The Philippine government has just declared the country on Alert Level 2 and everything has opened up. Tourism in the Philippines is reawakening! And it’s the perfect time to go exploring hidden gems in places close to Davao City. Since it’s the holiday season, we took the opportunity to take weekend trips with family and friends. Exclusive places like Secret Haven by Wine Woods Apo are perfect especially because we have kids in tow.
Having been cooped up for more than a year since COVID broke out, we wanted to be in the great outdoors and drink in the fresh mountain air. One of our friends invited us to their property in the highlands and we fell in love with Kapatagan, Davao del Sur.
Secret Haven by Wine Woods Apo
Kapatagan is just a mere two-hour drive south of Davao City. It’s right smack in Mt. Apo National Park and when the skies clear up, you can see the Apo’s peak quite clearly. Plenty of resorts have set up shop along the cliffsides of Kapatagan, all offering astounding views of Mt. Apo and its environs. Last weekend, our family was treated to an overnight stay at Secret Haven by Wine Woods Apo.
Secret Haven is an exclusive resort tucked away on a hill five minutes from the main resort Wine Woods Apo. We drove up the resort around 4PM, just as a sea of clouds started to envelop the surrounding area. It was a surreal and eerie experience at the same time.
We were a group of eight adults, two kids and two babies. We had the resort all to ourselves so we were free to roam around without masks. Secret Haven has three different accommodation types. My sister-in-law and her family took the main house with an outer room, bedroom and dining area.
My parents-in-law and two helpers took the glamping tents. We would have loved to stay in one of the fiberglass “tents” but they were too small for the four of us.
We took the green house perched on a cliff because it was the prettiest in my opinion. It had one room with two single beds and a fireplace and another room with one bed. The house had a deck with a lone pine tree and a hot tub. It was the most picturesque of all accommodations in Secret Haven.
It started to clear up at sunset so we were able to appreciate the place more. It was breathtaking. I was expecting only solar powered lights but the place had electricity. We could also see other spots in the surrounding hills with bright lights. We could even catch a strong LTE signal in some parts of the resort.
Our chef and butler served dinner in the elegant dining area. It was a sumptuous feast of grilled meat, fish, and other seafood. There was also a hotpot which we thoroughly enjoyed because it was freezing.
Thankfully, the staff setup a bonfire in the open area just as we were finishing dinner. The heat drew everyone in and the kids were so fascinated! My toddler was so excited to see a raging fire for the first time. Secret Haven looked really pretty at night!
We were all exhausted from the drive up so we decided to call it an early night. Everyone retired to their respective rooms when the bonfire died down. We would have loved to use the fireplace in our room but I was worried about the kids inhaling ashes so we decided against it. It would have been lovely though.
I woke up really early for the sunrise. I knew it would be beautiful because we were facing east and I was rewarded by a breathtaking view! We could see Mt. Apo’s peak so clearly from our deck and on the opposite side, quite far away, was Mt. Matutum’s peak, peeking through a sea of clouds.
By breakfast time, the fog has cleared and we got even better views. The adults started taking photos while the little ones ran around, exploring and appreciating the wide open space. Breakfast was an amazing spread served alfresco, with Mt. Apo as our backdrop.
We could not leave the place without trying the hot tub! Secret Haven’s hot tub experience involved water mixed with Wine Woods Apo’s famous fruit wine, hence the pink hue. The kids were giddy with excitement to get in the water so the adults had to give way. They looked so happy splashing around.
We had a really fun time bonding with family. It was literally a breath of fresh air to be out of the house and feel the heat of the sun on our skin. Here are some more photos of our family enjoying the glorious sunshine:
Secret Haven by Wine Woods Apo is quite a popular hideaway but the exclusivity does come with a cost. An overnight stay for 10 people costs PhP25,000 (about $500). Guests enjoy the following exclusive privileges:
- Comfortable accommodations
- Welcome snacks upon checkin at Wine Woods Apo
- A bottle of Wine Woods Apo’s tropical fruit wine
- Flowing coffee and tea
- A basket of fresh Kapatagan vegetable produce
- Fresh fruits
- Grilling dinner party with chef
- Grazing breakfast
- Fireplace setup
- Basic toiletries
- Personalized butler service
Guests of Secret Haven get free access to nearby Wine Woods Apo. The resort comfortably sleeps 10 people but it can accommodate more. In excess of 10 guests, you must pay PhP1000 ($20) per head and this should cover tent accommodations plus meals. Check in is at 3PM and check out is 12PM.
Secret Haven by Wine Woods Apo operates on a book and buy system since their calendars are almost always full. To reserve your stay, you must pay at least 50% of the overnight rate within 24 hours of date confirmation. We recommend booking weeks in advance if you have a specific date in mind. Otherwise, just wing it and go whenever there’s an open slot.
You may contact them through their Facebook Page.
Nearby Places to Explore
You have a plethora of places to explore in this area of Kapatagan, Davao del Sur. If you are a guest at Secret Haven, you may explore Wine Woods Apo and enjoy unlimited coffee within the resort. They also have a wine bar, a buffet restaurant and some overnight accommodations.
Here are some other places to visit in Kapatagan:
- Camp Sabros
- Dhen Yho’s
- Wako-Wako Mountain Resort
- Montefrio Garden Resort
- Agong House
- Benrose Park
Thoughts on Pandemic Travel
If you asked me a year ago if I would dare travel with my kids, I would have given you a BIG NO. But now that Davao has achieved herd immunity (based on 70% of the local population being vaccinated), my fears are easing up. The COVID situation in the Mindanao seems to be looking up and we’re definitely taking advantage. Going to the malls may still be a no-no for us but we’re always thinking of exploring the great outdoors, camping and just breathing without masks outside of our homes.
We’ll see you on our next adventure!