BAGUIO -- Hidden in the Benguet mountains is an outdoor "green living room" featuring 24 beautiful landscaped gardens inspired by the world's best.
Each garden at the 3-hectare mountain resort Mount Costa has a story to tell from the origin of life at the Inca Garden to the romance of Romeo and Juliet in the garden named after the ill-fated lovers.
There's a Zen Garden for those looking for place to contemplate and meditate. But the favorite of many visitors here is the Mirror Garden where they can take creative selfies.
“This is a place where one can take all the time they need to stroll and reflect,” said park designer Pat Acosta.
With 5,500 meters of walking trails, Mount Costa also boasts clean, crisp and fresh mountain air and tranquil surroundings for a glimpse of what Baguio used to be.
Aside from award-winning flowers from All America Selections, materials from rocks, twigs, sand, cement and pebbles to even strings and mirrors were artistically used to create the various gardens.
But while the aim of Mount Costa is for Filipinos "to get a taste of the best gardens in the world," Acosta said some landscape designs are actually original like the Spectrum Garden, which was designed by her daughter Vita who graduated with a degree in Fine Arts.
Acosta, a horticulturist, said this family property along the Pico-Lamtang Road in La Trinidad was bought in 1978 by their parents, Col. Voltaire Acosta and Cleotilde, to be developed as a strawberry farm. However, due to a virus that plagued the farm, this was discontinued.
It was sometime in 2015 when the Acostas, who are cousins of comedian and author Gary Lising, came up with idea of a
"green living room," which they feel will become a game-changer in the tourism landscape of the Cordillera.
“Mount Costa serves as Voltaire and Cleotilde’s legacy,” said Acosta.
The family hoped that the resort, which is located 30 minutes from Baguio, will bloom like the flowers of the Panagbenga Festival.
At the moment, only half of it is developed but the family is planning to expand with more garden designs.
Mount Costa, which has a soft opening entrance fee of P350, also has amenities like park benches, a playground, clean toilets, food kiosks and picnic tables. With the exception of baby food, food and beverages brought from outside are not allowed inside the gardens.
The grand launch of Mount Costa is scheduled in May.