Get to appreciate nature’s beauty at a Batangas bed and breakfast inn
Written By Chelsea Gogola
Photographed By Yukie Sarto
We found a place just a couple hours away from Manila that offers the very essence of a relaxing weekend getaway. A little past Tagaytay—but still benefiting from its cool breeze—in Laurel, Batangas is Narra Hill, a nature-themed bed and breakfast and events venue.
Guests will have to traverse a steep downwards road to a cliff side but the view alone is worth the trip.
Wake up to the clear sight of Taal Lake and the gorgeous sunrise, even without getting up from bed, thanks to the kubo-type accommodations where on one side instead of a wall, there’s only a short backrest for the couch to give guests the full view.
There are only two kubos and one balcony room available. Kubo One is for a family with big kids: there’s a bedroom and bathroom downstairs separated from the living area and pantry by a sliding glass door, and stairs at the side lead to a second floor with more beds for the kids. Kubo Two has the same layout, except it has separate entrances for the downstairs and upstairs areas so these can be rented out by two different groups. The bottom floor of Kubo Two is perfect for couples, and the top floor is for a family with kids. The balcony room is more modern and smaller in size, but has the best view being that it is at the top of the property.
The owner of the property is Chian Callaghan, who had the place built as her own retirement home with rooms where her children and their families could stay. The property is vast—there is a wedding venue with a beautiful koi pond, falls and garden that she had built for her son’s wedding, and is now up for rent. Below that is gorgeous greenery, where Chian plants her own fruits and vegetables to ensure no genetically-modified organisms (GMO) and pesticides are used in the food.
Of course, this being a bed and breakfast, you do get food when you wake up. Breakfast is best consumed in the common area, where you get a good view of the lake while you eat. Food is mostly organic—a lot of the components of the dishes come from Chian’s own garden, and she usually cooks the food herself.
Cell signal there is weak and so is the Wi-Fi, which is available upon request. Also there are no televisions here. The whole point of the place is really to help you get away from the stress of city life. “If you want to sit and stare at the television, you can do that in Manila,” says Chian. “But this is a view you don’t see every day, and it’s the reason people come here.”
You really are forced to bond with whoever you’re here with. Chian tells us stories of estranged family members creating fond memories in the kubos and long distance relationship couples spending days getting to know each other—all of them really glad that there was nothing to distract them from each other.
The concept may not appeal to everyone but, really, anyone would benefit from a day or two unplugged from technology. Sometimes, we tend to forget that the best company is not your phone or a tablet. It’s another person.