Brilliant Sunshine

It's just me, thinking out loud

A Southern Weekend

on March 1, 2010

While most people flocked the north to join the celebration of Panagbenga Festival in Baguio last weekend, me and three of my friends decided to visit the the South for some stress buster.

We left Makati at around 8AM for our first destination, Caleruega. Closer to Nature, Closer to God is Caleruega’s tagline. It’s name is a tribute to the birthplace in Spain of St. Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers (Dominican Order). Located in Batulao, Nasugbo, Batangas, just a one hour and a half drive from Makati thus, it has become a famous destination for roadtrips. It is also a popular venue for spiritual retreats, as the place is fully equipped with facilities for such events and of course a favorite venue for weddings. Upon entering the facility, you can feel the calmness of the place, brought about by the lush greens surrounding the place and beautiful structures.

Notice that the staircase is shaped liked an ovary which is symbolic of the womb from which life springs forth. This can be found in the entrance of the main building.

Underneath the staircase is a koi pond.

When you exit the building on its right side you’ll be greeted by:

The statue of St. Dominic, since the place is founded by the Dominicans.

You’ll really feel closer to nature with all the lush greeneries that abound the place. You’ll feel peaceful and refreshed. Here are some of the pictures:

Now here’s the main attraction of the place, The Transfiguration Chapel.

The pathway leading to the chapel has its own story to tell that is, the easy against the hard way to reach Christ.

As mentioned, Caleruega is in Batulao which is a combination of two words, “bato” and “ilao”, so to translate, “Light hitting the rock” is perfectly depicted in this picture. Also, the place is built following the natural contour of the location. Thanks to the brilliant design by Architect and Environmental Planner Yolanda Reyes.

Inside the Chapel:

After praying, we proceeded to the Station of the Cross.

The stations were illustrated in wood carvings such as this. It will eventually lead you to the hanging bridge where your eyes will feast with the lush greeneries.

After crossing the hanging bridge, we decided to leave and proceed to our next destination, Chapel on the Hill which is along the way to Caleruega. Notice that we didn’t went to the Rosary Garden because we’re tired and so that we’ll have something new to see when we decide to come back. Yes, I think we’re coming back.

This chapel is also a popular place for weddings because of its location, it’s literally on the hill and it’s just in front of Evercrest hotel where reception can follow afterwards.

Inside the church is “The Labyrinth”, a journey to God. But when we came, there are chairs in the middle so we weren’t able to see the whole labyrinth.

These are the scenic views around the place:

It’s already lunch time so we head on to our next destination for a sit down eat-all-you-can lunch at the popular, Sonya’s Garden.

We enjoyed the meal, the fresh veggies and fruits, the pasta and even the dessert. We really ate a lot but we don’t feel any guilt at all since the food are really healthy.

Afterwards, we went around for a walk and took some more pictures.

The door above is their Spa but due to time and budget constraints we didn’t avail of their services.

They also sell some of the herbs they are using.

After a sumptous lunch we went to People’s Park in the Sky. Apart from the fresh air and the scenery, I can’t find anything else worth the trip. As most people know, the place was supposed to be a summer house for the Marcoses but obviously the construction remained on it’s unfinished state. If only the place will be cleaner and the unfinished construction will be put into a better use, the place will surely be a tourist magnet.

So to make a good use of our time, we just prayed in the shrine before proceeding to our next destination.

For our last stop, we went to Picnic Grove.

We rode the cable car ‘though we find it too pricey for P300 per person but for curiosity sake and for the lack of anything else to do we still gave in.

We also tried horse back riding for P200, it’s a bit pricey as well but considering the maintenance of the horses, it’s not that bad.

I wasn’t really expecting that much on the place but I still think that a lot of improvements can still be done in this area.

So after, a less than an hour of horseback riding we decided to get back to Manila.

Overall, I enjoyed the trip since I’m with my friends. It was an enjoyable experience, to be closer to nature and to break away from the usual sights of skyscrapers. The trip was a stress reliever 🙂


One response to “A Southern Weekend

  1. maverick1966 says:

    Beautiful pics. Check out mine

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