For the past weeks, I’ve been mostly cooped up inside my room due to work, games and watching anime- and let’s not get started on how messed up my body clock has become because of them. In dire need of a getaway from the life of a shut-in, it was good timing my pals decided to go to Caliarya Mountain Lake Resort for a refresher. That, and a friend who manages the place also needed feedback on their services as they are fairly new despite being the largest among the multitude of resorts there. So yeah, here’s the gist of the trip!
MEET-UP AND TRAVEL DIRECTIONS
Our group met up at McDonald’s Filinvest along Marcos Hi-way around 8am and rode a shuttle we arranged especially for the occasion. There are four ways to go there:
1.) Antipolo Route – from Antipolo Church, make your way to E. Rodriguez Avenue along L. Sumulong Memorial Circle. Keep driving ahead and the main road will eventually change to Circumferential Road, Quezon Ave., Magsaysay Ave., J. Sumulong Road (Teresa), National Road, and then Manila East Road. Follow the path of Manila East Road until it becomes the National Highway. From there, it will be Lumban-Caliraya-Cavinti Road. From that point on, stay sharp and look for the big name of the resort on the sides.
2.) Taytay Route – Almost the same as the Antipolo route, only that you start at Ortigas Avenue Extension if you’re coming from around Cainta, Pasig, or Quezon City. Make a right turn to Manila East Road at the fork where going left will take you to Antipolo. At that point, just follow the Antipolo route accordingly.
3.) SLEX Route – “Take last exit to Calamba, turn right to Calamba Junction towards Los Banos all the way to Pagsanjan Church. Turn left passing through to Palacol Bridge going toward Barangay Bagong Silang and start ascend to Caliraya Lake.” (Source)
4.) Commute – “Take a ride at the Sta Cruz-bound bus of HM Transit on EDSA Cubao or Green Star on LRT/Taft Ave. The bus will go through South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and will exit at Calamba tollgate. Get off at the terminal in Pagsawitan, Sta. Cruz, Laguna then ride a jeepney with “Lumot” signboard. The Lumot-bound jeepney will take you directly to Lake Caliraya. (Source)
Do also check Google Maps for visual reference.
ARRIVAL / THE RESIDENCE
We took the Antipolo route and the entirety of the ride lasted around 3 hours. The only complain I’d have along the travel is that there were just too many continuous combos of twist and turns and ups and downs! It made me sick to my stomach, but thankfully we arrived before anything yucky happened. A companion mentioned the SLEX route may be more time consuming, but the travel is more comfortable. Maybe I’ll try that next time? Lol.
Upon arriving at the resort, we were immediately greeted with refreshments courtesy of our friend who works there. We roamed around as well as played billiards and darts in the Game Room as we waited for the others.
The Residence consists of the hotel rooms, spa area (massage, jacuzzi and sauna), La Cucina restaurant, Game Room, Karaoke Bar Lounge and the Pro Shop. We’ll get to the other areas later.
Resort Lobby Area / Restaurant Open Area
Resort Lobby Area / Restaurant Open Area
Overlooking from the restaurant’s open area are Mt. Banahaw and a vast mass of lush green lands.
Mt. Banahaw view with the adventure power couple! ;)
Vacant open area for further expansion of the resort
7,000 yard 18-hole Golf Course and Driving Range
LUNCH AT LA CUCINA
First order of business upon arriving: lunch of course! We can’t enjoy physical activities with an empty stomach, after all. Our group was taken to the indoor dining area of La Cucina where we were served with full set meals. Seats were really comfy, tables solid and sturdy, and the dishes and utensils were of high quality materials.
Indoor dining area / conference room capable of housing 60-80 persons
Here are a couple of dishes we ordered from the menu:
Fried Dori with Lemon
If one is to check other patrons of La Cucina who posted online reviews about it, you’ll almost always find high praises for the quality of their dishes- and they’re right! Being able to personally experience their food, I can vouch for the goodness and tastiness of them all! At least the ones we ordered a.k.a. the photos of the dishes above. Let me reiterate: both quality AND quantity are commendable. But who knows, there actually may be better dishes in their menu that we haven’t tried yet? Oh yes, there are! Come dinner time I’ll show them to you.
With our bellies filled and bodies in for a quick rest, we were escorted to the lower floor of The Residence that houses the hotel rooms as well as the spa area. Five of us stayed in one Family Room– a room that consists of 2 double beds, 1 single bed, TV, small refrigerator, centralized air-conditioning with remote control and a bathroom separated into three areas: tub, toilet and wash area. I must say the beds were uber-soft!
Hotel Rooms / Spa Area Lobby
Family Room (5-person sharing)
Deluxe Room (3-person sharing)
MARINA RESORT: OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
30 minutes past lunch, we were taken to Marina Resort via the resort’s van over a half-kilometer travel. This is where most of the outdoor activities happen. Scheduled to us on day 1 were Pasyal Boating, Fish Feeding and Bonfire. Here’s a summary of the activities offered at Marina Resort in case you want to know:
Lots to do indeed, and flexible for everyone! From the lone adventurer, to couples, school groups, up to big corporate divisions seeking to strengthen bonds with nature and comrades via these versatile activities.
Instead of staying in the hotel, you can also avail of their Nipa Huts for a more affordable price of P2,000. To save even more money, one can also bring their own tent and just pay for the tent space costing P600 per night.
Members, lot owners and hotel guests can use the resort’s amenities FREE OF CHARGE!
Nipa Huts, Obstacle Course and Marina Lake
Docking area for Pasyal Boating
A guide toured us to the many vast areas of Marina Resort and went Pasyal Boating after. Considering the little amount of time we have left for the day, we just postponed the other activities the next day.
30-40 minute Pasyal Boating along the vast lake
Mt. Banahaw view while Pasyal Boating
The swimming pool while the sun sets
As night fell, we went back to The Residence via the same van provided by the resort. Waiting for dinner, we just hanged around the open area and watched the sun set. We then went back to our rooms to tidy up.
Finally, dinner time has come! We ordered a different set of dishes so we can try most of the stuff in their menu. So far my favorites are Sizzling Sisig, Bulalo and Pinakbet- although then again, everything is good and yummy!
Yang Chow Fried Rice
Toge and Pork Liempo
Salt and Pepper Pork Spareribs
Beef Bulalo Soup (I was late when I took this photo so soup has already been tampered >.
Gelatin with Condensed Milk
After dinner and a cup of free coffee from the open lobby, we headed back to Marina Resort to have the traditional Bonfire. My friends and I also got to take a couple of nightscape photography in the area. Alas, I was too lazy to bring a tripod or remote-control for the shutter so we could only work with so little.
Bonfire area in mid-day. About 20 people can sit per Bonfire
Mich / Dekaphobe and her group. Check out her blog here!
The facilitator had a little trouble starting the fire since it rained not too long ago, but the wait was worth it. Everyone was there, sharing stories with one another while taking comfort from the heat in the cold night. One could say we only needed some booze and marshmallows on sticks and it would’ve been the perfect bonfire! I should take note of that the next time I come here hehe. We headed back to The Residence to spend the night.
Thus ends Day 1! Post for Day 2 where we have fun at the obstacle course coming right up!
MOUNTAIN LAKE RESORT AT CALIRAYA SPRINGS
East Talaongan, Cavinti, Laguna
Mobile No. 0998 555 8394 / 0998 989 3832 / 02 723 0781 loc 306
Business Hours: 7am-10pm