Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday, September 20, 2015
19


















Q U I C K

E S C A P E








It’s easy to pass off Bulacan as a mere shadow of what Metro Manila is. In this age of modernization, the province can still be perceived as devoid of the industrial era detritus of its neighboring National Capital Region. And with throngs of tourists treating it only as a transit space for arriving at far-flung destinations, it’s starting to be similar to that cousin of yours whom you’ve tagged along to a party as a license to be cool but you refuse to twerk with on the dance floor.

Where Angat River Flows

Thankfully, though, it’s more than its present state of development. It has a rich historical and artistic past that speaks for its glorious self. As the birthplace of the First Constitutional Democracy in Asia, it is also home to Filipino greats like Marcelo H. del Pilar (writer), Francisco Balagtas (poet), and Nicanor Abelardo (musician). All of whom might have also been inspired by the charming beauty of the place where the placid Angat River flows.








Loaded With Surprises

Along the same river is where I recently discovered a glass house which I called home for three pleasant days. Called San Rafael River Adventure (SRRA), the newly-opened resort also became my playground for some river-Jet Ski, kayak, countryside ATV and river cruise fun. Owned by a self-made man who’s also a native of the town, SRRA just opened its resort gates to the locals of Bulacan in the middle of 2014. Since then, it has catered to more than day tours and overnight stays of local and foreign tourists. And because it can accommodate 400 guests, it has also been the special venue for memorable events such as weddings and other milestone-oriented parties.

Commune With Nature

With its lush vegetation of mango trees, the grassy parkland was an easy choice to be developed as a sanctuary for relaxation and communing with nature. All guestrooms were constructed to give way to age old trees. Even those that still stand in the middle of the swimming pool were spared from being uprooted and were used as accents instead.

River-View Infinity Pool

Tucked at the hillside cliff is the resort’s stellar infinity pool which the owner himself designed to appeal to varying ways of cerulean soaks. As I’ve tested for myself, the pool has a shallow part where kids can safely play which is also the same area where I was able to simply lie down on my back as it simulates the descent of a beachfront. There’s also a part where I had a collected moment of being simply half-submerged with a magnetic tree-framed view of the river. In another instance, I had a frisky time at its Jacuzzi that’s shaded by the embrace of the surrounding trees.









Accessible Via NLEX

The resort and events place venue’s close proximity to Metro Manila via the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) makes it an emerging Bulacan attraction that’s not only quite accessible but also one that’s loaded with surprises. To begin with, it was where I first experienced riding the Jet Ski – at the 30 ft-deep waters of the Angat River – when all this time I though I’d get a hand of it at the beach since I’ve always gravitated towards the sea. It was also where I had my first river cruise.

Glass House Stay

To seal all surprises with the most surprising experience of it all, it was also my first booked glass house, a unique accommodation concept of the owner whose penchant for the construction industry enabled him to collaborate with various suppliers. He managed to build a network of trusted consultants who supported his vision for the perfect forest-inspired cottage that reflects the outdoor beauty of nature inside the confines of the guesthouse. In his own words, waking up inside one is supposed to feel like “waking in the middle of the forest.”



Sensational Meals

During my stay, the resort’s F&B facility or restaurant has not been opened yet, so I had to pre-arrange with its staff all the meals that had to be served. I distinctly remember feeling relaxed having a welcome lunch at the front porch of my booked glass house. Fenced by a well-manicured garden, the dining experience felt very private. For dinner, I had a candlelight setup at the poolside while breakfast was sensational in another part of the pool that has a direct view of the river where I spotted locals in their usual morning routine of fishing. The second day’s lunch – still al fresco-style -- was surprisingly set up in the middle of the resort’s open space near the events venue.






ATV, Jet Ski, Kayak, River Cruise and More

SRRA is also starting to be a favorite venue among large group guests who are out on company outings. A team-building activity area has been dedicated for this specific purpose along with the other various adventure attractions (kayak, ATV, Jet Ski, boating and paddleboard). 

The river cruise alone can accommodate a large number of people and is something that I've tested to be interesting to experience with other people since the cruise I was scheduled gave me the chance to rub elbows with balikbayan visitors from the US. Over a decent meal of various local Bulacan delicacies, we spent our lunch aboard the floating diner being tugged along the river by some sort of speedboat to revel in the pleasant scenery that culminated in the viewing of the nearby islet which locals call Dela Fuente Island. 




The Philippines has more than just beach attractions and SRRA is proof that a river and forest-inspired destination can be worth my weekend. Heck, I don't mind returning there even on a weekday!

If San Rafael River Adventure is any indication of Bulacan’s mettle for tourism, then rushing to the province suddenly makes for an attractive getaway. Bearing the 2 to 3 hour-drive along the highway is definitely way better than getting stuck in traffic anywhere in Luzon. At least, at the end of your journey, you have the option to relax, have fun or revel in nature that the humble town of the province has to offer.

Check accommodation rates here.

Check out my blog post about more San Rafael attractions here.

Watch my fun ride of the Jet Ski:

 






Address: Brgy. Talacsan, San Rafael, Bulacan, Philippines
Phone: (63) 936-202-3352 or (63) 917-885-6761 or (63) 917-924-4546
Email: info@srra.ph











More Photos Below:















19 comments:

  1. Ganda naman diyan, hindi ko akalain na sa Bulacan lang iyan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. 'Di ka na lalayo from your workplace in Metro Manila. You don't have to file for a vacation leave because a weekend overnight is possible there sa San Rafael. The town even has an old church that's famed to be the one inspired by a novel of Jose Rizal.

      Delete
  2. Ang ganda, Karl! I've been looking for a nearby location kung saan pwede gumala ng chill lang. Sana paguwi ni Rubel, baka pwede namin tong puntahan. Sana nga lang affordable.. alam mo na, nagiipon para sa wedding. :P Hope all is well with you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. It's affordable coz the Glass House costs P5k (check with the resort for peak rates) and it can accommodate more than 2 guests.

      Delete
  3. Hello
    Ang ganda dyan. Would you know kung ilang rooms meron ang glass villas? We are 10 kasi, 5 males and 5 females.

    Jing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A standard glass cottage can accommodate up to 6 guests. There are three of those at the resort. Then there's a glass villa that can accommodate up to 20 guests.

      Delete
  4. How much is the entrance fee to the san rafael river adventure? yun complete package with meals

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can check the rates on this link >> http://sanrafaelriveradventure.com/accommodation/

      Delete
  5. Pwede po day tour here? :) and what activities na pwede gawin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, day tour is permissible. Activities: swimming at the pool, glamping, river cruise with buffet for 2 hours or so, plus river-based ones like kayaking, stand up paddle-boarding, banana boat, etc. For more activities, check out this other blog post of mine >> http://www.turistatrails.com/2016/05/angat-river-cruise-new-bulacan-craze-at.html

      Delete
  6. Hi Karl,
    Madali ba syang matunton? Magko-commute lang kasi kami ng family ko. Any suggestion for routes?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you're going to commute just tell your jeepney or tricycle driver that you need to get off at San Rafael River Adventure in Brgy. Talacsan. The dirt road that leads to it from the main thoroughfare has a vacan lot and there's a resort signage. Across the road is a rice field. The resort is next to Angat River. What to ride: Take the Baliwag Bus from Cubao EDSA then get off at Baliuag town proper. Ride a tricycle at the tricycle terminal across Iglesia Ni Kristo.

      Delete
    2. Notwithstanding the great tips (thanks!), you DO know there are at least 5 Iglesia Ni Cristos in Baliuag, right?

      Delete
    3. It's the one across The Baliuag Museum and Library.

      Delete
  7. Hi,

    Ask ko lang sana kung pedeng magdala ng food? Mura lang din ba kong dun ka oorder?

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi! How much is an overnight accommodation for two?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check resort rates here >> http://sanrafaelriveradventure.com/accommodation/

      Delete

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