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Montefrio: A Cool Place To Visit


A dormant volcano, Mount Apo is the country’s highest peak with an elevation of 2,954 meters. Located at the rolling foothill of this iconic mountain is Kapatagan, about 28 kilometers away from the heart of Digos City.  It can also be accessed through the Balutakay in Bansalan, Davao del Sur.  The road is now fully concrete.  Those who are not familiar with the road must drive during the daytime. 


However, when we visited the area recently, we drove at about six in the evening.  It was already dark and was raining.  The road was thickly covered with fog and in a zigzag manner – which reminded me of a trip going to Baguio.  It was good that our driver, Renante Salazar, had been traversing the road a thousand times already.


Kapatagan is a farming haven as it produces assorted high-valued vegetables.  A lot of portions are also planted to banana, particularly Cavendish and lacatan.  But what makes the barrio popular are its tourist destinations.

Photos by Henrylito D. Tacio


To name a few: Marawer Springs (which has two types of waters: the comforting hot springs and the challenging cold stream); Virgin Falls in purok Balatikan; Agong House, a cultural park in purok Kinambulan; Camp Sabros, which offers extreme adventures, in purok Upper Baras; Mount Apo High Resort, Mount Apo Civet Coffee Farm, and Dhen Yho’s Place.


But there’s the newest member in the block: Montefrio Garden Resort.  This was where Salazar brought me.  I thought it was just another tourist attraction but I was wrong. More often than not, you find swimming pools in highland areas.  But what makes the infinity pool unique is that it has a three-in-one pool. 


The bigger one is only five feet deep.  The other two pools are smaller, actually, they’re jacuzzi types.  While the water in the bigger pool is cooler, the two jacuzzi pools are somewhat hot; they are heated in the morning at 10 am and in the afternoon at 2 pm.


Near the two jacuzzi pools is the bar, where you can have coffee or beer.  Cocktails are also served. 


If you go further from the pools, you can have your tummy full with the mouth-watering foods the restaurant – named RestoNante – offers. 


If you’re lucky, you could see Mount Apo up close; it happens when fogs are not around.  On a clear day, you can also see the very far Mount Matutum, an active volcano located in the province of South Cotabato.


Photos by Henrylito D. Tacio


Salazar, a businessman from Bansalan, Davao del Sur, owns the place.  “Actually, we are thinking of this place as the vacation itinerary for my family and relatives,” he recalls.  “But some friends who come say that it can be developed into a tourist attraction.”


That gave him an idea.  After all, he and his lovely wife, the former Maria Celeste Arriaga, love to travel.  They had been to various places in the country and some parts of Asia.  Those they have visited inspired them to create their own.


While the husband incorporated all those ideas he got from his travels, the wife thought of the catching name.  “This place is cold and located in a mountain,” she says.  “Combining these two qualities, we came up with Montefrio Garden Resort.”


Photos by Henrylito D. Tacio


Montefrio, in English, means Cold Mountain.  But it has nothing to do with the Hollywood movie, starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and Renee Zellweger (who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance).


Visitors can come to the resort during the day or may stay at night.  The entrance fee per person ranges from P250 to P450.  Children are given a 50% discount while people with disabilities and senior citizens can avail a 20% discount.


For those who want to stay for the night, they can avail the family room at P10,000 (which is good only for 10 persons).  They can bring their own and cook them as kitchen amenities are provided. 


Photos by Henrylito D. Tacio


I opted to stay for the night.  Indeed, it was cold.  So, I advised those who want to stay to bring some jackets if they want to enjoy the beauty of the night while at the resort.  But you can have a good night’s sleep as the thick blanket is enough to warm you and put you to sleep.


In the morning, wake up early and see for yourself a new kind of sight: verdant hills, thick fogs, and people doing farming.  Watch those rattan crates full of agricultural crops being carried by a horse.


Enjoy seeing these wonders as you sip your hot coffee and the cool winds touch your face.  Life at its best, indeed.


A garden resort is not a garden without those flowers.  Below the pools, you get a glimpse of those ornamentals like sunflowers, petunias, roses, poinsettias, cherry blossoms and pine trees.

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