A vacation from vacation sounds redundant but sometimes, it is what our minds and bodies cry for. It has become a rarity to purely bask in a sanctuary of utter peace as adventure often calls for attention when faced with the outdoors. That’s why when we came across an article about a cottage floating in the middle of a lake, Dijo and I thought it to be a perfect overnight place to temporarily escape the city that I perceive to consistently wreak havoc.
And escape we achieved. The elusively described place is called Aquascape (by Cottages and Many More) in Caliraya, Laguna. We found out that it was initially meant to be a family vacation house but due to several inquiries on the site, the owners eventually decided to have a few more cottages built and started to welcome guests.
We arrived Aquascape at around 11 on a particularly sunny Friday morning. Since the cottage we booked was still occupied, the resort’s caretaker, Salve ushered us to an area where we could settle down and unwind while waiting to be checked in. We took a stroll, checked the other rooms out and mentally typed heart-eyed emojis as we passed each swing and hammock clad in floral cushions and throw pillows.
To insinuate a rough feel of the place, I would say it is charming and verdant. No adjectives too fancy and not exactly expletive-inducing but rather a sight that wrung all the sighs in me. It was an ideal spot to breathe positive juju in and let bad energy out.
We were later called to enter our room – a floating cottage with two double beds, a couch, a mini dining area, a small kitchen and a shower room. There was even a television mounted in one corner, although I did not feel any need to use it. Little details dotted the space and those added some flair to it. But the main attraction for me was the lanai of sorts, past the sliding doors, with two mini benches, from where we got to survey the landscape.
At around 1pm, Dijo attempted to ignite fire in our mini grill to char the stash of meat we brought with us. There are no restaurants in the area so guests can either bring their own food or have their meals prepared by the resort’s staff for an additional fee. In our case, we thought it would be more fun and less costly to whip our food up. And since we don’t exactly deem ourselves seasoned cooks, we went for what we thought would be simple to prepare. Pork barbecue and liempo hence populated our lunch menu.
After feasting and cleaning up, time ran faster than I expected and before I knew it, it was already 4pm. That was when we decided to have a spin around the lake with Kuya Jun, one of Aquascape’s personnel, maneuvering our cottage. What went on for the next hour was nothing like I have experienced before.
Picture your very own room, gliding along the stillness of a lake, the only ripples being those gyrating around the path of the moving house. An abundance of green swayed in the foreground to juxtapose a seemingly still overcast sky in the background. The breeze gently passed us by as we incessantly tried to capture the serenity of the moment. The hour-long cruise ended with a brief meditation because it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
Afternoon turned to evening and we did a repeat of the day. It was schublig, steak and salad for dinner; complemented by good Japanese whiskey and red wine. That last bit, meshed with hushed conversations, our pitch black view, the spellbinding breeze and nature’s murmurs lulled us to slumber.
I was awakened the next morning from the wobbling of the cottage due to Dijo’s walking. It was one of those mornings when I wasn’t sure where I was prior to opening my eyes. Sans my contact lenses or glasses, I had a hazy vision of our supposed view. And too sleepy to force a facial muscle to flinch, I just grinned inside, thinking how sweet it was to wake up in a cottage that’s afloat a lake.
Dijo again prepared our breakfast, this time comprised of spam with Gruyere cheese, bread and pancit canton. That hefty meal got us to start moving and packing as we set out to leave by 11:30am.
Come to think of it, we pretty much just ate, cooked and slept – not the most energy-obliging tasks but certainly everything we initially planned to do. It was one of the rare times when I didn’t mind passing up on more so-called adventurous activities that were offered to us. Jet skis and kayaks passed us by in the morning and yet, we opted to laze around and make the most out of the tranquillity we were given.
Looking back, that was perhaps the most relaxed vacation I had in months. That’s not at all to suggest that I don’t dig adrenaline-inducing escapades because hey, I am totally for packed itineraries and trying to squeeze in every bit of excitement I could when I’m out. But it feels damn good to occasionally find myself doing absolutely nothing in a gem of a place that calls for immobility.
Things to take note of:
- There are no restaurants or stores available near Aquascape. The resort could prepare meals for you at an extra cost but you have to inform them ahead of time.
- If you plan to cook, make sure to bring your own charcoal, plates and utensils. There are grilling and dining areas, which guests can use, free of charge.
- Aquascape is located in Eco-saddle, which is maintained by the local barangay. PHP 80 is collected per person upon entering the area.
- Standard check-in time is at 2pm and standard check out time is at 12nn.
- If driving to Aquascape, just type Eco-saddle in Waze. It takes three hours, give or take, to travel there from Manila.
- There is a parking lot at the resort where your vehicle should be safeguarded overnight.
- Aquascape offers the following activities: Jetski (P4,000/hour, good for 2 pax), speed boat (P1,200/15 minutes, good for 4 pax), kayak (P300/hour, good for 2 pax), electric motor boat (P600/hour, good for 2 pax)
- We discovered that apart from our Floating Cottage (PHP 6,000/night), there was one other floating room called the Floating Suite (PHP 10,000/night), which can accommodate up to six people. Eight rooms are also available within the garden area (ranging from PHP 3000 – PHP 6,000/night). Some of them are uniquely-themed to add some entertainment to the guests’ stay in the resort.
- To reserve a cottage, you may get in touch with Aquascape by sending them an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or messaging them on Facebook.