Text and Photos By: Beng Fontiveros, Escape Manila Correspondent
2016 passed by so fast, and 2017 is like that gooey choco lava cake finally served at your table – it’s screaming right at you to eat it. The promise of a new year brings a sense of wanting to either kick start it with friends or go on a personal retreat. A stone’s throw away from Manila where you do just that is San Rafael River Adventure (SRRA) in San Rafael, Bulacan. Roughly 2 hours away, depending on traffic of course, you can find a place of respite for your expectant heart.
I went with my favorite blogger friends to check out the place as it also boasts of a river cruise similar to what can traditionally be experienced in Bohol. We arrived late, as in 12 midnight-late, but we were still received with friendly faces and refreshments as we checked in. The staff was also gracious enough to serve us our dinner which has been waiting for us for hours!
Since it was already late we just took a look around. The place is well-lighted enough for you to find your way through the cottages and to the pool. Even at night, the property looks really spacious which give more breathing room for the guests.
Our cottage is glass house! For real! The usual brick walls were traded for big one-way glass windows – you can see what’s outside but you are invisible to people outside. Our cottage was a loft-type house good for 4 people. Only downside for me is the ladder, it is hard to come down and relieve yourself if you need to pee at night.
Come morning, I grabbed the chance to go around and take a look before everyone else wakes up. Indeed, the property is so huge you can literally hide from your friends and they won’t find you. This also means that you have the time and space to quiet down and be still.
Walk around and you’ll see really cool furniture, meet and greet rescued animals, find hidden gardens, or run with ducks. Alternatively, you can find your own space to read, write, or just bask in the morning sun.
As it started to get hot we finally decided to do a morning swim before breakfast, which is a fancy way of saying we took the chitchat and the cameras to the pool area and lounged there.
Our breakfast and pretty much all food served at SRRA are traditional Filipino food. Those that you would take with you or cook while on a vacation – adobo, sinigang na hipon, inihaw na isda, and crispy pata! The servings were all generous and we ate until we can’t anymore. During the river cruise, which was the highlight of the trip, we were served lugaw with tokwa’t baboy as merienda, and with incredibly the best sapin-sapin I have ever had. Needless to say, we asked where we can get it and get it we did.
Once you have satisfied the introvert part of yourself, you might fancy letting the kid in you out. SRRA offers a whole range of activities: from boating, jet skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, banana boating, fishing, that thing where you jump off a trampoline to “land” in the river, to ATV rides. You’ll ran out of breath before you even finish everything. For me and my friends, we chose the ATV, jet ski, and kayaking.
Or, if you are still in your zen zone, you can stare out into the sunset overlooking San Rafael river.
So the highlight of all highlights, SRRA’s soon-to-be-famous offering, the San Rafael River cruise! The boat was very homey, it reminded me of cabanas by the beach. It can accommodate at most 50 people and is fully-loaded – it has its own comfort room, sink, dining table, and videoke machine! Cruising the river was a sight to behold against the clear skies leading to the changing colors of the sunset. The air was cool and fresh, just how nature intended it to be.
San Rafael River Cruise – a feast for all the senses.
While there are a lot of things to do at San Rafael River Adventure (SRRA), it was a good thing that our days were not that fully loaded. We spent hours chatting, laughing, eating, and just being our goofy selves. It was a nice 2016 year-ender and I am sure it would equally be an amazing kick off trip for 2017.
San Rafael River Adventure (SRRA)
Barangay Talacsan, San Rafael, Bulacan, Philippines
Contact #s: (63) 995 974 6224, (63) 917 924 4546, (02) 513 1569