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Staycation destination for V-Day

It’s no secret that Filipinos have come to love the idea of staycations and this Valentine’s Day will probably be no different.

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For sure, many will be kept busy finding that most romantic destination to celebrate this special day with their loved ones.

To help you find that perfect spot, here are just a few of the charming restaurants and quaint inns outside Metro Manila where you can fall in love with nature, rekindle the flame and simply create some fresh stories of love.

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Casa San Pablo

Casa San Pablo, 70 kilometers away from Manila, is a prominent rustic and artsy bed-and-breakfast inn that gives off an amiable atmosphere to both couples and groups through its wide-ranging folk art collection.

Located in San Pablo City in Laguna province, it serves as a perfect getaway to anyone looking to unwind and rejuvenate. It is owned by avid art collector and hobby enthusiast Boots Alcantara and his wife, writer and magazine editor, An Mercado-Alcantara.

With only two rooms in the beginning, Casa San Pablo now has 18 rooms. Through minimal adjustment of a sliding door and transforming the single bed into a double-deck bunk, a total of 150 people can fit inside the rooms.

Every room is special in its own way in terms of the number of beds, floor plan and artwork collections.

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Ugu Bigyan’s Pottery Garden

Less than an hour away from San Pablo City is a restaurant and gallery of renowned pottery artist Augusto “Ugu” Bigyan located in Tiaong in Quezon province.

The restaurant, a three-hour drive from Manila, was established when he opened his home to the public in 1986.

Almost every element in Bigyan’s restaurant is centered on nature—as in his artworks. At the center of the restaurant are kubo (huts) that are surrounded by lush greenery. Adobe walls suggest a rustic feel in the compound’s buildings, which include Bigyan’s residence.

The huts are flanked by the gallery displaying pottery products for sale such as glazed teapots and kettles, vases and chimes, which provide a soothing music while feasting on the hearty dishes cooked by the artist himself.

Ugu’s specialty is  Ensaladang Pako, fiddlehead ferns with mixed greens and fruits drizzled with calamansi juice, fish sauce and sugar, and Kulawo, which is banana heart with smoky coconut dressing topped with edible Ternate flower.

Aquascape Lake Caliraya

Aquascape Lake Caliraya offers to guests an escape from the ordinary, busy life in the city—a package of leisure-filled and adventure-like experiences.

Located in Cavinti, Laguna, which is only two hours away from Manila, Aquascape offers not just beautiful sights but also unique accommodations. Couples, barkadas or families have a choice of spending the night on a floating suite or a luxurious treehouse.

Aquascape also has villa-like lakefront cottages that are also ideal for couples and small families. The mini lanai offers a good lounge area to spend quality time with your loved ones while enjoying the Caliraya Lake view.

The more adventurous can indulge in a host of activities that include riding jet skis, biking around the lake and discovering some new trails, going for a swim, as well as exploring Lake Caliraya on a kayak.

Bondi & Bourke Davao

Couples in Davao City who would like to go fine dining on Valentine’s Day may try Bondi & Bourke’s latest branch in Davao City, which is the Australian restaurant’s first in the province.

Opened in 2016, the prewar “bahay na bato” (stone house) is an architectural gem. Its interiors are modern, elegant and minimalist, while its ambiance is bright and airy.

Big groups can book the “chef’s table” or the restaurant’s private dining room where guests can get an exclusive glimpse of the kitchen in action. Specialties include Australian burger, steaks, fish and chips, steak pies and seafood chowder.

Source: Inquirer Archives, casasanpablo.com, Aquascape Lake Caliraya Facebook page, bondiandbourke.com

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TAGS: Aquascape Lake Caliraya, Bondi & Bourke Davao, Casa San Pablo, Ugu Bigyan’s Pottery Garden
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