Celebrating with the When In Rizal Family at Balconahe Resort

The When In Rizal family had been planning for a get-together since 2020, but circumstances had the event postponed. But last March 2021, Ms. Richelle Perez-Ragay, founder of When in Rizal, finally got the team a venue for the event—Balconahe in Baras, Rizal.

What to Expect in Balconahe

Balconahe is a private resort in Baras, Rizal, that is perfect for family gatherings. If you plan to stay overnight, you can choose from their villas and cabanas, depending on the number of guests. The nature surrounding the whole venue gives off this homey and serene vibe that relieves stress.

They have one large pool free to use for all the guests, a jacuzzi located in their villa, and outdoor lounges. Board games are also available. I love the vibe at night, especially when they opened the hanging lanterns. As you can see, our team was able to enjoy these perks.

This wasn’t all for nothing, however. As soon as we arrived, we started shooting to help promote the resort in our Facebook page. More details about Balconahe can be watched in our virtual tour video.

They also have a thirty-minute trail, if my memory serves me right, wherein you can view a majestic scene at the top. Sunrise goers would probably love this. We just didn’t have the time (and energy) to continue with it.

The When In Rizal Team

When In Rizal was founded by Ms. Richelle Perez, and our first ever meetup happened in 2019 with only less than thirty people. Most of them are already knowledgeable on travel and tours as well as advertising and marketing—careers I wanted to explore—so I learned a lot from them and enjoyed their company.

When In Rizal promotes tourist spots, local products, and local businesses in Rizal through informative and engaging posts. Visit our Facebook page and join our online community to get to know more about the latest and renowned travel destinations in Rizal.

Intramuros Escapade: Casa Manila and Belfry Cafe

I have been to Intramuros many times, and I am still in awe how this walled city manage to keep its beauty. This time, we were there to visit Belfry Cafe, but since we had more time in the afternoon, we decided to check Casa Manila first.

How to Go to Intramuros

The pandemic made it impossible to ride a G-liner bus going directly to Quiapo, so we had to ride a bus that dropped us off at LRT-2 Gilmore Station. Across the road, there are jeepneys to Recto, and in Recto, there are jeepneys that can drop you off at an area near Intramuros. This means the LRT-2 Recto station is also a possible mode of transportation.

You can use Google Maps to walk toward Casa Manila and Belfry Cafe (or just rent a pedicab).

Casa Manila

You need a StaySafePH account or QR code to be able to enter Casa Manila, which is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This will be your entrance and exit pass to the museum, aside from the ticket worth seventy-five pesos (non-students).

Upon entering, you will have a glimpse of the casa’s office-like area, complete with the antique bookshelf, candleholder, and lamps. By the way, always be mindful and walk on the red carpet. We got scolded because we forgot about this reminder. Hehe.

Next seems to be an area where guests can be entertained. The grand piano and the harp were splendid sights. If my guest room would be this huge, then I’d love to have these.

Rooms with painted self-portraits, canopy beds, and ceilings and walls painted with heavenly creatures are luxurious, don’t you think. Though they look like high-maintenance.

At the end of the Casa Manila tour, we got to see the bathroom, the toilet room (yes, they are two different rooms), and the kitchen. Here, I learned that there is no such thing as “too many pots and pans.”

After Casa Manila, our next destination was supposed to be Belfry Cafe, but we saw the Book Stop Project near the Manila Cathedral, so we stopped by to take photos.

Belfry Cafe

Belfry Cafe (open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) is just a minute or two away from the Manila Cathedral. It displays huge bells hanging from the ceiling of the cafe. Aside from this feature, they have approachable staff and homely ambience.

I ordered their coffee mocha blended (Php 140) and garlic cream cheese bread (Php 120). The frappe was fine—nothing extraordinary, same as other iced blended drinks. The garlic cream cheese bread, however, gave me a unique experience, as it was my first time.

Check out their updated menu on their Facebook page.

Favorite Picture

A Day Tour at a Relaxing Resort in Antipolo: Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa

Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa is a resort that has been showing up in my ads feed every time I try to look for instagrammable spots near me or whenever I redownload Klook, Agoda, and other online travel agencies. Finally, I had the opportunity to go during my birthday month. The package available for us was Hanging Gardens Retreat, which is inclusive of the following:

  • Access to spa’s facilities (locker, sauna, jacuzzi, hydro-massage pool, infinity pools, Dr. Fish spa, mediation lounges)
  • Traditional bathrobe and towel
  • Antipolo’s best suman

This package is originally worth 1,150 pesos, but you can avail of it for 895 pesos when you get a voucher from Klook. You need to, however, email them at least three days in advance for reservations, as they limit the number of visitors per day.

If you want to try a dish for your lunch at Luljetta’s, I recommend that you get their Hanging Gardens Getaway. Originally, this costs 1,750 pesos, but you can get it for 1,575 pesos on Klook. Both packages are not inclusive of the massage. They also have suites available for overnight stays, but these are more expensive than the day passes.

How to Go to Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa

The best option from my place was to ride a jeepney to Antipolo with a “Tanay” signage—basically, jeepneys going to Shopwise Antipolo. You can even tell the driver to drop you off at Unciano Medical Center, which is the closest landmark to the road leading to the venue.

There is a tricycle terminal there. I suggest that you grab the tricycles parked at the terminal as they charge less than the tricycles randomly asking you to ride theirs. Then, have them drop you off at Loreland Farm Resort. Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa is just inside. It is advised to be there an hour before your scheduled time.

What to Expect in Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa

You will have to get your data ready to sign up for different health and safety protocols before entering. As we had extra time, we took pictures in their outdoor lounge. Then, a van delivered us and all other guests to the hanging gardens and spa, even though I estimated that it was just a ten-minute walk.

Upon arriving, you will be given a key to your locker and a basket containing a towel and a bathrobe.

If you want to take your time when taking pictures and enjoying the spa perks, then you need more than a day pass. There are plentiful of interesting and worthwhile locations and experiences that you need to choose wisely which ones you want to try for a longer time, as you only have, say, four hours (if, for example, eating and dressing up takes an hour).

There were hammocks, massage rooms, and saunas (which we opted not to enter). The pictures below also show two of their jacuzzis, one of their many fish spas, and their hydro massage pool.

They also have meditation lounges and areas where you can play billiards, sungka, and chess. Below are pictures of two of them.

There are two infinite pools, from what I remember, but the larger one offers a more scenic view of the other side of Antipolo.

Since Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa is located inside Loreland Farm Resort, you may also want to tour around but not too far from the spa area itself.

Where to Eat in Luljetta’s Hanging Gardens and Spa

The first place you will see aside from the outdoor lounge is Luljetta’s cafe. Though since we only availed of the day pass, we weren’t able to eat there. Here is the menu, in case you’re interested.

This is the extension of the cafe in the spa area. The design changes every season. If you availed of the Getaway package, you can eat your chosen lunch here.

Here is a picture of Antipolo’s suman ala Luljetta. The nuts and the rice cake blended well with the sweetness of the caramel sauce. Definitely a must-try. This merienda came with an iced tea, though it had an unusual flavor so I was not able to finish it. I suggest that you bring your own water.

Favorite Picture

Luljetta Hanging Gardens and Spa
Sitio Loreland, Barangay, Antipolo, 1870 Rizal