This is one of my family's favorite weekend getaway destinations. Ironic, since I used to work here; thus technically, it's not really getting away. I was fortunate, thus, to have had that job. Consider this, then, as some sort of spilling of some insider's secrets.
What and how should you enjoy the numerous natural and man-made amenities in Las Haciendas? This photo blog will answer those and many more questions.
About 30 minutes down from the Tagaytay Rotunda, one reaches the Las Haciendas Evergreen Communities. It is within the area commonly referred to as Metro Tagaytay, but geographically, Las Haciendas is really in Laurel, Batangas. (See map and directions at the end.)
The clubhouse and the infinity pool that has a view of the Tagaytay ridge and the water falls. One is welcomed with a buco juice refreshment and the Las Has-original, bukorons. It's a smaller-than-usual turon with young buko shreds inside. It wasn't its official name, but it stuck -- buko+turon-- I couldn't even remember the chef-given name.
By the way, you'd see some weekend houses nearby. One may choose to have their own weekend home. Some lots are designed to be big enough for some "green thumb" activities. There are also aptly sized Casatels, which I conceptualized while I was there, that serve both as your holiday pad and as your investment. Yes, much like the Condotel, only more intimate and exclusive.
After the trip, one may rest in the kubos beside the clubhouse to get in some fresh air and enjoy some delightful views.
It's a perfect place to catch up on some reading. One may also have a massage or spa treatments here. A white cloth is draped around the square hut, and there---instant spa!
The clubhouse infinity pool is fit for some family-sized fun; but if you need a more spacious and more fun-equipped pool, there's the newly opened Amansinaya Mountain Water Park Resort within the community. Water in the pools don't get too cold as the ones in Tagaytay. Night swimming while others swoon the night away in the clubhouse videoke is a great way to close the first night.
On the first day, visit the natural amenities of the site. One is the Simbahang Bato, a cavern, naturally-hewn off a rocky hill. It now houses the village altar. It inspires worship. Majestic!
There's the Ambon-ambon falls, so-called because it creates the a cloud of spray even a distant away. I'll have a separate blog for the trek to this site tomorrow.
Get close and personal with Taal volcano. The property touches the Taal Lake on one end, and goes up the mountains in the other.
Malagas-as river and many other streams of water crosses the area, from the mountains down to the lake. Ambon-ambon falls is also just one of 3 waterfalls in the place.
The resort community is surrounded by farms and fish-fingerling ponds. Las Haciendas has long been promoting a "Magbalik Buhay Probinsiya" lifestyle.
When one get's hungry, the Patio in the clubhouse, serves Filipino dishes that'd remind you of provincial cooking. Adobo in many varieties are in the menu, as Las Haciendas once served as organizer of the National Adobo-Cooking Championship. Other favorites are the crispy Tawilis, a native delicacy, Kare-kare, Kaldereta, and again, options for the abundant Tilapia.
After tiring yourself up in the most fun ways, you have the option of experiencing camping out with a twist. While they have tents or you may bring tents; I recommend you take the kubos in the camp site, Pugad Lawin Adventure Camp. They are non-airconditioned, of course. A white net and a doubling waterproof canvas serve as walls, wood slats for the flooring, and nipa for the roofing. It looks great, it fits 8 --- sounds like an APV ad copy; but true, it's family-sized night accommodation. Who says, the adventure ends when you go to sleep. For many, I know, it will be a new, exciting experience to hear the cicadas, tuko, and the wind blowing the trees of the surrounding trees. There's no refrigerator, but there's a cooler for your water. The bathroom is a few steps away. The camp grounds is manned by security men and lit adequately.
If you're not the camping type, you may stay in the Casatel units, which have hotel furnishings and amenities.
You may, by the way, have a bonfire in the campgrounds, and have your bonding activities there, instead of in the clubhouse area. Bring a guitar and compete with the cicadas. Bring game cards or board games. Share your jokes or horror stories. The climate is comfortable, not too cold, compared to nearby Tagaytay---ideal for evening outdoor activities.
Next morning, have the Batangas barako, and your choice breakfast silogs, and venture out to the Adventure Camp.
climb the heights, enjoy the view of the Taal Lake from the top, and then zip along a high, long line
truly "green" activities include the volunteer clean-up of the ambon-ambon falls;
the place inspires -- a favorite among painters, poets, writers, and photographers
Las Haciendas is "evergreen" as it is home to life--- the good, healthy, green life. It is big enough to have something for each member of the family to enjoy---be it peace and quiet or active adventure.
It has been developed to provide certain conveniences and infrastructure for the needs of men; but has left much of the natural surroundings untouched. That is how developments should be done: sustainably. Magbalik buhay probinsiya. Kilalanin at mahalin ang Kalikasan.
How to got to Las Haciendas?
Location: Laurel, Batangas, Philippines
WORD FROM THE SPONSOR
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever."