I was put in charge of a team-building session and the thought of holding it indoors was not a good idea. So I scouted for an out-of-town venue that’s not too far and has enough space for a bunch of energetic, creative people.
A friend of mine told me about a place that has been transformed from a private residence into a small resort that can accommodate 30 people.
Awilihan Paradise Resort in Tanauan, Batangas, is about an hour’s drive from Makati; its management allowed us to rent the whole place for a weekend.
A view of Taal Volcano
The resort is blessed with a wonderful view of Taal’s famous lake and volcano. Accommodations are modest and practical; the upper floor has two private rooms, one common area and two sets of toilet and bathroom that can be shared.
The ground floor may be used as a hang-out area, with sofas and a full-on entertainment system, but may also be cleared for another sleeping area.
The weather was pleasant enough for us to spend most of our stay outdoors.
There is a swimming pool with a miniwaterfall (the subject of several dramatic, artsy selfies); a gazebo for contemplation and meditation; a spacious garden to walk around in (in our case, we played Frisbee); and there’s also a volleyball net.
If that isn’t enough, one can also play basketball, billiards or table tennis.
Looking around, I had no doubt that there was enough to keep us all busy and moving around, especially after the formal team-building part of the day was over.
There is a wide selection of food that can be pre-ordered, although the resort’s pandan iced tea and pandan suman were hands-down hits for our first meal upon arrival.
The staff members were very attentive and efficient, making our stay stress-free.
Awilihan, we found out, is not just for group or corporate activities; it’s also perfect for outings with the gang or the whole family.
The fresh air and natural scenery allowed me to reconnect to my yoga practice as well. It was a wonderful treat, because it’s difficult to be able to this outdoors, especially with the heat and pollution in Manila.
Placing my mat on the sun deck facing the pool, I was pleasantly surprised that others joined me on this relaxing activity.
Guests at Awilihan are not limited to just staying in the resort and using its facilities; there’s an option to arrange a boating trip around the Taal Lake.
With only two days allotted for our group, we were all happy to jump from one activity to the next. At each day’s end, some took a dip in the pool, others played billiards, while a few channeled their pop music inclinations through videoke.
The rest were content enjoying the fresh seafood served for dinner, such as tawilis and tilapia.
Although everything had to end and we headed back to Manila the next day, our group was delighted with this new resort find tucked away in Tanauan.
Some in the group intimated that they would love to take their friends and family to Awilihan in the next long break.
Perhaps Awilihan’s charm is its size, small enough to still feel like you’re at home rather than in a resort.
But most of all, it’s the peace-and-quiet atmosphere that beckons—something that city rats like us would always welcome anytime we can afford to. No wonder the owners added “paradise” to its name.
Log on to awilihanresort.com; tel. nos. 9866496, 5233112 or 0917-7323445