June 23, 2024

I always thought that Mount Costa was an expensive theme park in these parts. Serves me right to be a gossip instead of an explorer. It was a delightful experience to move through green spaces that are vanishing in many parts of the world. This is a place for all ages except those who are not mobile.
We got lost on the way to this area in the outskirts of Baguio City close to Naguilian Road. Mount Costa is nestled in the last endemically vegetated areas of Longlong Road that connects Puguis, La Trinidad toNaguilian Road.
The entrance is a simple parking area with an unassuming office some 50 meters away that welcomes visitors to a guided footpath tour of gardens landscaped in the curves and rolls of hills and slopes of the property. There are several types of fees for different interests and the time to be allocated. Short stops with or without snacks vary in entrance fees, likewise, those who want the tour with the lunchbox. Children have specific fees depending on age.
At the entrance, one sees the map and several descriptions of what to expect. The design of the promenade has undulating turns and soft climbs, no cardiacpalpitations to worry about. Besides, the steps are measured well for baby steps or longer legs or strides.
The first among the views is the Inca Gardenwhich has fishes, the Inca figure made from patches of colorful ground plants, and the triangle symbol of the union of body, mind, and spirit. Each view is an artwork made from natural materials and cement. The plants that set the backdrop of the garden are ferns, pine, and primary growth trees. The contrast with the colorful ground cover plants. Pardon the omission of the names.
The Gridis the idea of squares using plants in different colors to execute the idea. This is a marvel of geometrically even plants stretched over 20 meters plot. There are interesting elements in the area to walk around. The Concentric Garden plays with the circular design for images and use of stones and sculptures. The gardener and designer worked together executing the colors using plants and stones with cement and paint.
Romeo and Juliet were sculptures made from fern stumps where Juliet in her balcony looks across the pathway at Romeo looking up across trees and terraced flower beds. The Maze is made from bushes of red and green plants that are maintained at the height. It would be a problem if some people panic if they get trapped. There is the Twig Garden that has animal figures made from gathered twigs from plants in the area. What better way to use the byproducts from the gardens.
My favorite is the Mirror Garden that has a series of mirrors that can capture your image in parts of all the mirrors. I call it the narcissist’s haven. The Enchanted Garden is the most amazing, if you ask me, because it makes your imagination run away. The materials used in this part has symbolized the word enchant. There is the Spectrum Garden too that executes the term with the use of wires and poles.
Most of all, the Children’s Playground is what playgrounds should be, safe. These should spare them from physical harm when they use the facilities. The rubber mat to soften the fall from the swing and the soft ground around the slide and monkey bars will make parents comfortable with leaving their children alone.
Alas, the lunchbox was well earned after more than an hour of photos and visual pleasure. We chose the daing na bangus and thesisig meals to go with the entrance fee. This comes with soup and salad but not drinks. I joked about the palm-sized bangus that was part of the meal but these were very crispy. The salad was made from fresh lettuce, cucumbers, and carrots with a mayonnaise dressing. The sisig was delicious too because it was crispy too. I opted for the. Salted egg salad which had sliced tomatoes to go with it.
We raced back to the city wondering if catching a ride would be a problem, to our surprise, we had a choice of jeepneys or cabs. This is a relief for those careless tourists, this isn’t too far. The walk through these gardens is a great aesthetic and physical journey to enjoy. Reservations are available online. (Photos by Mau Victa and Nonnette C. Bennett)