Nestled on a hilltop in the southernmost town of Occidental Mindoro, there is a hidden gem that has been drawing both locals and tourists. This gem is the Magsaysay Hillside Resort, a serene getaway located at Poblacion, Magsaysay that has become an essential part of the town’s economy and a favorite destination for those seeking relaxation and adventure.

The 4-hectare agricultural lot was originally intended to be just a holiday home for the family. Mrs. Letty and Mr. Carlito S. Miguel, the founders, were inspired by their passion for farming and hosting gatherings and eventually decided to open the place to the public in October 2001 and transform it into a full-scale resort as they continue to develop the land and add several facilities such as adult and kiddie pools, boutique rooms, a 600-sqm function hall, and an outdoor recreation area with a zipline.

The resort underwent major renovations in 2020 after the owner handed over management of the hotel to his only son. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the renovation process was put on hold for a year, but it was finally completed in March 2023. The result was a stunning resort that combined the best of traditional Filipino architecture with modern amenities and luxurious furnishings.

The resort now offers a variety of accommodation options, from cozy rooms in the main hotel building to spacious villas with private balconies. Each room is furnished with comfortable, modern amenities to ensure that guests have a relaxing and enjoyable stay.

The resort also added a range of activities to keep guests entertained. Aside from taking a dip in the pool, guests can also explore the resort’s extensive gardens and take in the breathtaking views from various lookout points around the property. For those who prefer a more active getaway, the resort now offers a variety of outdoor activities such as fruit and vegetable picking, fishing, an upgraded zipline, and wall climbing.

The resort’s open-air restaurant with overlooking views of paddy fields and lush forest is another highlight, serving delicious local cuisine that showcases the region’s unique flavors and ingredients. From fresh seafood to succulent meats and seasonal vegetables, the resort’s chefs use the freshest ingredients to create dishes that delight the senses.

One of the resort’s most notable features is its dedication to sustainability and the environment. In 2016, the Department of Trade and Industry assisted the Magsaysay Hillside Resort in adopting greening initiatives and practices through its project called Promotion for Green Economic Development (ProGED). The GED project assists green enterprises with technical assistance and capacity building, as well as access to financing and market opportunities. The project also facilitates collaborations between green enterprises and other green economy stakeholders such as suppliers, customers, and investors. The DTI hopes that promoting green economic development will not only promote sustainable economic growth but will also contribute to the country’s climate change and environmental sustainability goals.

Through DTI’s ProGED, the resort was able to obtain a loan to finance the installation of a solar power system for their main function hall. Furthermore, they have incorporated sustainable building materials and design practices such as natural ventilation and lighting, to reduce their energy consumption. Their newly-opened restaurant features alfresco dining, which eliminates the need for air conditioning, allowing guests to enjoy a cool breeze and sunset view while dining.

In addition, they have built a water reservoir/tank that serves as the main source of water for the resort, which reduces their water usage bill. They also have implemented waste management practices such as recycling and composting. The compost is then used as fertilizer for their farm, where they grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables for their restaurant. They only use locally sourced produce, thereby providing livelihood to local communities while reducing their carbon footprint. Furthermore, they are pleased to host a variety of trainings, seminars, and forums that promote sustainable and ecotourism practices, as well as environmental conservation.

Mr. Eugene Carlo Miguel, the new General Manager of Magsaysay Hillside Resort, emphasized that protecting the environment is not only a moral obligation but also essential to the business’s long-term viability. “By implementing greening practices, we save not only the environment, but also money as we have generated a substantial amount of savings in power, water, materials, and other resources. As a matter of fact, our solar panels saved our business operations when the entire province experienced the massive power outage that lasted for over 20 hours per day early this year,” he highlighted.

The Magsaysay Hillside Resort is a stunning testament that businesses that prioritize sustainability and environmental conservation are more likely to succeed in the long run. With its serene atmosphere, luxurious amenities, and commitment to sustainability, it is the perfect destination for anyone seeking a peaceful and rejuvenating getaway. ♦

Date of release: 14 September 2023