It took us half a day to get to Cervantes, Ilocos Sur. We were welcomed to the North by strong rains, but the trip was pleasant enough. Cervantes is hidden away, surrounded by the Mountain Province and Benguet.
The road to town is long and winding, but the vistas are enchanting. Mountain ranges with trees and waterfalls greet you on the road. There are waterfalls on the side of the roads, a truly captivating sight. We are reminded of our trip to Baler, where we traversed the sides of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range in Aurora.
Going to town, a stop at the Bessang Pass Natural Monument is mandatory. The shrine is in a protected area near Candon, along the Tagudin-Cervantes-Sabangan Road. The monument commemorates the victory on June 14, 1945, of Filipino soldiers over the Imperial Japanese Army in the Battle of Bessang Pass. The decisive battle led to the surrender of the Japanese in World War II.
Cervantes itself sits in a valley surrounded by the Mountain Province. Our host, Master Del Pe, founder of the Institute of Higher Consciousness and a native of the town, notes that Sagada is just an hour away from the valley.
We stay in MDP Village, built by Del Pe to house the local arm of his organization. It is the site of an upcoming international event, the second International Convention on Higher Education (ICHC).
The event will be held Sept. 28-Oct. 1, and will gather leaders, thinkers, philanthropists, social impact investors, and humanitarians for a four-day retreat and convention.
“We aim to cultivate the ability to achieve a balanced and enlightened life,” says Del Pe, “and equip our delegates with advanced tools to develop conscience in entrepreneurship and wisdom in leadership.”
According to the organizers, “the retreat-convention will also provide benefactors and philanthropists with an arena to find the advanced causes and best pioneering projects to fund in an authentic and auspicious atmosphere.
Part of the proceeds of the 2nd ICHC will benefit six charitable nonprofit programs.”
The rooms in the resort-village offer an enchanting view of Cervantes and the surrounding mountains. The village boasts a 360-degree view of the Cordillera Mountains, while the mighty Abra River slices through the town.
To say that the view is picturesque is an understatement. Seeing so much green from your windows is enough to refresh your mind and body after the stress and pollution of the metro.
In MDP Village, one can recharge the body and soul with seminars and practical exercises developed by Del Pe himself. Del Pe is known internationally as a “guru of higher consciousness” and is lauded by many as a modern sage. The view is a perfect backdrop to the breathing and mental exercises presented by Del Pe.
After the seminar at the MDP Village, we went to a nearby natural hot spring. Clean and clear river water is pumped to a number of swimming pools, each with varying degrees of temperatures—from lukewarm to almost scalding hot.
The hot spring is another type of cleansing and, with the drizzling rain during our stay in Ilocos, is a welcome activity indeed. Steam rises from the water, and tourists and locals flock to enjoy the warmth in the cold weather.
After the visit to Ilocos Sur, we find ourselves missing the sights and clean air of Cervantes. We take comfort in the fact that the village is there, a piece of untouched paradise just a road trip away from the metro. —CONTRIBUTED
For inquiries on the 2nd International Convention on Higher Consciousness, visit www.ichc2018.org, e-mail [email protected] or call 09279561773, 09288432802 or +1-213-769-9669 for international calls.