Saturday, August 13, 2011

Seeking Serenity in Seagull Mountain Resort

Serenity—or rather, the pursuit of serenity—pops up in the head whenever I find myself embroiled in some toxic situation. Call me a runaway but one of the first things that cross my mind whenever that happens is to hit the road and pursue the path that leads to some serene yet nearby destination. And how close have I gone to finding it? Quite close, I should say. Just a short drive and voilà—serenity found!

Two-hours away from downtown Davao lies this enchanting destination along the Bukidnon-Davao (Buda) Road that has become a favorite stop among travelers and tourists, local as well as foreign: Seagull Mountain Resort. For this nature tripper, Seagull, as it is fondly called by the locals, is a spectacular stress buster for the body, a fabulous feast for the senses, a halcyonic haven for the soul. 

The resort is a fabulous feast to the senses

One of the resorts owned by the Dureza clan, the mountain resort, which is neatly tucked in a sprawling private estate over 1,200 meters above sea level, is the perfect sojourn’s end for weekend warriors seeking serenity from the din and the doldrums of the lowlands. Seagull’s cool climate and soothing surroundings seem to conspire to let you experience the fullness of your being by communing with Mother Nature.

One of Seagull's main attractions

Visiting Seagull always gives me that vicarious thrill of being transported to Baguio—before the City of Pines fell into the “development” trap. Must be the cool fresh air, the thick fogs that envelops it on certain parts of the year, the picture-perfect vistas of mountain ranges and hills, and much, much more. Far from the madding crowd, the resort is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Davao. of the precious attractions of Seagull

Here’s a slice of Baguio within the vast expanse north of Davao where you can secure serenity and solace sans the fuss and flurry of long-distance travels. The village of Buda where Seagull is found boasts of a nice and nippy ambiance that parallels that of the popular destination in the north. For tourists, a trip to Davao isn’t complete unless they get to see this fascinating attraction. 

I’ve been to Seagull on a number of occasions—all of them I consider exhilarating experiences—but  it was those two visits with my coworkers that I  count among the most memorable. If we want a serene atmosphere where we can hold our mid-year evaluation meetings, the resort is our unanimous choice. The ambiance provides the perfect backdrop for pep talks, performance reviews and planning activities.

Pine trees and other shrubs provide shade and shelter to trekkers

After wrapping up our sessions there, we’d usually embark on a tour  that took us around the varied attractions of the resort that have grown in number through the years—a golf course, a jogging trail, a chapel, a path for staging the Way of the Cross, a tent and picnic area, a pavilion, a coffee shop, among others. 

For me, however, it’s the trek to Seagull’s waterfalls that’s the pièce de résistance of the tour. Located a few meters away from the resort, it never fails to mesmerize first-timers who instantly fall for its simple allure. The refreshingly cool cascade supplies water to the resort’s four swimming pools—a deep one for adults, two for kiddos and a shallow one (located near the waterfalls).

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Rolling hills surrounding the resort

People from all walks of life gravitate towards Seagull on weekends and holidays, making it a favorite venue for picnics, meetings, reunions, meditations, retreats, weddings and other similar gatherings. Perhaps it’s the peace, pleasure and privacy (or some degree of it), which the resort offers that make it the preferred choice for holding such a variety of activities. 

Seagull’s comfy accommo-dations—cottages (known as condo units) that can shelter two to four people and log cabins that can house as many as three people each—aren’t exactly elegant but they’ll do, especially if you’re staying there with a shoe-string budget. Part of the estate has also been reserved as campsites for those who prefer to sleep under the stars and feel the shivering cold in the wee hours of the morning.

The fastest way to get to the mountain resort is by private car, which treats motorists to scenic views of Davao’s rural landscape. If you don’t have one or don’t want to drive, head for the bus terminal and hop into any of those red buses—Rural Transit, that is— that ply the breathtaking Davao-Cagayan de Oro route. Just ask the driver to drop you off along the highway where the entrance to the resort is found.

When your world is getting toxic by the minute, it’s best to pause for a while and head for the path that leads to serenity. The pursuit of it, however, can be so pricey, if not,  luxurious these days for some of us plebeians. Good thing, you can still relish it at Seagull—for a song at that!—and get your hard-earned money’s worth. :-D