Glamping in Cavinti, Laguna

Serene view of the lake.

After spending much of the Covid-19 ravaged year socially distancing myself from other people and the great outdoors, I welcomed the spontaneity of experiencing nature once more when I received an invitation from an old friend.

“Hi Marky, are you free this Sunday to Tuesday?” Jackie wrote to me on Messenger. “I’m going to Cavinti. I was going solo, but the place is kind of off the grid so maybe I shouldn’t go alone. Would you like to come?”

She wrote on a follow-up message that reached my inbox just as I was about to reply “Yes” — even without knowing the details yet.

Like manna from heaven, Jackie’s invitation was exactly what the doctor ordered as I was about to go out of my wits from reading travel books and watching NatGeo shows to cure my wanderlust. I last went on a trip a few months back, visiting organic farms in Quezon.

My backpack was ready two days before we were set to leave.

Photographs by Marky Ramone Go for the Daily Tribune

Road to Cavinti

Waze directed us to drive through the backroads of Rizal going to Laguna as opposed to the direct path through South Luzon Expressway. It was a longer route but one blessed with glimpses of the rolling hills of Rizal as we made our way past the windmills of Pililla and the winding roads of Baras before moving toward the lakeside roads of Caliraya and, finally, Cavinti, Laguna.

It was a Sunday, so the roads were filled with cyclists coming from both directions. I was salivating at the thought of doing my own bike ride on the same route.

Glamping, Etc.

Situated on a lakeside property that gave a sense of isolation (you need to take a boat from a nearby small port to reach the place), the place called Glamping Etc. looked lush with smooth lawn grass, towering trees, and an air of Zen.

From the docking bay, we took a short, uphill trek leading to the restaurant and reception hall, and from there, a footpath led us to the spot where three geodesic domes and a triangle tent were built with ample space around.

Our tent had a double-sized bed, two chairs, and a small table beside the see-through wall that offered a magnificent view of the lake. Each geodesic dome can accommodate two persons while the triangle tent can fit four people. Each has its own private toilet and shower rooms.

WORKING out with a nice view is possible in Cavinti.

The property, according to the staff, is owned by an Indian couple, which explained the Indian influence on the menu. We had chicken biryani on our first night and chicken masala for lunch the next day.

The staff manning the property is composed of an extended family that resides in a small town near Lake Lumot. Staying at Glamping, Etc. is like immersing in a community rather than staying in an exclusive resort. When I say a whole extended family, adorable little kids running around are included.

I woke up each morning to birds chirping and ducks quacking. After a night of star-gazing, downing a bottle of wine and having quiet conversations, it was a delightful feeling opening my eyes to a serene scene.

Jackie and I spent our early afternoons kayaking around the lake. The water was so still, making it a lot easier for us to paddle and explore the lake circling smaller islets and passing by lakeside houses and resorts.

FISHING to fill the sweet trip.

After that, we waited for the sunset facing Mount Banahaw while we swam in the shallow part of the lake. Life was ideal in this lovely spot of Cavinti.

Pause button

It was the week after my birthday in January and the anxiety caused by the unstable curve of new virus infections and uncertainty over when we can avail of the vaccines piled up a mountain of worries in my head. Like Jackie, I was badly in need of some nature resetting.

The three days we spent at Glamping, Etc. was a blissful cycle of swimming and kayaking in the lake, chilling on a hammock, meditating and practicing yoga.

I savored every moment of it because, if there is one thing this pandemic has taught me, it is how the universe can press the pause button anytime.

That quick nature and chill trip to Cavinti gave me a glimpse of the old normal I had been missing for quite some time.


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