Since it’s rainy season, planning a weekend away from the city could turn out waterlogged.
But the last weekend in June was a rather kind one, the sun generously spreading her rays as I set off for yet again another out-of-town trip. The destination was sort of nearby, in Calatagan, Batangas. I say sort of because, depending on the time of day, the trip can either take a smooth two hours or a stop-and-go three to three and a half.
The itinerary was an overnight stay at the hillside resort of Puesto del Sol (www.puestodelsol.com) which was owned and designed by kitchen interior designer Rafael Calero. The resort, which he opened in September 2011, was of a more intimate nature, having only four villas of various sizes, which could fit the needs of a family, a group of friends or a couple wanting a mini-honeymoon.
I kind of liked the idea of a DIY mini-break; you could actually bring food to cook there or have the staff cook for you. Also, if you call ahead of time, you could even arrange fresh seafood
and vegetables to be bought from the market.
My companion and I were in luck as there was fresh lapu-lapu and shrimps that would be made for dinner that night.
During the day, the infinity pool serves as a veritable watering hole where guests can swim or soak in the view—360 degrees of sea and landscape, especially from the roof deck lounge area of the resort.
There are other things you can do in the surrounding areas. You can drive about 20 minutes down and wakeboard at Lago de Oro; you can ask the staff at Puesto del Sol to book you for mountain biking along the Calatagan Hills; or rent an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) for more rough-riding.
You can likewise go kayaking, snorkeling or take a stroll on the beach and watch the local folk (children and adults alike) manually troll for fish and other seafood that you can even purchase on the spot.
I took a walk along the shores of Caisip Beach, which seems to stretch for miles (as it’s always low-tide), in an attempt to get to the Cape Santiago Lighthouse—a historic, fully functioning lighthouse that was built in 1890.
I got back to the resort in time for sunset cocktails. The horizon afforded me full views of Mindoro and Lubang Islands and, since it was a particularly clear day, Fortune and Sombrero Islands.
If you’re on full relaxation and disconnection mode, then the cool breeze will not disappoint.
But bring your favorite snacks and spirits as the resort tends to keep its stocks low during off-peak season.
Calero recalled that, while looking for a place to spend the holidays, he bought the property about a decade ago, through a chance meeting with a farmer. The resort started out as his “baby” serving as an out-of-town showroom of his passion for design.
“It was first like a private getaway for me and my friends,” he recounted, “but then I thought, why not build more villas?”
Calero personally attends to his guests when he not busy with projects in the city. He himself sometimes buys what is to be cooked for lunch and dinner.
All the villas, although air-conditioned, can also be ventilated naturally with the continuous sea and mountain breeze.
Puesto del Sol is a quiet place, although dogs sometimes howl out at night.
Otherwise the resort is an idyllic alternative for the short-stay traveler.
Puesto del Sol is at Barangay Bagong Silang Calatagan, Batangas. Call 0918-6568482, 0915-9888011; e-mail info @puestodelsol.ph