A friend whose here in Manila for vacation gave me a challenge few days ago. He’s been working in Europe for over a decade now and on his tail-end of his summer month-long break.
My friend basically wanted to go somewhere exotic but just a short trip from Manila. We already went to Camiguin together few weeks ago then right after, they went to Boracay with his relatives and I head to Marinduque for Moriones Festival so beach is not an option. I am tempted to suggest Baguio or Sagada but 6-12 hours bus ride is a complete turn off to him. Hot springs during summer does not seem to appeal either. What he is looking for is a never before seen retreat, few hours drive away from the city where he can spend an entire day to relax. In short, a vacation within a vacation.
The Secret Getaway
The answer to the challenge came in a form of SMS. My ex-workmate is asking me when we will go to Batanggas for a photo shoot, and that lit up the bulb. Why don’t we go to that secret retreat I’ve been planning to visit for months now. They say the place is like Bali, in Indonesia. I checked their website and got their brochure and I drooled with what I saw. I must say that the place is impressive on paper. To see is to believe then!
So there we are, 6 o’clock in the morning with just our backpacks, we find ourselves boarding to a Wi-Fi-enabled bus at Jam terminal in Buendia, south bound. In less than 2 hours road trip, we arrived in this unassuming marker at the left side of the road announcing that were finally arrived in Bali, sans plane ticket, passport and jet lag!
From the main doorway to the receiving area you will be greeted by lush gardens, fountains, pygmy chickens and some deer cages. A peacock can also be seen roaming around nonchalantly. Geese were everywhere. We noticed few cages with wild and strange-looking birds inside them.
the gate greeter
the Balinese-inspired centerpiece ironwork
The reception house to the right
We took the day trip package for two. For day trippers, the entire place is yours by 8 o’clock in the morning until 5 o’clock in the afternoon. We are ushered in a gazeebo which will be our place during the stay. Included in the package are welcome drinks, hearty lunch and an afternoon snack.
Aside from the delectable treat, you can also use 4 swimming pools scattered on the five-hectare garden resort along with other amenities
Everywhere you looked is distinctively Balinese. From the hand carved walls to the ornate Gebyok doors (traditional Javanese-inspired hand carved teak wood), authentic Joglo ceilings to the stone statues adorning the gates you can definitely say you’ve been transported.
On their brochure it reads:
“The Garden started out as an ordinary private family rest house that the family visited every weekend. In 2005 however, their mother Corito was diagnosed with a terminal disease. To help her recuperate from treatment, the family often brought her to the garden because the place made her relax and temporarily forget her sickness. Two years later, Corito finally succumbed to her illness. Her husband together with his 4 children then decided to focus all their efforts into making the garden a paradise since she loved the place so much. They wanted the beautiful memories they shared there to live on thus the creation of Cintai… love for their mother and wife.”
The private weekend house turned Balinese garden is 5 hectare property secretly tucked within Lipa City. It has 3 kind of accommodation, terrace villas which can accommodate 4 people, garden villas that can house up to 6 persons and an executive villa that can accommodate 6-8 persons.
the terrace villa
Aside from villas, the garden resort also have pavilions for functions and large social gatherings. Tresna is the largest with a seating capacity of 180-200 people.
Abadi pavilion meanwhile is a smaller venue that can hold 80-100 people
You can never ran out of anything worthwhile to do in the garden resort. You can swim all you can on their luxurious pools, chase pygmy chicken, rabbits, peacocks and other wild animals roaming wild within the premises. Meditate and seek solace in one of their meditation areas, ride bike on the entire area and of course camwhoring! The place is also great for prenuptial photo shoot.
Interested already? Now check which package suits you.
Getting there and Away
From Buendia bus terminal to Tambo Exit in Lipa via SLEX took us a little over an hour. The fare is 99 php one way. From Tambo, you can ride a jeepney to SM City Lipa, then took a tricycle that would take you all the way to Brgy. Balete (20-30minutes, 150 php)
From Tambo, alternatively, take Tanauan bound buses then alight when you see the Caltex Station in the corner of General Leviste Highway. Turn left and drive straight ahead until you see the marker on the left.
You can also check their website at http://www.coritosgarden.com
Go and fall in love the Balinese way!