“Al fresco dining” takes on a decidedly different meaning at Fortuna Tropical Upland Resort, a newly-developed eco-tourism destination right in the heart of Socorro in Oriental Mindoro. Being primarily an agricultural town, Socorro is often skipped by both seasonal travelers and fellow Mindorenos in favor of the beaches in neighboring localities. But with the combined efforts of the local government and the DoT to resuscitate tourism, this once sleepy town slowly gains recognition for its natural wonders and undeniable rural charm.
Visitors who manage to endure the 30-minute challenging journey through rough terrains will be rewarded with a view of crystal clear river meandering amidst the rolling hills of La Fortuna. The river’s massive size provides opportunity for a number water activities – swimming and canoeing being the most popular choices.
Considered as one of the resort’s main attractions is the hanging bridge originally built to serve as an alternate path for mountain-dwelling locals to transport their agricultural produce. This has also proved its purpose as an escape route during monsoon season/ habagat, when water levels rise at an alarming rate forcing residents in the low-lying areas to evacuate.
Parked on one part of the river’s shallow ends are five raft houses, each with a capacity to hold a big group. These rafts tend to get booked faster than their land-based counterparts – and for good reason. After all, enjoying your favorite weekend grilled comforts on a floating bamboo raft completes the La Fortuna experience.
When the occasional dips, paddles, and terrifying bridge crossings get a little boring, well-trained local guides can take you further down the river into one of the two natural falls in the area. A trip to these falls requires long walks on an unsteady ground and a few river crossing. I personally wouldn’t recommend this for kids younger than 12 ½ years old. Ganun ka-specific?! Water depth is mostly shallow but the underwater current can be a bit of a challenge. Parang love. LOL. With an uneven, pebbled riverbed, you can easily lose a footing and get swept by the strong rapids. See? Parang love talaga! :p To ensure everyone’s safety, mandatory wearing of life vests among all participants (guides included) are strictly enforced.
La Fortuna is also home to a wealth of predominantly mountain tribes – the Hanunuo Mangyans – who make a regular appearance every Tuesdays converting the riverside into a huge agricultural bazaar. Their homegrown produce are being sold in this makeshift market at a fraction of the cost than what you will find in the town center.
Floating bamboo rafts, hanging bridge, nipa huts perched precariously on its hillside – this piece of wonderland has all the trimmings of a bucolic riverside village. For those who are going through the motions of fast-paced urban living, or if you’re just consumed by the sweltering summer heat, La Fortuna may be the temporary respite you need.
How to get there:
– From Metro Manila, take any Batangas Pier-bound bus or vans (Cubao, Pasay, or Alabang).
– Choose from a selection of fastcrafts (fastest), RORO (roll-on, roll-off) ships, or catamaran vessels bound for CALAPAN CITY once you’re in Batangas Pier.
– Upon arrival in Calapan Pier, take any Pinamalayan, Roxas, or Bulalacao-bound van or bus. Tell the driver to drop you off at the “triangle” in Socorro.
– From the town of Socorro, rent a motorbike/”single” or a tricycle and ask the driver to bring you to the Hanging Bridge in La Fortuna.
– Driving directions from Socorro: From the town proper, head northeast towards Bayuin and use the landmarks on the photo below:
a. Take a right when you see a waiting shed past Bayuin.
b. You know you’re on the right track when you see this sign. Continue navigating the single-lane road until you see the house in picture C.
c. There’s a road sign marked “to Fortuna Elementary School.” Make a right towards this school.
d. Once you reach the school, turn right. The resort’s about a minute from there.