Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Summer Mini Adventures: CALIRAYA LAKE and the JAPANESE GARDEN

The continuation of the mini adventures of The BACKPACKERS this summer...

A guide for those who are

---nature lovers and/or travel junkies
---wants an accessible and affordable destination
---strolling around to check out the famous spots in our country



BP couple Angel and Ivan at a ledge near the lakeside

A man made lake that was created in late 1930s by a US Army Engineer by flooding the Cavinti valley of the Sierra Madre mountain range to generate hydroelectric power for Manila (source: http://www.calirayalake.com/historyclryalake.html). Ever since it drew popularity, real estate developers started to enhance the surroundings as witnessed by the several resorts and clubhouses that circumscribe the lake. A two-day trip at Caliraya Lake would be enticing and complete if you will book an overnight accommodation at some of the popular hotels and resorts here. In my humble opinion, the most popular among these is Lagos Del Sol Resort, but the other resorts are also contending to be the best provider of amenities and adventures at the lake. For a complete list of the resorts in the area, click here

a nice view of the man made lake

In just two to three hours (in our case, three hours because we started at Marcos Highway for a more scenic view of the mountains of Rizal) you will reach the site of this beautiful lake. We did not book an accommodation to a nearby resort because we were not planning to stay longer albeit the fact that we really targeted a sundown trip here for an amazing sunset view. But since we were ahead of our itinerary, we arrived at Caliraya at around 1 in the afternoon.

BP Chons posing at the lakeside

The girls who braved standing on the ledge


Relaxing on top of the hill

A very peaceful place at the Caliraya Lake area is the Japanese Garden. It is worthy of a visit as it is affordable, for just a 10Php entrance fee you can roam around all you want! Many visitors who stop by the garden spend a couple of hours relaxing and strolling around the park. You can bring your cookset here as there are a lot of delightful spots where one can camp out, loosen up and chill. There are sheds as well to protect you from the heat of the sun. But its best to lay around the grass or under a tree that will shield you from the heat of the sun. 

The entrance to the garden

posing at the staircase

There is a shrine that is dedicated to the Tiger of Malaya: Yamashita whose treasures are said to be buried underneath the caves, tunnels and underground complexes in the country. You will reach this shrine after facing the staircase with fifty or so steps. The surroundings, being a garden, has several beautiful and colorful flora. There is a pond where waterlilies freely float at the surface of the water.

Behind the girls is the Yamashita shrine

Walking for a couple more steps will take you to the garden's highest point. On top of this hill, you will get a glimpse of a portion of Caliraya Lake and some of the green views below. Everywhere you look, you will see lush green vegetation. The grasses are very welcoming and it is indeed a soothing spot for your leg muscles after a nice short hike.

view on top of the hill

BP Clue and Daddy Wil

BP Chons' rock balancing act

Did I say it's a perfect spot for couples too?

After an hour of roaming around the park, enjoying the nice views, breathing fresh air and taking a lot of photo ops, Daddy Wil, one of BP's great companion, we met him first at Mt. Cristobal Traverse, started the engine and we all hopped in. The road trip continued!

Next stop: Another man made lake! A neighbor of Caliraya Lake and famous for it is the scene of bass fishing in the Philippines: Lumot Lake!



PART 4: CALIRAYA LAKE and the JAPANESE GARDEN     <--Article Feature

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