Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Panicuason Hot Springs: A Concrete Hell in the Jungle.

Panicuason Hot Springs 
A Concrete Hell in the Jungle

The first time we visited the Panicuason Hot Springs, 
  two years ago, the place  was a green jungle paradise 
 located in upland  Naga City,  that took  our breaths away.

^^ 2 years ago

Stunning – that’s what Panicuason Hot Spring was.
It lies under the forest canopy at the foot of Mt. Isarog. 
It is nature at its best- where the air is fresh, the river
is crystal clear and the forest was dense and green. 

^^ 2 years ago

The radio of one of the guests was 
playing a Don McLean song in full 
blast- and interestingly, he sounded 
like he was singing for Panicuason.  

^^ 2 years ago

“….Hills of forest green  where the mountains touch 
the sky, a dream come true, I'll live there 'til I die….”

^^ 2 years ago

“…Oh, but how can words express the feel of sunlight
in the morning in the hills away from city strife…' 

^^ 2 years ago

I was a little bit turned off by the way 
they concreted the riverside, but that
was very minimal and acceptable then.

^^ 2 years ago

We returned after two years and we were
shocked by the desecration on the once
pristine resort in the middle of the forest. 

It had become a real life concrete jungle, they added more ill designed
and ugly concrete huts,

…concrete pathways and bridges 

…leading to concrete cottages   

…and concrete buildings 

There is really nothing wrong in  building concrete structures 
in the forest as they are sturdy and last long,  but the design 
should blend well and they may even use some materials
 that could hide or camouflage the unsightly concrete.

I have seen similar developments in
other countries, like Singapore’s
built in the middle of the forest,

…where the natural pool
was built in a river course,

…but used wood and granite
to camouflage the concrete base.

…instead of the unsightly galvanized iron
roofing, brown colored asphalt  shingles
blended well with the woodland evirons.

Tugawe Cove in Caramoan also built
concrete cottages, but they were tucked
in the forest and blended well naturally
with the beautiful mountainside resort.

The new zipline was a welcome development,
but the towers they built were nothing but
additional concrete eyesores on the resort,
as they were sticking out like a sore 
thumb in the middle of the forest.

I would have expected them to build structures 
that would blend well naturally with the  surroundings  
like they did Forest Park in Dahilyan, Bukidnon,

…or something similar to this faux log tower
in Disney’s California Adventure Park.

They also built a new Rope Obstacle Course
at the base of the tower but used a loud blue color,

…instead of a more natural colored rope
like the one used in Amsterdam’s Artis Zoo,

…and also in  Disney’s 
California Adventure Park.

While I like the new playground 
they built by the riverside,  

... but I was worried of the barb wire fence 
and whoever thought of this idea never 
considered child safety and well being.

The hotel building is located at the side of the mountain that
 was (you guessed  it right) concreted, and it is where the room
   rear entrance is located and could make one claustrophobic.

Siloso Beach Resort Hotel  was built the same way
but the mountain side was landscaped, it may have
been concreted to prevent erosion,  but I did not see
 any hint of cement and saw nothing but a green wall and
 an open drainage that was made to look like a pond..

The room had very basic furnishings,
and  had two single beds,

…a corner table,

…a toilet with a clean and free flowing water,
equipped with and pail and a dipper,

...guests are also provided with clean towels,
bath soap, shampoo in sachets and
a toilet paper tucked in the window sill.

The balcony had a stunning view of the river 
and the forest but they  really had to do 
something  to hide the ugly electric wires.

It costs about 2,200 pesos, well not really 
very  expensive but one could get a better 
designed and a more furnished room  in
 Sogo Hotel Naga for a fraction of the price.

^^ Photo courtesy of  Naga City Deck

With the tourism boom happening in the Philippines
and with Naga City leading the tourism statistics
in the Bicol Region it is about time that local tourism
sector start aiming for a world class development.


The developers may have never heard of the latest 
craze of Glamping, and may have never realized 
the potential of this beautiful virgin forest 
of being a world class camping destination.

The forest canopy remained
beautiful however so the view
at the top is still breathtaking.

When in Panicuason, always look up
to the sky to enjoy nature’s grandeur,

…never look down as the awful view of
the horrendous concrete structures in the jungle
would  haunt you in your nightmare forever.

This may be the Panicuason Resort 
developer's  own  interpretation of  heaven and hell.

The City's Environment Office may not be aware of
the environmental abuse  happening  in  the forests  of
 Panicuason, or they may  just be sleeping on their job.