Close to nature, closer to God. This is Caleruega’s tag line and I cannot think of a much more fitting description of this isolated sanctuary in Batangas than that.
This haven is located on the far end of the Evercrest grounds at the border of Tagaytay and Nasugbu. Like pilgrims, travelers wanting to visit this refuge have to traverse a single lane rough road to its gates. Never mind the bumpy ride as the scenery along the road is breathtaking; the rolling verdant hills, cobalt blue skies and Tagaytay’s cool weather makes you feel you’re somewhere other than the Philippines.
Once on Caleruega’s sprawling grounds, the first thing that greets visitors is a brick-paved rotunda with a fountain in its midst. One is then presented with two choices, ascend the stairs towards the Church of Configuration or descend down to the koi pond and hanging bridge below.
Let’s take the upward stairs first.
On my first visit here, I thought I was entering a church as I ascended the brick steps through Caleruega’s Spanish-styled portal.
It turned out that the chapel was much much farther from where I was.
This was actually the receiving hall for visitors and those having their retreats at the place. Out front, a grand staircase elegantly opens upwards but was unfortunately off limits to visitors. On the left the gift house, where one can buy souvenir shirts, trinkets and religious items, and to the right the mess hall and a corridor that leads to the gardens and eventually the chapel.
Entering the garden, one is confounded with pathways beset with lush trees and colorful varieties of flowers. Like a true retreat, solitary benches can be found on niches found along its paths. The whisper of trees might accompany you on your reverie but on some occasions, soothing hymns emanate from some of the buildings in the area.
Everything here speaks of quietness and solitude.
The passageways winds through Adobe-laden structures, winding up and up ‘til one reaches Caleruega’s apex, the famed Transfiguration Chapel.
How to Commute to Caleruega:
Coming from Tagaytay City, board a Nasugbu bound bus and ask the driver to drop you off at Evercrest. There is a tricycles station there which you can hire for a two-way trip to Caleruega.
Bag of Beans, the Café | Bag of Beans, the Food | Caleruega Retreat Grounds | Caleruega Transfiguration Chapel
Caleruega Koi Pond, Hanging Bridge and Open Chapel | Picnic Grove | Leslie’s Famous Bulalo | Starbucks Coffee