Ilocos Sur town hosts tourism paradise-but only for believers.
Atop a hill with a panoramic view of the Abra River lies a small village here that may soon be a tourism paradise-but only for people 'who believe.'
The MDP Village Retreat Resort at Barangay Rosario has been attracting a number of local and foreign visitors who seek existential peace, spiritual healing and rejuvenation.
Established in 2015, it has drawn a considerable number of city dwellers looking for enlightenment, said its founder and designer, Master Del Pe, known to students of 'advanced spirituality' as a 'guru of higher consciousness' and a modern sage.
MDP is the acronym of Master Del Pe, who was born here and who was a licensed mechanical engineer before he discovered 'a new path.'
Located at the heart of this Ilocano town, or approximately 369 kilometers from the Manila North Road and the North Luzon Expressway, MDP can be described as a local 'Switzerland' because it is situated at the crossroads of Mountain Province, Abra, La Union and Benguet.
Centuries ago, Cervantes attracted Christian missionaries, who settled here to put up schools and churches. European missionaries made this town 'a cradle for a more advanced education and spirituality,' Pe said, who cited the town's literacy rate of almost 100 percent.
Cervantes has steady supply of mineral water from the mountains, making it a sustainable community that grows its own vegetables and fruit trees.
'Healing and rejuvenation are acquired here through the therapeutic baths in our neighboring hot spring pools only a few minutes away,' Pe said.
'But this is not for everyone,' he added.
MDP is open to 'advanced souls' who need healing and nurturing, he said. It offers a package of services of up to P13,250 a day, and is equipped with private rooms, camp facilities and function halls ideal for team building activities.
It also provides lectures on social transformation. The rates are flexible for programs that promote the spirituality advocated by MDP.
From Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, MDP will host the International Convention on Higher Consciousness (ICHC) where more than a hundred 'visionary leaders, pioneer thinkers, philanthropists, social impact investors and humanitarians' are expected to attend.
'We aim to cultivate the ability to achieve a more balanced and enlightened life ... and equip our delegates with advanced tools to develop the conscience in entrepreneurship and wisdom in leadership,' Pe said.
He said the convention would provide philanthropists and donors with an arena to display 'the most advanced causes and best pioneering projects' for funding.
Joining Pe is a roster of international speakers including former University of the Philippines president Alfredo Pascual; Dr. Alfonso Lagaya, the first director-general of the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care; John Gage, co-founder of JavaOne and board member of the Human Needs Project; Warrior Films founder and producer Frederick Marx; and Mamadou Toure, founder of Africa 2.0 Foundation.