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The new year arrived in a chilling way. I kept on seeing Facebook status posts from the Philippines and abroad about the cold weather and how it was affecting people. In Metro Manila, although there wasn't any snow, the breeze was remarkably biting cold.
As a result, I finally entertained thoughts of dipping myself in a hot spring in Laguna. Never mind the possibility of a humdrum experience looking at bare cemented walls and a pedestrian-looking residence just as long as I was submerged in one of those private pools in Calamba or Los Banos. I was determined to overlook the lack of resort design in any of those private houses. I was also ready to ignore the same boring aesthetics in the area's popular resorts. I just had to escape the chilling temperature as soon as possible.
I settled for a not-so-old hot spring resort that showed me lots of trees on its website. I reckoned that it's something I could enjoy while relaxing in a hot spring -- a natural scenery. I got excited.
|The resort's Nipa Hut Accommodation -- good for 4 people|
Off To Laguna From Metro Manila In 1 Hour and 30 Minutes
Without wasting any more time, I was aboard the HM Transport Bus from Cubao, Quezon City at past 9:00am. Bound for Calamba, Laguna, I was informed over the phone by my target resort, 88 Hot Spring Resort & Spa, that I could get off along the highway right in front of the resort entrance. I checked my mobile map to find out that my destination was to be past SM Calamba.
In less than two hours, I finally arrived at the place and paid at the reception area for a day tour which set me back P500. The rate already included access to all pools, open-air cottages, and locker space for my stuff.
Built By A Korean For Koreans (And Filipino Guests, Too)
I noticed that the resort was designed and being operated with Koreans as target clients because of the Korean manager's desk that was at the reception area, the signages in Korean that seemed to be everywhere, and a Korean statue made from marble that greeted me at the entrance to the actual resort. I also saw one Korean guest after another. I suddenly realized that I was the foreign tourist that day.
Hill-top Hot Spring Jacuzzi
What I loved about the place was the well-manicured garden that surrounded two hot spring jacuzzis. There were three more hot spring pools but they were in a cluster next to the restaurant away from the beautiful garden. The Korean guests seemed to gravitate towards that less attractive area maybe because of its close proximity to food and drinks.
|Inside the Nipa Hut accommodation|
|The resort's Villa accommodation -- good for 2 people|
Mount Makiling's Miracle Water
I found the irrigation-type of hot water flowing across the hill-top garden to be thoughtful as it showed me where the water was coming from. I later found out that it is obtained from underground springs of the nearby Mount Makiling. The springs were identified to run as deep as 300 meters at 99°C. Perceived to be Laguna's miracle water, the hot spring is odorless, clear, and tested to be rich in organic minerals that are considered to cure a variety of illnesses.
I later tried dipping myself in the wide lukewarm watered- pool that was at the foot of the hill, plus strolling by the fishing pond that was surrounded by a grassy plane. Read my next blog post about these parts of the resort.
Dining At The Resort Restaurant
After more than an hour of water fun, I felt awfully thirsty and starved so I had my late lunch at 88 Hot Spring's Korean Restaurant. I ordered the Sweet and Sour Meatballs off their Filipino selection. It's pricey at P300 but when it was served with a set of appetizers and a plate full of meatballs that was good for 3 people, I realized that it could be good for P100 per head. Unfortunately, I was alone and had no one to share it with that's why it set me back more than what was good for me. If anything, I liked the glazed dilis for appetizer and the meatballs was not bad. It had lots of onions which I loved.
By 4:00pm, I was done with my day tour and decided to check out. Going home was as easy as reaching the place. I simply hailed for a bus back to Taft, Manila (an HM Transport Bus) right across the 88 Hot Spring Resort & Spa. Transportation fee was at P91 (Manila terminal) or P99 (Quezon City terminal).
|The locker room for day tour guests|
|The resort's organic farm|