Swimming in Soda

My first time in Hidden Valley Springs in Laguna, Philippines, was back in the ’90s. The sheltered little city girl in me hated that there was too much nature. Fast-forward to 2012 when I’ve grown into a more seasoned traveler and adventurer, and my impression of Hidden Valley has changed.

I recently found out that Anton’s grandmother, Lula, has a love affair with this place. Whenever she comes home from the US every two years or so, her children and grandchildren take her to Hidden Valley. This year’s trip started on a sad note; our beloved Anton passed away on October 5, and although I was there to represent him, I felt his absence more than ever.

Koi pond

But this vacation gave me a chance to bond well with Anton’s relatives. For about P2,000 per head, we got to explore the surrounding tropical rainforest, natural trails, gazebos, and landscaped hot spring pools with amusing names such as Lovers’ Pool and Soda Pool. The day tour rate also included lunch and merienda (afternoon snack) meal stubs where Anton’s relatives from the US enjoyed a buffet of good ol’ Filipino dishes such as laing, pancit, and kakanin.

Those who want to stay overnight may choose from these two suites: 1) Casita Deluxe, a family-friendly room with a stone-garden bathroom and outdoor lanai surrounded by lush coconut trees, and 2) Forest Cabana, a more romantic and tropical room located in the middle of the rainforest. Free amenities include breakfast, lunch, merienda, and the use of the gym and game hall.

Almost there: the hidden waterfall to cap a 30-minute hike

The highlight of my trip was discovering the hidden waterfall. After about 30 minutes of trekking the rocky paths, man-made bamboo trails and bridges, we were rewarded with a breathtaking view of the lush waterfall, where Anton’s uncles Juanton and Raffy braved the raging waters, while the rest of us stayed within a safe distance while yelling to the skies, “This is for you, AO!”

Hidden Valley Springs is located at:
Baranggay Perez, Calauan, Laguna, Philippines
Telephone: (+632) 818-4034, (+632) 840-4112 to 14


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