May 07

Mainit: A Healing, Bonding Place

BONTOC, Mountain Province.  Eleanor Salingbay Geston has found a niche in the province’s budding wellness industry.  A retired elementary school teacher, Eleanor invested in a mineral spring fed pools- taking advantage of her barrio’s natural hot springs resource.  The resort is located in barrio Mainit, a 1 hour drive of 7 kilometers of winding roads up a mountain from Bontoc, the capital town of Mountain Province.  Mainit is known for its mineral springs (sulphur) that provide invigorating baths after a hard day’s work in one’s farm.  People of the place are skin disease free.  The resort, aptly named Geston Swimming Pool is still a must place to visit after spending a day there with my family.    The resort has 4 pools fed by the hot springs piped in from source.   There’s a children’s pool with slide, a sit in pool ideal for the elderly or those who just want to soak up, and two pools for those who want to really swim.  The resort has integrated the culture of Mainit that includes guests sleeping quarters named “Avuan” (the traditional sleeping quarters for boys) and the “Pangis” (the traditional sleeping quarters for girls). 

The sleeping quarters can at most accommodate 18 people.  A toilet, bedding of “rono” or sticks lined up together completes a therapeutic sleeping place.  You can however request for mattresses and beddings.  Sleeping without the mattresses is a good try for those who suffer back pain.  Picnic groves and a space for tents are also provided.  The resort has a mini conference room and kitchen amenities for those who want to barbecue or cook meals.  The water could be murky but that is a good sign as various minerals with healing properties are in abundance. The place is cold, perfect for that warm soak.  Try soaking up at night; you will only have the stars and fireflies for company. 

Best of all, it is the relaxing warm swim or soak that makes it worthy for even just an overnight stay.  If you are in Sagada, you can ask about your guide if you can opt to hike from Sagada to Mainit – that takes only about 2 hours.  If you are in Bontoc, take the Mainit jeepney ride parked beside the Shell Gas station.  The jeepney leaves usually at 2:30 PM and the next at 4:00 P.M.  You have to be there early as the jitney can leave earlier once it is full.  You can also go straight up if you have a vehicle.  The road is narrow and the drive up is also an adventure. 

The place is also ideal for family and office worker’s retreat.  It takes an enterprising spirit for Ms. Geston to go on improving the place.  Entrance fee is fifty pesos for adults and P35.00 for children.  Group rates can be had starting at one thousand five hundred pesos and up for an overnight stay inclusive of use of kitchen, utensils and the cottage.  Reservations have to be made in advance so the pools can be prepared as they are regularly maintained to ensure sanitation..  You can make a reservation through Ms. Geston’s daughter, Eunice Geston-Andaya at 09204540963.