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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Calawagan Mountain River Resort » Discover An Unexplored Paradise

Mini waterfalls at the Calawagan River in Paluan Occidental Mindoro
Calawagan Mountain River Resort is a public resort, just a few kilometers (20-minute tricycle ride) from the Municipal hall of Paluan in Occidental Mindoro. It is located at the foot of the Calavite mountain range in Brgy. Alipaoy.

Calawagan river is the recipient of the 1996 and 1998 National Award as Cleanest Inland  Body of Water in the Philippines from DILG, with the former First Lady Ming Ramos as the project's honorary chairman.

Due to its naturally cold and refreshing waters, the resort is a great place to spend a hot day during summer. Usual visitors at the resort are local town folks and sometimes guests from nearby towns. It is also a favorite hang-out of local teenagers and college students on a sem-break.


Welcome marker at the entrance of the Calawagan River Resort
Welcome marker, a few meters from the Calawagan Resort
Photo of the old dam in Paluan, Occidental Mindoro
Old dam in Paluan, now destroyed by floods connected to Calawagan River
Posted a few meters away from the resort’s river area, just across the old dam, is the resort’s welcome marker. There are caged wild monkeys at the clearing just after the welcome marker before, but now they are gone.
Main swimming pool in Calawagan Resort
Main pool at the resort with attached mini pool for kids
At the entrance of the resort is the large main swimming pool covered by ornamental plants and trees. Unlike common chlorinated pools on commercial resorts, Calawagan’s swimming pool is naturally clean since the water is continuously overflowing.
Man-made swimming pool and falls with rushing water
Man-made waterfalls created by the running water from the upper swimming pool
Photo of the hanging bridge connecting two sides of Calawagan River
Hanging Bridge connecting two sides of Calawagan River
Hanging bridge and main cottage used my visitors at Calawagan
View from the river of the hanging bridge and main cottage of the resort
View of the mini waterfalls connecting the hanging bridge
Picturesque view of the man-made waterfalls and the hanging bridge
Panoramic shot of the Calawagan Hanging Bridge
PANORAMIC VIEW OF THE BRIDGE - CLICK TO ENLARGE
Connecting the two sides of the river is a wooden hanging bridge suspended on wire ropes. Located at the other side are the tree houses, cottages, an old swimming pool and a grotto.
Old swimming pool and tree house cottage at Calawagan Resort
Tree house used as one of the cottages beside the old swimming pool
View of the main cottage and old swimming pool and hanging bridge in Calawagan
Main cottage and the old swimming pool
The resort has picnic and barbecue facilities and is a favorite place for family outings and camping. Although cottages are available, overnight stay is not recommended because room amenities such as linens, pillows and electrical fixtures are not yet available.
Panoramic view of the old swimming pool and cottages in Calawagan
CLICK TO ENLARGE: Panoramic shot of the old pool
There was a very minimal entrance fee being collected from visitors for the resort’s maintenance, but few years ago the resort was totally neglected. Efforts from the local authorities to maintain the facilities was the last priority, thus the tree houses, cottages and the hanging bridge are now a big disappointment compared before. Due to the recent Occidental Mindoro Provincial Meet held in Paluan, parts of the facilities were renovated. Visiting the resort is still free of charge.
Old balete tree with its snaking roots going down the river
Old Balete trees are common sights along Calawagan river
Giant vines hanging along the trail on Calawagan
Giant hanging vines along the trail going up the upper part of the Calawagan River
Although Calawagan Resort lacks the usual resort amenities you can still enjoy the lush rainforest surrounding the river which is alive with wild birds, boulders and diverse shrubs with colorful wild blooms. You can make your way up through a trail along the river at the back of the grotto. Along the trail, you can stop and enjoy the cascading mini waterfalls and swimming holes.
Grotto of the Virgin Mary located beside the river
Virgin Mary looking after visitors of the mountain
Wild violet flower blooming in the forest
Wild flower blooming along the trail
With the towering boulders and some amazing balete trees as a back-drop, Calawagan River is something worth exploring. Also, a much larger swimming hole at the area called the “15-minutes” awaits you after trekking for about 15 minutes – (that’s how that specific area got its name).
Purple rock forming a fish head in Calawagan River
A rock forming a fish head along piles of boulders in Calawagan riverbank

Personal Nostalgia

I’ve been able to visit my hometown in Paluan to spend the holidays with my family this week and of course the vacation isn’t complete without a visit to Calawagan. I usually spend time visiting this mountain resort not just because of the refreshing river but because of the quality of memories I hold there. 

Going there, my thoughts were usually flooded with long forgotten memories. Those were nice, yet a little overwhelming memories that were buried for years. I was always reminded of people, places and experiences that took place there, most of it are fun teenage drama and some family get-togethers. 
Panoramic View of Calawagan river mini falls

It gets gradually more emotional as I visit familiar spots, such as the mini water falls at the upper part of the river or even the farther and more secluded spot they call “15-minutes” I can’t help but smile as I relive good and bad memories, conversations and kulitan sessions with friends, at the same time wondering where they have gone.
Secluded spots in Calawagan River
Secluded spots at the upper part of the river
It is always nice to visit nostalgic places, old spots that remind us of our old carefree days. It’s good to remember the past so that no matter where we go or how much time has passed, we always remember our roots, where we came from and what made us the person we are today. 







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Yodi Insigne
Yodi de Veas Insigne is one of those delusional sorts who imagines himself a useful contributor to the greater blogosphere (Well, that's what he's trying to accomplish).

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