Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fascinated by The Farm @ Carpenter Hill

Surfing for a hideaway somewhere in South Cotabato, I chanced upon this fascinating destination in Koronadal City. The name sounded creepy at first, calling to mind the slew of horror movies I’ve seen in the past, particularly “The Cabin in the Woods”. LOL!

The road to Koronadal
All my hesitations vanished into thin air the moment I stepped into its placid and picturesque grounds. For this gadabout, it’s the perfect hideaway he’s been looking forward to run away to for a “calm before the storm” weekend.  

Mt. Matutum as seen in Tupi, South Cotabato
In a Zen kind of place in Mindanao where peace reigns supreme, I managed to escape even for a day the sores and stresses of the rat race. There, I indulged in a pastime that has always been my favorite stress-buster: photography.

I'm no endorser but if I were one, I'd gladly recommend this resort to out-of-towners. If you’re one of those yearning for peace and quiet in some secluded corner of SOCCSKSARGEN, then this is one of those eco-friendly places worth visiting—The Farm @ Carpenter Hill.

A sprawling 12-hectare private estate located in the outskirts of the city, this one’s not your ordinary farm but a hotel complex comprising of rooms and villas, a bonsai garden, pavilions, a restobar-café, a convention hall, a butterfly sanctuary and an aviary.

The hotel staff billeted me at a spacious den in the Japanese Courtyard. All the rooms there face an indoor Zen-inspired garden and pond teeming with brightly-colored koi. Mind you, gazing at that scintillating koi pond for a few minutes had a calming effect on me.  

The resort-hotel also has well-appointed Oriental-inspired cottages whose minimalist design ooze with Zen-like appeal. Those looking for a bit more of privacy may opt to stay in one of the villas which have their own individual gates, terrace and gardens.

When darkness creeps in, there’s not much to do at the resort-hotel, except to curl up in bed with a bestseller, watch cable TV in your room, sip a beer or two at the hotel lounge, or take a leisurely stroll around the vast hotel complex. 

Night owls staying there can also hang out at the Aviary, the resort’s bar and café. The food isn’t exactly gourmet but good enough. House specialties include popular Pinoy cuisine served with a local twist as well as Asian and continental dishes.  

Food and service were generally good at the Aviary where I had dinner. The staff, however, need to brush up a little on their hospitality. Meanwhile, the buffet breakfast was free and ample but the choices they served weren’t quickly refilled and kept warm. 

By midnight, all is still at The Farm. Except for a few lights, the whole complex is engulfed in darkness. No worries though. Private security guards roam its vastness, making you feel safe and secure throughout your stay there.

All through the night, you’ll be lulled into dreamland by the tweedle of crickets. In the morning, you’ll be awakened by the chirping of birds (and in my case the rush of water from the koi pond just outside my room).

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Serenity in seclusion—this, I guess, is the selling point of the resort. And this makes it the perfect hideaway for those in search of a sanctuary offering a short but satisfying respite from the rigors of the daily grind. 

So, weekend wanderers, if you want some fascinating place far and away from the madding crowd, you have another destination to add to your list. Remember the name: “The Farm @ Carpenter Hill”. :-D

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