Archive for the ‘Caleruega’ Category

This is actually a re-post. I’ve written it eight years ago in one of our trips to a favorite place….Caleruega.  I suddenly miss it. Saw the photos on my links at Facebook. I have written a lot about this place, posted so many pictures back in 2010.

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 possible.

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Sometimes, one needs to be alone with nature –

absorbing the silence

thinking about life

wondering, sometimes always wondering

what it is all about.

Sometimes, one needs to be connected with nature –

listening to the hush of the wind

thinking about  journeys

 and the unfamiliar pathways

the uneven steps one has to go through.

But always  –

nature heals

nature inspires

bringing that familiar smile.

(click photo to enlarge)

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I love these moments, the precious hours when everything is hushed  and what you hear are the silent sounds of a world just waking up from slumber.  The nights are long and cold, that kind where you just savour the quiet moments before you start the day and greet the sun’s welcome warmth, the moments of thanksgiving for another lovely morning.

It reminds me of those times that I enjoyed feeling the cold breeze, the lovely morning walks where your feet just know where to go,  thinking about life and all it brings, thinking about Caleruega, one of my favorite places. A nostalgic trip down memory lane. Sometimes, one’s memory of a place tides you over the long days  of being alone in your thoughts and it brings back the smiles. And you are lucky and blessed that there are such places where peace and quiet reign. We need sometimes to embrace our solitude and be attuned with what nature brings. We need sometimes to think of graceful thoughts and imagine being transported back to places that brought so much happiness in our lives. Moments like this – something to treasure, something to cherish.

Have you ever felt teary-eyed but joyful welcoming an early morning? The Divine is shining through all the time.

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Nothing comes to mind for this challenge except for these three  photos that I took  of one of my favorite places, Caleruega.


This is the main hallway of Caleruega with this lovely curved staircase made of wood.  And at the back of this staircase is a Koi pond with all those colorful Koi fish merrily swimming in the background.

koi pond


I do love this lush, green garden with a curve pond for more Koi. I would love to come back here and just absorb the serenity and quiet of the place.

For more of this, kindly visit this link.

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Caleruega still

You are etched in my memory, a place where I could rebuild my dreams and still believe that they do come true.

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Okay, here we go, another challenge for an amateur photographer like me. I’d like to think though that there will always be shots that speak of those moments when you thoroughly enjoyed something and wish there would be more opportunities to visit again.


I remember this. My kids and I celebrated Mother’s Day at an Italian restaurant then went to Avilon Zoo for the first time. It’s been years since I visited one. We enjoyed feeding the rabbits and having pictures with Jenny, a friendly orangutan  trained to shake hands with visitors.  A joyous celebration of feeling like a child again and  enjoying  it with the kids.


Taken during our first visit to Caleruega. We were so eager to feed the Koi fish at the large pond  and watched  their golden bodies merrily swimming.  That was the start of our love affair with Koi fish and had them in our small pond three years ago. It was sad that we lost them all during the flood last year.


We passed by this place on our way to Caleruega , would have loved to explore it but around that time, I think it was closed to the public. Just the name itself evokes peace and serenity.  It’s actually a center of spirituality run by the Salesians of Don Bosco where one can hold retreats, recollections and weddings.

For more of these challenge, you can visit this link.

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This post came a  bit late but I can’t surely ignore it, can I?  Mine says Dreams and Escapes (with an S at the end).  There are several pictures  I took that would exactly describe what the word escape means to me but the following three shots stand out.


CALERUEGA. This is one of my favorite places. I could stay here and just listen to the silence or write a journal while admiring the view and feeling the cold breeze touch my cheeks.  That’s my daughter busy with something. I remember, we brought that tripod and three digital cameras,  mounting  one permanently to the former while we were exploring the place.


PUNDAKIT BEACH, SAN ANTONIO, ZAMBALES.  I remember those days when we used to go on road trips discovering new places . If only for the serenity of the place, I would come back here and see the sunrise or admire a wonderful sunset.  Beyond those mountains is Anawangin and overlooking this one is Capones Island.


TANAY. December 27, 2009, my first trip out-of-town after six rigorous sessions of chemotherapy.  Can I endure the exhilaration of going down these trails and climbing up the mountains of Tanay? I did it with flying colors, a brief escape from the fact that I was so depressed while undergoing treatments.

The beauty of nature gives us that feeling of oneness with the universe, a form of escape from pain and heartaches.  I always love this phrase posted  in  every corner at Caleruega which I have adopted in most of my blogs, Close To Nature, Closer To God.

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Sometimes, life needs to be taken one small step at a time so you can learn to appreciate what is in front of you and look back with fondness what you left behind.

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Here are my own interpretations of what the word Beyond means to me in pictures. Come to think of it, I always look forward  to this weekly photo challenge because somehow you get to look  once more at some pictures which at the time you took were just pleasing to your eyes and senses. Sometimes though, they acquire a meaning and you wish you could capture the essence of each view and place you see.


Beyond this mountain is my provincial home which I haven’t visited  in quite a while. My old memories of this places is tied up to the river running below this mountain where we used to catch fresh-water fish during the early parts of rainy months. And yes, the impromptu picnics  beside  the river and taking a long soak after.  Fresh, unpolluted running water and lovely river stones that sometimes my cousins and I used to bring home  for our Piko games.


The cool mountains of Tanay. I remember taking this shot three weeks after my six-sessions of chemotherapy ended.  It was a kind of litmus test how far I can go without tiring myself after such a life-changing treatment.  I miss this place, I hope someday I would be able to come back here.


What lies behind closed doors, do you know? Dreams! Pockets of happy days!  Actually, I was fascinated by the stained-glass door. I seldom see this kind of window and door treatments except in places where they value old-age decor.


There is always something that fascinates me in discovering places and looking beyond.  I took this in Caleruega, the hanging bridge was simply irresistible. And beyond this is a vast garden and an upward climb to a hill that gives a wonderful view of the Batulao mountains in Batangas. It’s one of my favorite places to visit.

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It was hot outside and 4pm looked like it was still in the middle of the day. I did plan of weeding out unwanted grass from our peanut grass cover planted in front of the house.  And for several days now, I  always hesitate to go out because of the heat. Finally though, this afternoon, I was inspired by the two maintenance crew of our subdivision when I saw them planting more Cannas along the roadside facing the house. There were newly planted ornamental bananas too. I watched them dig despite the heat and the noise brought by passing cars.  Hard work with minimal pay. So as my good deed for the day, I offered them both some biscuits and a pitcher of ice-cold water, stopped and talked a while about life and survival.

Life is hard, it’s a known fact but when you have to toil under the heat of the sun everyday, sweeping remnants of cigarette butts, candy wrappers, and yes, plastics with straw which our sari-sari store owner neighbor conveniently use for soft drinks  and what-have-you’s,  which the seemingly unconcerned  denizen of this subdivision throw to their heart’s content, one can’t help but think, don’t they even have  self-discipline? I told our two janitors that some people have complete disregard for cleanliness in their surroundings. It is so exasperating sometimes to see people in cars just throwing their garbage from their car windows, some Jollibee or McDonald’s wrappers and disposable cups.  In that short fifteen minutes, I learned a lot from these two, it is better to earn a few pesos in a dignified way than to do something unlawful.  And always, they are those who understand the value of hard-earned money. And a little kindness towards them goes a long, long way.

I looked through my several albums posted privately at Photobucket and tried to find materials which I could use in a Catholic page in Facebook which I help maintain and found this, a picture of the cottage in Caleruega where we stayed two years ago. It made me feel quite nostalgic.

I’d love to come back here and visit the Koi at Kampo Arriba or have that trek again to see the Batulao mountains of Batangas.  I promised myself that the next time I’ll visit this place, I’ll just absorb the silence and write some more.

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