Of travel, reasons and destinations

Re-posting from one of my favorite blogs, The Art of Non-Conformity: Unconventional Strategies for Life, Work and Travel by Chris Guillebeau.

***

Why Travel?

Because when you leave behind the familiar, you can’t help but be changed by the foreign.

Because comfort zones become constricting zones over time.

Because the world was meant to be experienced, not imagined.

Because you’ll meet people who are different than you. (Are we all the same? Not really, but that’s OK.)

Because it will frustrate and annoy you at times, and you’ll be better because of it.

Because you are afraid, and it’s always good to make peace with your fears.

Next stop: Seoul.

Photo credit: The Best Travel Destinations

Where to?

That’s up to you—it’s a big world out there. The choice of destinations is far less important than the choice to depart.

When you return you’ll look back on your journey and think, Did that really happen? Was I really in the land of _____?

And then you’ll go through reentry and reverse culture shock, and then you’ll face a choice. Option 1: to reminisce, to think about those days when you were brave, and that time when dreaming was something you did wide awake.

Option 2: to take another look at the map, and start planning the next adventure.

Which will it be?

***

I couldn’t agree more.

Of Ulog heritage huts, paradise and one of CNN Go’s 28 Most Relaxing Spas in Asia (Nurture Spa Village, Tagaytay, Part 2 of 2)

continuation of Part 1.

Nurture Spa Village isn’t called a village for nothing. Aside from the show-stealing Ulogs, the place boasts of outdoor massage areas, multiple wellness treatment areas, a restaurant, an outdoor cafe, an open hall, a shop, a pool and several gardens. I could imagine people going there for a pre-nup photoshoot, a wedding reception, or even a honeymoon. :-P

One of the several outdoor wellness treatment areas.

Foot massage anyone?

Same as above, only at night. And oh! Spot the salagubang. :-P

One of the many subtle ornamental details that make one notice how well thought of this place is.

Our stay included a body massage. We had ours a couple of hours after dinner. The treatment (which involved a tea tree oil foot soak and heated banana leaves for the massage) was done here. The plate at the top of the door reads: "Relax."

Speaking of dinner, we had it at the in-house restaurant called Dulang. We had breakfast there too. And yes, they serve good food, details of which I will save for a dedicated post. :-)

They grow their own lettuce too.

A view from the main garden. They also have a butterfly garden, a herbal medicine garden, a pool (I know, right? :-P) and a parked horse-less kalesa. :-D

One would see these while having breakfast at the outdoor breakfast cafe.

For me this was the pièce de résistance. It reads: Lakad Kalinga (Healing Path). Walk barefoot on the stones and experience the healing effects of reflexology on the soles of your feet.

it's not as easy as it looks, but it works. ;-)

With this who can resist doing a yogi pose? Vrksasana!

Do you believe me now when I told you it was paradise? :-D

After that overnight trip, we were convinced that they deserved the accolades (CNN Go Asia’s 28 Most Relaxing Spa in Asia and asiaSpa’s Top 7 Spas in the Philippines) they so proudly display. They impress both with the main attractions (read: Ulog) and the small details (staff calling a night before our reservation to check on us, Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries, and the like). If you’re looking for a truly relaxing escape that’s not that far from the city, Nurture Spa Village in Tagaytay is seriously a place to consider. The place was gorgeous, the food was great, and the service was stellar. Suffice to say, we loved it.

Special shout out to the receptionist Glo, our butler Victor, our waiter Gerald, and our masseuses Maricar and Marilou. Your service was truly impeccable, first rate and easily was at par with the beauty of the place. Thank you. :-)

Of Ulog heritage huts, paradise and one of CNN Go’s 28 Most Relaxing Spas in Asia (Nurture Spa Village, Tagaytay, Part 1 of 2)

I finally (and fortunately) successfully passed that dreaded certification exam which had been stressing me out for the past few weeks. (What I’d go through to officially append three letters after my name ‘no? Hahaha!) To de-stress, and to celebrate another personal occasion as well, we took the weekend off and headed to Tagaytay’s Nurture Spa Village.

Nurture Spa Village, Tagaytay

We’ve had this trip scheduled for I think more than a month already and we were so looking forward for the overnight vacation. As I haven’t heard of the place before, I did some online research (aka Googling) and was intrigued the most by the thought of sleeping at an Ulog – heritage huts sourced from Banaue and reconstructed at Nurture by Ifugaos. There were regular four-walled rooms available but I was adamant we get an Ulog. I got elated when we got confirmation that we booked one.

The commute to Tagaytay was a no brainer. Nurture Spa Village’s website also had clear instructions on how to get there so travel was a breeze. From the Tagaytay rotund, we took a trike and turned right at Magallanes Square. Three kilometers and PhP 80 later, we were in paradise. I kid you not my friends. That weekend could have easily been the most calm, peaceful and relaxed weekends of my life.

I don’t want to risk not giving justice to the place, so here’s a photo-essay instead.

The facade fountain. Get used to seeing a lot of green. :-)

The reception (aka wifi) area.

Our welcome drink: ginger tea. We both loved it. :-)

Our own Ulog. There were three. Ours was in the middle.

Each Ulog has a name. Ours was Lagaue. Coincidentally, I've actually been there 3 years ago for a friend's wedding. :-D

The doorbell.

The gate stopper: a tassle.

Our compound. Each ulog has it's own gated area, including a private toilet and bath.

Instead of a phone, guests call on the very attentive and well-mannered staff by ringing this. Neat! :-)

A view of the hut from the back. We got a hammock!

The inside as seen from the steps. We noticed that Capiz shells and draped sheer fabric is a recurring theme.

No airconditioning required.

Not your typical complimentary water.

Security is not compromised. One still gets a key. ;-)

Sleeping at an Ulog was a unique experience. Ventilation was natural, and we had the sound of the breeze and the swaying trees as our background music. I think the only (minor) concern might be the soundproofing of the hut. I initially wanted to play music from my Samsam but decided against it after we heard one of our neighbors coughing. Haha! Otherwise, our night there was one really good blissful sleep.

continued

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