Thursday, December 28, 2006

Caleruega Road Trip

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Ever since I first saw an internet photo of the chapel in Caleruega in Batangas, I've always had this fantasy of driving up there and seeing it for myself. I almost had that chance a couple of years ago when a friend and former colleague, Pia Arcangel, got married there. Unfortunately though, I couldn't make it to the wedding. I don't know if it was because I was so enamored by how pretty the place looked in that photo or if I was influenced by the wonderful stories of how gorgeous the place really is from the people who've been there, but for some reason, the desire to see Caleruega so consumed me that I vowed it would be one of the first places I would go to when I get my own car. (It actually became an agreement of sorts I had with The Man Upstairs).

Tuesday, December 26, I finally mustered the courage to drive up there on my own. My family wanted to come with me but I told them it was something I needed to do by mself. (Besides, we already spent Christmas in Tagaytay, going to see the mini zoo at Residence Inn and going hiking at Picnic Grove. Both places were packed; I do not recommend going there to spend a quiet Christmas with your family). Tagaytay is less than an hour away from where we live in Cavite. I left our house at about 10am and, with quick stopovers for gas and asking for directions, finally got to Caleruega at a little past 12nn (okay, so I'm a slow driver, give me a break, I've only been driving a couple of weeks).

A wedding had just finished when I parked quite a ways off from the church. Some guy even came up to me and asked if I already knew the directions to the reception! (I should've just went along with it, could've gotten a free meal...) After paying an entrance fee of P20, I discovered Caleruega is every bit as beautiful as they say it is. The chapel itself is tiny, I'm guessing only about a hundred people can sit comfortably inside. The brick facade, I found out later, is a reproduction of the original chapel in Caleruega, Spain. The area around it is filled with just the right kinds of plants and flowers, almost making it seem too picturesque and perfect to be real. Almost.

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Inside, the majestic stained glass altar is a sight to behold, especially with the noontime sun behind it. (Too bad my lousy camera phone couldn't do justice to it).

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The scenery outside is just as spectacular. Miles and miles of lush greens and rolling hills, and Taal Lake off to one side in the distance.

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Not surprisingly, I'm not the only one bewitched by this place; scores of couples, apparently looking for (and finding) the perfect place to get married, were also walking around the property. Apart from the chapel, Caleruega is also a retreat house and its facilities can also be used for workshops and seminars.

On my way back, I passed another quaint chapel just a few minutes away from Caleruega. The open-air and circular-shaped Chapel on the Hill, as it is called, is just as interesting and almost as beautiful, where one can breathe in fresh mountain air and take in the awesome view of miles and miles of green hills. Too bad I wasn't able to take pictures. A quick stop here if you're going to or coming back from Caleruega wouldn't hurt.

Now I can finally scratch that off my list of must-do's and must go-to's. I'm already looking forward to the next road trip...

6 Comments:

Anonymous Rhea said...

kuya peej, im so happy for you.

you've got a lot of wonderful things goin on talaga, congrats! deserve mo un!

wow, must visit talaga ang caleruega. i went there several years ago, tapos bumalik ulit ako kasi alam ko na gusto ko talaga dun ikasal *grin*. i'm glad maganda pa rin siya.

maganda pumunta pag weekday, halos walang tao, tapos parang one with Him and nature ka talaga :) first trip, maganda nga solo... next time, masaya may kasama, hehe.

oh and you've got a car na, sweet!

i wanted to send you an e-card nung birthday mo but i realized... yung old addy mo pala yung asa akin.

howel.

haberday pa rin! :) hope i'll bump into you one of these days... (aussie visa, hello, hihi, joke)

tc! :)

12:18 PM  
Blogger peejay said...

thanks rhea. kung may iba ka pang pwedeng i-suggest na places na malapit lang sa metro manila (tipong an hour or two hours-drive away lang), let me know. =)

have an awesome 2007!

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

di mo nakita yung mumu? :p
hehe, joke lang. ganda sa Caleruega ano? good place to reflect on everything about yourself.

aajao :)

10:47 AM  
Blogger hellgod said...

Yeah, Caleruega looks really nice. The road going there is not so, umm, picturesque though... (Yung pagliko na mismo)

1:08 AM  
Blogger peejay said...

aajao: wala namang nagparamdam na moomoo, though it was the middle of the afternoon. baka masyado pang maaga, hehe.

alvin: yeah i know what you mean. daming potholes sa kalsada, and there are a couple of weird-looking structures, medyo off. i don't mind though. caleruega's now one of my favorite places to visit. =)

10:40 AM  
Blogger aryo said...

Hi.

Caleruega is indeed beautiful. My officemates (yup, both) were married there and I was just mesmerized by it. Muntik na kong manghila ng kahit sino at sumabay magpakasal. Buti na lang me mabait na taong nagbigay sa akin ng matinding batok.

Nice blog here.

1:22 PM  

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