For nature lovers and for people who want a little time of peace (and relaxation), try visiting the Caleruega Retreat Center in Nasugbu, Batangas.
For quite a couple of years now, I have been going to Caleruega every year for work – as part of the training program for the student leaders of Batangas for the Save the Santa Rosa River Project. Even though I have been there for quite a few times already, Caleruega is always refreshing. Not just because of its chilly weather, but because there’s always something that surprises me whenever I go visit.
Caleruega is a retreat center, named after the birthplace of St. Dominic. I believe that the priests residing in the area are all under the Dominican Order of Preachers.
“Closer to nature, closer to God” is what the Caleruega experience is about. The whole area is filled with trees and flowers, and then if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even do a mini-trekking to the other chapel on top of the mountain (which, by the way, is the area that surprised me since I haven’t been there before).
But before you get to the place, you have to walk really far, past the stations of the cross, and the koi ponds, and the hanging bridge. This place would be good for a pre-nup photoshoot, I just honestly would not know if they allow such. What I do know is you can get married in Caleruega.
The chapel, a very popular place to get married, is very small and would be perfect for intimate weddings. It is located right next to the dining hall, with villas (retreat houses) scattered at a certain distance around it.
There is also an area in Caleruega where you can have bonfires – which usually people have during retreats. [Side Note: I remember when, at a high school retreat, we were asked to write our “sorrows and problems” on a piece of paper, which afterwards we had to burn at a ceremonial bonfire. I graduated from a Dominican High School, I’m not sure if others practice this as well.]
To go to Caleruega via commute, get on a Nasugbu Bus and ask to get dropped at Evercrest. From there, ride a tricycle to Caleruega.
Caleruega is love. 🙂