We were invited for a tripping at Pico de Loro to check out the ongoing construction of condo units and the Beach & Country Club. Not to be confused with Mt. Pico de Loro,a favorite of mountaineers, the Pico de Loro we went to was one of the 13 coves of white sand beaches of Hamilo Coast,envisioned to be an exclusive premier residential coastal destination in Nasugbu,Batangas. It boasts of clear waters,fine white sand and lush greens. Future residents of this exclusive property can go to Metro Manila via ferry that will dock at the Seaside Port of SM Mall of Asia.
Caleruega is a House of Prayer where groups, mostly students go for retreats or recollection. The Chapel of Transfiguration inside the compound is a favorite wedding site, and the mini-forest park and gardens is becoming a popular choice for pre-nup pictorials. Communing with God and nature at Caleruega will reinvigorate your soul and body.
This resort is actually for exclusive use of members but perhaps due to the global economic downturn, they've decided to open up to the public. As you enter the grounds, the road to the beach is lined with stylish and luxurious mansions with terrific views of the sea. These are private residences however and there are no public lodgings here; if you wish to spend the night nearby you'd have to go to another enclave 15 mins. further down the national road.
The beach is clean, unrocky and with near-white sand. There are cabanas around the infinity pool as well as on the beachfront, a restaurant (though the food is not that great), locker and shower rooms.
The cool climate of Mt. Batulao is a pleasant escape from the tropics. The moment you alight from the bus (Erjohn Bus) at the gate of Evercrest Golf Course – the jumpoff – you will feel the same coolness felt by the visitors of Tagaytay. And this temperature will be with you all the way. Batulao is the only mountain in Batangas where you can wear jackets at high noon. Thanks for the cool wind of Tagaytay! The trail is characterized by rolling hills covered mostly by cogon grass. There is no tree cover throughout the climb. On sunny days, this paradoxical blending of heat and cold, on dramatic, sometimes steep landscapes, with forceful winds that make the cogon grass dance, forming beautiful waveforms across the slopes, earns for Batulao the distinction of being the most spectacular of the mountains in Batangas.
At the peak, the rocky landscapes climax into beautiful formations. Set in the backdrop of the plains of Cavite and Batangas, the photos are excellent. Views include the peninsula of Calatagan (SE), the coastline of Nasugbu (W), Mt. Talamitam and Pico de Loro (WNW), the mountains of Maragondon, Cavite (N), the Tagaytay highlands (ENE), Taal Lake (E), behind it, Mt. Maculot (ESE), and the vast Balayan Bay (S). Here the breezes that menaced the assault are now a refreshment.
0400 ETD bus terminal in EDSA-Taft via Erjohn Bus to Nasugbu, Batangas (P97.00)
0715 Arrival at Evercrest Golf Course
0730 Start trek
0930 Arrival at Camp 1 (fee of P20.00)
1015 Arrival at Camp 8, commence summit assault
1100 Arrival at summit; lunch
1200 Start descent
1530 Back at Evercrest; clean-up at nearby sari-sari store
1600 ETD for Manila
Caleruega is a Dominican-owned spiritual retreat center far from the hustle and bustle of the city. Located in Brgy. Kaylaway in the highlands of Nasugbu, it has fantastic views of Mt. Batulao and the green rolling hills of Tuy and Nasugbu, Batangas. Its small chapel on the top of the hilly property is a favorite wedding venue. If you're a bride with a passion for the dramatic and romantic, start your wedding march from the fountain rotunda at the gate, hiking up a nice garden path for about a hundred meters, and arrive breathless (literally) to the chapel door which will be opened accompanied with the release of butterflies cunningly hidden by wedding coordinators in some corner somewhere. (That's what my sister did! Made good footage.) The groom and his crew have it easy; they simply wait at the altar.
Caleruega is not only known for hosting retreats and recolllecions. It also provides the venue where students/employees can camp on its rolling hills for team building. The panoramic view of Batulao Range, the beautiful lush greens and colorful flowers, the awesome skylight, and the quiet surroundings make Caleruega a perfect place.
You're in Nasugbu so have a dip in the beach or have a henna tatoo or tan. How about Jet Ski or Parasail or Banana Boat. Snorkelling, Sciba Diving, etc. Ok I admit it's not Boracay or Palawan but still it's a beach so you can still do any beach activity here.
Nasugbu is Known as a Party Town. Whether your in the Mountainous part of Nasugbu near Tagaytay or in the Golden Beaches and Resorts in the Lowlands, Partying and drinking is aa norm since Nasugbu is a place to unwind and do a litlle rest and recreation. Whatever brew you like, whatever bar chow you chose, Cheers!
Chateau Royale Resort in the Upper Part of Nasugbu Town near the border of Cavite Province is a good area for group activities. In the Complex, they offer paintball for group fun and we did paint ball for the heck of it. You pay 300 pesos a game plus 200 pesos for 20 pieces of paint bullets. The Objective is to capture the enemy flag or annihilate the enemy enmasse! in this activity, my team won!
09:00 : Meet at Crow Bus Station; at EDSA, Pasay (foot of MRT Station CHOWKING)
09:30 : ETD Evercrest, Nasugbu via Tagaytay (P114.00 per pax)
12:00 : ETA Evercrest
: Lunch at Ate Nena’s Carinderia;
13:00 : Tricycle to Bahayan Jump off (P30.00/pax,)
13:20 : ETA Jump Off, Get Guide, Stretch, start Trek
16:30 : ETA CAMP ONE, Pitch Tent, Freshen up (there’s a stream at the foot of the camp)
17:00 : Prepare for Dinner
18:30 : Dinner, socials
22:00 : LIGHTS OFF
05:45 : Wake, prepare breakfast
06:30 : Start Trek, assault summit
08:00 : ETA Summit, picture taking
08:15 : Descend to Camp One
09:45 : RTA Camp one, Break Camp
10:15 : Start Descend
12:00 : ETA Bahayan Jump Off, take tricycle
12:20 : LUNCH at Ate Nena’s, Freshen-up, showers P20 per pax
13:30 : POST CLIMB
14:15 : Board bus to manila (P114.00 per pax)
17:00 : ETA PASAY
I've been to Caleruega so many times. Barbie a.k.a. barbie_sunrise and Emkei a.k.a. missmarianne have also been to Caleruega...but we went together for bonding moments at Caleruega. We strolled in the gardens up to the hill beyond the hanging bridge until we discovered the new chapel being constructed. We had fun practicing photography and spent the rest of the time exchanging stories. We also bought a lot of tropical fruits like green mangoes, avocados and a banana variety called "arnibal".
(Note: More pictures in my travelogue.)
If you're looking for a beach resort for accomodation/day trip, going to the Nasugbu Tourism Information Center (NTIC) will make your search easier. You can get some brochures and referrals, and you can already make your shortlist before you go around and check out the places.
If the office is closed for lunch break of the staff, you can refer to a big billboard directory of resorts just beside the office.
Almost everytime we go to Caleruega, be it weekday or weekend, there is a wedding at the Chapel of Transfiguration. This has become a favorite wedding site, perhaps because the small but beautiful chapel is so perfect for small, intimate weddings. After the wedding, the newlyweds usually have their pictures taken infront of the chapel and at various sites in the beautifully landscaped garden.
The Chapel On The Hill looks like an unimpressive, unassuming gazebo-like structure when viewed from the road, and I wondered what made it a popular choice as wedding venue of celebrities. But as I ascended the stairs leading to the chapel, I experienced an unexplainable feeling of serenity and "blessedness" in the garden. Moreso when I entered the chapel. I marveled at its unique circular shape with glass panels offering a view of the sea and the valley. Looking up, I noticed its ceiling made of wood with simple but attractive design, and with light peeking through its glass windows.
Inside the Chapel On The Hill is a labyrinth (sacred circle of a single path leading to the center). I personally tried the labyrinth walk after reading the inscriptions at the entrance of the chapel, and I can truly say it is a "journey to inner peace".
For more pictures and narratives, please visit my Travelogue.
Me and my officemates decided to make quick trip to Caleruega since it's just a few minutes drive from Tagayatay.
If you want to experience serenity, this is the place. One has to keep silent while walking around the place, because it is a place designed for retreats, weddings and meditation.
I loved the church, though we were not able to enter it because there was a shceduled wedding that day. There are shrubs, trees, birds and flowers everywhere and the breeze felt like a lullabye making me drowsy. Below the church and the retreat houses is The Way of the Cross where people can just follow the trail and take pictures while praying, meditating or just simply breathing that fresh mountain air.
There's a cafe/restaurant there and some more areas that can cater to group retreats or weddings.