Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
8
The farm's infinity pool



















When urban sanctuaries no longer disarm one of doldrums, a distant estate in a province next to a city is poised to lure expectations of serenity. Case in point: the sprawling estate called Sitio De Amor of San Pablo City. Located in a highly vegetated terrain of Laguna, the getaway has maintained its secluded charm thanks to a long and winding detour from the Maharlika Highway, a couple of hours away from Metro Manila.

San Pablo City is famous for artsy inns that rival its esteemed set of seven lakes for space and attention. And, clearly, it’s for a complementing reason. There are a handful of resorts and bed and breakfasts that span its 21,400-hectare landscape. With Sitio De Amor nestled strategically between San Cristobal Mountain and the mystical Mt. Banahaw, the air at the multi-hectare farm is constantly fresh and nights are a romantic hustle with nature’s breeze wafting through the foliage of nurtured hardwoods, rich shrubberies, ornate vines, thriving bromeliads and a selection of rare plants. At daytime, horses can be seen at the property.

The farm's Grand Pavilion
My booked Avocado Room's opium bed
Blue marlin belly for lunch
Topnotch breakfast with dessert at the Grand Pavilion



Landscaped Flora

The paved grassy path beyond the iron gates of the farm showcases a patch where pineapples are grown. The entrance dissolves into a vast landscaped flora that ends at a cliff which, I learned during my stay, had been manicured by Igorot locals to imbibe the rice terraces environment of the cordilleras. It’s fondly accentuated with more distinct plants and flowers, plus a fabulous infinity pool with a serene view of various trees, the farm’s 3-storey honeymoon-favorite Tree House accommodation, and a distant mountain range.

"The entrance dissolves into a vast landscaped flora that ends at a cliff which, I learned during my stay, had been manicured by Igorot locals to imbibe the rice terraces environment of the cordilleras."

Moments At The Infinity Pool, Cabana, and Pergola

While immersed at the infinity pool in a decent pair of 10-year old swimwear, I abandoned my worries of city rituals and looked straight into lush greenery and blue skies. I extended that state of bliss at the poolside cabana where I took a power nap and skipped sunset-viewing.

When I awoke and saw that there was still enough daylight in the sky, I hooked up my old school laptop to a reliable power outlet at a pergola next to the pool to commence a writing gig. Perhaps, because of the utmost lack of ennui, I was also lost for words.

"...each accommodation at the farm is a cocoon that advocates the love for the past with fancy heirloom pieces that adorn wooden floors and walls."



The farm's infinity pool
A full course lunch at the Grand Pavilion
Well-manicured cliff by Igorot locals
The Avocado Room

Deciding to forego working where I play, I shifted my attention to the post-sunset full shape splendour of the moon that singularly studded the pink-washed sky. I was immensely engaged to adore the painting-like scenery. That moment must have been what the couple, George and Amor Bondad, felt compelled to design Sitio De Amor for – a hypnotic oasis for souls seeking serenity.

Guest Rooms

Meticulously reconstructed as a remembrance of the Filipinos’ rich history and culture, each accommodation at the farm is a cocoon that advocates the love for the past with fancy heirloom pieces that adorn wooden floors and walls. Guest rooms are aptly called according to the nearest fruit-bearing trees next to them. To my delight, there are a handful of priceless antiquities that dot elaborate corners of each guest house.

The Avocado Room entrance

The biggest of them all, the Tree House, is located at a valley away from the center of the farm and close to a rustling creek and koi pond that’s blanketed by water lilies. The room rate for two guests costs roughly more than seven thousand pesos as it comes with a jacuzzi. If anything, the area is romantic and a best venue for honeymooners since anybody from the staff who will knock on the door will have to tackle the 5 to 7-minute stroll from the Grand Pavilion where the front desk is. Additional guests can be accommodated at the second storey’s veranda benches for a little more than a thousand pesos more per person.

Duplex With Backyard Balcony

My assigned accommodation – the Avocado Room of a duplex -- landed me a sensational backyard balcony that allowed me the privacy of having my skin kissed by the morning sunshine in hardly any clothing. As a matter of fact, I found it appealing to linger there in my boxers for a few minutes during sunrise. The only thing missing was a hot cup of coffee. The rustic platform was accessible directly through a sliding door opposite my four-pole opium bed. The night before, the howling winds outside taunted me for a few minutes as I tried my best to feel at home. If it wasn’t for the subdued indoor lighting, I wouldn’t have been forced to close my eyes and eventually fall asleep.



Full Course Meals At The Grand Pavilion

I had the pleasure of dining over delicious home-cooked dishes of the farm at its impressive Grand Pavilion where vintage chandeliers render rural opulence to the high-ceiling venue. Unlike in typical high-end resorts, Sitio De Amor serves food in traditional full course meals – appetizer, main course (2 or more), and dessert. Breakfast is complimentary or room rate-inclusive.

Special Events Venue

I learned from a staff during my stay that it’s also a popular venue for dream weddings, conferences, birthday parties and seminars as it has lounging areas accentuated with pieces of old wood furniture.

"Sitio De Amor serves food in traditional full course meals – appetizer, main course (2 or more), and dessert."


In Honor of A Hermit Saint

On my way to check-out, I recalled having read somewhere that the city of San Pablo was first called the upland of Sampalok by early settlers which was later renamed by the Spaniards. The new and present name actually became official to honor San Pablo or Saint Paul who was interestingly an Egyptian hermit, someone who wandered in the wilderness and found oasis in a desert cave.  

"The new and present name actually became official to honor San Pablo or Saint Paul who was interestingly an Egyptian hermit..."

I originally intended to use Sitio De Amor as base for touring San Pablo City’s famous seven lakes but that did not happen for obvious reasons. The farm let me watch it unravel itself in charming colors at different times of the day that there was no point in leaving it behind for even a few minutes.

The bathroom of the Avocado Room
A full course dinner at the Grand Pavilion
Room Rates:

• The Tree House has one air-conditioned bedroom on the third floor complete with bathroom. Rate is Php7,500 per night for two guests. An additional person costs Php1,200 per night. The room can accommodate a maximum of six guests. The veranda benches can further sleep nine guests at Php1,000 per night per pax. Everyone gets free Filipino breakfast.
• The Lansones Room is also called the Barkada Room because it can accommodate a maximum of eight guests. Rate is at Php5,000 per night for two guests. An additional guest costs Php1,200 per night. Everyone gets a free Filipino breakfast.
• The Chico Room can set you back Php4,000 per night for two guests. An additional person is Php1,200.00 per night. Maximum occupancy is three guests.
• The Duhat Room’s rate is at Php 3,500 per night for two guests. An additional person costs Php1,200 per night. Maximum capacity is four guests. Everyone gets a free Filipino breakfast.
• The Avocado Room can set you back Php3,500.00++ per night for two guests. An additional person is Php 1,200 per night. Maximum occupancy is three guests.

Working on the blog
To conclude that I was beguiled is absurd. I simply got enamoured by its gentle reclusiveness, something that did not impose reasonable conditions, just a lasting oasis of serenity that I could bring home with me back to Metro Manila.  

Sitio De Amor


Address: KM 88.8 Maharlika Highway, Purok Paraiso, San Antonio I, San Pablo City, Laguna, Philippines
Email: sitiodeamor@yahoo.com
Phone: (632) 401-7344/ (632) 552-7340
Mobile: 0908-884-2730/ 0917-533-0209/ 0918-927-4346





Check out my other Laguna-related blog posts:








More Photos Below:



The highest level of the Tree House accommodation
The farm's koi pond
Tree House accommodation details
My full course dinner table
The Grand Pavilion
The farm's creek


Almost evening at Sitio De Amor

8 comments:

  1. Hello! How to go there via public transpo from Cubao? Many thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just ride any bus going to Laguna or that will pass through San Pablo. Most bus stations are along EDSA in Cubao.

      Delete
  2. Hey Karl, I stumbled on your website through Google and by looking on each pictures and story of each post, i really like what i'm reading,good jobs bro. btw, what lens and how many do you use of each post?

    Nathan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Nat. I'm using a Samsung digicam (point-and-shoot) for all my posts.

      Delete
  3. Hi! Hot spring po ba yung pools or typical swimming pool lang?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello, tnx for the info about the 88 resort. Weve enjoyed alot. Were eyeing to see sitio amor. Do u have any idea of the day tour price?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed visiting 88 Hot Spring. I did. You'll love Sitio De Amor more. For day tour rates, you may directly contact Sitio De Amor at 0908-884-2730,0918-927-4346 or 0917-533-0209. However, I recommend you stay there for overnight because it's worth every cent.

      Delete

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