel down has been streamlined for your maximum convenience.
The Manila – Cavite Toll Expressway Project or CAVITEX takes you on a scenic route along the coast of Manila from Roxas Boulevard to Cavite where you can feel the sea’s lovely breeze. Alongside this is the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) which is envisioned to be a four-lane 45-kilometre toll road that will connect the westbound CAVITEX and the Eastbound Mamplasan Rotunda leading to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).
Currently fully operational is its 14.24-kilometre segment that stretches from Mamplasan Rotunda to the Silang East Interchange.
Take advantage of the open road rather than making your way to your destination slowly stuck in a jam. Both expressways make use of automated systems to make passing through toll gates as convenient as possible.
Moreover, feel at ease knowing that utmost care has been put by the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) into making sure that these roads minimally disrupt the flora and fauna around them.
An unlikely entrance that opens up to paradise. This fairy-tale setting is what best describes the road to the Shambala Living Museum. Perfectly named after the legendary lost Tibetan kingdom of Shambala, the two-hectare refuge is the ultimate getaway that has been obscured from the public eye.
As if you have been transported to an entirely different region, the living museum is filled with plants and trees that contrast with the roads and structures we are so used to cluttering our surroundings. In a world so different from our own, it is the ideal place to refresh, reflect and be in touch with what is around us.
A convergence of cultures, the owners of the place are avid collectors of local indigenous pieces that are shown in the Tawid Gallery and through the architecture in the area. Food enthusiasts also won’t feel neglected as the Mana Kitchen prepares delicious dishes from ingredients sourced from their very own garden.
Animal lovers unite at Yoki’s Farm. What better way to promote ecotourism than by educating and exposing visitors to the beauty and importance of our plant and animal friends. Yoki’s Farm has four main attractions. Explore the sanctuary and get into close encounters with the area’s sheltered animals where you can enter their enclosures and closely interact with them.
Their hydroponic farm is a great place where you can learn all about this brand-new planting technology and have a hand at trying it out yourself.
Enjoy the farm-to-table experience with The Farm Table, their onsite restaurant that serves dishes taken from ingredients taken there. Lastly, take a walk through their Museum of Antique Collections where you can see a private collection of Old Asian artefacts.