Trekking Traditional and Alternative Therapies Introduction About 14 kilometers from Baguio city lays the intersection of the Ambalanga River and Tolbing Creek, people plunge in to the thermal waters from the Level 1300 produced by the Benguet Corporation. Roughly a dozen of mini resorts in the Poblacion of Itogon, Benguet attract tourists to experience the effects of these hot pools to refresh and/or benefit from its therapeutic effects.
Examples of these effects include muscle relaxation, widening blood vessels and increasing blood flow to injured areas of the body (Balance, nd) and this is under the complementary and alternative therapy and some heath care practitioners recommend the use of these modalities to patients and attention is needed to be given to increasing content about complementary alternative therapies (Sohn & Cook, 2002). Last summer, a group of MA Nursing students enrolled in Advance Medical-Surgical Nursing III wanted to experience these hot waters and observe its effects to the body.
So they decided and set a schedule to go to see the hot water spas in this so-called “Land of Golden Opportunities,” Itogon. They will also embark on other alternative modalities like herbal teas, massage and other options for a healthier lifestyle. Furthermore, they also intended to promote these techniques and recommend for its improvement. The Trip The trip was set on the 20th of May and a week-long planning was done to ensure smooth flow of travel and activities. The participants are the enrolled students of the Advance MS III under the MA Nursing Program headed by their instructor Ms.
Haydee Grace Tumbaga. The group then decided to stay during the night-before in La Trinidad, Benguet as of the the members of the trip owns an apartment. Finally, on May 19 about 6 pm, they all met in a mall in Baguio City and then went to La Trinidad for the diner and overnight stay. For the dinner, they had a large pot of Pinikpikan – the traditional chicken dish of Cordillerans. The chicken, preferably free-range/native chicken, is uniquely prepared by instead of the usual dipping the undressed chicken to a hot water to remove its feathers, they burn them and that gives its distinctive taste and aroma.
And then it is cut and simmered until tender then finally, sayote is added to complete. Etag or Cordilleran Ham version is also added for the salty-cured taste that gives the broth a richer taste. This dish is believed to boost strength and it is more likely the original Filipino classic tinola. In the morning of the 20th, the group already travelled to Itogon that took about less than an hour passing through the downward zig-zag Baguio-Kias-Balatoc Provincial Road. To get there, usually, jeepneys are available in Baguio City or taxis are hired.
The place cannot be missed since it can already be seen from the road the top view of the bunch of resorts in the intersection of the Ambalanga River and Tolbing Creek. Floating devices (salva vidas), charcoal, firewood, fish and other swimming and outing needs meet tourists as they get near the place and park in the river bank. Upon arrival, all you have to do next is to choose from the resorts in the area. The Venue The southernmost resort was chosen by the group members to stay and experience the hot spa. They needed to cross the Ambalanga River through bamboo bridges.
Entrance fee is 30 pesos per person and cottages are at 400. The place has 3 pools, 2 small round pools that have the hot water and the larger one about 12 x 7 m2 with normal water for swimming and its depth ranges from 3 to 6. 5 feet. Cottages are made of light materials with cogon roof and bamboo posts. There are no walls and benches and a table is available. Flowing water is seen all over the place that fills up the pools continuously and a sign is seen everywhere informing visitors that they drain their pools daily at 5 pm.
Grills are also obtainable when needed for cooking. Bathroom cubicles are also present and stores are all around to sell other needs for the clients like drinks and snacks but only few places offer meals with rice. Since it is summer, the place is almost filled and so with other resorts in the area. The Plunge To maximize the stay, the grouped immediately took shower and took a dive and swam several laps in the larger pool. The water is cold and so is the air temperature (of course lower than the summer temperature in the low lands).
While swimming, it is observed that most of those who are in smaller, hot pools are elders dipping and massaging their feet. People from all ages are seen from children to elders. Groups from families to barkadas and another groups were seen in one of the cottages seems to be having their meeting while partying but the common to everyone was the enjoyment seen to their faces. After about half an hour of swimming, the group then decided to experience the hot water tubs. A sign near those informs the visitors that dipping self into these pools should not be longer than 15 minutes.
They say that complications may occur if prolonged staying was done. Upon the first step into the water, the sudden difference in temperature was felt so slower motion was needed to adapt with the warm temperature about 40-50 degrees Celsius. The depth is about 2 to 2. f feet and immersing the body totally including face is really not easy. Even with the warm temperature, muscle relaxation is already being felt on areas submerged specially on joints and the back. Finally, upon arising from the water, a swift feeling of refreshment and relaxation is felt.
Swimming, relaxing and eating were done all throughout until a man approached us offering a massage. We then noticed several visitors having massage from some of the staff. Until lunch time, the group already took their final plunge in the swimming and the hot pools for the last time. Cafe by the Ruins The group already drove back to Baguio City at about 1:30 pm. Most of them fell asleep in their SUV before reaching the city. At about 2:30, they went to Cafe by the Ruins to chill out and relax before travelling back to La Union. The cafe is located at Chuntug Street near the Baguio City Hall.
The ruins they lay claim to are the remains of a garden theater which was later converted into the gracious home of Phelps Whitmarsh, the first civil governor of Benguet. The house was built early in the last century and destroyed in World War II. Unlike regular coffee shops, their menu is designed to feature natural and local ingredients of the region, to purvey, vegetables and fruits in their best season and to provide vegetarians some options. They are pleased to present varieties of mountain rice, moscovado sugar, fresh carabao milk and cheeze, honey pure cacao, upland coffee, etc. all the proud produce country. They ordered coffee, Ceylon and Morocan Mint Tea, Guinataang Halo-Halo and Baguettes but in spite of it’s quite higher price, the experience is worth it. The coffee was freshly brewed filtered with cardamon, topped with whipped cream, moscovado sugar and cinnamon powder. The Ceylon tea was served and brewed in an antque-looking pot together with an ounce of honey for you to taste and the Morocan Mint Tea is a caffeine-free infusion of freshly picked leaves with honey option too-good for post-partal mothers.
While the Guinataan Halo-halo is a combination of sweet coconut milk soup w/ bananas, kamote, ube, langka, sago, and glutinous rice dumplings. Perfect and comforting when the weather is cold. The cafe was a little paradise. They had a garden behind the restaurant where we grew all kinds of vegetables and fruits. It was laid out in a small terraces, across approximately a 100-meter radius. Grass and flowers covered the ground of this little outdoor palace we played in. The governor maintained a famous garden a where Mrs.
Whitmarsh, an Ibaloi that still bloom at the cafe’s entrance adorned the front doors of the family home. But the most special part of the garden was a small, circular stone ruins structure, filled with tall grass. Passion fruit vines melted down the sides of the stone beans like dripping candle wax. Conclusion This trip, trekking traditional and alternative therapies is a very educational and refreshing experience. The cheap fee in the resorts of Itogon can give a very relaxing experience to families seeking for fun and