012113: The Urban Tracker (In Sorsogon): Mystical Steam Baths In Monbon


or 30 an entrance, it's an exciting prospect to  unravel Mateo Hot Springs and Resort with the reception advisory that water was reaching 43 degrees, still a bearable temperature to immerse with. We began by a pictorial rampage with the surrounding by  scanning the wild plants and played around with them in shots along other things cropping up like the swan statues, blooms and all creations manmade or natural to appetize ourselves for a warm-up before our  plunge-and-dip affair.

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Entrance to Mateo Springs resort. A test to rising temperature endurance is incoming.
Earlier I was looking for clues on how many hours to locate this place from Sorsogon City. After learning it's around 65 Kms, I just grabbed a backpack and tagged along a consenting friend for fear of missing the last trip for that meant a close to an hour commute. From the terminal, the Irosin jeep took off passing the towns of Casiguran and Juban for an hour. Then the driver unloaded us to Bonbon school, a tricycle driver on wait gamely took us to the inner alleyways and from the jungle outskirts unveiled  Mateo Hot Springs and Resort.

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Natural landscape inside the resort inspirea mystical feeling.
There's sense of familiarity of this jungle fortress as I was here like 8 years ago. That time Sorsogon was in the middle of pounding by a typhoon. But then the pool compensated for the coolness of weather despite the pending havoc. But this time, it's a kind of refresher with a friendlier weather plus the improvements and makeovers.. It's amazing to note that waters from the steamy pools were poured down by the constant trickling from mountain. On that note, it was a promising, relaxing  getaway.

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Swan statues add to already detached character of the place.
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Suntan embellish the pathways and more surprising blooms.
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There's a pool for adult and for a kid and it looks placid from the distance.
An afternoon drizzle failed to dampen our spirit, instead it flourished as we soaked and immersed ourselves in the smoking pools with the hot spring waters flowing directly from the mountain crevices in the foot of Mt. Bulusan, and it's not a regrettable sidetrip escape.

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Lichens deck the stone walls on this moist seclusion.
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This old tree embrace the walls of the mountain foot.
And even this big tree atop us looking much of century old and eerie didn’t let the lens pass by. San Mateo Spring in every looks were organized with their public caution and their bathrooms, well maintained but I hope there's a CCTV on the pool areas in case of anything.

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A view of a clear spring water deposits rom the mountains up above Bulusan 
We tested the waters for our warm-up then changed into our swimwears afterwards for the actual dip. As soon as the hot springs electrifed our body, then we moved closer to pebbled part of the pool where the hot spring were streaming. There I felt the effect of hotness sifting inside my body or it's just my nerves telling me it's being soothed or therapeutically activated.

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As if Encantadia is just around the corner, there's a shrill to that mystery.
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Someone is watching over your swim - the resident lifeguard
There's not so many frolickers that occasion that spelled a little privacy and freedom to move around the cool landscape. You could sense that the mountains breathe life as it imbued us with rejuvenated feeling as if joining and communing with mystical nature ala Encantadia. It's an awakening to a sensual escapade to nature with ability to invigorate our broken spirit and beaten bodies.

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A trek s into the wilderness await hikers like us on our way out.
A fellow swimmer told us there’s a way going to Bulusan from the resort and hiking could be potentially dangerous. So we took our bags and started our next move to sneak  Bulusan but it meant another episode of waiting to get a ride out.

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Phivolcs on guard for safety measures monitoring the active Bulusan rumblings.
So we took no time but hiked in the fortress screened by humungous trees amid the muddy wild road. Along the way, we noticed a Philvolc facility here guarding the rumblings that we have been experiencing. The throbbing came from the active Mount Bulusan and we're on the foot of it. A bunch of kids crowding a tricycle ride going to resort appeared on our path then a lone tricycle spotted us and took us to Irosin proper.

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The grammar that is countryside Bulusan
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Irosin market for the last hunt pitstop
Well in travel, time becomes unfriendly when you don't know what's ahead. We missed the last ride to Bulusan as driver folks suggested us to it would be risky to get to Bulusan Lake or Dancalan beach by twilight as there's no returning ride. In far flung villages like this, you have to always ask the last trip. Seeing time leaving us, we refocused to a market hunt in Irosin market for something interesting  for a pasalubong.

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Cacao balls, a cheap takehome
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A native mami for a timely foodtrip at Irosin market
Anyhow, our Irosin affair ended with a bowl of hot mami,  my companion and I could't shake our disbelief how far this backpack fetched us. Still our mesmerized feeling lingered with that charging treatment we had earlier in the mountains of Bulusan.
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