There are several places to consider when you want to take a break from Manila’s crazy traffic and noise pollution: there’s Batangas, Laguna, and Tagaytay. All these are quite close to the city and yet can be worlds away in other aspects.
On my 5th week of hostel stay in Makati, I was given a chance to stay in Cintai Corito’s Garden, a Bali-inspired resort in Batangas, just a couple of hours from Manila.
It was a solo stay and I loved it. For almost 24 hours, I had a digital detox; I went around taking pictures, hung around drinking strong black coffee in their restaurant, and just read in my garden villa.
The big swimming pool was only a few meters from my room, too, but I preferred the restfulness of reading and sleeping. I went to bed early and woke up feeling fully refreshed.
Cintai Corito’s Garden is big and sprawling, has a restaurant, several swimming pools, and a number of interesting and Instagrammable spots. They have animals freely roaming around, too, from ducks and chickens, to the ubiquitous cats. Other reviewers said they saw peacocks, deer, and geese, but I haven’t.
In any case, if you would want to have a relaxing day in a beautiful Bali-inspired resort, head over to Cintai Corito’s Garden. Here are three reasons why you should go.
1. It’s a relaxing place with a lot of Instagrammable spots for pictorials.
The landscaping and design of Corito’s is well thought out and conforms to their Balinese theme. All the buildings, from the front office, to their restaurant and villas, have sloping roofs reminiscent of the structures in Indonesia.
They have wooden doors, carved walls, concrete statues as well that bring to mind the Indonesian culture. If you want to just get away from the craziness of Manila, this resort in Balete, Batangas is the perfect place to be.
Corito’s Garden is large; they have 18 villas available for those who are planning to stay there overnight, but you won’t see them so easily. There are a number of trees throughout the property, and the pathways go up and down following the contour of the land so you will never feel crowded there.
Scattered here and there are decors reminiscent of Indonesian culture. The most popular spot of course, is the huge Balinese door, with several dvarapala — Balinese for gate guardian statues — in front of it.
In Bali, these guardian statues were used to be placed in temples and royal houses only, but are now found in most homes. You can find these guardian statues on both the right and left sides of the gate, reflecting the Balinese philosophy of balance. This you can see as well in Corito’s Garden.
By the big swimming pool is also a giant Buddha head, the eyes half-closed to show a state of meditation. The whole thing exudes peace, especially at the time I went there when there was almost nobody else.
2. You will find good deals online.
Corito’s published rate for the Terrace Villa for two persons is P6,000. I got mine for P4,500 via DealGrocer. It comes with free use of all the facilities (including good black coffee the whole day which you can have in their Abadi Restaurant) plus breakfast.
If you just want to go on a day tour, their published rate is P1,850 for over 13 years old. With DealGrocer, you can get it for P1,390, which includes lunch, afternoon snacks, and access to the swimming pools, playground, shower rooms, and all open pictorial sites.
I have not had their lunch or dinner offering, only breakfast, and I can truly say I loved it. I chose the tapa meal and the serving was big and the meat tender and tasty. Their barako coffee was pretty strong too, and available throughout the day for free at their restaurant.
3. It is easy to get there from Manila.
If you’re commuting, it’s quite easy to get to Corito’s. Just go to Buendia LRT bus terminal and hop on a bus for Lipa City (choose Expressway as it’s faster, fare is P214). In Lipa (well before the Grand Bus Terminal), get off at Levitown at the Jollibee-Caltex junction and take the jeepney going to Balete. Fare is P20, and you will see the gates of Corito’s Garden on your left.
If you’re bringing a car, take SLEX all the way to Star Tollway. Go for around 17 kms and then take the Balete exit. Turn right after the toll gate to Gen. Leviste Highway. It’s just a straight drive for 4 kms or so until you will see the gate of Cintai Corito’s Garden on your left.
Tips for Staying at Cintai Corito’s Garden
If you want to stay overnight (like I did) but don’t want to eat at their restaurant, make sure to eat first at Levitown. Public transport is limited. It won’t be a problem if you have a car, of course.
There’s no Wifi in the rooms, but you can use the Wifi in the restaurant until they close at 8pm. Signal was okay, I was able to check my email while I was there.
The villas are huge (my Terrace Garden villa is around 60 sqm!) but there’s no TV in the room, just a small refrigerator with complimentary bottles of water. It was perfect for me as I used the time to relax and read, but if you need to watch TV, they have a TV room. Just tell the receptionist that you want to use it.
Make sure to use insect repellent when you go out of your villa at night. As it’s a garden resort, mosquitoes are definitely out and about after sunset.
For those who are looking for a perfect relaxing stay close to Manila, you should really check out this Bali-inspired resort. Given the good deals you can find online via DealGrocer (they have actually the best deals you can find online), there’s just no reason to hold back from taking that much-need break!