The demands and the fast pace of living in this modern society have resulted to people adapting a dangerously unhealthy lifestyle. We eat unhealthy food and drinks, exercise infrequently, work too much, rest inadequately, or drown ourselves in stress. No wonder there is an alarming increase of the number of people being afflicted with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and other health-related ailments.
Outpax, our partner in outdoor adventures, recognizes the dire need for people to get back on track to a positive and healthy lifestyle. To address this need, they organized a series of fun and educational HealthCamps that allow participants to learn and practice healthy living while enjoying the beauty of Mother Nature’s treasures. We were quite honored to be invited in one of these HealthCamps.
The eager participants of this event met at Handuraw in Lahug, Cebu where a farmer’s market was being held. After a short briefing about the event, we boarded the two chartered vans that took us to our destination in the municipality of Moalboal, 90 kilometers away from Metro Cebu.
Along the way, we stopped by at the Cebu Southern Ecological Farm in Naga City, Cebu. Privately owned by chemical-engineer-turned-farmer Eng’r. Gloria Pocot, this place is a prime example of eco-friendly and sustainable farming. We published a separate post about this special place and the interesting knowledge that we acquired during our visit.
At around 7PM and after riding through an almost invisible dirt road, we arrived at our destination, the remote Tuble Marine Sanctuary, which is several miles off the main highway. Far away from pollution, noise, traffic, and the conveniences of urban life, the place was perfect for a health camp.
We pitched our tents, and commenced HealthCamp’s agenda.
Healthy Gourmet Cooking Contest
You don’t have to settle for unhealthy, bland, and unpalatable dried or canned food in the outdoors. With proper preparation and a bit of creativity, you can prepare sumptuous meals worthy of being in a 5-star restaurant’s menu.
Six teams of highly creative outdoorspeople showed us how to whip up mouthwatering and healthy outdoor meals. They were given 45 minutes to cook dishes that were made of nutritious ingredients. Team Sweetie, Audrey and Lauri, a foreigner visitor, were tasked to judge the taste of the dish as well as its visual appeal, kitchen preparation, and oral presentation.
We tell you, the gourmet dishes were so delicious and well-made that we had a very hard time choosing the winners. We would have wanted to let everyone win!
Just check out how organized these teams are. Even in the outdoors, effective organization is a must to make cooking more time- and fuel-efficient.
We bet you want to check out these dishes, would you? Well, we were so lucky to have tasted all these culinary masterpieces.
Team 1 prepared a sumptuous Tuna Pasta Special and a fruit salad side dish. The tuna topping makes the pasta light and pleasant. Honey-glazed eggplant slices that act as garnishes make a perfect compliment to the pasta.
Team 2 prepared a healthy and crunchy Bitter Gourd Ensalada. Personally, I’m not a fan of bitter gourd (ampalaya). But after I tasted this surprisingly filling vegetarian dish, I went back for seconds! It has the right amount of saltiness and bitterness blended together with a bit of spice. This was my personal favorite during this culinary contest.
Team 3 created a delightfully tasty Organic Caramelized Apple Mayo with Rolled Lettuce Salad and Cheese. It is heavenly sweet and is surprisingly refreshing. This goes very well with cold lemonade or hot kalamansi-honey tea.
You wouldn’t expect to taste authentic-tasting Italian pasta in the mountains. But Team 4 prepared this amazing Everyday Pasta with Tomato; the combination of herbs and spices with potatoes as a side perfectly captured the taste of Italy. Ah, Venice! By the way, this duo’s kitchen efficiency is jaw-dropping!
A lot of children avoid vegetables like the plague. But not this one! Team 5 made a colorful and vibrant Sizzling Mixed Vegetable dish. The hues of chunky carrots and greens, the buttery sauce, and the sizzle all blend perfectly well together in one healthy, delightful, and fun dish.
Last but not the least, Team 6 cooked a very Filipino Summer Chicken with Mixed Vegetables. We think this is the Philippine version of ratatouille, and it’s absolutely delicious!
After giving our judge sheets to the executive committee, it was time for dinner! Everyone cooked their meals and placed them on the common “table.” Attack!
After a very filling shared dinner, it was time to socialize with the other campers. But unlike others who drink alcoholic beverages to while away the night, we gathered around a bonfire (check out the carefully arranged firewood and designated fire pit) and roasted marshmallows. Perfect!
Yoga by the Beach
The radiance of the rising sun is always refreshing and mesmerizing to behold. It is Mother Nature’s way to tell us to get up, shake the drowsiness, and prepare for another beautiful day.
Peace of mind, balance, tranquility, and strength. Theodore Salas III, instructor of Yoga Hub, led the HealthCamp participants in an early-morning yoga session. Yoga attunes the body, mind, and spirit to the natural world. It heals and rejuvenate the body in a safe, enjoyable, and holistic way.
Stretch your body! This Indian health and spiritual discipline greatly improves flexibility, balance, and strength. Oh, do you know that yoga may lessen the risk factors and help in the psychological healing process of cancer patients?
While the participants started their cool-down exercises, I headed out to the shore to capture magnificent early-morning views of the sea. This is the Tuble Marine Sanctuary, a large protected area along the coastline of Moalboal. While it may not be as popular as the other dive sites around Moalboal, it is definitely one of the best sanctuaries we’ve ever seen. We will show you a few underwater photos in a while.
After the hour-long yoga session, it was time to prepare and eat breakfast before the morning sun scorches the campsite. But the real reason was that everyone was excited to dip in the cool waters of the sanctuary.
Swimming and Bonding
Breakfast done? Yes! It was time to head out to the sea and swim towards the kantil of the sanctuary. Swimming is actually one of the best exercises that you can do. It is a full-body workout that lessens fat, tones your muscles, improves cardio-vascular performance, and more.
Behold the impressive Tuble Marine Sanctuary! This is at the kantil, and you can see how rich the corals are. Scuba divers from Moalboal often stop by here and swim along the kantil’s wall to check out the huge variety of fish, shrimps, mollusks, corals, marine plants, and sea turtles. We hope to dive here one day.
A rich collection of soft- and hard-bodied corals line up the reef. And that’s just around 10 feet below the surface of the water! We are confident that the officials of Tuble will keep this sanctuary healthy, rich, and alive for many generations to come.
Here are some of the more unusually shaped corals that we found. Isn’t the underwater world amazing?
That’s Outpax’s dynamic and innovative founder Eric Tuñacao and his son playing together at the beach. Mother Nature has numerous perfect places where people can truly share a great bond with their friends and loved ones.
After a fun morning of swimming and snorkeling, we heard a call from one of the Outpax’s HealthCamp committee members. It was almost lunchtime! But first, we gathered together for the revelation of winners of the Healthy Gourmet Cooking Challenge. Team 3 bagged the first prize, but for all judges, all teams are winners.
Outpax also gave out cool raffle prizes. We won a PLDT diary and an egg holder, which is very handy for our outdoor adventures.
Lunchtime! Earlier, a local spear fisher caught a large tuna and sold it to us. The Outpax team bought the fish and prepared it sutukil style (sugba, grilled; tuwa, stewed; and kilaw; eaten raw). The tuna’s liver was cooked adobo style. The team did an awesome job in preparing a traditional, healthy, and mouthwatering noontime meal.
Overall, this HealthCamp was a resounding success. The event opened our eyes to the intricacies, challenges, and benefits of eco-friendly farming. The team proved that delicious and healthy dishes can be prepared everywhere. Everyone experienced the rejuvenating events of yoga. And of course, everyone was able to enjoy the camaraderie of people who share the same passion in the outdoors as well as the advocacy of promoting a healthy, positive lifestyle.
(Cover photo credit: Dan Leo Plaza)
This event is powered and organized by Outpax.
For more information and details on Outpax HealthCamps, get in touch with Eric Tuñacao (OutPax) at 0922-7721552. You can also send him a personal message on Facebook.
Check out other exciting events and communicate with other outdoorspeople by visiting the Outpax Facebook Page.