Friday, October 25, 2013

Aura Mountain Resort and Mt. Balagbag

The BACKPACKERS celebrated the birthday of one of the Pioneers, the reigning BACKPACKER of the Year, BP Liz Honrade! The trip happened in the familiar Sitio Balagbag area. We had a crazy cake-adelic stay in Aura Mountain Resort, and a few sober travel junkies conquered Mt. Balagbag.

But before heading to the destination, we had a birthday surprise for BP Liz at the BP Headquarters. It was an almost perfectly executed birthday surprise as Liz was not expecting that we were all in the HQ waiting to greet her. All the while she thought we were already in Sitio Balagbag enjoying ourselves. She was about to sulk completely when she opened the door of our HQ and saw a Happy Birthday sign and a feast waiting for her. Happy Birthday Liz!

It was already dark when we arrived at Sitio Balagbag because of the celebration in the HQ. The chilly weather welcomed us as we trudged a short distance from the start of the dirt path. This was a new experience for the group as we won't be spending the night on top of a mountain. A typhoon just crossed the country so we were not sure if the weather would be fine that weekend. Though we did not plan on bringing our tents and camping on soil, we were inside the territory of a mountain anyway.

For Aura Mountain Resort, the business has just started. As a matter of fact, we are the second group of customers for the resort. The amenities are not yet polished and there was construction going on. The kiddie pool was not yet in its cleanest state. But nonetheless, the resort seemed to be promising when it's completed. But the best thing I loved about it is that the owner and caretakers of the resort were really very hospitable and kind. 

Here are some of the pictures during our stay at Aura Mountain Resort:

We owned the place that night. The caretaker approved of us using the big videoke room and one more cottage for just 300Php. After cooking lunch, we had an extended birthday celebration for BP Liz. DeePee, Rexie and Angel took advantage of the videoke in the room and sang their hearts out. Weng initiated this cake painting-on-the-face contest and everything just went crazy. I mean, crazy happy but crazy-icky. After the fun was over, most people hit the hay and dozed off. But six brave souls proceeded to complete the course by doing a Mt. Balagbag morning hike.

BPs Resty and Angel as cake monsters
The birthday shot for BP Liz

The six people were BPs Ivan, Heinz, DeePee and Mau, and guests Leah and Rexie. It was undoubtedly an easy hike. Regardless of our lack of sleep, we were able to go up the summit in an hour, and go down in less than an hour. Despite the storm which just passed by PAR, the weather was perfect that morning. We were able to see that green vista of the Sierra Madre.

Here are some of the pictures during our Mt. Balagbag hike:

The BACKPACKERS in Mt. Balagbag
Mau, Heinz, Ivan and DeePee
The Guests in Mt. Balagbag
Rexie and Leah
After chilling out in this resort at the foot of Mt. Balagbag, we packed our things and went off to go back to our urban lives. But as our last adventure stint, Kuya Edwin was so kind enough to let us ride in his truck - one of the things I enjoyed in the trip!

If you are planning to check out the resort, you may contact Kuya Edwin at 
---will be posted soon---

Photo credits to Rexie and Resty

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