We are blessed to have hot springs near our city. One of the go-to resorts me and my friends would love visiting is Riverview Waterpark. It is about 15 kms away away from the city but it takes you 3 days and 2 nights to get there.
How is that possible?
Sipitan and Yanged
Check out this short clip:
This is one of the tunnels you have to go through when going to Asin Hot Springs. The video above is the longer tunnel officially called "Sipitan." It is about 158 meters long x 7 meters high x 7.5 meters wide. The shorter tunnel is called "Yanged." It is 95 meters long x 7 meters high x 7.5 meters wide.
These tunnels were made by prisoners of war during the Spanish Era but it was halted during World War I. When the American colonized the Philippines, they improved the roads at the same time constructing mini hydro power plants in the area.
The tunnels were supposed to form a railroad system that would connect Baguio City to La Union. The project had to be stopped because of lack of funds. These tunnels were carved out from rocks and they were as sturdy as they were when they were first carved out. Even after the killer July 16, 1990 earthquake that rocked and wrecked Luzon, the tunnels remained firm.
A third supposed tunnel now houses the shrine of the Brown Madonna.
Going to the hot springs you have to traverse lush sceneries which takes you to sort of a laid back place. There is something rustic about it. There are fields and gardens, even passing by woodcrafts and woodworks that have been the livelihood of some of the locals here.
Thus, we say you are to travel to Nangalisan for 3 days and 2 nights because you have to pass the tunnels twice which is dark as night except for the light at the end of the tunnels and light from the cars.
Winding down the road to the hot springs, scenes of different greens greet you every turn.
There are several private resorts to choose from. Riverview is the biggest and has the most pools (I have counted 12) which include the four pools in the hotel and the others in the public pools. Hotel guests can go to the public pools. The public area is where the pools with slides are located. However, public pool users are not allowed to the hotel pools.
When we arrived there, it was lunch time. The restaurant at the hotel is open for all. They accommodated us and checked us in even thought it is not yet check in time. The usual time for check in is 2:00 p.m. There were not that many guests then. There were available snacks, home made products, strawberry wine, swimming attires, hats, etc available by the counter. I forgot slippers so I bought it there. It is expected that the prices are more expensive than buying in the city. There is a mini grocery to the entrance of the public pool. Aside from that, there are no other stores nearby.
We went to our room and set our bags and then attended to the first order of business. Lunch.
For lunch, we ordered fish fillet with tausi (fermented black soybeans), onions, tomatoes, leeks and jalapenos. The other is pork chopsuey (consists of highland vegetable like cabbage, carrots, young corn, button mushrooms, sweet peas and cauliflower.
Chopsuey is common here in our place because vegetables used !and crops are being grown here. This sauted mix of vegetables originated from the Chinese who migrated here. They were the first to put up restaurants. They settled here and married locals mostly Ibalois. They then passed on their cooking skills and recipes to those who started working in these restaurants.
It is a must to have soy sauce, vinegar/lime and chili available on every table. This gives the dining experience with a punch. This is common here in our country. Others serve garlic chili oil or paste.
This table runner is locally made. The design and color differs from region to region. This kind of pattern is a Cordilleran style. You can see similarities in the traditional customs still worn today. G-strings are used by men and blouse and tapis for women.
After having our fill, we rested for a bit and I roamed around the area taking pictures. The water park has a wide parking space. During peak season, these will still be filled.
I am not familiar with these vines that they used to beautify some parts of the parking area but that is added nice touch.
There are cottages for day swimmers that you can rent. For hotel guests and day swimmers, there are designated areas for cooking food.
There is a koi pond and a garden between the old and new buildings. Flowers, plants and trees grow abound because how abundant the water is here. While the waterpark is not a high-end facility, what it offers are the surroundings that you can enjoy. You can be close to nature and soak in the sights and sounds to refresh your souls. The service is good. The food and rooms are affordable too.
These are pools in the public area. There are cottages as well that you can rent. You can also cook your own food which is a common thing anyway. Most of the times we bring our own food and snacks.
The pool chairs are old and needs replacement but are still usable.
There are also function halls for events like team buildings or seminars and Riverview is a popular venue.
I spotted this setup behind one of the conference halls. I have a feeling they will be installing a zip line.
Here are the beauties that you see in and around the vicinity.
This is the way going to the restaurant and yellowbells served as a roof for this walkway.
Trees tower in and around this place which give shade from the hot sun. Fruit bearing trees like santol, bugnay, coconuts, pomelo, rambutan, etc are seen here.
We spent an overnight stay here. The pools are open until 10:00 p.m. and we dipped and swam our hearts out.
Free breakfast is included in the hotel accomodation. Breakfast is served from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. which includes fried rice, omelette, and marinated and then fried fish. We added to our meal, bird's nest soup and sausage with picked papaya on the side. Of course, coffee is over flowing.
Here is a short panoramic clip:
After breakfast, we stayed in the pool again until we were tired. It was a relaxing and refreshing time even though the sky is threatening to rain. Before it rained though, we checked out and went home. There is another low pressure area that is bringing more rains to our place
Here are more photos:
How to Get There
When in town, locate the Baguio City Police Station and Fire Department. These are near across the City Hall and Justice Hall. Jeepneys plying for Nangalisan can be found near the police station. Ask the jeepney drivers and operators the jeepneys you can ride going to Asin Hot Springs. Ask the driver to drop you off Riverview. If you want, you can go down further where more resorts are situated and more hotter springs are available.
Taxi is not advisable if you are on a budget. It would take 2-3 more than the jeepney fare. Some would even ask you to pay the fare going to and from Asin. Also, be sure to bring all your necessities especially food, water and swimming attire.
If you have been to Baguio multiple times and have no other place to go, then try Asin Hot Springs if you haven't yet. On your way to Asin, you can also drop by Ben Cab Museum and check out the woodwork shops along the way.