Mabinay for the weekend – a trip to memory lane. This was a place with quite a lot of firsts for us. Our first job brought us to this place a years back (let’s just skip the exact number of years). Like the place back then, we were unexploited, innocent and carefree (ki-at ra ang naa sa hunahuna 🙂 ). We only worried about stuff like asa na pud maglaag after work and unsay sud-an for lunch. Asa ang pista or naa bay magdula ug basket kay daghang “food for the eyes”. Our company provided free lunch – which sounds really cool but it usually consisted of piniritong tabagak and utan nga tahores that we were sure we’d all have arthritis. So much has changed, our old office gone and a motorcycle store stands in its place now.
And of course we visited Mabinay Spring (sige mi night swimming dri sauna). Gone are the carabaos and locals casually washing their clothes. The local government developed the place. You have to pay an entrance fee of P10. Although it looks abandoned and there’s garbage everywhere (sadly they didn’t put enough trash cans), you can still enjoy kayaking (at P50 for 30 mins) and maybe zipline (distance of about 180 meters at P100) thru the lake. But damn we had to wait for more than an hour for the zipline guys. The place has accommodation (as low as P1000) but it’s usually fully booked on weekends (which was the case for us). You gotta make a reservation prior to your trip. But there’s a handful of places you can stay outside the Spring area. The place opens at 8AM – 5PM, if you’re not staying overnight. They have a camping area (we should have brought tents and just camped out). If you prefer pools than lakes, there’s also a swimming pool area but looks like it’s managed by a different group of people coz you have to pay an additional fee to use the pool. We skipped that coz it was nothing spectacular, just your average pool.
We stayed at Pastora Homes, they have shipping containers as rooms (although a bit pricey compared to the rest, we chose it coz we’ve never stayed in a shipping container before). Pastora Homes is still under construction, they only offer 1 room type at P1800 and it’s only good for 2 pax. They won’t allow an additional bed (gamay ra jud and shipping container). The staff is very accommodating and friendly. They have a restaurant called Pableo’s Place, which has great food but unfortunately closes at 8PM. Oh well, almost every establishment in Mabinay closes early, that didn’t change.
We also checked out Tirambulo Highlands (P20 entrance fee), about 15 minutes drive from Mabinay proper. That place is so peaceful and relaxing! But they’re not completely in business yet. They have a few rooms you can stay in but their restaurant is not operational. According to the caretaker, they opened in November and just started fixing the place up. There’s really nothing to do but space out all you can. Bummer so we left with empty stomachs.
As for our meals, we stopped by Kalan-an sa Buntod for lunch. This place used to be packed with travelers as most of the Ceres buses stopped by this place back then to grab something to eat. It was just a couple and us for lunch, food was not good. We had dinner at Andrew’s (same owner as Pastora Homes), right beside Taring’s. The place is unexpectedly cozy and nice inside. The food is also good with reasonable prices.
It was a good trip back to memory lane. So was it worth the drive? It was for us – as we had good memories of this place. Other than that, it’s not worth the drive. Maybe another few more years, I might say differently.