Rains may not just dampen moods, but travel plans as well. Despite the fact that it may not be the best time to hit the beach (which is my favorite destination, by the way), I am glad that there are other alternative spots to get away from city life for a while. I recently discovered a place called Amansinaya Mountain Resort
, which is located in Laurel, Batangas
. From its name, I knew there would be no beach in sight, but I looked forward to taking a break from the busy metropolis and being one with nature.
Going up and down the mountain
The drive from Metro Manila was fairly easy since the ACTex (Alabang-Calamba-Sto. Tomas Expressway) and Star Tollway link is now open, so we arrived to our destination in just barely two hours. It was even a scenic drive as we got nearer since we saw glimpses of the famed Taal volcano and lake from a different angle.
The resort is huge—it has the Pugad Lawin Adventure Camp
, the Amansinaya Aqua Park
, the clubhouse called Patio Filipino
, and the Casatels
Casa Amman Casatel
We stayed overnight in one of the casatels called Casa Amman
. It has a total of eight air-conditioned rooms, which are actually condotels. So far, the resort has two casatels but we heard that they’re planning to build more. The room was spacious even if it’s just good for two. Aside from the big and comfy bed, there’s a cable television, sofa, dining set for two, refrigerator, kitchen sink, and even its own balcony. The only thing that’s missing was Wi-Fi, but I thought, “Why should I even bother logging on when I could stay outdoors and appreciate nature’s beauty this time?” With all the amenities, it was no surprise that we had a very comfortable stay. Oh, did I mention that each casatel has its own 50-square-meter lap pool?
View from the top - the casatel pool
Across the casatel, though, was the Amansinaya Aqua Park, which has a 700-square-meter water park. There’s a kiddie pool inside the big pool, and a colorful playground inside the pool area as well. There weren’t a lot of children when we were there, but I could imagine how they would enjoy going down the slide and splashing into the water. I liked the fact that we practically had the whole pool to ourselves so we made the most of it by swimming leisurely in it.
Amansinaya Aqua Park
As if the Aqua Park wasn’t enough, there is yet another pool in the resort’s clubhouse. Patio Filipino has an infinity pool that has a fantastic view of the Ambon Ambon Falls
, where guests may choose to trek to on a good day. Fortunately, it did not rain so hard when we were there, so we were able to hike to the waterfalls after eating a hearty breakfast, which consisted of beef tapa, fried rice, omelet, and a strong cup of Batangas brew. Patio Filipino
serves Filipino food, and guests may even dine al fresco, if the weather permits.
A hearty breakfast meal
The breathtaking Ambon Ambon Falls
The coffee helped perk me up for the trek. The resort staff told us that it would take about an hour or so, depending on our pace—slower if we would stop to take pictures along the way. I brought my trusty camera along, of course. But I made the mistake of wearing sneakers because it got soaked and muddy as we passed through streams and unpaved trails. Our guides simply wore slippers, which was a better idea.
Scenes from the trek
Passing through streams in the trek
On our way to the falls, I absorbed the scenes that I don’t normally see in the city—animal farms, rice fields, clear streams, and verdant hills. It was rural life at its finest. Finally, we were rewarded with a splendid view of the waterfalls. It was amazing to be so near it and hear the water splatter to the ground. I just had to take photos before we left the site.
We also visited the Simbahang Bato
after the trek. It was named such because the improvised church is made out of wonderful rock formations with a convex shape. The locals put some pews and an altar so people can hear mass there. It was as quiet as other churches, except for the sounds from occasional birds and bats that are all harmless.
Pugad Lawin Adventure Camp
As we drove back to the resort via shuttle (yes, the resort provides a shuttle for its guests), we passed by the Pugad Lawin Adventure Camp that features all kinds of outdoor fun that is perfect for events like company team buildings or school camping trips. We fooled around the camp and tried out its different activities in the obstacle course and had some laughs while at it. The Tarzan Swing was fun, but the must-try really is the 100-meter-long mudslide. While we were there though, there was a big group of college students who were having a school outing so we just quickly looked through the campsite. We even got a glimpse of the non-air-conditioned nipa hut accommodations and the bonfire pit.
Playing around in the adventure camp
The longest mudslide ever
After exploring the grounds, we enjoyed the good long walk back to the casatel as we breathed in the fresh air and felt the cool breeze on our faces. Ahh… It was so nice to commune with nature—even for just a weekend.
Weekend package rates:
– P1,080++ (March to June and October to December); P980++ (January to February and July to September)
Overnight in Nipa Hut
– P1,880++ (March to June and October to December); P1,680++ (January to February and July to September)
Overnight in Casatel
– P2,980++ (March to June and October to December); P2,780++ (January to February and July to September)
*Weekday rates are 20% off.
*Package Inclusive of Zipline "Slide for Life"; Giant Mudslide; Obstacle course (composed of 10 challenges); Guided Trekking to Ambon Ambon Falls (shuttle vehicle provided), Giant Soccer Ball; Vegetable Farm Tour; Amansinaya Aqua Park Pool, and Patio Filipino.
For more information, visit their website www.amansinayaresorts.com