Mention the word “Elyu” and the first thing that comes into people’s mind are the swells of San Juan. After all, it is the hippiest and the hottest place to be, on this side of Luzon with its waves, food, and festive nightlife. It is the province’s tourism draw at this time after having stayed in the sidelines for quite a while. But beyond the beers and cheers, we discovered a more subdued nature spot tucked along the hills of Pugo - Balay Mamboo.
Nestled along the slopes of the hills on the more rugged side of Elyu, Balay Mamboo is a homey enclave that is perfect for those looking for a tranquil spot to relax. It is about 3 hours away from Manila and about an hour away from San Juan or Baguio. This quaint resort can accommodate a maximum of 15 persons and has complete amenities - bedrooms, veranda, kitchen, a bonfire place, and a dipping pool for kids and adults. It is a great place where you can enjoy a slow weekend with good company.
Urban Detox Spot
Balay Mamboo is in the quaint town of Pugo so you can expect to enjoy a provincial kind of living. Apart from your internet connectivity, it is very far from the usual humdrum of the city. There is nothing much to do so you get to enjoy your me time or sharing stories with your family and/or friends. You get to watch the whole day pass and you get to choose what you want to do and when you want to do it.
You can go for a walk around town and enjoy the hustle of their market. You can choose to walk around and explore the area around Balay Mamboo. You can also choose to just take the time off and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the place. Bottomline, Balay Mamboo and Pugo slows you down. It gives you that needed break from the “noise”. You learn to appreciate a more laidback kind of living that you won’t get in the city.
Balay Mamboo was designed as a modern nipa hut. The second floor is a large living room/bedroom area that is open so air freely flows through the structure. The first floor is where you would find the kitchen and dining area. Adjacent to it are the veranda, the dipping pools, and the bonfire area. The best part of it is that the place is surrounded by lush greens which gives the place a tranquil vibe.
The place gives you the opportunity to commune and get re-energized by nature. You get to be serenaded to sleep by the nature’s evening sounds and you wake up to the lively chirping of birds. The fresh air and spring water pool gives you a refreshing break from the
usual chlorinated water and musky air of the city. You get to enjoy the sun with nature surrounding you. You get to feel, see, hear, and breathe in nature’s beauty and bounty at Balay Mamboo.
Balay Mamboo gives off a homey vibe. The design of the house opens opportunities to interact with your family and friends. You get to cook together, share meals, and even sleep together. You get to spend time chilling with your companions in a comfortable and relaxed ambiance.
You can also enjoy sharing stories while toasting marshmallows or enjoy a quick dip at the pool under the canopies. Since the place is tucked along the hills, you can enjoy laughing your hearts out or singing to your favorite songs from sundown to sun-up. You can share drinks while enjoying a round of games. Balay Mamboo is a great venue to make relationships stronger in a fun and relaxed vibe.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
Social media has been pivotal in bringing forward destinations that are interesting and worth exploring. This has been my case when I first came across Balay Mamboo in Pugo. It was a simple a tiktok post that I turned into a venue of a birthday celebration. It was a perfect spot that describes me in general - exploring, nature lover, chill, and loves to have fun.
Let me be clear, this is not a paid partnership. It is an honest review and part of my advocacy to promote destinations and spots that deserve to be highlighted. As a local traveler, it is not just about locations. It is also about small businesses that leave a smile on our faces. This was the first time that I celebrated my birthday out of the usual and Balay Mamboo gave me exactly what I was looking for - a fun and tranquil enclave away from home.
Getting there: You can contact Balay Mamboo through their Facebook page: Balay-Mamboo. The enclave is located along the national highway in Pugo La Union. You can go down at Brgy, Ambangonan at the road leading to the Ambangonan Elementary School where you can walk to Balay Mamboo. Alternatively, you can go down at the junction in Pugo and take a trike to Balay Mamboo. If you are bringing a car, you can use Waze for the direction.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.