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

Pristine crystal clear spring pool water in Monbon
or 30 pesos entrance, it's indeed a value-for-money jackpot at Mateo Hot & Cold Springs Resort despite a reception advisory that water was reaching 43 degrees, still, a bearable temperature for a plunge-and-dip affair.

We began our pictorial rampage with the surrounding by scanning the wild plants and played around with them in shots along with other things cropping up like the swan statues, blooms and all creations manmade or natural to appetize ourselves for a warm-up.

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Entrance to Mateo Hot & Cold Springs Resort. A test of rising temperature endurance is incoming.
Earlier that day, I was looking for clues on how many hours to locate this place from Sorsogon City. After learning it's around 65 Kms, I unconsciously grabbed a backpack and tagged along with a consenting friend for the fear of missing that last trip. 65 kilometers 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. Finally, after the driver unloaded us to Monbon Elementary School, a tricycle driver on wait gamely took us to the inner alleyways. From the jungle outskirts, unveiled Mateo Hot & Cold Springs Resort.

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Natural landscape inside the resort inspires a mystical feeling.
There's still the palpable 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. Even then, the pool compensated with its neutralizing effect 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 the mountain. On that note, it was a promising, relaxing getaway.

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Swan statues add to already the 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, something not to cause regret for a side trip escape.

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Lichens deck the stone walls on this moist seclusion.
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This old tree embraces the walls of the mountain foot.
Even this big tree atop us looking much of century old and eerie didn’t let the lens pass by Mateo Hot & Cold Springs Resort, in every look, was 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 from the mountains up above Bulusan 
We tested the waters for our warm-up then changed into our swimwears afterward for the actual dip. As soon as the hot springs electrified our body, then we moved closer to pebbled part of the pool where the hot spring was 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 shrill to that mystery.
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Someone is watching over your swim - the resident lifeguard
There were not so many frolickers that occasion that spelled a little privacy and freedom to move around the cool landscape. It's easy to tell 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 the 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 out 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 Philvolcs 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 Public 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 for there's no return trip. In far-flung villages like this, it's best 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 take home
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A native mami for a timely food trip at Irosin Public Market
Anyhow, our Irosin affair ended with a bowl of hot mami, my companion and I couldn'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.