With the rising popularity of Mt. Malindang Range Natural Park (MMRNP), which was designated as ASEAN Heritage Park (AHP) on August 4, 2012, as well as the Annual Christmas Symbols Festival that started in 1992 in Tangub City, the Province of Misamis Occidental in the northern part of Mindanao Island, Philippines has become a sought after tourist destination. Resorts in Misamis Occidental- with convenient location, luxurious amenities and breathtaking views- responded to the trend and serve as ideal billeting places for mountaineers, trekkers and nature-lovers rolling to the province to experience the allurement of Mt. Malindang’s waterfalls, crater lake and dense virgin forests which host diverse and rare species of flora and fauna as well as for the Christmas revelers from distant places who are egging to see for themselves the reasons why Tangub City is dubbed as the Christmas Symbols Capital of the Philippines.
The Billeting Facility:
Sitting atop a plateau near the foot of Mt. Malindang in Barangay Guba, Clarin, Misamis Occidental is the La Bella Vida Mountain Resort and Eco-Agri Park which is owned by the Gata Dako Multi-Purpose Cooperative (GDMPC). Truly, I felt ecstatic when my good friend Jinky Flores, who happens to be the General Manager of the cooperative, chatted to me that GDMPC built the resort purposely to ensure that the guests shall live a good life by experiencing luxury, ease, style and uplifted well-being during their stay, hence, the name La Bella Vida coined from the popular Italian and Spanish expression which means The Beautiful Life.
As to how the mountain resort lives up to its name is the story that I will share with you about my visit to one of the popular resorts in Misamis Occidental.
After disembarking at the Ozamis City Ferry Terminal, our Toyota Hi-Ace commuter van cruised the road leading to Oroquita City. Exactly four minutes after exiting the city boundary arch and two minutes past the Clarin House of Suman, we turned left following the road sign pointing to Barangay Tinaklaan.
We spent ten minutes of smooth trip via a paved road and a six-minute bumpy ride on a rough graveled road en route to Barangay Guba and signages greeted us with information that our destination is located 100 meters to the right.
As our vehicle stopped, I was literally stunned upon facing this imposing structure . . .
Being a cooperator myself, a deep sense of pride had engulfed my psyche upon seeing the GDMPC logo prominently displayed at the gate. Truly, I could not help but admire the officers, management, staff and members of such cooperative for their guts and determination in implementing such project that, given its huge investment, would serve as a tangible proof to the oft-repeated maxim that cooperation can move mountains.
In contrast to the sight of the plainly-designed city residential and commercial buildings in Ozamis as well as the rural dwellings, green fields and the towering coconut trees on the road sides of Clarin town, the façade of the La Bella Vida Mountain Resort exudes an aura of artistic proficiency.
The smile in the faces of the resort receptionist and room assistant the moment I entered the reception center, which is situated beside the waiting shed, made me feel extremely welcome and appreciated.
After entering the property, I had goose bumps upon passing through the archway laden with bluebell vines teeming with flowers which are commonly imagined to have the shape of human female genitals, hence, the scientific name Clitoria ternatea.
Looking at the kiddie pool, I could not help but visualize my one and only grand child Ciah Mercedelle splashing on the azure waters . . .
A swimming pool surrounded by coop and nipa hut units as well as overlooking, umbrella, view deck, couple and Noah’s Ark cottages in a carefully manicured and lavishly choreographed courtyard adds special magic to this delightful and relaxing hideaway for couples looking for a romantic weekend getaway, family vacationers and business vagabonds.
I thought that the sounds of raging waters that I heard upon approaching the second kiddie pool beside the Esther 1 cottage just came from the pool fountain’s waterjet, but a few steps further and I was awestruck with the sight of the Sebasi River flowing through a valley.
My expectation that my La Bella Vida Mountain Resort tour would end at the exit gate had missed as the sprawling function hall greeted my eyes upon going out of the gated pool.
Truly, I could picture out the bride and groom who are hand in hand, hit with every emotion possible- happy, excited, nervous, anxious and sometimes dizzy, woosy and sick for not eating enough beforehand- while walking down the umbrella-roofed aisle into the gazebo situated adjacent to the Canafeast Hall and Herbal Garden.
My search for the agri component of the mountain resort’s name culminated with the visit to the organic vegetable farm situated along the northern perimeter fence of the 15,454-square meter resort property.
Since my stomach was already craving for food, my driver and me took our breakfast at the
La Bella Café.
Pending the serving of my ordered fried milkfish (bangus), I took advantage at taking pictures of the displayed menu with corresponding price tag which I consider to be affordable.
Then came the most interesting part of my trip- the visit to the various room accommodations of the mountain resort.
Located on the southern edge of the plateau with a commanding view of the Sebasi River is the Esther 1 Cottage.
With the Unity Dormitory-Type Room furnished with bunk beds. . .
And the Kind Family Room with two Queen Size beds. . .
On the other side of the kiddie pool stands the Esther II Cottage.
Hosting the Humble Family Room with 2 queen size beds . . .
And the Gentle Family Room furnished with 2 queen size beds and a separate matrimonial room and bed . . .
Situated at the 2-storey building which houses the Business Development Center are the Love, Obedience and Patience rooms having bunk beds which can accommodate 8 guests per room; the Care and Joy rooms with a matrimonial bed each at 2-guests capacity per room and; the Gallilee Room, with bunk beds furnished with a kitchen, which is suited for 15-member groups.
Coming from my observant eyes and gut feel, La Bella Vida is more of a fact than a hype as the Mountain Resort and Eco-Agri Park fared well in the following key result areas:
1. Staff :
Generally, the resort staff is very courteous and they go above and beyond to accommodate your needs. Gevan, the receptionist, is hands-down amazing. She was super helpful and I really enjoyed talking with her and figuring out what I wanted to do while in the mountain resort.
2. Location and View:
The location of this resort couldn’t be better. It has a gorgeous view of the Sebasi River flowing through a valley located just 295 meters away. Situated 6.5 kilometers from the foot of Mt. Malindang, you can truly feel real mountain ambiance. Cellular signal is generally good except for some portions of the property where signal is scratchy.
Service provided was friendly and attentive.
4. Room and Beds:
The rooms are very clean, cozy and well laid out, having walkout balcony and with
well-appointed and comfortable beds. The resort was designed in a way that every room has a pool view.
Pools look great and fit all your friends to a party.
Food was quite tasty, affordable and guaranteed to be pesticide-free.
7. Toilet and Bathroom:
Toilet and bath rooms are spacious with elegant bowls and lavatory facilities and fully equipped with hot and cold shower.
Don’t get me wrong because the General Manager of the cooperative, which owns the mountain resort, is my good friend. You can visit the facility and see for yourself the veracity of my observations. If you need more information, you may get in touch with the La Bella Vida Mountain Resort and Eco-Agri Park through the following contact details:
Though La Bella Vida is a relatively new resort compared to other competitors in the area, it is a modern billeting facility with services and facilities that shows off signature Filipino hospitality.
From the moment you journey past the entrance to your new vacation home, you can feel the world changing around you. La Bella Vida Mountain Resort’s story begins with the feel and smell of the mountain as you are only a few kilometers from the foot of Mt. Malindang. A giant bird statue greets you as you walk into the gated pools. Esther cottages and the rest of the rooms were designed to emanate a zen-like feeling, where you can relax and discover all that a mountain resort has to offer.
So start your vacation now and have a luxe and sophisticated stay at an accessible price in this stylish yet welcoming La Bella Vida Mountain Resort and Eco-Agri Park which is fast becoming to be one of the best resorts in Misamis Occidental.