Archive for February 12th, 2010

Just like our previous visit, I enjoyed taking shots of  every nook and cranny of the place.  You will simply love this view. It was taken in front of Pahingalayan, where we stayed overnight. 

The stone steps going down our cottage.  It looks quaint, don’t you think?   But it’s the simplicity of the place that makes you fall in love with it.

These vines  abound here. Bought a sapling during our trip in Tanay last December  I can’t wait to see it bloom like these.

They call this area Tuktok, we stayed here just to read and relax and admire the view.

Euphorbias, to my eyes’ delight….

Located at the entrance of Tuktok, a cluster of eye-catching blue vines…..a feast for tired eyes.

The garden right infront of the Transfiguration Chapel

Bougainvillas run riot at the border near the chapel.  This white one is simply arresting.

Our room – I love the quaint-looking lampshade and the wooden cabinet with slats.

The tiny kitchen at the cottage, I wish I could stay here longer ….

A four-sitter  dining table  compliments the tiny kitchen…

The word Pahingalayan as this cottage is called simply means a place  where you can rest and make “pahinga”.  Notice the old-fashioned glass door, it reflects the light and is simply beautiful.

It was a delight finding these red and green bromeliads  infront of the cottage.

These white flower vines hang profusely all over the place.  Seeing these make you feel inspired.

The concrete steps going up and down our  temporary home. Even this has a charm all its own.

These cluster of plants give a rustic feel to the place. Still located infront of the cottage.  One can dream, one can meditate, one can be at peace by just being here.

Read Full Post »

You might ask, what am I doing at 4:50am?  I am outside  our cottage, sitting on a wooden chair watching the night unfolds into a bright new day. Lovell calls it The Bench.   Everything is so quiet but the sound of some nocturnal creatures  slowly leaving their hiding place for another hunt.  Brrr…..the nippy air makes you long to put on an extra set of clothing but I left my jacket inside the car and I don’t want to go up just to get it.  So I am here,  using my blanket as a shield from the cold, watching the stars in the night sky. Silly, you might say, but I am counting them one by one, at least those which are visible to the naked eyes.  Some are brighter than the others, some are just mere flickers.  The quiet is so very much felt here. As they say, you can almost hear a pin drop.  And your sense of hearing is so acute and alive with the sound of silence all around. 

The Batulao mountains look like dark crayon doodles showing the visible lines of gray where it meets the sky.  This is the life! Once in a while, we must be allowed to experience it. I am humbled by all this and I think of the days when I whine over small things that to me now, seem superficial.  A dot, a point, that’s all we are in this vast universe but it is really up to us to make that dot a small circle and that point a short line.  And I am a thousand times grateful for having the chance to come back here.    This is my litmus test to go on with life like it used to be, without fear of some dreaded ailment that put it on hold for the past several months.  I would travel even at least this far, just to see how my body would react and how  my immune system would cope.  Yes, I passed with flying colors.

Hubby and I plan to go on trekking in a little while, reacquaint ourselves with the koi fish by the pond.  I saw them briefly last night and they definitely have grown bigger. Oh yes, I wish to see the hanging bridge again .  Who wouldn’t feel happy when you are reminded of some childhood memories, I remember those times I spent with my friends and young cousins when we were in grade  school in the province.  Back then, all we had to cross the river between our place and the town proper was an expanse of about forty meters long and around eighteen inches wide wooden bridge without handrails.  Mind you, but we mastered the art of balancing ourselves and running  on  it to cross to the other side.  That has been replaced by a concrete bridge of course, a single lane big enough to let a car pass without hitches.  And the view coming from the other side is spectacular.   Such exhilarating and carefree days of the young.

Munching on Fruity Rings without milk may be a bit weird. I never liked the taste of milk anyway. And I am preparing myself for the long trek outside.  The refectory hall does not open until 7am.  Their menu taste like home cooked meals, not really a gastronomical delight but I love it. And I love the idea too of just being served food without me bothering to cook.

I could see the clouds now, they are moving fast, like a line of soldiers marching.  This is definitely beautiful! Hubby and I were one in thinking that we would make this a yearly journey, if at all possible.

Read Full Post »

If you could fall in love with a place, then you can say, I fell in love with Caleruega once again.  The hubby and I had the chance to visit it for an overnight stay on February 11 to February 12, 2010.  It’s been a year since our last visit and I was as excited as the first time that we did.  We left the house at 4:30 in the morning and arrived at the place at exactly 7:15am after about twenty minutes of pit stop at Jollibee and a brief visit to Mushroom Burger House in Tagaytay City to buy, what else, but their specialty, mushroom burger.  A trip to Tagaytay would not be complete without it. My, my, the road  from Tagaytay to Nasugbu was too foggy.  We thought at first there was a fire but when I tried to open the window , the cold breeze hit my face.

It’s been a while since I  have seen a fog that thick.  I rarely see that kind of scenery here in the city, not even in the coldest months.

I must tell you about the room that we were assigned to, because just like the place, I fell in love with it.  Mababaw lang talaga ang kaligayahan ko. The cottage is called  Pahingalayan, an exclusive place away from the main structures and cottages.  A close friend, Lovell, who conducts retreats there for the whole month of February booked the room for us the day before.  He told me that they use it sometime for guest priests.  He said that it was coined from the two root word pahinga which means rest and ngalay (tired), so it is really a resting place for tired feet.  It has two single beds, an extra sofa bed, a dining table with four chairs and a kitchenette that has a small ref, an oven toaster, airpot and kitchen utensils for dining.  the door and window were made of antique colored glass that reflects the light from outside.

Lovell introduced  us to the retreatants from their school at  Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Calamba.  The place was jampacked with students from two other universities one of which was UST (Faculty of Arts and Letters).  We were invited to join the students of Letran to attend the 5:30pm mass with their rector, Fr. Castigador as mass presider.   I appreciate it more today than when we last came here because I got to know why some certain structures of the place were designed that way.  The arresting staircase alone has a meaning.   According to Lovell, it  represents  the start of life, the womb, so to speak.  If you are not too observant, you won’t notice the shape of four pineapples incorporated at the main building.   It just means that the main crop being maintained in that area is  pineapple.    The rest of the day was spent taking shots of the vast gardens, sharing with Lovell,  and trekking at the hills of Caleruega.  It is  a place worth revisiting and a day worth remembering.

Here are more shots of the place.















Read Full Post »