Forest Camp Mountain Resort is an enormous property in the foothills of Valencia, its natural charm blending into the lush jungle environment it occupies. This family owned and operated resort is a popular destination for locals looking for nature retreat without having to stray too far from Dumaguete City. We visited a bunch of times during our stint in Dumaguete whenever we were craving nature but didn’t have the energy for big hikes or adventures. Take a look at our complete guide to Forest Camp Valencia before adding it to your must visit list while you’re in Dumaguete.
HOW TO GET TO FOREST CAMP VALENCIA
Forest Camp is in Valencia, just a short 20 minute drive from downtown Dumaguete. The easiest way to get there is via scooter or motorbike, which you can rent for $8 USD a day. If you’re not comfortable driving a scooter, you can rent a car for $40 or take a tricycle from downtown, but make sure to barter for a reasonable price since it’s a “special ride” to Forest Camp.
HOW MUCH DOES FOREST CAMP COST
Forest Camp Valencia is privately owned and operated, so there’s a $3 entrance fee per adult which will give you access to the pools and the grounds. If you plan on sticking around for a meal after your swim, you can pay $8 which is consumable on food and drinks or $7 if you don’t think you’ll swim. If you’re bringing children, it’s $2.60 for entrance, $7 consumable including pool use or $6 without pool use.
OUR EXPERIENCE AT FOREST CAMP VALENCIA
The swimming pools at Forest Camp Valencia are the main attraction, bringing in visitors from all over the Philippines and abroad who have either heard about or seen photos of the incredible cascading pools. There are too many to count, scattered across the entire property, so you shouldn’t have to share with too many people even on the busiest of days. The water is chemical free, naturally filtered from the river that runs through the grounds.
For those who have travelled a long way, or even Dumaguete locals who are in need of a mountain escape, Forest Camp Valencia has a bunch of different accommodation options, from cabins for two to huge rooms that can fit up to 10 people. Couple rooms with aircon start at $40 a night, but since it’s a pretty comfortable temperature up there at night, you can get rooms without aircon for $34. Big rooms up to 10 are $91 with aircon and $81 without. Every room is native and natural, blending into the landscape without being an eyesore amongst the rainforest surroundings. You can check out their rooms or make an online booking here.
If you’re into camping, Forest Camp Valencia offers hammocking just about anywhere you can think to tie a hammock. You can set up between perfectly distanced trees throughout the grounds or rent out one of their hammock huts for protection from rain. You can hammock “free range” or use a hammock hut for 24 hours (9am – 9am) for $9, which includes Driftwood Local hammock rental. If you just want to hammock for the day while you make use of the grounds, you can set up from 9am – 6pm for $7. We decided to tie up our Driftwood hammocks by the pool next to the restaurant for an afternoon of hanging about. Pun 100% intended.
Our favourite thing at Forest Camp Valencia isn’t the pools or the accommodation, it’s the Pinaupong Chicken with a side of coconut curry rice. For $7.50 you can get the best chicken you’ve ever had in your life. Ever. For this recipe, a whole chicken is cooked for a couple hours in a concoction of spices until it falls off the bone at the touch of your fork. The potatoes, carrots and pineapple are a nice touch, and the coconut curry rice completes this perfect meal. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert, Forest Camp’s halo-halo is the first we’ve had served inside a fresh young coconut. It tastes as good as it looks.
GARDENS & GROUNDS
Forest Camp Valencia is big. This 5 hectare (12 acre) property is a jungle paradise complete with hanging bridges, kawa baths, picnic areas and a natural river running through the middle of it. Our friend Chucki gave us the tour of the entire property which had been passed down his family. We were surprised to learn that 70% of the lush rainforest was planted by Chucki’s dad years ago. Green thumbs and Instagrammers will love wandering through the gardens and snapping pics at every corner.
If you feel like getting sendy on a skateboard, Forest Camp Valencia is one of the few places in Negros Oriental where you’ll find a skatepark. This concrete bowl was created by a local skater/surfer friend of Chucki’s who designed it to imitate the feel of the surf at their local (and secret) surf spot. When there’s no swell, the surf crew turns to skating to fulfil their board sport cravings. If you want to give it a go, you can rent a board and helmet for $3 an hour.
With so much space, Forest Camp Valencia has seemingly endless places to chill with mates. Whether it’s over a game of pool or just a hangout sesh in one of the many native huts, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
At the back of the resort you’ll find a fully functioning farm that supplies the restaurant with most of their fresh produce, as well as goats, chickens, turkeys and more. They even grow their own Azolla which we had in our salad, but also serves as an organic, high in protein food for their farm animals. Anything that’s not used at the resort is sold at the local market to avoid wastage. This is also where they have their own sedimentation pond, where river water is channeled to sit and settle before being directed into the resort pools. Guests can visit the farm and feed the livestock and poultry for $0.50. Time it right and you might even get to cuddle a baby goat.
ROCK CLIMBING & ZIP LINING
Kids and kids at heart can have some fun rock climbing or zip lining 90 metres across the river and over to the pools on the other side. We skipped out on these activities, but we’re sure they’re heaps of fun. You can try rock climbing for $1 a climb or $2 for 3 and zip lining for $1 a ride or $2 for 3.
Forest Camp Valencia is so much more than a resort, it’s jam packed with activities for all ages and budgets and is one of our favourite places to just hang out and chill on a lazy afternoon. If you’re looking for a little more adventure in Valencia, Casaroro Falls is just up the road another 8 minutes and is the most famous waterfall near Dumaguete. You can check out our complete guide here to start planning your trip.