Saturday, May 21, 2011

Discovering Caliraya

My high school friends and I went to Caliraya for our annual summer getaway. Caliraya is in Laguna, not in Quezon as I earlier thought. It is only three hours away from Manila. When we got there, I was expecting to see a beach, but I later learned that there is no ocean in Laguna; hence, no beacheas. (I guess I have to review on Philippine geography.) Instead, a manmade lake, a dam, actually, greeted us.

Lake Caliraya

Caliraya Re-creation Center

A small boat took us to the other side of the lake and to the resort where we were booked -- Caliraya Re-creation Center. The hotel where we would be staying sits on top of a hill. We had to board a jeepney to get there.

After arriving in Lumban, a two-minute boat ride took us to the resort.

Inside the hotel is this big dining hall. I think about 500 people can fit in there.  Since we arrived earlier than our check-in time, we explored the place first. We went to the viewing deck and were able to see the whole of the resort. This place is big! Also, everywhere I looked, I saw green. It’s like we were in the middle of a forest.

Caliraya Re-creation Center (photo is from its website)

After exploring, we went back to the dining hall just in time for lunch. Food is buffet style. It was included in our accommodation, so I had to take advantage of it. A variety of dishes was served, mostly Filipino food. I truly enjoyed eating there.

Some of the resort's amenities and facilities

Day One
After resting in our respective rooms (we rented rooms each good for four to five persons; decent enough), we explored the resort more and used their free amenities and facilities. We first tried the Slide Pinoy, a poor man’s version of a zip-line, I guess. It was fun! I must have gone through it 10 times.

Pinoy Slide (photo taken by my friend Paul)

After that, we went to the tennis court, not to play tennis but to play patintero. It was fun playing childhood games. My team lost, by the way. Then, we played Frisbee a bit.
Then, we tried the Slip & Slide. It is also called “Mud Slide” because at the end of it is a watery mud (or muddy water). My friend and I had a little “drama” here. While waiting for my other friends to form a line, this friend of mine slid down earlier than he expected, and he was shouting, “Teka, di pa ko ready,” or something like that. What I did was grab his hands, hoping that he would stop, but I ended up going down with him. People from other companies were also there for their team building, so what happened was very embarrassing. However, that did not stop me from trying the slide again.

The "drama." I was covering my face because of embarrassment. (Photo taken by Paul)

Later, we tried to use the swimming pool, but I guess mud was still all over our body, so the guard did not let us in. Frustrated, we decided to play with a very big ball, called “the Earth ball,” instead. Were we supposed to play volleyball or football with it? I didn’t know. It was just fun trying to put it in the air. We tried the obstacle course afterward.
Earth Ball (photo taken by Paul)

After dinner, we want back to the pool to swim. This time, the guard didn’t notice that we were still wearing our mud-soaked clothes, so we were able to swim. We swam for an hour until we decided to sleep.
Day 2

Jump shot! A summer outing is not complete without one. (Photo taken by my friend Rachelle using another friend's [Karen] cam.
On the second day, we only had until noon to enjoy our stay in the resort. After breakfast, we went to the hanging bridge. I’ve seen one before, so this one didn’t surprise me, and there was nothing on the other side. We were jumping while on the bridge, scaring ourselves, just to have fun.

Hanging Bridge (Photo taken by Leny using another friend's [Denise] cam)

After a while, we tried other services offered by the resort. You see, not everything comes free with our accommodation. For example, each of us had to pay 100 pesos to try the Zorb ball (rolling while in it felt like flying) and 75 pesos for the water roller. We wanted to try rock climbing, but we found it expensive at 275 pesos, being the cheapskate that we are. There is also a zip-line there (only 100 pesos I think), but we skipped it. We figured that it would disappoint us because we had already tried the longest zip-line in Asia when we went to Bukidnon the year. I would have rented a jet ski if I had had 2,800 pesos extra money then. Maybe I’ll rent one when I return there.

Zorb Ball (photo taken by Paul)
We checked out at noon and were back in Manila a few hours later. I spent more or less 3,000 pesos for this trip, and I can say that it’s worth it. I really had a great time. Regardless of where I go or how much I spend, however, it always feels great when I am with my high school friends.

Another jump shot! (photo taken by Paul)
 (Special thanks to Paul, Denise, Karen, Rachelle, and Leny for the photos)

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