W E D D I N G S
A N D
R E T R E A T S
Nestled at a romantic cliff of Nasugbu is an orange brick-finished place of worship that’s both popular for weddings and retreats in the Philippines. Called Caleruega Church, the Batangas chapel is where Catholic lovers gravitate towards for a solemn vow of forever. The hillside venue is also a sought-after retreat getaway for small and big groups of Catholic faithfuls seeking to be transfigured by God’s grace.
If most Catholic churches in the archipelago are usually fully-booked only during the wedding months of June and July, Caleruega Church is legendary for being fully-booked all-year round. Some engaged couples even hold off formal ceremonies of tying the knot for years just to book a schedule at the dreamy chapel. As for the standard reflection, it also attracts bookings of retreats, recollections, renewal workshops, youth camps and other leadership or liturgical seminars.
Love and Obsession
While booked for 3 days at Nasugbu’s Chateau Royale Nature Park Resort, I hied off to Caleruega for a side trip with the regret of previously missing out on a wedding invite from a newly-wed cousin the year before. Someone, who was hinted by a province-based faith healer to be obsessed with me, wanted me dead and no good for anybody but her. The first time I heard of it, I considered it rubbish. I did not realize of the woman’s intentions to begin with. She was simply a good friend in my eyes. I shrugged it off. Well, I almost did… at a feeble 35-kilogram-frame in the hospital where I laid dying of unexplained malnutrition and dehydration.
Missed Out Attendance At The Chapel
My situation, as it turned out, was a result of someone inflicting witchcraft on me. I remember to be able to eat only morsels of food and sips of water once a day for more than a year until my frame collapsed into such an anorexic form -- the perfect culmination of my tormentor’s failed pursuit for forever. The whole duration of the ordeal allowed me to see the woman’s face in my daily nightmares as if God permitted it. God was still good. It was about the time when my cousin formally got married at the breezy Batangas chapel, so I was not able to attend it.
The Intense Pursuit of Love
The intense pursuit of love --– both romantic and divine -- seems to be attracting such attention from members of the Catholic faith. And, why not? The hill where the chapel is nestled is charming with its well-manicured garden, tranquil cliff-side space, and scenic view of distant Mount Batulao and the nearby pastoral terrain.
|The view of distant Mount Batulao|
Wedding Ceremony Arrangements
For roughly P15,000, couples can book a wedding ceremony at Caleruega regardless if the priest is provided by the chapel or invited by the former. An officiating priest’s stipend has no fixed amount and is left to the generosity of the bride and groom and their respective families. For the aforementioned amount, the activity can be commenced with a sound system, classic organ-oriented music, provision of CD player, and a sacristan who will assist in the wedding mass. Other requirements such as a choir, floral arrangements, photographers, missalette and carpet are not included.
Reception Rates and Details
The venue has four reception areas namely the outdoor, 200-seater Plaza De Aza Tuktok or roof deck which can be booked for P40,000 (tents can be outfitted), the indoor, 200-seater Veritas Hall which can be booked for P30,000 (additional air conditioning charge of P7,000+), the indoor, 60-seater Gazekubo which can be booked for P25,000 (additional air condition charge of P5,000) and the outdoor, 200-seater Kampo Arriba which can be booked for P40,000.
Retreat and Accommodation
For those on retreat or related activities, Caleruega offers the perfect peaceful hideaway in the chilly embrace of Batangas’ Nasugbu. A minimum of 2 day-reservation is required by the establishment for a group of at least 30 persons though. Reservations that have less guests end up being wait-listed. A 2-day stay comes with 6 meals and 4 snacks while an overnight stay allows guests access to 3 meals and a couple of snacks. Fortunately, intrepid travelers can opt to camp out at the hillside as well for P250 per person, provided that they bring their own tents.
Directions and More
When I visited it, I could have just walked in the venue but the property is still considered private, so I was charged P30 for entering its premises. It was convenient that I was checked-in at the nearby Chateau Royale Nature Park Resort. I only had a quick stroll from my booked resort and paid a tricycle driver P50 for assistance for the rest of the way. It was interestingly near the chilly Tagaytay City proper and Buck Estate where Sonya’s Garden is.
Any visitor from Manila can board a Nasubgu-bound DLTB Bus in Pasay City and rough out the 2 to 3 hour ride. Make sure to get off at the HillCrest corner past the boundary of Cavite and Batangas where tricycles are lined up for tourists.
If you’re wondering how I’ve come to endure and outlive the occultic affliction that once harmed my physical body, I can only attest to the equally pursuit of forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Love, as the world knows it, can be lots of things. It can bring joy. It can also bring pain. Forgiveness, like love, renders healing to the resulting frailty of man’s capability to cope with one’s emotions.
When I forgave the obsessing fault of the person I treated as a friend who wanted me more for a romantic endeavor, the healing that’s as powerful as any retreat or binding wedding ceremony took place. Mysteriously, the simple decongestant medicine prescribed to me by a doctor miraculously worked. However, I knew the real story. In the process of forgiving the person, I set myself free from the clutches of her secret sin, so that she can forgive herself as well.
Address: St. Francis Xavier Parish, J.P. Laurel St., Nasugbu, Batangas, Philippines 4231
Phone: (043) 412-0025 or (043) 416-0564 or 0943-728-6811 or 0920-938-2083 or 0921-270-9890 or 0921-830-4226
Read more about my other Batangas-related blog posts per destination:
+ San Juan