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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Historic Saratoga Springs & Guided Mineral Water Tours!

This innovative tour is one in a lifetime experience as you will learn about the famous architecture of the renowned city of Saratoga Springs and how it became as the "spa city", and a tasting tour of water samples coming from the springs.
For many centuries, Saratoga was known only as a sacred ground of the native Americans.
Sir William Johnson established a mutual strong relationship with the tribe wherein in 1771, he was brought to an area called High Rock Spring for healing. Ultimately, his healing became a news and prompted curiosity and interest of the public about the water spring.

By 19th century, Saratoga developed as a resort town and catered those who sought the water springs for therapeutic needs. The place consequently became a thriving spa where devotees sought for "the cure" by taking hydrotherapy treatments and mineral baths and drinking prescribed amounts of different mineral waters.
These mineral springs were produced as a result of fractured shale along the Saratoga Fault Line, causing the waters to spring upward out from the resulting cracks. The water dissolves minerals from the limestones where they were trapped, thus, in the process became naturally carbonated. All of these springs contain the same minerals but in different concentrations, depending upon how deep underground they have originated. The higher the mineral concentration, the deeper the depth of origin.

These mineral springs of Saratoga are known to be naturally carbonated with carbon dioxide; they have a cool constant temperature of 55F; and several of the springs are "spouters" which shoot high up in the air.

Courtesy of Saratoga.com
The photo above is the polaris spring. The water has a carbonated, "alka seltzer" taste!

The springs are also categorized as alkaline (antacid), cathartic (Laxative), or high in iron, and many claim they have healing properties.
There are at least 20 mineral springs, some located in the Spa State Park, Congress park and High Rock Areas.

Take note that during the tour, don't expect all the mineral springs to be working. Most tours have only 4-6 mineral springs location working where you are free to taste the spring waters at each location. (Bring your own cups for the sample tasting!)

Geyser Island Spouter
This is a 'spouter" located in an island, surrounded by hardened minerals.


Hayes Well Spring
This one has a distinctive horrible smell and tatste! :(


You can learn more about tours by visiting the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitor Center.



Thursday, January 4, 2018

Campuestohan Highland Resort - Overnight Experience


Campuestohan Highland Resort is situated between the boundaries of two cities; -Bacolod and Talisay, consisting of a 5-hectar property that is surrounded by the lush green mountains of Mt. Makawili, making the place cool most of the time and misty in the late afternoons.
From the mountain is a vintage view of mostly the entire part of Negros Occidental, including the Panay Island.

The resort is located about 800-meters above sea-level making it a great place to commune with nature that also offers a majestic panorama and breathtaking views!
The resort is owned by a couple - Mr. Ricardo Tan and Nita Tan.

Today, this place, which used to be a wide grassy land is now transformed as a wonderland for many children and adult alike which is now considered as one of the most famous tourist destinations in Negros Occidental.

The resort has amenities ideal for vacationing families with smaller kids and adults as well; - children's park and rides, several swimming pools that includes the wave pool (call the resort for wave pool's open hours), big statues and the heroes' hall consisting of marvel characters' statues. The heroes' hall is more than enough to capture a kid's heart (and when you couldn't afford to bring them to Disneyland!)


Someone dared a kiss to spidey! :)
Several outdoor rides and activities for adults are also available such as the famous hamster wheel, bicycle ride, a zip line, rope course, horse back riding and bungee trampoline. All rates can be accessed through their website or better yet call them and verify the prices for all outdoor adventure rides.

I and my family went for an overnight visit so we were given a complimentary breakfast which is applicable for a group of 3 or more, and a free entrance for each. Daytime visitors are charged with a Php 150/person entrance fee. (as of this writing).

A private transportation can also be arranged to pick up and drop off customers if  you have big groups with certain fees. In our case, we chose to get a private group charter, (a private van, good for 15 persons), although we were only 7 in a group. Regardless, we still paid Php 2,500 for the van. No complain about our transportation as it was much more convenient for us not to worry about catching our ferry trip back home, knowing a transportation is readily available upon checking out. The 2,500 pesos - transportation fee was for picking up and dropping us off from and to our destination.

All information including room accommodations and prices can be accessed through their website at www.campuestohanhighlandresort.com but reservations have to be done by phone. Take note that upon reservation, you will be required to pay 50% of your downpayment basing on your room rates, and you have to pay it through their bank account. How I wish bookings and payments can just be done online for convenience. The "paying" part is a bit of a hassle as you have to actually go to the bank to pay it, to get the actual bank receipt to present it upon checking in the resort.

For those who are planning to visit for an overnight trip, I have to be honest regarding their rooms. I find it too expensive for a Php 5,000 room that really needs maintenance! How would you like to pay 5,000 pesos for a room that has moldy ceilings, chipping paints and cracked walls??? I felt I was caught off guard because I know myself I couldn't complain in the middle of the night, and that if I will start complaining at check out, I know it will take time forever, and I didn't want our ferry trip to be compromised!...I wished I had more than enough time to do it.






Some amenities in the room is also lacking like hot water for coffee or tea! There was a thermos but no hot water!

No complaints about the rides!...I would surely prefer to visit it in the daytime, only if perhaps I'm a local and just live around the neighborhood.
It would be a sad experience for others who are quite far from the resort who need to stay for the night. By the way, I reserved 2 Tepee Hut Rooms...they have molds that need to be removed and walls that need to be repainted and fixed.

As I've said, I was caught off guard, but didn't have much time to complain. :(. Maybe, they can read this as a feedback.
We were there November 2016.

Anyway, experience wise about the rides, food and the cool breeze at night were amazing! I love the nature that surrounds the resort!