August 31, 2011

The Giant Tree's Nephew on Steroids at the Hidden Pools


You are lucky we have pictures of this trip.

It was my birthday, so Lady Hiva wanted to have a fun day. We planned to drive to Hidden Valley Springs, about an hour away, for the day. As we got up to leave, things were chaotic to get out of the door before traffic starts (oh you know all the reasons it always feels like you need to rush even when you don’t have to). Hiva was packing the clothes, we were both grabbing whatever we could quickly eat and we raced out to Boeing. Once in Boeing, Lady Hiva realized we were missing towels and I thought about  needing the IPod considering Boeing’s CD player does not work, poor guy. We went back, got the stuff and off we went…

Ten minutes into the freeway drive we were gloating about missing the traffic and were singing out load to our favorite tunes and I realized we did not have the camera! MAN! So we took the next exit, paid the toll, got back onto the freeway, paid the toll again, and went home. So our day started great, I had to laugh as I found myself at the fridge getting another drink of water one hour, $150 pesos, and 4 liters of petrol later and we were still here at the house! HA!

The drive was nice, it did not take us long to get back into singing, the only hard part was following directions. The official directions off the resort website literally included, “Take exit 52” which does not exist! (Actually, in fairness it existed but it was not labeled we found it on our way home) And instructions like: “Turn left after the National bank” and “Follow the road behind the cathedral” (do you KNOW how many cathedrals/churches there are in the Philippines??) or “you will pass a lime green mosque.” Which we did—it was the greenest mosque I have ever seen! We eventually found our way. This resort said secluded, it was NOT false advertising, after being in Manila for a few months it was so refreshing to see greenery, animals, blue sky, and trees. We turned off the A/C and rolled down the windows as we drove on the half paved half homemade ‘cobblestone road’ to the resort. I drove slowly partly to absorb the situation and partly because the ‘cobblestone’ was threatening to rattle out my teeth if I went over 10 miles per hour!
We entered the resort and paid our fee which we were informed included “entrance, welcome drinks, facilities (like showers and bathrooms), lunch, afternoon merienda (snacks) and of course all the pools and hot springs.” We used the bathroom at the reservations desk before we went to the pools, something we have a habit of doing now, in the Philippines if there is a clean bathroom don’t pass it up because you never know how long until you see another one. I stood and waited for Hiva to finish and looked out at the small cabins you can rent. The cabins are beautiful for a nightly stay over, Hiva and I thought it is too bad family is so far away because it would be a fun place for a reunion. As I waited I watched as an employee cheerfully sang as she brought a bucket of water from the back of the building to refill the ‘welcome drinks’ that turned out to be water and some brown juice looking stuff. She offered me a drink and since I was the only guest there I awkwardly took a cup and viewed my choices.  Not being daring enough, I went with the water over the sludge. The girl went on singing. As Hiva came out she said, “I was using the bathroom and I could hear someone singing, but there was nobody in there with me. I realized it was her,” she pointed to the employee now wiping the tables, “she was just outside the bathroom singing while she filled buckets of water.” GREAT! I just drank toilet water! I should have gone with the sludge.

Lunch was really great—plenty of choices on the buffet and everything was wonderful. We made our way down to the pools and again the brochures on the website did not let us down. The manicured walkways and old bridges lent beautiful views of the falls and pools. It was gorgeous. We explored all the pools and waterfalls before deciding which to get in.

We were truly out in the jungle and we learned today that everything in the jungle, or maybe there is ultra-miracle grow in the spring water because everything was on a LARGER scale than usual. The ants were huge and would raise a full scale attack if you got too close to their work line; the leaves on the tropical plants were huge, some spanned almost 4 feet by 4 and a half feet--One Leaf! Amazing; Hiva went to pick a large white ginger flower (one of her favorite flowers) and she yelped because inside the blossom was, of course, a huge spider; then we crossed one of the bridges and saw a HUGE tree. As we were both straining our necks to see the top of the tree Hiva said, “Woa, it is the Giant Tree’s nephew…” It even had its own plague!

We had a great time just relaxing in the pools. Once we were done with one pool we would go to the next. As we left we had our merienda which consisted of typical Filipino fashioned rice and sugar manipulated into several dishes. Some we loved and some were a bit…too slimy for me. It was a perfect birthday, totally worth the weird directions and paying several extra tolls to have the camera. And we really recommend Hidden Valley Springs it is a perfect place for a small, quiet get away.


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