When I was in the Phlippines, last year I took a trip to Mambukal Resort. Mambukal Resort is located just outside Bacolod City in the town of Murcia. This Philippine mountain resort sits at the foot of Mount Kanla-on which is an active volcano. Mambukal Resort is known for three things, one is the hot springs which flow underground, the second is their seven waterfalls which flow water down the mountain and third are the large fox bats that constantly circle the resort.
How to Get There
From Manila to Bacolod City – 55-minute Airplane Ride (via Bacolod-Silay International Airport). From there take a taxi ride which is about 50 minutes to the north terminal to the Libertad Public market going to Murcia. Many people speak english and are more than willing to give you directions to get you there.
From Cebu to Bacolod City – 30-minute Airplane Ride (via Bacolod-Silay International Airport). Grab a taxi or rented van to the north terminal in the Libertad public market and take a jeepeny ( bus ) going to Murcia.
From Bacolod City to Murcia (Mambukal Resort) – a 25 (usually by private car) to 45-Minute Drive. Commuter Vehicles bound to Murcia are located at the Northwest side of Libertad Public Market. First trip starts at 7:20AM until 7:00PM for about Php 35.00 one way.
Mambukal Resort is actually classified as a primary hot spring since it has geo thermally heated mineral groundwater from Mt. Kanla-on. Much llike in Japan, many people believe soaking in Mambukal’s sulfur water is an effective way to relieve pain and itching. The waters contain minerals like calcium, magnesium and sulfur compounds which go right through your skin to sooth aching muscles, ease joint pain, arthritis, ligament damage and improve blood circulation in the body. As you might have guessed with the water containing sulfur, some people might notice an egg like smell coming from the water. The picture below really doesn’t do the hot spring bathing area justice as the place is a lot bigger than in the picture. In both springs, a bathroom with showers is provided so bathers can rinse and wash off the hot spring water.
There are actually two hot spring dipping pools. The first one is really designed for families and children. Chairs and tables are available around the spring and the temperature is somewhat cooler than the smaller hot spring. The family designated hot spring pool cost wise is half the price of the adult designated hot spring pool which is about 50 pesos per person.
The smaller hot spring is designed more like a Japanese Ofuro. In sense, it is more for an adult than children but they are allowed in. The smaller hot spring cost twice as much as the first dipping pool and last reported was about 100 pesos per person.
7 Falls of Mambukal
On top of Mt. Kanla-on is a flowing spring of some of the freshest water you can find in the Philippines. As the water flows down the mountain is runs over a series of seven waterfalls, each one different from the other. You will need to be fit to hike up the mountain to see all seven falls plus one has to hire a guide to accompany you. The park prohibits the public from hiking the waterfalls without one of the resort’s guides being present and be advised that they do work for tips. The purpose of the guides is so that you don’t swim in places where you are not allowed and generally make sure you make it down the mountain. From my experience, be sure to bring water and comfortable shoes as the climb is somewhat physical and you will sweat a lot climbing up the mountain. Most people never make it all seven falls because of the climb, just keep telling yourself it will be easier going down than it is coming up.
Here is a hidden tip. If you really want to see the seventh fall, and it is the most beautiful and least crowded one, as one of the guides to procure a motorcycle and they can ride you up the mountain, once on top, there is a 45 minute hike to the seventh fall. For me it was totally worth the hike.
As you can see from the sign, you can not swim in all of the seven falls. This is based on the safety factor of each fall. If one is willing to make the climb up the mountain one can swim in the seventh fall which is the best.
Be advise when you finish your hike and swim, you will be really exhausted, so be sure to allow yourself time to eat and recharge your battery. Perhaps, hit the falls first, then hit the hot springs to relax your tired muscles, then maybe a little nap under the shade of a tree or cabanna.
Here is a video I made of our trip to Mambukal Resort
You have refueled your body and now you are feeling refreshed. Maybe grab another cold beer or shake and head outside. Find yourself a nice lounge chair and look up. Its time for some bat watching. I always thought that bats just come out at night but here at Mambukal Resort, the bats fly around day and night.
Food at Mambukal Resort
The best advice to really enjoy all that Mambukal Resort has to offer is to get there early. Pack a large amount of food and drink. The resort offers small roofed huts that you can rent for the day. That is really how most Filipino family enjoy their trip, bring food, get a rented hut and enjoy the whole day. For those not packing a lunch, there is food is offered at a reasonable price at the onsite restaurant, Mambo Grill and Bistro. I have eaten there and the price are not too out of line.
If you are planning on doing any barbecuing. there are grilling stations available. Another money saving tip I learned was to stop at any of the little roadside stores along the way to the resort and get some charcoal or oling as they call it here before heading into the resort. For me the more people you bring in your group, the more fun you will have. Just make sure tob bring your swimming trunks, towels, sunscreen and of course your camera.
Check out my other trip reports here.