March 24, 2013

Old Woods by the Sea

Like the sun you come and go,
and like a lone cloud you drifted away,
but still I love you all the same.
 
Pretending that feelings aren’t there doesn’t make them go away. It’s been a while since the last time I saw you. And I admit my feelings for you haven’t changed, not a single bit. So many things have happened, but still I want to find you and perhaps tell you of my latest gem-find.
 
I received a wonderful present from a constant gardener I recently met - a coffee table book entitled Unlimited Horizons: A Photo Essay of Bani’s Scenic Wonders. The book chronicles the natural treasures and people of Bani, Pangasinan. It features coves and beaches, marine and bird sanctuaries, and unexplored caves. I guess what’s missing in the book was Old Woods, a charming seven-hectare family rest house turned into an eco-resort, undeniably and so far, the best in Bani.
 
 
 
 
The resort is owned by amiable couple – that gardener (who happened to be the Mayor of the town, Marcelo Navarro, Jr.) and his wife Dr. Elizabeth. They treat guests as if long-lost family members. Even the staff and the manangs were all maasikaso.
 
 
 
 
 
 
I was actually overwhelmed when they serve alimango, hipon, inihaw na bangus, hito, and star apple during lunch. Muntik ko na silang mayakap sa saya kasi mga favorite food ko lahat ng hinanda nila!
 
 
 
 
 
The rooms of the resort have a native Filipino-feel. They are made of old woods infused with modern amenities with a window view simply to die for - the disputed and deep blue West Philippine Sea. I completely forgot my stressful and busy city life the moment I smell sea breeze.
 
 
Cute puppies roam around the garden, and always begged to be belly-scratched. Certainly, the relaxing and rustic feel of this place will surely recharge tired and weary souls.
 
 
 
A 10 minute downhill stroll, will lead guests to Olanen Cove, a white sand beach with beautiful rock formations scattered along the shore.
 
Despite the alluring and unspoiled beauty of Bani, the $64 question was “Bakit hindi pinupuntahan ang Bani?” Mayor simply said it was because of lack of advertisement and marketing of the place. While that is true, I guess another factor was its unlikely geographical location. It is tucked between Alaminos and Bolinao, natural tourist magnets being the popular sites of the Hundred Islands and long stretch of beaches. But since I’m not “everybody”, I would rather spend a day in not-so crowded places like Bani.
 
If I follow the bandwagon, I will go no further than the crowd. But if I take the less travelled path, I will most likely find myself in wonderful places only a few has ever been before. And maybe, see you there one more time.
 
 
Oh summer, I’m glad we meet again.
 
Old Woods by the Sea
Olanen, Dacap Norte
Bani, Pangasinan
Tel. No.: 0917-5074488
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