Cacaoyan Forest Park in the outlying barangay of Cabayugan isn’t just fascinating when you visit and see it with your own eyes. It’s so charming and photogenic, you just want to hold on to your phone (or DSLR camera) and snap pictures as many as you like because they’re better storytellers.
Tucked 78 kilometers away on the western coast of the city, the travel time to the place is just a few minutes over an hour through the enduring power of the road that goes across verdant sceneries, smoothly rising and falling terrains, and quiet life of the villagers.
When you think of Cabayugan, there’s nothing else that comes to mind except the iconic Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR), the lush vegetation that mantles the St. Paul Mountain Range, and the rhythmic ease of the sea waves lapping the shore.
But if you’re in on the latest trending photos in the social media, then you’ll know there’s more to the village than meets the eye — the Swing Nests, Sarakan Canopy Walk, and everything else that those who have visited Cacaoyan Forest Park are posting and is making us green with envy.
Here, we’re whisking you off to a little virtual journey to the forest park and its Balinese style garden to show you why when you go and visit, you’re encouraged to leave your worries behind.
Your visit to the forest park starts here where you’ll find a few trees with their trunks made attractive with knitted watchamas (because I forgot to look closely enough to see what they’re made of) in the colorful shapes of spider webs, turtles, and geckos.
1. BAMBOO SWING. Pay P20.00 entrance fee (free if you take your meals in its resto) and explore the forest park’s adventure playground starting with this bamboo swing set in front of the restaurant. Move back and forth and channel your inner child to stay young at heart and in mind because that has health benefits.
2. SARAKAN CANOPY WALK. Pay P50.00, venture on the Sarakan canopy walk, and delight in the tropical vibe of the Cacaoyan Forest Park. “Sarakan” is from the Cuyunon word “saka” which means “to climb”. A photo of you on this unique installation will certainly boost the aesthetic value of your Instagram and other social media feeds.
3. HOOP-SHAPED MOMENT. If you’re feeling less adventurous, but still want a beautiful photo to take away from the experience, consider this low-level bamboo discoid crib in the forest playground.
4. TOP LOVE. Here’s one of our travel junkies — Tin Gapulao — enjoying her Tuesday morning (we went on a weekday to avoid the crowd) on the nest on top of the Sarakan. You don’t get a view like this every day so when you’re bored, head to the forest park and be surrounded by the refreshing appeal of the scenery.
5. SWING NEST. There’s a removable bamboo ladder you have to use to get on the same nest spot where I am sitting in this photo. It hangs on a sturdy tree and if you and your companion are light enough, you can both go on it. Words of advice: wear something comfortable because climbing requires stretching and muscle flexibility.
6. CENTURY-OLD DAO TREE. Less than five minutes from the Sarakan is a bamboo footbridge that’ll lead you to this century-old Dao tree (behind me) and the rest of the woody haven that is the only reason I could think about why this charming place would be named Cacaoyan Forest Park. “Cacaoyan” is the Cuyunon equivalent of the word “woodlands” in English or “kakahuyan” in Filipino. The trees that tower over the land and their shady crowns are comforting even if the mid-morning sun makes you feel like you’re having your Turkish bath.
7. YOUR SILHOUETTE INSIDE LOOKING OUT. Think about the deep connection that the mood and subtlety of your silhouette (with the bright background) will convey to the viewers of your photo in your Instagram.
8. ART AND FOOD. Cacaoyan restaurant’s interior is adorned with creative pieces from local artists to inspire a closer connection with its guests because food may make the restaurant, but art will certainly add to its character and welcoming atmosphere. Lunch buffet here is P250 per person. If you want something else, you can inform the management in advance so they can prepare it for you.
9. BAMBOO FOOTBRIDGE. Takes you to the century-old Dao tree where you can sit and relax with your family and friends. The place is known for its avian treasures, and if you’re patient enough to wait, you might spot one flying by.
10. NICE LITTLE THINGS. Those that travelers normally ignore, but really looks good in photos like shell chimes, dried plant buds and stems, tangled leaves, and wood decors.
The next time you travel to Cabayugan, don’t forget to visit the Cacaoyan Forest Park.