How did I welcome the year 2012?
Well, much as I would love to welcome it with an ‘engagement’ announcement like that of my girl crush Patty Laurel, I just couldn’t (insert sad face). Oh well, that’s Patty’s wedding proposal story na and I’m sure God wouldn’t give me the same version. I believe He will bless me with a different chestnut for my love life that’s definitely worth blogging and telling the world, too, while singing Rio’s movie soundtrack “Telling The World.”
Alright, so just like the previous New Year’s eve celebrations of my life since I was born, I celebrated it with my wacky family from my mom’s side. In all honesty, I don’t really see myself welcoming the new year without them–eating together, playing parlor games, exchanging gifts, raffling prizes, and banging ourselves to each other while trying to get the coins and paper bills being tossed on air by our generous Titos and Titas. That’s been an incessant family tradition–I think long before I was even born.
Normally, the first day of the year is usually spent going to the church in the morning and then having lunch together (again) at Nanay’s house and perhaps have coffee or go somewhere else in the afternoon. This year, however, we decided to spend the first two days of the year 2012 in the not-so far flung but still far (2-3 hours away from Manila) town of Alitagtag in Batangas. We went to Residencia de Riego☺
Not like your usual Batangas outing spots, Residencia de Riego isn’t surrounded with beach waters and white sands. In fact, there’s no beach water at all. According to one of the resort’s staff, Residencia de Riego used to be a private vacation house of the the resort’s owner. Seeing the potentials of the place, they decided to renovate it and opened it to the public who want to have some relaxing feel away from the bustles of the city. They built in three swimming pools which are big enough for people who don’t do Olympic type lapses. ” The resort brings in urban entertainment to an otherwise rural vacation spot” –according to http://residenciaderiego.resortsbatangas.com/.
The place was actually nice and feel-good. Upon entering the big and tall sliding metallic gate, I actually felt like I was from a telenovela scene and I’m playing the role of some Donya–“Manong guard, open the gate please.” (and yes, that Donya doesn’t have a driver☺)
I like that they have a wide parking space and they have trolleys for guests’ baon and other stuff they need to bring with them in the room. The staff were nice and accommodating, too. They were considerate of our requests and readily assisted us with our needs.
Residencia de Riego has a variety of cottages and rooms to choose from to fit in to guests’ preferences and budget. They have open cottages which is good for 10-15 pax (P1,500), Econo Rooms which is good for 16 pax (P8,000), a Supreme room which is good for 4 pax (P7,500), and a Deluxe room which i think is good for 2 pax (P5,500). All these rooms are equipped with air-condition units and a comfort room/bathroom with water heater inside although only the Supreme and the Deluxe rooms have a flat screen TV, a personal ref, and an intercom inside. What I like about these rooms is that they have an open cottage beside each room so guests could leave their baons there or eat there so it won’t get messy inside the sleeping room.
They also have a separate area for nipa huts which they labeled as Kubo Villas. The nipa huts have electric fans inside and an open cottage beside each hut, although the CR is being shared with the other guests of the Kubo Villas.
The resort also has a camping site for adventure-seeker guests–the Camp Jemaena. Although I think it’ll be fully operational by summer of this year. Inside Camp Jemaena, there’s also a stage and a bar where guests could watch a live band show (if there’s any) and have a booze with friends.
Although some reviews say the resort has a very Filipino feel. I’d say it’s a combination of both medieval with a touch of Filipino feel. The doors and the interiors of the rooms give off a feeling like you’re sharing a drink with Robin Hood or King Arthur☺
One of the resort’s main attraction is the fountain and 12 color logic lights on the three swimming pools which change every 5-10 seconds. Plus, I also like that they have trees surrounding the area and wooden benches placed underneath the trees which serve as drying areas for people who wouldn’t want to go straight to their rooms with their clothes dripping or also for parents who want to take a look at their kids while swimming but wouldn’t want to get near the water area. Floating on the water and doing whatever swimming strokes on the resort’s pools is just easy-breezy and very relaxing, especially during night time when most guests are already inside their rooms sleeping☺ I just felt blessed that during the time we were there, the sky was so generous with its sparkling gems that I really feasted my eyes on the glowing moon and millions of stars above while floating to and fro on the pool.
They also have lifeguards positioned in the pool areas just in case some emergency or accident would occur.
That night, my mom with my Titos and Titas were on a let’s-bond-like-we-haven’t-really-bond-before mood so they enjoyed their laughing moments over a pitcher of Four seasons with tequila shot at the Riego Bar Station. There was a live acoustic band performing that time at the nearby restaurant (I forgot the name) so our folks really had a blast that night. One of my Titos even rendered his own version of Huling El Bimbo during the open mic session. The restaurant also has a billiard section at the second floor where me and my cousins had a match earlier that night. And yes, there’s a free wi-fi spot in the resto as well which made our stay even happier☺
Our package also came with a free set breakfast and free-flowing coffee so we feasted over tapsilog, tocilog, hotdog, and even daingsilog the next day. Breakfast was served in the same restaurant where the acoustic band performed the night before☺ Food was nothing sort of special–just any ordinary ‘silogs’ you can buy in Manila.
I had a chance to interview one of the restaurant crews and he was the one who told me that the owner of the resort is a Filipino. That made me glad ’cause at least the owner’s from the same nationality as ours☺ I was even pleased to know that he/she’s nice to the resort’s staff and is accommodating enough. Upon learning these things, I appreciated Residencia de Riego even more. I always have a soft spot for businesses or companies owned by Filipinos who are humane enough to treat their employees well and give enough credits to their efforts☺
All together, our Residencia de Riego experience was a wonderful and remarkable one. The place was outstandingly nice, relaxing and unique enough. The facilities, the service, entirely the resort deserves a thumbs up☺ I just hope that even if this resort would become a household name in the future–which I hope it will–they will still continue to provide outstanding service and accommodation on a price that’s affordable enough and will not compensate the quality of their service. This place is indeed, highly recommendable for family bonding, friends getaways, and company outings☺