Being the Chief Executive Officer of the Socorro Empowered People’s Cooperative (SOEMCO), the strongest and biggest cooperative in the province based in Socorro, the lone town of Bucas Grande Island in Surigao del Norte, Philippines, I lead the 43 regular employees of the cooperative who were very enthusiastic to have a study tour in the renowned Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Barangay Lamac, Pinamungajan, Cebu. On board four (4) hired vans, we left Cebu City at exactly 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon of April 21, 2011. Opting to travel via the short cut route, we traversed through the 40-kilometer winding road until we reached Barangay Bunga, Toledo City at 3:30 PM. The vehicle then turned left and our travel calvary begun as we went on a bumpy ride via a sometimes paved, but most of the time, rough gravel road passing by farmlands and occasional narrow passageways like this. . .
As we went on, one of my lady staff blurted: “Sir! Are we really sure with our destination? I promptly calmed her down with an assurance that we were on the right track. Twenty minutes later, we reached the mountain top and this exhilarating sight of a hidden valley on our left, which our driver pointed out as our final destination, had caught my attention . . .
We then maneuvered through an all-downward route until we reached the Lamac community at the foot of the valley situated 7 kilometers away from the junction. Our van then traversed through a barangay street, climbed on an upward route and stopped in front of this signage. . .
As we stepped out of the van and looked in all directions. . . and after seeing the sceneries, my staff shouted in unison : “WOW! This is great . . .
After the usual check-in procedures, we were ushered to our respective cottage assignments. On our way, my eyes were glowed on this sight . . .
From the chapel, I savored this alluring view . . .
As the western sky turned crimson to orange, I took this photograph . . .
We then gathered in the Narcisa Hall for the much awaited orientation on the history, products and services of the LamaC Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LMPC). Truly, the stirring speech of the cooperative’s General Manager Ellen Canda-Limocon was among the best speeches I have had heard in my lifetime. Her soft voice detailing the woos and glees of the cooperative could easily capture a cooperative leader-listener’s attention even on a standing position from dusk to dawn.
After the sumptuous welcome dinner, we retired to our respective beds. I was the first from among the group to rise in the morning purposely to take morning shots of the resort sceneries like these . . .
I went back to the main Swimming Pool and saw the SOEMCO lady staff headed by the Accounting Manager Racquel Kristina T. Ocon gearing for a languorous swim into the turquoise waters . . .
Struggling not to not to be left behind by their counterparts, the SOEMCO male staff had also shown their capability to be posted on the men’s magazine cover . . .
Hidden Valley Resort – Final Thoughts
The study tour was the best trip the SOEMCO staff had gone so far in their entire life as it left a tremendous impact on each and every employees’ lives. As we left the place, each one of us made a vow to continue spreading with renewed vigor and vitality the virus of cooperativism back home and conquer Caraga Region the Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooepartive (LMPC) way! Truly, the spot had been lost from our sights as our van had sped away, but the LMPC and the Hidden Valley Resort would always remain in our minds and hearts forever.