Tuesday, June 4, 2013


This January 2015 my Asin Pooten blog passed the 7 thousandth hits-the most number of hits in all my blogs that it had received since its publication.  It might not be trending as the more popular blogs, but I never used them as my yardstick for development but rather I just try to better myself and learn to improve my craft from lessons of the past. This blog is dedicated to my avid followers and likers who believed in my stories of life's challenges and how I cope with these thru traveling and just simply having a positive disposition in life. At the start, this blog was incomplete, yet it was much visited by curious visitors, so I felt that I owe it to the readers and visitors who deserve to get the whole story of my interesting adventure in Asin Pooten, Benguet.

This is the Asin Pooten Hot Springs Resort located in the hinterlands of Tuba Benguet.  The water in the pool is warmed by hot springs that abound the place.  The hotel is like a Malacanan Palace in seclusion.  I had the opportunity of visiting this beautiful place together with my colleagues during a conference of systematic biologists.  This is my next bucket list adventure for the summer.

The trip to Asin Hot Springs is a 30-minute to 1 hour drive from Baguio City depending on weather conditions on the road.  The last leg of the journey will be a short dirt road that before arriving at our destination which is the Asin Pooten Hot Springs Resort.

Judging by the sign, one can immediately decipher that this secluded place has its share of secutiry threats considering that the owner installed CCTV cameras for securing the place.  So I think that we are in a fairly safe place to spend our vacation.

The front of the building already shows a beautiful mansion-like edifice that somehow looks oddly placed in a rugged and secluded place such as Tuba, Benguet.  It was a simple arrival at the start but the moment we entered the mansion we were greeted with awe by its splendid interior.

 It was a rainy day late that afternoon so taking pictures was not ideal during that time.  I just spent some time admiring the beautiful landscape at the back of the mansion.

At the back of the mansion is the swimming pool where its water is warmed by the numerous hot springs bellowing from underground.  I said that no rain will stop me from taking a dip in the swimming pool because I am pretty sure the warm water  will shield us from the cold night.

Upon entering the mansion, one would immediately be greeted by an imposing grand winding staircase typical of mansion.  I assumed that the owner built this place primarily for family use but just like many affluent families who outgrew the place, they eventually opened it up to the public.

This fireplace caught my attention indicating that the weather in this place may be as cold as in Baguio but not during the summer because judging from the downhil travel to this place, the elevation is far lower than that in Baguio so it's probably cold only during Christmas and the rainy season.

The fireplace is apparently not in use as it is adorned with small figurines so I might just as well have some posterity shots of this place.

Judging from the figurines adorning the fireplace mantle, the owner is fond of collecting these items and they indeed make beautiful decorative items for the living room.

These dolls also show how much they love their children.  Many of these dolls are still in their mint condition.

You should check out the kitchen.  It's a dream kitchen for everyone who loves to cook.

The dining table is made up of solid wood so big it would make an environmentalist frown.

A Japanes biologist was one of the delegates of the conferencen and Filipino delegates were swooning over her because she was wearing the traditional Japanese kimono which is their country's national dress and the a chance to have a selfie with an authentic Japanese is a good addition to anyone's Timeline in facebook.  When I came to her and ask for a picture with her, she obligingly stood beside me for a pose and gave me her business card.  After the conference, I was planning to email this picture to her but I seemed to have misplaced her calling card.  As soon as I find I'll be sending this picture to her.  Too bad, it must have been a great opportunity to have a female Japanese friend. 

As nightime fell, the mansion was slowly coming to life as one by one its lights opened, illuminating the halls of the house, revealing a grandiose splendor of opulence against the shadow of the mountain behind it.  

We had a sumptuous dinner of mountain fresh vegetables that evening followed by a fellowship gathering where I had the opportunity of mingling with the other delegates and talk about things not only about systematics but also about the place and people and most especially the next venue for next year's conference.  Baguio is famous for its fresh organoc vegetables and no one will pass the chance of eating a gourmet salad of this delicious plants especially when prepared by a bona fide local of Benguet 

After dinner, I rested in one of the comfortable lounge chairs in the balcony as the evening rains drenched the dark surroundings while cold winds breeze through the corridor helping me to digest the food with relative peace and luxury. 

When the rains suddenly ceased pouring in the mountains it was time to stroll around the place and check out the swimming pool.  In this secluded part of Benguet where public transportation is so limited througout the day.  

It's okay for me to be stuck in this haven while living in solitary opulence.  Secluded places like this are good for rejuvenating the mind and spirit. In can also be fun spending some time here in the company of friends and most especially with your loved ones.

We took a dip in the swimming pool where the water source comes from deep underground and comes out of the surface hot.  The hot spring is undeniable natural because it still emits the sulfur odor characteristic of volcanoes.  It's sad that a visitor who commented in this blog saw it the other way.  He probably doesn't understand the geology and characteristics of hot spring so he was very disappointed with his visit here. Persons like him are typical tourists who only desire places where he is accorded with the best accommodation.  They have no concern for the environment because when they visit a place, they want the environment to conform with them, whereas a true traveler visits a place and blends with it such that he leaves the place without creating adverse impacts to it.

All the rooms in the mansion was filled with delegates that we were assigned to sleep in one of the resort's nipa cottages near the pool.  It was alright for us since it provided us easy access to the pool.  The cottage was also comfortable because it has a large bed and very cool since the indigenous material used provides good insulation against the weather and the ventilation freely allows the cool mountain air to enter the house.

It was time to do some exploration before breakfast to warm up the body after a cold night brought about the rain yesterday.  The first structure I noticed inside the resort was a replica of an Ifugao house where its four corners are perched on a stand that prevents rats from climbing the house.  This is an ingenius invention by the Ifugaos to protect their stored crops from pests.  The elevated house also minimizes mosquito because because research shows that mosquitoes thrive more near the ground.

Another striking attraction here is this Sagada house that has a marked contrast to the typical Ifugao house because this time the house is grounded and not perched on stands but the roof has a high ceiling.  This enabled the inhabitants to build a small fire to warm the interior or even cook coffee or food to counter the cold climate without torching the ceiling which is quite vulnerable to burning.  The climate in Sagada is really cold but the atmosphere there is truly serene with breathtaking views of the landscape.

Life is simple here in Asin because of its long distance of Baguio city and the steep roads leading to this place that's why the number of public transportation plying this route is very few and rare. So people just make do of what supplies they have before another supply run to the city and whatever the surroundings can provide them.

The resort is actually beside a river where it water that overflows from the swimming pool readily discharges into the river.  Since the it was continuously rainig throughout since we arrived in Baguio, the water of the river is generally muddy.  There were lots of boulders strewn throughout the river which shows that the place has not been quarried of gravel and sand and the currenr is quite strong indicating that the slope or downstream incline of the river is relatively acute.

While doing my morning stroll exploring what's beyond the resort, I noticed a hanging bridge from afar so I decided to check it out.  It was a suspension bridge with Marsden perforated matting as its flooring. These durable perforated steel plates are remnant construction material by the US Armed Forces for rapid building of landing strips and pontoon bridges for crossing.  Today, metal manufacturers no longer make this sturdy rust resilient sheets like they used to.  Sometimes it brings nostalgic times when we often visit my maternal grandparents whose fence is made up of these Marsden matting and we often play hide and seek peeking thru those holes.

After exploring the surroundings of the resort, I went back in the mansion to have breakfast with my colleagues and I still cannot get over the granduer magnificence of this opulent mansion.  It really makes one envious of the privileged life of the owner because he is able to enjoy nature's splendor in the comfort of this huge abode.

Well folks, just like the old saying, "some good things never last".  Just like our stay here i n Asin, Pooten where much of the activities is more business than pleasure.  Nevertheless, it was a pleasant experience feeling a little extravagance in the mountains.  I hope I can still visit this place one day but this time it would be purely business and the one I prefer to be with is the one who also wants me to be with her always.  Too cheesy for you? Cheers!


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