Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mountain Lake Resort at Caliraya Springs

Where To Stay In Caliraya

I’m too old for obstacle course!

After an hour, there I was, struggling with my balance, coordination and flexibility on Mountain Lake Resort’s advanced in-water obstacle course. And then I heard someone shouting, Gusto mo ‘yan eh ‘di ba?

It was early Saturday morning when some group of nine eccentric bloggers met up at HM Transport Bus Terminal in Cubao for a weekend full of fun and adventures. Everyone seemed to be hyped up with the day’s activities. The group boarded a Sta.Cruz-bound bus (150 pesos) and after 2 ½ hours we arrived at Pagsanjan, Laguna then boarded a tricycle (60 pesos each) that brought us to Caliraya Springs in Cavinti, still, in Laguna.

We were then collected by the resort’s shuttle van and brought us to Caliraya Springs’ Clubhouse.

Caliraya Springs

There’s this old-fashioned feel when we stepped into the Clubhouse. The huge pillars on the veranda perfectly framed the nice view of Lake Caliraya and the Sierra Madre Mountain Range

A man came and told us that it’s time for our first activity, duck feeding it is.

Passing through the perfectly manicured lawn (driving range), we went to the pond where the ducks were. The ducks seemed to be in their best show-off mood and followed us everywhere (or maybe because we brought their lunch that day) and eventually feasted on the pellets we scattered. It was fun seeing them wiggle their bums to the feeding area.

Caliraya Springs Laguna
lesgow ducks!
The next day, we were off for a great golfing adventure, my first, by the way. This is the only golf course in the Philippines that incorporated a lake in its design (designed by the golf legend and course designer Arnold Palmer). Boarding four golf carts in total, the group headed for a quick and fun tour around the Golf Course.

We went around the 9-hole and the 18-hole courses of the resort. I heard that this is a haven for golf enthusiasts and is frequented by foreign guests. Sunsets are also amazing on these courses and if I were a golfer, I’d probably spend more hours calculating my shot (if that’s how you call it in golfing terms) just to savor that sunset moment.

Caliraya Springs Laguna

Caliraya Springs Laguna

After the golf course tour, we headed to the Driving Range to show off our swinging prowess. I have limited understanding about the game itself and all I know is that you have to swing and hit the ball and walk and think and repeat everything until you reach the hole. Whew.

As always, I volunteered to try it out first (and then I remembered the same moment when I first tried shooting in Sulu). The drive is probably the most crucial part in any game of golf (I’m speaking like a pro here eh?). With the help of some great staff, they taught us the basics on swinging and how-to-not-lose-your-patience when trying to hit the ball.

Caliraya Springs Laguna
I'm gonna miss this, I'm pretty sure
After hitting and missing the balls, I gave up and gave the club to the others. Golfing tends to show the most impatient side of me. I just contented myself in watching and cheering as they hit hard and let the balls glide through the air. They’re just so great. I just sat and watched and kick pick some balls.

After golfing, the group tried the Parallel and Tandem Bikes. The parallel bike was so cool and scary at the same time, the one in front controls everything while the back rider can just sit and relax.

Caliraya Springs Laguna

We also checked out the Caliraya Springs’ hotel accommodations. The Residence Hotel, which usually caters to golf enthusiasts, is located at the bottom part of the Clubhouse. They have Standard Room (2 single bed), Deluxe room (1 single bed and 1 double bed), Superior room (2 double bed) and Family room (1 single bed and 2 double bed) – check rates here

All of the rooms have complimentary breakfast, complimentary bottled water, private hot and cold shower, bath tub, television with cable channels and mini refrigerator. The Residence Hotel also has its own sauna and massage services.

Residence Hotel Caliraya Springs Laguna

Residence Hotel Caliraya Springs Laguna
Standard room
And then our favorite spot inside the Clubhouse, the La Cucina De Caliraya Restaurant (La Cucina). The La Cucina has three dining options; the Banahaw room, the Karaoke room and the Veranda.

I dunno where to start so let’s just simply put it this way, La Cucina never failed to surprise and amaze us with all of our meals. From our very first lunch down to the next day’s snacks before we depart, every dish was delish. Lemme do a rundown for you.

We immediately had lunch at the Banahaw room when we arrived. We had Misua soup, Grilled Dory with Bonito/Unagi sauce (freshly caught from the lake), Special Pinakbet, Sizzling Pork Sisig, steamed rice and buko pandan for dessert. I love the Grilled Dory and the tasty sauce but the crispy and yummy sisig just won my heart, truly remarkable.

Caliraya Springs Laguna Food
Grilled Dory with Bonito/Unagi sauce
Caliraya Springs Laguna Food
Yummy Sizzling Pork Sisig
Our dinner was served in the Marina area. We had Beef Bulalo Soup, Hainanese Chicken, Special Chop Suey, Yang Chow fried rice and some fresh watermelon for dessert. Well, again, everything was yummy that we almost finished everything but the Beef Bulalo just stood out from the rest. The tender and juicy beef was just melting in our mouths. And I’m not exaggerating here.

Caliraya Springs Laguna Food
Beef Bulalo Soup
Our breakfast the next morning was at the Banahaw room. We had some vegetable salad, Egg drop soup and a platter of garlic rice, fried egg, Lucban longganisa, Fried Bangus and Caliraya Beef Tapa. And again, everything was yummy.

Caliraya Springs Laguna Food
Our breakfast platter!
We also had Pancit Bihon and Ham and Egg sandwiches for snacks. Both, again, were so delicious and tasty (I’m running out of words here).

Caliraya Springs Laguna Food
Pancit Bihon
And for the lunch on our last day, which we had at the Marina, we feasted on Sinigang na Baboy, Savory Fried Chicken, Stir-fried vegetables and Crispy Pata. I finished the Crispy Pata up to the bones in no time and forgot about the other dishes, need I say more?

Caliraya Springs Laguna Food
Crispy Pata
The food choices and the presentation at La Cucina are excellent. And the taste? Oh, thank goodness I’m no food blogger for I would’ve made a separate blog series featuring all of their dishes. It was that good. And then we requested a meet-up with the chef, he obliged. We commended Mr. Noryl Aril for feeding us yummy food every time, applauses and cheers went on for seconds (we’re that in love with his dishes).

Caliraya Springs Laguna Food
claps claps to Mr. Noryl Aril who fed us awesome dishes!

Mountain Lake Resort

What really bothered me upon getting into the Mountain Lake Resort, still inside the Caliraya Springs Complex, was the obstacle course they have there. After braving the Aerial Walk at SandBox in Alviera, I told myself that I’m done with all of this back-breaking and muscle-twisting stuff. I was so sure that I would pass this time.

Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna
oh no!
Arriving at the Mountain Lake Resort, we checked in at our Nipa Hut Villa (check rates) with the perfect view of Lake Caliraya. We immediately checked out our home for two days and recognized that it can fit in up to 10 persons (I can smella hut party eh?). There were mattresses, pillows, blankets, electric fans and complimentary drinking waters. Separate toilet and shower areas are located at the back of the villas.

Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna
our super cute Nipa Hut Villa
Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna

Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna

A few minutes was given to freshen up before we proceed with the day’s activities.

With some refreshments in tow, we went into the floating deck to try out the Lake Cruising Boat Tour. Cruising along Lake Caliraya was very relaxing. The water wasn’t that rough (unlike the Ton Le Sap Lake in Siem Reap) and I was forever asking if I could probably jump into the waters. Our guide told me that the water is really deep and I should wear a life vest when doing this wild idea of mine. I detested the idea of wearing the vest and just stayed calm and enjoyed the tour.

Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna

Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna

Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna

Next was the Dory Fishing Village. I used to try fishing when I was younger but utilized some crude fishing pole that we made. It was my first time to get a grip of a legit fishing rod and asked the assistance of the resort guides on the proper ways of “fishing”.

Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna

Baits (pellet-type feeds) were provided and as careful as possible we headed on with inserting it into the hooks of our rods. One by one, we aimed and projected the rods on the water and waited for some dory.

We waited, changed the baits, changed locations and done everything to catch those fish but failed. I gave up easily and proceeded with mocking everyone as they try harder to catch those seemed-to-be-clever fish who just passed by our baits every time.

Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna

Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna
the very impatient me
Our guide caught some and we just watched as he pulled the string and showed us his catch. I was quite envious at that time. You can grill or ask them to cook your fresh catch for the day – nice!

We then spent the next few hours at the swimming pool with a great view of Lake Caliraya. The sky turned radiant as the sun started to call it a day. We witnessed this marvel and continued with sharing some travel stories around.

Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna

Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna

And then bonfire. We nestled around this huge bonfire that was arranged by the staff (which was perfect given the chilly weather). We finished some Soju (Korean rice wine) and some few bottles of beer and continued the party at the Lake View Café with an all-nighter videoke challenge. It was the crack of dawn when we realized that we still have more activities the next day.

Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna

Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna
Soju - hmmm... asan ang Red Horse?
The next day’s activities proved to be the challenging ones. The Zipline was first in line; it was, again, my first time. Although I’ve tried Zipbiking at the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park, I haven’t got the chance to try ziplining. The hardcore staff (mostly women) of the adventure park at the Mountain Lake Resort assured us that everything they have there is safe and passed all required standards.

I volunteered, again, to be the first one to zipline across Lake Caliraya. With all the equipment and gear strapped around me I shouted at the count of three and off I went to my first ever zipline. The view and the ride itself were so much fun that I asked for another ride. Getting back through the Hanging Bridge was equally fun (that’s when I tried jumping up and down so that Marx, one of my buddies, would be dizzy and all).

Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna
my first!
And then the dreaded obstacle course. The resort has two levels for this one; the basic and the advanced courses which has the same challenges but with different levels of difficulty. And as I was assigning the teams I realized that it would such be a disgrace if I’d pass this one. And then I devised a way to try out the in-water advanced obstacle course without competing with the other teams; I’ll be the guinea pig!

I volunteered (ako na ang best in volunteerism) to show everyone how it’s supposed to be done by asking the help of the guides. Step-by-step, the guides instructed me on how to finish the course in one piece.

And as the cheers went louder, I heard the signal from the guide that it’s time to go. Adrenalines were up and then I went on with the challenges; the Slide & Drop, the Cobweb, the Wall Climb Slide, the Tire Challenge, the Cable Balance, the Karate Kid, the Military Crawl (which was the hardest for me), the Tarzan Swing, the Log Crossing and then the Palosebo. I finished the whole course in 7 minutes flat. Whew! I just remained flat out on the grass after that. I couldn’t believe that I did it and that I didn’t quit. I set a good example to my very bagets buddies who were up for the next round. #yabang

Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna
Wall Climb Slide
Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna
Cable Balance
Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna
Karate Kid
After the two teams completed all the challenges and after winners were declared (and protests went on), we headed straight to the pool to wrap everything up. We spent the rest of the afternoon just chilling and showed our crazy antics on the pool.

Mountain Lake Resort Caliraya Springs Laguna
Team Red Horse, Caliraya Edition
30 hours. That’s the time we spent around the Caliraya Springs and the Mountain Lake Resort and it felt like we needed more time; perhaps to try out their Kayak or the Horseback Riding or maybe the Paddle Boat and the Trekking, oh not the trekking part, or just chill. An overnight stay here is totally not enough. Really!


Caliraya Springs / Mountain Lake Resort (book online)
East Talaongan, Cavinti,
Laguna, Philippines
Contact Numbers: (+63) 2.723.0781 to 88 local 306 | (+63) 998.555.8394 | (+63) 998.989.3832
Email Address: reservations@calirayasprings.com | mountainlake.inquiry@gmail.com




11 comments:

  1. Competitive. Una sa lahat! na-miss ko ung sisig, ang sarap non. hehhe!

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    Replies
    1. Ang sarap talaga ng sisig nila Marx! :)

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    2. Magkano po ang mga food nila? Mahal po ba?

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    3. Magkano po ang mga food nila? Mahal po ba?

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    4. Resort prices Joanna, so around 200-500 per dish. Pero super okay naman food nila :)

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  2. Ang saya! Sana mas mahirap pa ang obstacle course. Hahaha sarap ng pagkain nila and masarap uminom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ay. Nag-wish ng mas mahirap na obstacle? Haha

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