The second leg of our Saturday day tour takes us to Caleruega Church.
Located just a street away from the Mountain of Salvation, it took less than ten minutes by car arrive at the entrance.
A sign at the fork in Batulao makes it convenient to know where to turn. Besides that, since there are no other structures, it is easy to spot the place.
This is actually the second time I visited Caleruega Church. The first time I was here was back in the summer. At that time, we took a detour from our trip to Canyon Cove.
In my first visit, the road was quite bad as the pot holes were numerous and deep. We had to slow down to a snail’s pace just to prevent the car from being damaged.
Also, there were so many people that cars were parked out in the street.
This time around, the potholes are filled with gravel. And though they were still present, aren’t as deep.
Also, the number of people this time around isn’t as much. This allowed us to park the car inside the property.
Entrance is still PhP30 per person and a brochure containing useful information is still provided at the gate.
Favorite for Weddings and Retreats
The façade of the Transfiguration Chapel is different from the other chapels in the country. It turns out that it is a reproduction of the original chapel in Caleruega, Spain.
And the design, both in and out, has made it a big favorite for weddings. In fact, the place is in such demand that couples need to reserve at least a year in advance.
While we were there, a couple was talking with their wedding planners on how to arrange their flowers in the chapel.
In addition to weddings, schools normally sent their students here for their annual retreats. During these times, busloads of people come in for anywhere from a weekend to a weeklong set of activities.
Non-students can also join the scheduled retreats for a minimal fee. And those staying overnight can the rooms dotted all over the property.
Just like the Transfiguration Chapel, the rooms and other small buildings are made of brick on the outside.
This makes for really, really nice pictures. Beginners, such as myself, can take some good ones; but an experienced photographer with a good eye can take great pictures.
Some favorites include the main stair case, the Transfiguration Chapel, the various statues, the water fountain, the hanging bridge, and the list goes on. In addition to this, there are different flowers scattered all over the area, just waiting to be photographed.
Since there are less trees on the property, the view of the surrounding mountains is much better than the Mountain of Salvation. In the latter, the huge trees tend to restrict the views.
For those would like to commune with nature, a camp site is available a bit down the mountain. I understand that you’ll need to bring your own test and supplies for this.
A lot of People
Though I wouldn’t say that the place is crowded, it is never devoid of people. Whether ii is people staying for a retreat or tourists visiting, there will always be someone walking around.
This makes it a bit difficult to take pictures without at least one person in them. If you are interested in taking people-free pictures, you may want to come back during the weekdays.
In addition to this, I found it a bit difficult to find a spot to contemplate alone in. So if you are looking to be alone with your thoughts, again, you may want to revisit the place during the weekdays.
After taking our pictures, it was time for us to have lunch. So we reluctantly piled into the car and headed on back to Tagaytay.
We passed the stall were we regularly get our vegetables, or suki, but no one was manning the place.
We didn’t bother stopping at the other stalls as they didn’t have any Lettuce for sale, probably because they weren’t able to harvest any due to the continuous rains.
We decided to have lunch at Leslie’s when we got back to Tagaytay. Coming from Batulao, it was on the right side of the road.
Parking was full but we found a spot at the back. We were the seventh on the waiting list and had to wait for about twenty minutes before being called.
Lunch was composed of Bulalo, Grilled Pusit, and Laing. The Bulalo was slightly salty for my taste, but was just right for the others. What is great thing about eating Bulalo here is that the soup refills are free.
The only thing about the area is that service is a bit slow. So if you are hungry or expect snappy service, this may not be the place for you. But if you are patient and willing to wait a bit, will be rewarded with a filling meal.
After paying for lunch, it was time to head on back down to Metro Manila.
But before leaving Tagaytay, we needed to get a few things as pasalubong for friends and family. And for that, we stopped over at Rowena’s.
It is conveniently located on the right side of the road, so the traffic that wsa beginning to build up didn’t make it difficult for us.
Parking was plentiful since it was still early in the day. Some people prefer dropping by on their way up to Tagaytay to avoid the late afternoon rush.
The stuff on our list included Boat Tarts, Uraro, Barquillos, Cassava Cake, Buko Pie, and Chocolate.
There are several people behind the counter to assist purchasers and you can pay in cash or credit card.
By the time we were done with our shopping, traffic began to build up.
So after hurriedly packing everything in the trunk, headed on down to Metro Manila.
But before getting on the South Luzon Expressway, or SLEX, we had to make one last stop for more pasalubong.
Edna’s in closer to the toll way entrance of Santa Rosa. Coming from Tagaytay, it was on the left of the road.
Parking is available for three cars in front of the store and it tends to be free during the early afternoons as well.
There are several items available here that are not in Rowena’s.
In my case, I miss the Kropeck shrimp chips and I was surprised to find it was available here. Since I can’t seem to find them lately in the groceries of Metro Manila, I got a couple of packs.
There are also some items that are a bit cheaper here.
The small pack of Barquillos was cheaper here so I also got myself one. I also got a medium sized bottle of Atchara.
The owner, together with the staff, was very nice. And the effect was that we couldn’t help but keep adding items to our basket because of their suggestions.
We finally reached home just in time for dinner. And instead of cooking a meal, decided to reheat the Bulalo we took home with us.
I also polished off the remainder of the Laing I ordered at Leslie’s for a balanced dinner.
Thanks to the continuous rains, I have been cooped in Metro Manila for the past few weeks.
However in just one day, we were able to drop by the Mountain of Salvation for some quiet time. We then headed over to Caleruega Church for some pictures. For lunch, we ate at Bulalo at Leslie’s. And for shopping we went to Rowena’s and Edna’s.
And thanks to this day, my wanderlust has been temporarily satisfied.
For those of you aching to get out, even for a day, you may want to retrace the steps we took.
Till our next trip!