Take A Weekend Breather in Lake Caliraya

Processed with VSCOcam with a1 presetA recent study was published saying that being in nature makes people healthier and happier. This couldn’t be truer in Manila — or just slightly outside of Manila, to be more specific. For a weekend, escape the capital and be your healthiest, most blissful self at Lake Caliraya.

 A three-hour drive from Manila (without traffic), Lake Caliraya is an absolute breather – literally and figuratively.

Yes, dear friends, escaping Manila isn’t all about Boracay or Palawan or Baguio.

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If anyone were to ask for directions to get here, a sort-of-accurate way would be to say: after the highway, go up the mountain, then into the woods and onto an isolated piece of land surrounded by a calm body of water. Once there, find a good spot, gather your Boy/Girl Scout skills and start pitching your tent, breathe loads of fresh air in between, finally succeed in pitching that tent, feel accomplished like you never have before for pitching that tent and finally just nature the day away.

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The agenda? Just look at the sky up above, stare out into the horizon or if your glutes are up for it, paddle board around the Lake – which is huuuuge so make sure you’ve had enough carbs and remember to wear a life vest just in case you get tired and fall into the water. Feeling lazy? No, don’t Facebook. Kayak instead and ask a friend to do all the rowing (so you can take all the photos). Or space out. Then sleep. Sleep the sleep that you never get in Manila. The Lake has these effects.

If you don’t feel like roughing it up too much but then want to tell your friends afterwards that you went nature tripping (Oooohhhh, you adventurous soul!), then opt to stay in a room. Soloviento has nice options – spartan but adequate options to give you a good balance of the elements of the outside and the comforts of the inside. Plus, they serve really good (and really cheap!) food. Fan favorites are the pesto cream dory and salpicao with bread. And that chocolate pudding for dessert. Especially this chocolate pudding for dessert. Get ready to be selfish.

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Evenings, however, are meant to be shared. Whether it’s around a bonfire – yes, an actual bonfire! – staying by the tent for good ol’ drinks and chips (that you brought all the way from Manila), or just at the communal area for endless rounds of card games or charades, the cool breeze of the evening gets even better with the rowdy energy of friends. Remember to make the most out of every scream and cheer and chant or trash talk (be nice!), though, because quiet hours start at 10 (this isn’t Manila, remember?).


Aaahh, even after just a night here, you’re bound to feel fit/healthy/recharged/renewed/insert your adjective here – enough to take on the chaos of Manila yet again. Well, just enough to get you through a week, in preparation for your next weekend here.


stark publishing

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Our journey began with an idea to discover what it means to travel the Philippines, beyond the alluring images of sparkling blue waters and powder white sand. We seek to share travel stories to inspire the wide-eyed traveler, moving them deeper into the destination with stunning images and narratives about its sights, tastes, textures, smells, and local life.

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