Nasuli Spring is little green gem lying just a few minutes’ drive from Malaybalay City in Bukidnon. Wifey and I were brought here by our friend Marc Reyes’ dad, right after our long bus ride from Davao City. I was dying for a swim, but one sight of the glorious afternoon light playing on these limpid waters made me forget all about that.
The spring lies on land that formerly hosted an American mission and school. Its current owners turned the place into a resort, and it is one of the most popular destinations around Malaybalay; very cheap too – if they charged us an entrance fee, it was a pittance. The spring itself is surrounded by forest on all sides, and when there are few people about it’s a great place to watch birds and small reptiles. The deepest end lies near the entrance, deep enough that diving in from a height is still safe. The bottom then slopes up, through thick emerald tangles of waterweeds where I could see little freshwater shrimp and fish, to the shallow spillway into a local stream.
The combination of ultra-clear water and the intense green of both the surrounding forest and the water weeds growing within give the pool an unbelievable emerald color in the afternoon, nicely touched with gold highlights. It’s a refreshing retreat from the heat and dust of a long working day or overland trip. However, I think the owners of Nasuli Spring could be more careful with their property. Bathers often soap and shampoo themselves right in the pool, which I’m sure does the water quality no good. Let too many people do this, and Nasuli’s crystalline clarity, its greatest attraction, could be lost.
In a way Nasuli Spring is a microcosm of the Philippine travel scene’s great quandary. Our islands are incredibly rich in beautiful, I could even say one of a kind natural wonders. But sometimes I wonder at the wisdom of sharing these locations with others, as we can’t seem to take proper care of our resources. Locals can always use the tourism money. But we have to learn how to do it without killing the golden – or in this case, the emerald – goose.