Last weekend, my family and I headed out to Casa Luminaria in Lipa, Batangas. We were invited by the owners to check the place out, as a venue for the upcoming Make it Blissful “Life Bliss Weekend Retreat,” which I’m wildly excited about. It’s going to be the first out-of-town blogging escape we’ve ever done, so it’s all new and thrilling. I want it to be the most inspiring and invigorating weekend ever for the bloggy belles who will attend… so I had to make sure the venue would deliver.
We left Manila at around 9AM for Batangas. We took the South Super Highway all the way through to Star Expressway, which leads straight to Batangas. It was a pretty fast trip, and we reached Casa Luminaria by 11:30, just in time for a nice lunch!
A terracotta-colored sign welcomes guests to the estate, which is located along the “millionaires’ row” in Lipa City, around the same area as Mount Malarayat Country Club and other ranches or haciendas. I just love going to places like these!
You drive in about a hundred meters from the main gate of the estate to here, the entrance to the casa grounds.
Welcome lamps lining the inner gate pass into the casa’s main entertaining area and swimming pool.
The estate is still the owners’ vacation and rest house, and is used for their family reunions and events. There have been some weddings here as well; not surprisingly, since every bit of this place is just picture-perfect. You’ll see what I mean when you scroll through this photo-heavy post!
The swimming pool — which is often called “chlorine-free”, but really has a smaller dose than usual pools — is cleaned daily and constantly filtered. It greets you as you enter through the inner gate. Perfect place for lazing about with a good book and some fresh buko juice!
As you can see, we wanted “in” that pool!
The casa does not feel at all like a resort, because it’s not one at all. It’s still is a country home, even though it has cottages spread throughout the grounds — a total of four cottages. Since it’s not a bed & breakfast, cottages can’t be booked individually. You have to reserve the entire estate, which makes it ideal for large gatherings, family reunions, and also company outings/team building events.
Let me take you through one of the cottages. They’re all named after astral terms, by the way, in-line with the theme of light, for which the Casa is named.
One of the bigger cottages. This can hold up to eight people.
Everything is clean in the cottages. During times when there are no visitors or events, the mattresses are turned over and cleaned. When in use, the bed linens are crisp, all white and really lovely, and each bed is fitted with a gossamer-like mosquito net (See photos above). Each cottage has a clean bathroom as well, with towels, slippers, bath gel, shampoo and lotion.
Clean, large bathrooms with running hot & cold water. (Water is not potable.)
The details around Casa Luminaria are charming, and each piece has a story. This is because the owners are very fond of mementos, many of which were collected from their travels as a family. There are accent pieces and decor all over — not overdone at all. Each piece is thoughtfully hung, displayed or used.
My son loved this mobile from Africa.
The purple bath house, in the middle of the grounds just a few meters from the swimming pool and open dining area. It’s like a glorified, boho-chic locker room! Even the interiors are styled.
Hats for when you want to stroll around the grounds.
My favorite area is the open living and family area, which has comfy lounge chairs, bean bags and hammocks for napping the day away (which we did!). Again, everything is clean, unstained, and well-maintained. That’s why it feels like you’re at someone’s house, not a resort!
The entryway into the family area. I loooove the colorful rugs that are everywhere!
These lounge chairs (around eight of them) are like the Philippine version of a La-Z Boy. So comfy with those waffle-weave covers from Bangkok! Provincial luxe.
One of the three dining areas in the family area. This one overlooks the rear garden of the estate.
The living area, which has a TV and DVD player (although you won’t think of even turning them on).
The open kitchen in the family area
What I love about family resthouses like this is that you can actually use the kitchen and do your own cooking. The estate’s staff can cook your meals for you, as food can be ordered and factored into your bill. But if you want to cook, you can do just that. There is a full set of pots and pans, cutlery, appliances (microwave, refrigerator, water dispenser), a supply of purified water, etc. Of course, you have to clean up after yourselves if you’re going to cook, as clean-up is not part of the staff’s service unless they prepare the food.
Another lounge area, facing the side garden and bath house. This area has beanbags for seats.
OK, some more pretty pics of Casa Luminaria before I wrap up.
The front of the open living/family area, overlooking the swimming pool
Fresh buko, at the open dining area. The groundsman just climbs the tree for you and grabs you a coconut if you want one.
Vito about to nap in his “rainbow” hammock. All the hammocks in Casa Luminaria are from Peru, again from the owners’ travels.
The house rules are conveniently placed in the family area’s living room, for guests’ reference.
Honestly, I didn’t want to go back to Manila anymore after our day trip here. Haha! That’s why I’m excited to tell you that this May, we’re holding our Life Bliss Weekend Retreat at the Casa this coming May 24-25? Yay! If you like, you can enjoy the countryside homeiness of Casa Luminaria for yourself and make new friends. (You can know more about that here: Life Bliss Weekend 2014)
For bookings for your family gatherings and events, you can contact Casa Luminaria here: CasaLuminaria.com.ph