Pampanga’s newest tourist destination is an environment-friendly resort.
About two hours’ drive from Manila, Green Canyon Resort is located in the Clark Freeport Zone. It is a lush property overlooking mountains and the Sacobia River. It has a boutique hotel, wave pool and an organic-theme restaurant.
The resort’s “open layout” allows a sprawling view of unspoiled nature. Green Canyon brand manager Abel José notes how guests enjoy a green vista from all directions.
“We also kept everything green by developing and building the resort using sustainable techniques and materials,” he adds.
Showing us around the property, Abel says that before his family started developing Green Canyon, it was a warehouse for construction supplies.
When it was decided to transform the place into a resort, old materials in the original warehouse were put to good use.
Green Canyon’s interiors are made of upcycled materials, with a lot of wood and steel. Nothing is too polished or fancy. The hotel’s centerpiece, for instance, is a chandelier made of construction iron and used wine bottles.
The rough industrial elements produce a rustic vibe.
The 60-room boutique hotel has rooms classified into Presidential Suite, Grand Suite, Suite Deluxe, Superior and Standard. Each room has wide windows that let natural light in, complemented by “eco-art” pieces by the artist and Abel’s brother, Niccolo José.
Niccolo is known for functional sculptures made of fired and treated wood, tables and chairs, and frames of what he calls “wooden paintings.”
“I started making furniture years ago because I didn’t have a bed,” Niccolo recalls, laughing. “We had lots of ‘rescued’ wood lying around so I made my own bed, and then created doors, tables, chairs and stools.”
Part of Green Canyon’s 29-hectare land area is dedicated to organic farming. The harvest is used as ingredients for dishes served in Palette, the resort’s Asian-fusion restaurant.
Served as lunch appetizers were crunchy sweet potato chips with aioli dip and sinfully good crackling chicharon with atsara.
The salad bar had pako or fiddle-head fern and a slew of organic greens and veggies.
Mains were dark chicken inasal, slow-cooked beef kaldereta, spicy butter-garlic shrimp, mixed veggies and annatto rice.
Desserts included fresh and sweet mangoes and watermelon.
For a bit of buzz, one may have cocktails at The Shed, the poolside bar.
For light bites, there’s Boulder’s Lounge, which has an expansive view of boulders—perhaps for really rocking selfies?
There is no beach, but one can swim in the Wave Pool which produces mechanical waves. For chilling, there’s the Symphony pool, a plunge pool. Massages can also be had in the poolside cabanas.
The rooms are nice and make the most out of the greenery. Cross the hanging bridge and see the river. Go on guided hiking tours and ride ATVs. Go camping. Or just get some fresh air and run with a buddy.
Feeling artsy? Attend woodwork classes by Niccolo. (His works in the resort are for sale.)
Abel says families and couples from Manila and neighboring provinces can book rooms at Green Canyon when it opens later this year.
The place is also an ideal venue for weddings and pre-nup shoots. There’s even a bench under a “proposal” tree believed to be an auspicious area for guys who would like to pop the question.
There are function rooms for exhibits, team-building seminars, conferences and corporate events.
“Pampanga is a growing tourism center and Green Canyon is a destination near Manila that offers nature and adventure,” says Abel, whose favorite cool drink—the lightly sweetened Choc-nut smoothie topped with whipped cream served in mason jar—makes nature-tripping extra relaxing.
Green Canyon is at San Vicente Road, Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga. Call 45-4994887, 45-4994800; e-mail [email protected]; visit www.greencanyon.com.ph.