Montecruz Beach Resort, Zambales

Maundy Thursday passed and our family was just going into the norms of practicing Visita Iglesia and went to the church for Siete Palabras. Right after going home, my mother abruptly said that we should go to Zambales the next day to experience a white sand beach near Quezon City and hire a van so it would be less hassle for my father since he gets easily tired because of his heart problem.

After finding for a van, I looked for the beach resort in Zambales and learned that Montecruz Beach Resort in San Felipe, Zambales is secluded, affordable but with decent amenities and activities that could be done during the stay. Since it’s isolated among other beach resorts, we’re hopeful that there’s still an available space for us in Montecruz even if it’s holy week (April 9 – 16), the peak season.

Upon arriving, Ate Mila informed us that the entrance fee is only P50 per head and free for 12 years old below. The cottage’s rate is P800 for whole day and she said that the cottage could also be a place to sleep if we’re planning to have an overnight stay.

While it’s cheap, I find that the people here are the working class, like us who wants peace. :p :p Meanwhile, the rooms’ rate are below. montecruz (10)-1024x1000montecruz (12)-1024x1000montecruz (18)-1024x1000

There were people who had their overnight stay and set of three groups who stayed in the cottages, then there’s one cottage who rented a videoke that became the sound of this quiet beach. True enough, this resort is the reliable beach for my mom who hate crowds.

Apparently, bringing the food from the parking area to the cottage area took a toll of our time since it’s very faaaaaarrr from point to point. Good thing that there’s no corkage fee but grilling has fee but I don’t know the charge.montecruz (19)-1024x1000

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The lagoon could be an attraction to the place but the boats were not on display. I just saw it piled in a shadowed area.

Beach volleyball!montecruz (30)-1024x1000

Bonfire last night?montecruz (1)-1024x1000

Here’s our cottage and it’s also very far from the shore. As I talked to the lifeguard, he said that the big waves are bringing more sand to the seashore that makes the cottages get farther to the beach. See my picture below.montecruz (20a)

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lifeguard’s cottage

I like that there are many shower rooms and comfort rooms at this beach. Moreover, instead of palm trees, pine trees are the ones present on this beach. montecruz (34)-1024x1000

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syet, my bills!

The sand may look white but it’s actually gray when it gets wet. Unlike the sand in Bohol or in Boracay, the sand is really white. Anyway, while it was scorching hot and the air was on fire during the noon time, we were all happy that our flip flops are stepping on white sand and the view is where the sky and the ocean meet.

For public transportation: Take Victory Liner from the Cubao Station to Iba Zambales. for P250. Tell the driver you will get down in San Felipe town. From there, you may take a tricycle and tell them you will go to Montecruz. I’m not sure with the fare because it’s really isolated.

For private transportation: Actually, we just trusted Waze on this. For the toll fee, we paid P45 for Paso De Blas, Valenzuela and then paid P112 for San Fernando, Pampanga. The road we took is the zigzag one when we entered Zambales.

When we’re going back to Manila, we paid P408 coming from Tipo to Bocaue exit.

Save at least P1,500 for your fuel.

Travel time: 4 hours

So there. I hope I was able to help you calculate your budget for your quick beach getaway! For reservations, you may contact Ate Mila, 0919 488 9185 since Montecruz’ Facebook page is not active.

Montecruz Beach Resort

Aragoza St., Brgy Sto Nino, San Felipe, Zambales

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Casa Minerva, Tagaytay

We got Casa Minerva for P11,193 for an overnight stay. Exceeding more than 20 pax will have an additional payment.

My high school friends and I left Novaliches at 6 in the morning to Tagaytay but we went to the airport first to pick up one of our friends who just had a tour in Dubai. I know, it was a hectic schedule for her but she actually came from the USA. She pretty had a hard core trip!

The reason that she went to Manila is because she’s going to get her husband, who is also our friend, for good. Because of this, we were all gathered up to create new memories and cherish both of our friends before they fly!17159051_10154156709960899_6044784808388364827_o

We ate at Mcdo, shopped at SM Supermarket,  roam around in the Sky Ranch and the time flew like it has wings – it’s already 2 in the afternoon!  We can finally check in at Casa Minerva. The place is 250 square meters and it’s kind of secluded, away from the highway. However, there are neighboring houses which could also be rented as a rest house. OR NOT. Screenshot_20170305-103749

The garage could fit two cars and we saw the pool as soon as we get in. In addition, the inuman session table could fit for 13-15 persons. The rooftop only allows the caretaker to get there, but we don’t mind since the porch on the second floor is spacious!Casa Minerva (9a)

This shot is from the inuman session area’s perspective. The staircase shown has an access going to the second floor’s terrace.Casa Minerva (12)

Routing that stairs will lead to this view -more seats and tambayan.Casa Minerva (8)

There are three bedrooms on the second floor and one bedroom on the first floor which unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo. Here are the three bedrooms.

It was stated in the AirBNB app that Casa Minerva can accommodate up to 20 pax. We’re not quite sure about the 20 because we’re 13 people and the bed is just enough for us. We also requested for extra mattress. Maybe sleeping in the living room could work. As for the wash room, they have plenty but there’s one that is closed.Casa Minerva (4)

I forgot to take the photos of the kitchen since I mostly did the video there. They have the utensils, refrigerator, microwave oven, percolator, plates, chopping board, cups, glasses, wok, pots, stove. The caretaker said that the knife was taken out by the previous guests. Aw! Anyway, check my video here. Hope it won’t be removed by Youtube.

The dining area is the first thing that can be seen upon entering the house.Casa Minerva (11)

The living room is located on the second floor. It’s well-ventilated.

IT’S A WRAP!
We got Casa Minerva for P11,193 for an overnight stay. Exceeding more than 20 pax will have an additional payment. The location is far from the highway so it is better to buy all of the stuff needed so there wouldn’t be much wasted time that should be spent for UBE (ultimate bonding experience). The SM Supermarket is accessible so we bought the things we have forgotten to buy.

We were lazy to cook for dinner so we ate in Green Ats Bulaluhan, a restaurant that can be easily seen as soon the highway is reached. It also got us a a scenic view of Mount Taal.P_20170305_175046_NT

Going back to Casa Minerva, we caught them cleaning when we arrived but the pool is blurry. Still, we swam that night and good thing that we didn’t itch. Meanwhile, we also ask for a paluto service and they charge for P1,000 per day excluding the budget and the fare to buy the ingredients. They have a cook but it was difficult to contact her so the owner told me that their caretaker could also cook but not as skillful as the cook. As we arrived, Kuya Jun who is the caretaker, welcomed us and  attended our needs as fast as he could. We got a problem with WiFi because their bandwidth already reached its limit. My friends asked the other caretakers and they don’t seem to know so I called the owner and she said that there’s a new WiFi provided. After that, Kuya Jun got the WiFi and placed it near the living room. The WiFi was okay but not fast enough since the signal is pretty low there. The rooms are all nice and the linens smell fresh and clean. Towels can be rented out and the mineral water is P100 per 5 galloon cylinder inclusive of use of hot and cold water dispenser. While inconveniences cannot be avoided, I salute that the owner can be contacted easily and she responded to the problems right away. Thank you also to Kuya Jun!

Value: 4.5

Location: 4

Cleanliness: 3.5

Service: 4

Room: 5

Casa Minerva, Tagaytay

Address: D. Cruzado, Senior Extension Rd., Barangay Guinhawa South, Tagaytay, Cavite

Hillcreek Gardens, Tagaytay

After looking for Santorini-inspired venue, we headed to look for a garden setting which is also for the purpose of having a photo shoot. We only visited two places but Hillcreek Gardens won the heart of my boss and the photographer, because there are so many promising spots to strike a pose.

During our ocular, there was a wedding set up prepared by the Hillcreek team.

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Hillcreek Gardens

Let me share with you the pictures I took during our ocular and the actual shoot day.

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Hillcreek Gardens
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Hillcreek Gardens

We ask for their rate, reserved via email and settled the bill on the day of the shoot.

5 hours inclusive of 5 pax, 5 free cup of coffee and a dressing room – P6,000

exceeding rate – P1,500/hour

upgraded the room with air conditioner – P1,000

exceeding person – P150

Also, they do not allow of bringing food inside the venue but they offer food menu for P400/person.  In our case, we only ate outside the venue during the shoot. Teehee!

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Hillcreek Gardens
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Hillcreek Gardens

The place is magical isn’t?

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Hillcreek Gardens is a lovely and a reassuring place for your wedding day or if you are looking for a place to have a photo shoot in a garden concept. The sales or the reservations associate are all helpful and welcoming; they attended my queries about our concerns with a smile on their faces.

Hillcreek Gardens, Tagaytay

website

Address: 134 Luksuhin, Mangas Rd, Alfonso Cavite

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Disclaimer: I am not being paid to write this review.