If you’re in Metro Manila and looking for a place to stay over the weekend, with swimming pools, delicious food, and a wonderful massage service, there’s one place I can highly recommend which is just around two hours from the cities of Manila and Makati: Loreland Farm Resort in Antipolo, Rizal.
I had first gone to Loreland sometime in the early 2000s. It was the go-to place of the non-profit I had worked for, and we always went there for our rest and recreation activities. I loved their swimming pools; they were clean and of varied depths. I remember it was in Loreland that I learned how to swim, quite ironic given that I was born and raised in a coastal town!
When I was recently invited then, to be part of a group of bloggers to check out the place, I eagerly said yes. I couldn’t wait to be back in Loreland!
Loreland Vice President Ramon Mariñas, whose family owns the property, took us on a tour of the resort. According to him, it used to be a mango and cashew plantation which they later on converted into a place for private gatherings.
Through the years, they expanded their services, offering not only a family getaway now, but a place as well for wedding receptions, team building activities, and other group activities.
So, what can you do in Loreland?
Go swimming, of course.
Loreland has five swimming pools, all well-maintained and of varying depths. There’s one perfect for kids, and others for adults. I loved the pool with a yacht-shaped building across it; it was 7ft at its deepest, and not a lot of people go there.
When I went there on Sunday morning, I was the only swimmer aside from an approximately 65-year-old lola who, despite the printed warnings around the pool, kept on diving into the water. I told her I didn’t know how to dive; she only smiled and showed me again and again how it was done.
When lola left, I would have been happy continuing to swim longer, except that a group of men decided to sit by the pool with their drinks. I felt too self-conscious as I had worn a swimsuit and immediately left. #fail
If you don’t like being in this scenario, I highly suggest you swim in the infinity pool in Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa instead. It’s not part of the public area, and in fact, you have to pay separately to go there. But the privacy and the view makes it all worthwhile!
Eat, eat, eat.
When we arrived in Loreland, we were served afternoon merienda, a delicious serving of crispy and fried suman (P85). I had intended to stick to my paleo diet, but on that day, my resolve went out the window. Who could resist such a delicacy?
A lot of the items in their open-air restaurant, The Verde, are delicious and affordable. We’ve had the über-delicious seafood salad (seafood slices, corn, lettuce, and carrots with balsamic vinegar), tuna pesto pasta (as I said, I forgot about being paleo that weekend!), kare-kare, and a big breakfast (at least for me–fish, rice, two fried eggs, and coffee).
Luljetta’s also has its own restaurant, and it’s also very nice to eat there, with their Asian-inspired decors and very accommodating staff. Presently, however, all the food are still cooked in The Verde. According to Ramon, they plan on making the Luljetta Restaurant a full-service restaurant someday serving only organic food.
Hold team-building activities at Camp Tipolo.
A relatively new facility, Camp Tipolo is an area devoted entirely to team-building activities. It’s a 10-minute walk (a bit more if you take your time) down the mountain (more than 250 steps!). If you’re not very fit, bring a lot of water and take your time going back up to the resort.
Camp Tipolo is not very big, but it has more than enough facilities to keep a number of groups occupied. There’s the Mud Crawl, the Tarzan Jump, the Tight Rope Walk, Balancing Log, and some rope courses. You can also go fishing there (tilapia) and there are cabanas and a campsite for those who wish to rest. I personally loved the hammock in the ulog, a closed traditional house.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to try out any activity in the camp. Most of the bloggers opted to remain behind in the resort, daunted perhaps by the trek.
Have a massage and foot spa.
This is the part I loved best–having a massage and foot spa at the Luljetta’s Spa. The therapist I had (Ate Juliet) was pretty good and despite my intention not to fall asleep, I did so before the massage ended. Given the location, it’s not so expensive, too (promo price of P500 for both the foot spa and massage).
Given another chance, I would definitely go back to Loreland again and again!
How to Get There
From Cubao, take the FX or jeepney going to Antipolo Church. You can also take the LRT 2 and get off at the Santolan station (after Katipunan) and then take an FX or jeepney going to Antipolo. Once you get dropped off, take a tricycle to Loreland. The fare is around P60 for a special trip.
Rates Per Day
Swimming Entrance Fee: P160 per person (Night swimming: P180)
Cottages: P400 (umbrella) to P3,000 (hut/bahay kubo)
Room Rates: P2,500 (double) to P6,000 (family room good for 5)