Sunday, February 19, 2017

Soloviento: A Sanctuary

This place is straight-up cold. No, not the rapper talk kind of cold. We mean "brr" cold. Like it was da bomb, yo (okay, enough). Anyway...

After a grueling bike ride, we're in Caliraya, woohoo!


After biking for some five to six hours from Muntinlupa to Caliraya, Soloviento was the perfect place to rest our weary (and shaking!) legs.

But after spending just a few minutes there, we found out it was so much more than just a resting place. So much more.

You start your Soloviento adventure with a barge ride (don't worry, the almost five-minute ride is very smooth and wave-free) and will be welcomed by this sweet (sometimes suplado) little Jack Russell Terrier named Bingo (his official designation is Guest Relations Officer -- again, don't worry, the resort is still managed by humans).

Waiting for the barge.

Bingo welcoming us to the barge and to sanctuary!

Pictures and videos certainly will not do justice to the place so we still encourage everyone to experience what the place has to offer for yourselves. THEY HAVE A LOT TO OFFER, believe me. Plus you really won't feel the cold air via photos and video snippets, will you?

Okay, so it's like that always-fun lake house you've only seen in American movies (no, not where Freddy Krueger makes an appearance and kills everyone!) but always wished you could go to and have that strawberry jam sandwich or marshmallow over the bonfire with the family or that cold beer in can.

Now you have a chance to actually live that dream here in the Philippines and it only takes around two to three hours travel time from Manila (or five to six via bike!).

Soloviento, according to its website, is a lakeside watersport eco-resort and campsite.

Let's take a crack at describing each of those words.

Lakeside


Yup, the lake surrounding the small patch of land (okay, not that small -- about over a hectare big) is there and it's as calm as ever. Accommpanied by the ever-present cool breeze, if you're not too careful, you can be lulled to sleep in a matter of minutes. Sleeping for one whole day is allowed (it has been done before).





The only thing warm in the place are the people who run it -- the staff and the owners. They know how to make you feel welcome but at the same time they also know not to chat you up too much so you can enjoy what the resort has to offer (or sleep).

Watersport Eco-Resort


If you're the adventurous type or just want to try out new water activities (peeing is not a water activity), the resort offers rental and lessons on Windsurfing, Kite surfing and Stand Up Paddleboard. You can also hop on a kayak and drift by the lake. How about trying your hand (literally) at fishing?

Check out the rates for all their activities below (lifted from their website):

3-person or 2-person kayak     Php 300/hour
Stand-up paddle board (SUP)     Php 500/hour/person or Php 1500/day
Fishing rod w/ line, hook, sinker     Php 50/hour | Php 200/day (Php 500 pole breakage)
Leisure Boat Ride (12 people max)     Php 2500/ hour
Windsurfing lessons     Php 2500/pax/day (inclusive of all equipment and instructions)

Even with some visitors kite surfing or doing stand up paddleboard, the lake AND the place stays calm. Perfect for that "I deserve a quiet weekend" vibe.

Campsite


The sprawling land can house several tents (you can bring your own or you can rent from them) or you can rent rooms or campers or stay on dormitory-type accommodation.

Want to go camping but afraid you'd have to dig once nature comes calling? Well, have no fear. They have shared bathrooms (separate ones for male and female) that are as clean as the bathrooms in your own houses (maybe cleaner).

The camp still has the original camper that the owner and father used as early as 20 years ago for their own family camping trips also in Lake Caliraya. Amazing.



My biking buddy and I stayed in a camper that was good for four. It featured two double beds. My friend was snoring two minutes after saying "good night". Yup, they're comfortable too.



Oh, and no air-conditioning is needed. The fans do more than their fair share (we didn't even turn our electric fan on).

A fair warning though. Bring jackets or jogging pants or that new mermaid blanket you secretly bought last week as it really turns cold especially at night. Oddly enough too, we didn't feel any mosquitoes in the area.

The rooms also have ample outlets for you to charge your devices.

Please see rates for their accommodations below:

Entry fee (per head)     Php 260/night | Php 160/day trip (50% for children 5 & below)
Fan-cooled room (sleeps 3 to 4) Php 2100/night (waived entry fee)
Add-on: extra bed in dorm-style room Php 550/night
Fan-cooled camper (2 double beds; sleeps 4) Php 2600/night (waived entry fee)
Bed space in dormitory room     Php 550/night (waived entry fee) – subject to availability
2man tent for rent, sleeps 2 max    Php1,200 (waived entry fee for 2)
3man tent for rent, sleeps 3 max    Php1,600 (waived entry fee for 3)

Parking fee     Php 100/night | Php 50/day trip
Late-night barge pick up (after 10 PM)     Php 500

*Entrance includes 5-minute barge transfer from the Soloviento parking lot, and use of communal campground and shared bathrooms (hot water, separate male/female). A downpayment will be required to confirm a reservation.

Forgot to take photos of the rooms but visit their page (click here!) for more detailed descriptions of the accommodations.

Please see other charges below so you won't be surprised once you get there or once you get your bill:

Bonfire (weather-permitting)     Php 300 for wood, set-up and lighting (you need to let them know in advance)
Kiteboard rigging (pumping, packing away)     Php 100 per kite per day
Camper set up: Coleman-type (set up, close down)    Php 500/visit
Camper set up: Caliraya-type (set up, close down)     Php 300/visit
Electricity hook-up for camper     Php 100/night

Tent use on campground      Per person: Php 250 plus Php 500 consumable for food and drinks per night; one personal meal may be brought for a true camping experience but other meals must be taken at the clubhouse.


Food


Everything we ordered tasted good. So good that we ordered one pizza each (judge us, we don't care, burp!).





You have to try their steaks too. So filling.

I also couldn't pass up their Bacalao once I saw it on the menu. I'm actually imagining it right now as I type this. Sigh.

It was also great having a few beers with the owners who didn't mind entertaining all our questions regarding the origins of the place.

Food will set you back maybe an average of P180 to P250 per meal. Each peso definitely worth it.






I'm trying to think of a better word for "relaxing" but all that pops up in my head as I recall our stay there is "sanctuary".

Soloviento is a sanctuary. A place where you will feel safe and away from harm. Away from everything that is wrong with the city. It is our own respite from the craziness that is Metro Manila.

So let's all keep this place sacred.

Lastly, there's a frame by the clubhouse that says "Relax. You're on Lake Time."

Yup, we truly were and we can't wait to transport to Lake Time once again.

Visit their website soloviento.ph now!


Watch this short video I made of our Soloviento trip:)

Click here Soloviento.








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