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Benguet
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Mt. Province
 
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2017
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Cooling down the hot summer in Benguet’s water resorts
by Adiel Basilan

Residents and visitors alike find relaxing havens and retreat places in Benguet’s resorts this season. Among these are the natural and man-made water resorts that have become favorite destinations in the province.

In Tuba, there is Palm Grove, the classy and fanciful hot spring and mountain resort in Asin, which has upgraded its amenities over time. Frequented by a lot of Baguio residents and visitors from nearby provinces, its highly praised attribute  is the noticeable clean environment. This is directly visible upon seeing the clear blue waters of the heated kiddie pool side by side with adult pools, and a 30-meter lap pool.

Two of the fascinating retreat corners are the bath house and the coffee shop. The bath house is recommended to allow the clients to experience the effect of sulfuric water on the skin and how it cures minor skin problems, among other benefits. A lovely and cozy ambience is sure to envelop tourists in the beautifully decorated coffee shop and restaurant. A comment book found on the table at the entrance, where customers can jot down their comments and suggestions, show that most of the visitors usually compliment the cleanliness of the entire place and its first-class accommodations.

A multi-purpose hall is also open for other activities. Adjacent to it are the cottages along winding stairs and forest-like sections in the surroundings. The rooms offer choices of deluxe or family accommodations, all air-conditioned and allowed for overnight use. Other amenities include a common kiosk, a recreation center, a billiard hall, and a dormitory that could accommodate up to 120 persons. Swimming lessons are offered for children and adults.

Neighboring hot springs are smaller but are also full during weekends and long holidays.

The Bosaing Resort, one of the original pools in Asin, is also frequented by groups of people and families for its sulfuric swimming pools.

The original Asin Hot Spring resort also accommodates foreign tourists, although most of its visitors are locals coming from Baguio, Benguet, and others areas in the Cordillera.

Another resort is the Riverview Waterpark, which stands out with its indigenous promotional preferences. A Cordilleran atmosphere depicts the native touch of ancestry exhibited in visible areas of the resort. Among these is the statue standing by the door and a g-string hanging on a wall.

Riverview has 10 swimming pools complete with six pool slides that can cater to a range of very young children to the hefty, full grown adult, whether they be hesitant sliders or thrill seekers.

The resort also has a hotel and restaurant, an air-conditioned function room good for 60 people, an open function hall that could accommodate up to 200 persons, and nipa huts for rent inclusive of swimming and breakfast. All occasions are served and catering is also offered.

During weekends, a live band performance which lasts up to about two hours at noon, adds up to the leisure of swimmers.
This is not an ordinary performance made to entertain resort-goers but also to highlight the talent of differently-abled individuals like visually impaired musicians.

Also, part of the resort that upstages the other attractions is the Animal Sanctuary. At P40 entrance fee for adults and P20 for children, visitors can explore the mini zoo.

Found in the sanctuary are sheep, wild goats, deer, guinea pigs, squirrel families, rabbits of different types, and monkeys.
Caged fowls of different kinds could also be viewed. Small ponds teeming with fish, turtles, and eels are also added attractions. Shrouded at the edge of the sanctuary is a greenhouse protecting  butterflies.

Both Palm Grove and Riverview Waterpark charge entrance fees of P100 for adults and P50 for children.

Entrance fees at the neighboring smaller pools range from P50 to P80. Liquor is  prohibited in the larger resorts but not as strict in the other pools, provided that moderation and discipline are observed. Use of proper swimming attire is also advised. Heavy clothing or those made from highly absorbent material is discouraged, for the safety of clients.

Visitors to Asin can commute or bring their own vehicles, assured of good roads and an enjoyable trip thru the two tunnels – famous landmarks in Asin Road.

In nearby Itogon town, the water business is also gaining ground.

Found at Barangay Poblacion are the 1300 Level Swimming Pools. These pools are regulated by the Association of Swimming Pool Owners and Livelihood at 1300L Inc., an organization of pool owners or caretakers, fishpond owners, vendors, and others, compounded together for a more productive undertaking. There are a dozen groups under the association, namely: Hilltop Swimming Pool, MJR4 Swimming Pool, Carlo Trese Swimming Pool, Pioneer Swimming Pool, Family 1 and 2 Swimming Pool, Lenrock’s Swimming Pool, Ambalanga Swimming Pool, Balingguay Swimming Pool, Russell’s Swimming Pool, JSS Thermal Pool, Rivergold Steam Bath, and JF Store.

The pools could not be classified as resorts yet, but the owners are gunning for the inclusion of their businesses in the roster of resorts.

Among the common amenities present at the water complex are adult and kiddie pools, hot springs, picnic sheds, comfort rooms, bath rooms, and stores with karaoke. Each place has an average of three swimming pools each.

Water in the pools is sourced from the old mining tunnels, found 1,300 feet underground. This explains where the swimming pools got its name.

Most clients come from the city and nearby municipalities. Likewise, foreigners, mostly Koreans also come to visit. The pouring in of people during holidays is constant, keeping the business up despite the prevailing abnormal weather condition brought by El Niño.

Entrance fees, the lowest among the resorts in Benguet, are P30 for adults and P20 for children.

One other water park at the mouth of the swimming pool complex, Sunnyside Resort, has the same entrance rates, although it is separately located from the other pools. Its cottages can accommodate big and small groups and rents vary depending on the number of occupants.

Overnight swimming is also open to all interested groups and individuals.

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