Bacalla Woods- A Campsite in Cebu, Philippines

February 27, 2019

by Rosanna Laarni O. Arengo

Last Christmas season, my friends and I were looking for a unique place in the Philippines to explore. I chanced upon Bacalla Woods campsite in my feed which is a recently opened camping grounds located in Ilaya-San Isidro Road San Fernando, Cebu. It is a haven for people who would like to experience detaching from every day’s worries and immersing themselves in nature. So, we thought, “Why not go there to celebrate”? After all, San Fernando is closer to the city of Cebu than any other tourist places. Plus, the place is very affordable at P200 per person entrance inclusive of breakfast.

How to get there

Going there was at first daunting as there were a lot of people during the holidays. I remembered South bus terminal had lines similar to when you audition. However, it should be easy going there during the off-peak season. We rode a bus from South bus terminal going to Argao and stopped at Pitalo Church of San Fernando, Cebu. Then, we hired a motorcycle to take us to the campsite.

Upon arriving at the area, one can see an infinity swing which boasts of scenic views. Right away, a feeling of tranquility can be felt with the surrounding woods and trees. It was exciting to either stand on the ledge or sit down. For those who haven’t tried the infinity swing, it requires another person to hold the rope at the back and gently push the person riding the swing which adds to the thrill. For a moment, it feels like all your problems are gone. That is true until the other person doesn’t cooperate and continue to push. The other person needs to pull you so that you can go down the infinity swing. For safety purposes, it’s best to sit down as the harness was designed for sitting purposes.

infinity swing in bacalla

Our Camping Experience

Tent rental cost P300 per day. Picking a spot where our tent would stand was exciting as the camping grounds were full of leaves and very similar to those camping sites in movies. We thought of cooking meat on a campfire, however, we abandoned the idea as we would need to buy meat and wood outside of the campsite. Luckily, there’s a store in the area that offers lunch and snacks for the unprepared.  Lunchtime was a bit reflective as we sat on a ledge overlooking the mountains. It’s amazing to smell the fresh air and watch nature such that it became a running joke and a contest for us to name each and every tree in the area. Talking to my friends became mainstream instead of looking at our cellphones. You wouldn’t have a choice as the signal is weak and there’s no internet connection.


Things to do in Bacalla Woods

Deciding which activity we would do next was a bit challenging due to the rainy weather so we opted to have a mini photo shoot. Every nook and cranny of Bacalla Woods is picturesque and it’s an added bonus that there were only a few people in the campsite. We borrowed playing cards from the employees in Bacalla and they were very accommodating. Riding the swinging tire, net climbing, bicycling, skateboarding, river trekking are some of the activities adventure lovers can do. I personally liked bicycling but bikes were unavailable at the time.

Since it was already late in the afternoon, we rested in hammocks and talked about our lives. Exchanging ideas and perspectives were a lot easier as there’s not much to interrupt our conversations. To cap off the night, we played chess with my friend and challenge our brains out. It was a funny experience because she can easily read my expressions and know why I did a certain “move” in the chessboard. Needless to say, I was a sore loser and reminded myself to have a rematch. It must have been ages since I’ve played chess and I have the “no signal in the area” fact to thank for that.


River trekking Challenges

After playing chess, sleeping in the tent was a unique experience as the last time I slept in a tent was years ago. It was really back to basics and I was reminded to bring a pillow and a blanket next time I go camping. One could get back pains if you’re not used to the hard earth. The next day we woke up pretty early as we booked an activity which was River trekking. River trekking is not for the fainthearted. My ideal thoughts include a 20 to 30-minute walk and that it will just be an easy trail walking in a river. I couldn’t be more wrong. It was a 2-hour walk at most and it includes a walk downhill through various slopes and terrains. By the time I reached the river, I was thinking of going back to sleep. Kidding aside, it was indeed challenging and not for the chill lovers because the river had a lot of rocks of different sizes and shapes that could cause a sprain if you’re not careful. Sometimes, we had to swim and sometimes we had to make sure we don’t fall off an inclined path by holding on to a rock or to a shrub. My consolation at that point was the picture taking set to make each and every photo looked like it was easy.

After the 2-hour walk, we decided to ride a motorcycle going uphill as the walk had been endless. It was arduous but definitely memorable. Nature was at its finest and along the way, we could see different animals like chicken, cows, and dogs. My patience, determination, and endurance were really tested in river trekking. There were many times during the trail I stopped walking and thought of staying in the river area for good. I’m glad I chose not to and passed with flying colors completing the river trekking activity.

Some Helpful Tips

Ultimately, we had to rush going back to the city for the Christmas season. Next time, I’d definitely go back with my friends and I would come more prepared for camping. Some helpful tips include for one, bring playing cards to spend idle time. Second, bring blankets and pillows for camping. Third, It’s also essential to bring mosquito repellents just in case. If you are an adventurous soul yet needs solace, I would totally recommend this place for your next trip. The uniqueness of the experience camping in the woods akin to movies and the hours of river trekking was so unforgettable and definitely a must-try.

Rosanna Laarni O. Arengo

By Rosanna Laarni O. Arengo

Hi! I'm Rosanna O. Arengo, I'm 28 years of age and I currently live here in Jagobiao, Mandaue, Cebu. Ever since I was a kid, I've always been interested in reading books and writing became a by-product of it years later. I wrote a fictional horror story about a doppelganger and I've written an article about my sister and I at Coffee Bean Tea & Leaf's Writing Contest. Luckily, I was one of those who won a prize. Because of these experiences, I'm encouraged to hone my writing skills even further.


Leave a Comment...


March 1, 2019

Very informative.
Excited to check the place with my kids.


March 1, 2019

This blog makes me wanna go back to Cebu. And when I do, I\'ll definitely visit Bacalla Woods with my friends and enjoy all the adventures and serenity that this campsite offers!


March 1, 2019

Best blog ever!!!!


March 1, 2019

That\'s a thrilling camping experience. Lol\'d at the infinity swing and river trekking.


March 8, 2019

Omg! Such a well written piece. I love the arrangement, the thrills slowly unfolded.
Not to mention it was very transparent.. no drama yet the scenes were still well presented.

A wonderful piece.. keep them coming.


September 20, 2019

Excited to be there soon with my fam! I hope everything\'s gonna be well like our camping in Tanay. Been to 3 campsites( just 1 week and it was the best, This is my first time camping outside the metro so I\'m kinda nervous