This has been a year for land exploring and other unique adventures. With a long week holiday, we packed the Jimny and headed for yet another new destination. Donna is the wizard at finding interesting new places to explore.

A two hour expressway to one hour slow traffic city road then to a narrow winding route and diminishing road brought us to the entrance of Secret Haven. It is here we discovered we were not allowed to bring our own 4 wheel drive vehicle to the camp site and we shifted all our gear on to a rustic marvelous jeep conversion. The fee for this twenty-minute ride was 600pp.

Once arriving down the bumpy path, we came to the resort where cheerful staff, helped us schlep our gear to the tiny cabin we had reserved. We were welcomed by a bright eyed smiling young lady who clearly was in charge, Bebe. I would tell the owner how uniquely great she was. He clearly appreciated her and was sponsoring her return to schooling, good to hear.

 We paid the entrance fee and the refundable environmental fee and the 920pp for the cabin, all quite reasonable. The cabin description said, sleeps 2-3 and it did barely. Next time we will get the 6-7 person cabin. We enjoyed the nice veranda and the spectacular view. Our site also had a fire pit for out nightly bonfire. The staff brought us firewood and charcoal and drinking water, great service.

We all took relief from the heat and the long ride by jumping in the cool river. The river has quite a robust current, so the resort requires and provides life jackets for swimmers, a bit much for us but reasonable in a country where few people know how to swim.

That night we enjoyed a nice dinner, camp style and the oh so wonderful joy of sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows. I always say, sitting around a campfire, staring into the embers and looking up to a star filled night sky is one of the great simple albeit profound blessings of life.

I got to know the owner, Jay, a Filipino who had spent much of his life in the USA.  My first inquiry was about where the river route is, as this one was luring me to think of kayaking. We talked about a future trip with the river running included.  The interesting thing, in the morning the river was much lower and slower. Come to find out they dump water our of the upstream dam every afternoon for irrigation.

I was also curious about the forced use of the local transportation.  It is a rough road, likely more so when it rains but nothing my Jimny would not love to traverse. I learned there was a bit of a turf war over the road and the locals liked the income for the transportation.  Jay told me to contact him for the next trip and we can use another, bit longer road with our 4 wheeler. That will be fun!

Our second day Donna and Priam took a tour to the local cave, it goes quite deep. It is very close and a guide might not be really needed but again hiring them helps the local economy, so I did not begrudge the fee.

Our second night was a repeat, wonderful camp dinner, star lit night and the oh so spiritually lifting campfire. I showed Priam the Big Dipper and how to find north. We relished the imposed quiet time each evening, something other campsites miss.

 Again, the staff, directed by Bebe helped us pack our gear and load the truck. Up the bumpy hill we went in the antique jeep conversion, i.e. morphed together 4 wheel, compound low gear rig.

A big thank you to the resort staff, could not have been better, in the words of the great general, we shall return.


  1. Thanks a lot Brian for visiting THE SECRET HAVEN in Norzagaray, Bulacan! Cheers! Jordan here!

  2. Wonderful adventure and story. I am so glad you met the love of your life…actually the 2 loves Dona and Priam. You are one lucky farang hahahaha Such a gift to be able to explore and enjoy this with your family. hope to see you again on this side or in Subic Bay
    best always
    Harold G

  3. Hello Brian and Donna, I was both surprised and delighted to receive this new blog post. You sound happy and content with your life and filled with love for the people in your life. Btw, do you still have Furthur?


      Hi, thank you, yes we still have Furthur, but our usual cruising season was cut short by a battery failure. New Lithiums on the way then off we go.

  4. Brian, you sure have found your place in the world. Happy for you and your happiness, now as a husband and father.

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