Travel with the Perezes: Nature at its Finest at Bangkong Kahoy Valley

by - 1:08 PM

A few weeks before our son's 3rd birthday, he told us he wanted to go to the mountain.

We're adventurous nature-loving parents, so we were ecstatic when he wished for this one. After his birthday celebration at school with his teacher and classmates, we prepped for our mountain adventure in Bangkong Kahoy Valley (BKV) in Dolores, Quezon.

Just a little background, we're more of the un-schooling type of family. We enrolled our son for nursery school as a trial and to allow him to socialize and have playmates because he's such a friendly toddler. That worked well, actually. But we still do bring him outdoors a lot. The matriarch's side of the family has lovely farm, though not in it's usual glory back when my grandfather was still alive, but we've managed to homeschool Popy with twigs, rocks, mud puddles, coconuts, chickens, leaves, trees and flowers.

My husband and I are also looking forward to creating a nature play school in a plot of land that my parents own near the family farm.

Going back to the story...

We are still commuters, as is with our previous travels, so from Lucena, we rode the bus bound for Manila and got off at San Pablo City, Laguna. Word of caution, if you know locals in the area, ask them for tricycle rates. If you ask, they'll assume you don't know. I'm sure there are honest ones, but ours overcharged us at Php 30 for less than 500m. I'm already sad for needing to give this tip.

We rode a jeepney from San Pablo to Dolores. We got off the Dolores Church in the town proper, right in front of their public market. Now, this I have researched beforehand. We need to ride a tricycle from there to BKV or we can also just ride from the church to Kinabuhayan (somewhere halfway) and then trek up to BKV. We chose all the way because we have a kid in tow.

The trike ride costs Php 300 per way if you'll book the same driver going down. It's Php 350 if it's just one-way. We booked the round trip and got his number but apparently BKV doesn't have network coverage (for Globe, not sure about Smart). So we just told him to come back for us at 9 AM in case my message fails.

Man, the trike fare was worth it. It was a mountainous ride, uphill was an understatement. Sometimes there was a concrete road. Sometimes, there's half of it. Sometimes, none at all. Just a beaten path of some sort. Plus they might not meet a passenger for half the way, so the fare seemed reasonable.

Our open-air cottage on the left

Check-in was a breeze. There aren't any complicated systems here. I just sent an email. They replied. You go there, that's it.

We got one of the open-air cottages, Erlinda for Php 2000/night (I'm not sure if this is an off-peak rate). Yes, open-air. There are only 2 walls. You see the inside from outside and your bed is covered with mosquito net. It has a small receiving area overlooking nature, 2 beds (one on the loft, which has more privacy and the other, beside the receiving area), and toilet and bath. The cottage fits 4 comfortably. Ah, and it comes with breakfast!

Outside looking-in. Yes, it's that open! That's the bed, right there.

View from our terrace
Our bed
Loft room

Speaking of food, it was buffet style. I booked for lunch and dinner on top of the free breakfast. Additional breakfast would Php 200 and lunch and dinner were Php 250/meal/person. The spread was not extensive, but they served good organic local food. And for its price, wow! For dinner and breakfast, they served it to us as a set for 2, but were told to let them know if we need some more. Whew! One set was definitely enough.

I can only share, what we had for breakfast because my camera won't do justice during dinner.

Breakfast spread!
Now, this I love! BKV's service water was tap water. Yep, no filters or whatnot. Straight from the faucet! Last time I had the enjoyment of drinking from the tap was back when we lived in my hometown which was a decade back, because our water came from Mt. Banahaw.

Water was cold as it is and refreshing.

Drink to your heart's content
There had been a few drizzles of rain during our overnight stay, but we got to run around a lot and play in the rain. Popy charmed his way to borrowing a Lightning McQueen car and bike from the staff.

Clouds kissing the mountain

Family photo

A game of tag

Love this one :)

My boys

It rained during the night. There were what we called dalo-dalo insects. They usually come when it's about to rain and they're attracted to the light. There might have been a bat, too, which didn't bother me one bit. We've had bats in the farm house back as a kid. Then a couple of big moths and butterflies. Nature, I tell you. It's just so crazy fresh and clean up hear, so you get all of them.

The weather was really cold with the addition of the rain, and we all slept so soundly.

Just look at my boys

They have nice coffee served in a thermos pot in the restaurant, fruit shakes (like dragon fruit, mango and banana), and veggie burger. I think I ordered a lot of the burger. They have souvenir items available, too.

They also have an Honesty Store filled with plants, crops and toiletries in case you forgot a thing or two.

Honesty Store

What made me sad was there was this family who came for a day tour. They were a big group and I caught one of the men smoking. If you're going to tell me why I didn't come up to the man and tell him off, they're a big group and I was alone that time with my kid. I'd rather veer my son away from the smoke. But I did inform the staff.

Unfortunately, when they were gone, I found a cigarette butt on the lawn where they were hanging around earlier.

Discipline. Tsk tsk.

On a good note...

We had a wonderful stay. I met the owner briefly with no proper introductions while I was having my dinner (Gab and I took turns because we can't leave Popy sleeping in the cottage). He just came by to ask if we're having a good stay and then went on to a meeting with some people from the community. The staff are wonderful. I've had lovely conversations with the people at the restaurant and a man, I presume, was in-charge of security.  I just hope the visitors can remain honest and disciplined and respectful of nature.

I've read comments how BKV should put in a pool. It's beautiful and relaxing the way it is. And well, it's too cold for a pool. I love BKV's movement in protecting whatever they have there and supporting their community. I hope people can appreciate that more.

We hope to be back soon!


If you're planning to visit Bangkong Kahoy Valley, you can find more information on their Facebook Page.

Ahon na! Naghihintay na si Inang Kalikasan!

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