Born and raised in Bicol, the region in the Philippines commonly known to serve spicy foods and where the majestic Mayon Volcano stands proud and tall, I always wear my province as a badge of honor.
Whenever my workmates or friends ask my opinion about a good itinerary for their next long weekend get-away, somewhere that is still in Luzon, I never fail to recommend Bicol as a must-see destination.
Why wouldn’t I? Apart from the crystal clear waters of Caramoan Islands and the relaxing hot springs in Naga, there’s so much more to this low-key place that travellers would find deserving to visit. So, if you’ve been to those I have mentioned, or planning to visit them, allow me to share with you another admirable stop-over I discovered recently as I made a little expedition in the comfort of my own roots.
A place you may want to consider to maximize your experience!
Serenity, that’s the first word that came out of my mind on my 1st visit to Deer Farm in Camarines Sur. There, you can watch elements of nature in one landscape, introducing to you the simple life that is in the countryside.
Specifically situated in Brgy Sta. Cruz, Ocampo and at the foothill part of Mt. Isarog, the expansive 5-hectare land owned by the local government will satisfy your eyes with varieties of stags, does, and fawns ready to provide you company for your next instagram-worthy pictures.
Established in 1996, the farm originally housed 60 antlers of different Australian species. Now they have grown to hundreds, including those that died along the way due to climate adaptations.
“Beginning’s always the hardest”
As they say, because finding an optimal environment where the deers can actually thrive and survive required patience and commitment from the farm people. Good thing that they’ve finally learned their way around it, have managed to address the issues and to take good care of the herd intended for the venison market where the meat, skin, and matured antlers of deers will be manufactured as food, leather goods, medications and ornaments, respectively. I kinda felt sad upon hearing this, but I found comfort in knowing that the stewards are doing their best to look after the welfare of the locally breeded animals, to strictly abide with their ethical and humane slaughter, and to put their efforts in the pursuit of multiplying them in number.
Anyway, since the farm is open to the public, you don’t have to pay for any fee to enjoy the scenery and interaction with the deers. You will see them prancing and leaping in the refreshing grasslands for free! You can hold, hug, and feed them too provided that you have consulted the local farm people regarding the food you’re planning to give.
Additionally, if you want to have that christmas feels (especially now that the yuletide season is just around the corner) you may consider a drop-by to the deer farm and relive Rudolph, only without the red and glowing nose, in the backdrop of a breezy tropics. You may also find the nearby Hibiscus Camp at the top of Consocep mountain as a bonus to this quick detour because it will give you that “Baguio feels” so close that it was even coined “Little Baguio of Camarines Sur”. However, the place is privately owned and they ask for an entrance fee of 20 pesos (subject to change) for maintenance. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try and experience what places within the vicinity can offer!
How to get there? If you travel with your car, then waze is your friend. But if you decide to commute, you may want to take a minibus bound for San Jose, Goa, Tigaon, or Sagnay at the Naga City Bus Terminal. Tell the driver or the conductor to drop you off at the intersection of Ocampo in Brgy. Sta. Cruz a few kilometers after the Municipal Town Proper. From there, hail a motor rider or “habal-habal” to bring you to the Deer Farm since the roads through this route are too narrow. But don’t give in to an overpriced fare, negotiate properly with the driver and ask him to wait around because there is no means of transportation going back to the main road.
So there you have it, I hope you’ll enjoy your vacation in Bicol as I enjoy mine everytime I go back home. Before, I thought that sanctuaries of tranquility can only be found in the likes of Batanes or New Zealand that will cost me a fortune to see. Luckily, giving in to my curiosity, I was able to witness extraordinary sights that were offered in every part of Deer Farm! Sometimes we don’t have to look too far or cover great distances just to have that exhilarating feeling of going to places we have never been before. We just have to look around, enjoy wherever the blow of the wind takes us, and seize the moment while we’re at it. Who knows, we might discover inspiring places along the way that could change our lives forever! Travel well and see you in my next adventures!