We’d been invited to Los Baños, on the northern foot of the forested Mount Makiling, by a couple of friends for the weekend – leaving after church, a short 90 minute drive would give us plenty of time to enjoy the hot springs the area is known for before staying overnight and enjoying another day soaking in the springs.
Before arriving we’d imagined beautiful natural hot springs, a small pool – almost bubbling with heat – formed out of the rock, somewhere where you feel really connected to nature. We were wrong.
The hot springs are actually swimming pool resorts, each with a variety of pools heated to different degrees and a range of slides and aqua-park features depending on which resort you pick. Aha, swimming pools fed by hot springs, rather than the hot springs themselves! Don’t get me wrong, Splash Mountain resort was amazing and actually a perfect place to while away the day with two little boys. It’s just not what we’d pictured beforehand.
After checking out four resorts to find the best one we finally ended up at the first one we checked. Note to self: it’s like trying to find a restaurant in an unfamiliar town, the thought that there’ll be a nicer one just around the corner is not always right!
As it turned out, we did a lot less swimming than originally planned. An hour into our swimming and as we tucked into a poolside dinner, our friend started to complain of a heavy chest and difficulty breathing. With blood pressure raised alarmingly high, you know the evening is not going well when the normally laid-back nurse (our other friend) says we need to get him to the “Emergency Room” ASAP.
Setting off on what should have been 10-minute journey, it was clear when we hit Saturday night traffic it could take a lot longer. As our friends breathing grew increasingly difficult there was no option but to practice my emergency driving (thank you British Red Cross!). Not having the appropriate lights and siren, driving was made a bit more difficult by continuously flashing headlights with one hand whilst the other hammered the horn. But after pushing through on-coming traffic we finally reached A&E.
The next morning our friend was feeling a lot better and was able to be discharged – they just had to wait for the doctor to arrive from Manila in order to sign him out! So as they waited all day in hospital for the doctor we spent another couple of hours by the pool, found our first vegetarian restaurant in the Philippines, took a little hike up the mountain and listened to Kyron continuously ask, “When are we going to pick up uncle from hospital?”
All in all it turned into an exciting weekend – just not the way we had expected!