The Story of Abucana Camp:
Life Lessons from Abu

In 1982, University of the Philippines Professor Martin Gregorio was leading a busy life in the fast-paced city of Manila. Then Secretary of the University and the Board of Regents as well as Officer-in-Charge of the UP Diliman Police Office, he found little respite from his multiple responsibilities—until he got hold of a quaint riverside property by way of a university colleague with roots in Ternate, Cavite, and thus discovered Barrio Bucana.

Barrio Bucana is where freshwater and saltwater meet. Quaint and quiet, it offered a place of rest and reconnection for Prof. Martin “Abu”, his wife Lucille, and their five children: Patrick, Allan, Cecile, Ryan, and Kristina. The esteemed professor loved its remote stillness and its warm, modest people, and scheduled regular trips to the Barrio with his family, friends, and colleagues.

Living in Bucana taught their children valuable lessons of mindfulness, generosity, humility, and kindness. They kept house as a family, shared in the household chores, and imbibed virtues of simplicity and compassion. They joined the barrio kids and fished in the river, embarked on forest hikes, and explored neighboring islands.

These experiences enriched the lives of Abu's family, and allowed them to rediscover simple wonders through a deep connection with the environment. They also built a genuine affinity with the local community, whom they embraced as their own family.

Over the years, Abu, Lucille, their children, and grandchildren established traditions within the barrio, the most meaningful being the annual gift-giving activity held every January, in memory of youngest daughter Tintin, who passed away in 2011 at 34 years old. The tradition continues to this day.

Before Abu passed away in 2016, he asked that the family’s traditions in Bucana continue. Hence, Patrick, the eldest child, and Augusto Leonardo Jr., Abu's brother-in-law, built the Abucana Camp as their way of keeping Abu's legacy alive and sharing his life lessons with others.

Nurturing "a life with simple needs and wants” in sharp contrast to the clutter and materialism of cosmopolitan urban life, Abucana Camp offers a transformative experience, especially for families with young children. During their stay at the camp, guests can immerse themselves in the daily rhythm of simple life with the local residents: fetching water from the “poso” (community artesian well), cooking rice in a clay pot, grilling newly caught fish from the nets, and exploring the riverbanks.

Abucana Camp is a sanctuary for stress liberation—a place where families could reconnect with nature, rediscover the joy of togetherness, spend quiet moments with each other, and learn timeless values that form the foundation of a meaningful life.

Our Commitment

At Abucana Camp, the story of Abu is relived. We are dedicated to preserving and sharing the values and practices he taught to our friends, and families, especially the younger generations.

In today's fast-paced and highly digitized world, we understand the importance of reconnecting with nature, fostering interpersonal relationships and instilling values that build and nurture character.

Step back or take a breather from a highly digital environment - when parents allow their kids to play with soil using their bare hands.

Gus Leonardo