Bangkong Kahoy Valley Nature Retreat, Dolores Quezon
Team Out of Town Blog Hub (Outoftownblog.com) – Things got really bad this pandemic and we all need to recharge. While so many options are available, nothing beats a commune with nature.
Bangkong Kahoy Valley in Dolores, Quezon, located only approximately 3 hours away from Manila, is a good pick, especially for weekend warriors. It sits between two mountains – Mt. Banahaw and Mt. Cristobal. It has a restaurant that serves good food. Moreover, activities abound to keep everyone busy during the day.
We recently visited BangkongKahoy Valley as part of the Department of Tourism-CALABARZON and Tourism Promotions Board’s “Philippine Tourism Influencers’ Program.” With the pandemic almost letting up, both government agencies are kickstarting tourism activities.
Bangkong Kahoy translates to ‘wooden bench’. The valley is located in Barangay Kinabuhayan, in Dolores, Quezon.
It was lunchtime when we arrived at BangkongKahoy Valley. Our group already had quite a morning; short of saying we already needed a good and relaxing lunch. After leaving Manila at around 6 AM, breakfast at Fern’s Cafe in San Pablo City, a courtesy call with the Mayor of Dolores, and a visit to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, having a quiet time to enjoy BangkongKahoy Valley was such a relief. It was a much-needed pleasure.
The drive of BangkongKahoy Valley was a bit rough due to its unpaved roads. But despite the bumpiness of the road, I got to enjoy looking at the thicket surrounding us.
When we arrived at BangkongKahoy Valley, we were led to the restaurant where the staff was busy preparing our lunch. The restaurant gives a good vista of the picturesque field, so I decided to head there first before eating.
I have been wanting to visit this place although it was not my first time visiting BangkongKahoy Valley. In 2008, I joined a group of mountain climbers on a gift-giving project with the students at an elementary school in BangkongKahoy, before climbing Mt. Cristobal, which is one of my favorite mountains. That mountain is infamous for being a devils’ mountain, but I really enjoyed my treks there.
Anyway, from the field, you can see both Mt. Cristobal and Mt. Banahaw.
Mt. Banahaw, on the other hand, is the holy mountain. People, not just mountain climbers, flock to the vicinity of Mt. Banahaw because it is a source of psychic and healing energies.
By the way, both mountains are closed to allow them to recuperate.
Anywhere you gaze, you’ll see greens -from the grass carpet to the lush plants and trees, up to the mountains beyond; all under the beautiful blue skies.
I imagined being lulled to sleep there by the cool winds and waking up to cooler mornings. I also imagined the stars that would blanket the sky. And I imagined a good sleep under the gaze of the two mystical mountains.
I have not camped for so long and I missed it.
I cherished the little time I had for myself to feel the tranquility of the place, breathe deep, and be in the moment. It is an experience worth repeating, over and over again.
From there, I quickly toured the honesty store, located beside the restaurant. They sell local produce there. It is another cool feature of the place and among the very few honesty stores around the country. An honesty store is where the buyers buy and pay through an honesty system. The one in Batanes is very popular but I have also seen an honesty store decades ago on the trail leading to Batad rice terraces and in Kuting Reef in Leyte.
After the honesty store, I headed to a view deck, where I joined the rest of the group on a tour of BangkongKahoy Valley’s Sampinit farm.
Sampinit is our indigenous wild raspberry that typically grows at the foot of Mts. Cristobal and Banahaw. The small soft berries have tart juice and very small seeds that are crunchy. I picked and ate a few before I went back to the lunch area.
At that time, food was already set, and for dessert, we had sweetened bananas mixed with sampinit. That was a good contrast of flavors. I saw that the restaurant is also serving Sampinit shake, so I ordered one. It was a good drink. I could still taste the tartness of the sampinit and I could feel the crunch.
I capped my lunch with a good cup of coffee, also from Rosalia’s Restaurant in BangkongKahoy Valley. We lounged a bit longer before resuming our tour of Dolores and the rest of CALABARZON.
Where to Stay
Peaceful Forest Haven 3 BR – Bangkong Kahoy Valley
Address: Bangkong Kahoy Valley Nature Retreat and Field Study Center, Brgy. Kinabuhayan, Dolores, Quezon, 4326 Quezon Province, Philippines
Peaceful Forest Haven 3 BR – Bangkong Kahoy Valley is situated in Dolores and offers a garden, barbecue facilities, and a terrace. There is an in-house restaurant, plus free private parking and free WiFi are available.
The holiday home has 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, bed linen, towels, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a patio with garden views.