Aside from being the hometown of Jose Rizal and the legendary Mt. Makiling, Calamba, Laguna is probably best known for being the hotsprings capital of the NCR.
I am not so hot about hot springs, but because Jigs is, we decided to book a reservation at Dona Jovita Garden Resort, one of many hot springs resorts lining the National Highway in Laguna, during our 5th (pre-wedding) anniversary last 2008. With its strategic location,the resort is easily accessible by car or public transport.
Nestled near the Makiling foothills, the resort offers an expansive view of the verdant mountain, which is especially refreshing during breakfasts at the patio. Guests may also go on a short trek onward a grotto perched above a small hill at the back of the resort.
The resort is nicely carpeted with vast landscaped gardens from end to end, but its main feature though are its assortment of pools and jacuzzis (they had 5 back then, if I remember it correctly). Sadly, we were only able to use three of them – the main (lap) pool fronting the rooms, the whirlpool uphill and the adjacent hot spring pool. The fourth pool was a kiddie pool, and the fifth, which featured a cascading waterfalls, was barred by a steel gate, as it was a weekday and we were the only ones in the resort.
Tree houses and a miniature zoo line the way to the pools uphill, past the restaurant and the hotel rooms.
Food at the restaurant was okay for the price – nothing fancy nor unforgettable. Their fries and clubhouse sandwich, though are amazing. The sandwich was incredibly filling and delicious, and paired well with their smooth shakes.
Families may be delighted too, that guests are allowed to bring their own food and drink inside the rooms, and that a griller is provided for free if you’re in the mood for some home-made barbeques.
How to get there:
From Manila, take the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), exit to Calamba, then follow the roadmap below.