Organic Farm is a Mountain Respite: Philippines

Two small cottages overlooking the mountains and swimming pool.

Two small cottages overlooking the mountains and swimming pool.

In the mountainous region of the island of Cebu, Philippines, about two hours from Cebu CityMonTeray Farm Mountain Resort combines organic farming with spectacular views and a laid back life. Opened last year, the resort, in the town of Pinamungajan, 15 minutes from Toledo, is a work in progress but the vision of providing a rural respite with modern amenities is slowly coming to fruition.

The pool with a view

The pool with a view

The pool and surrounding grounds, for example, are lovely. Flowerbeds edge the walkways that lead to various thatched-roof gazebos where billowy white fabric and comfortable seating offer spots to read a book and visit.

My favorite spot had a karaoke machine with a playbook that one couldn’t get through if you sang all year. We spent one morning feeding the machine 10 peso coins so we could belt out songs all of us knew. “Proud Mary,” “California Dreaming,” and “Bye, Bye Love” were among the favorites. As with many karaoke machine set ups, the corresponding videos made little sense, although a Lakers basketball game does fit a California theme in a way.

Wilson, whose father-in-law-to-be owns the resort, gave me a tour of the grounds and explained the plans for the resort’s expansion and updates. Adventure is already part of the scene. There is a zip line (although it was being repaired) and there is an expansive area for camping. Team-building overnights have already occurred.

Wilson showing earthworms helping create excellent dirt

Wilson showing earthworms helping create excellent dirt

The organic garden, down the hill from the resort’s lodging and by the river, is also well underway.  Near to where a carabao, a type of water buffalo, was resting in shade, the resort’s pigs were waiting for their new home. Wilson pointed out the traditional pen that was almost ready. The traditional pen allows for pigs to roam more freely on fresh straw instead of what is possible in the cement pens typical to Filipino households that raise pigs today. The farm is also raising chickens and ducks.

The goal of the organic farm at MonTeray Farm Mountain Resort is to provide ingredients for a farm-to-table type restaurant that serves up excellent food. Wilson hopes the kitchen will be completed soon.

The open air patio where you'll find the bar.

The open air patio where you’ll find the bar.

There is a bar, however, that’s part of the expansive open air covered patio style common room with a traditional style “sak sak” roof. As with any good bar in the tropics, there’s cold beer at the ready. The San Miguel I shared with my dad was splendid. Soft drinks and snacks are also available.

The "Lemon House"

The “Lemon House”

During our two-day stay, we slept in the “Lemon House,” an original building to the property. The house, a cheery, clean cottage-like structure has three bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom. One of the bedrooms is on the first floor and has air-conditioning. My room was on the 2nd floor. A ceiling fan kept the air moving and large windows did let in a breeze at night. If you need a cool room to sleep, stay downstairs.

There are two other sleeping options which I would pick on another visit. Two stand alone small cottages with a bedroom and a bathroom are up from the swimming pool. They are spotlessly clean, also cheerful and air-conditioned. An advantage of staying in one of these is that you will be further away from the roosters.

One of the prize roosters, a farm wake-up call

One of the prize roosters, a farm wake-up call

The farm has a second business of raising prize roosters. These fellows are not so quiet in the morning. I do have to say that after the first night, I was more used to their crowing. Perhaps this was because of the full-body massage I had the second night.

The masseuse comes to the farm to give guests a massage in their room if desired. The cost is roughly $6 for an hour.

Although Wilson has not formally set up farm tours, another endeavor he plans for the future–and breakfast is not included as of yet, you can arrange for both. Ask for bangose, a type of fish that’s delicious when fried and served with garlic rice—a favorite Filipino breakfast. Wilson also provided us with wonderful coffee brewed from coffee beans grown in the Philippines. We were fortunate that the resort’s mango trees were being harvested while we were there.

There were mangoes a plenty, and when we left, Wilson gave us a bag full.  The farm resort’s papaya trees produce fruit year round.

Mango season is in June

Mango season is in June

The town of Pinamungajan, a short walk from the resort, does have a fairly robust market, a few restaurants and bakeries.

Make reservations from MonTeray Farm Mountain Resort’s Facebook page or call +63 927 808 2061.

The Lemon House rate is 3,500 pesos per night. The cabins with a queen-size bed is 1,800.   ($1 US = about 47 pesos). Ask Wilson ahead of time what arrangements you can make for food.

Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein

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