Last weekend, Karlo and I drove south towards Lake Caliraya in Laguna for a quick weekend getaway. Well, he drove while I napped and fretted internally because we were running late and I wanted to get there before sunset.
We didn’t. We had to make two grocery stops to buy supplies (something we should have done the day before but I had a team away day at work and we’re both totally clueless when it comes to planning these things) and we didn’t pull into Eco Saddle until a little past 6PM, but that was all right.
Unless you rented the Videoke Cottage, there isn’t much to do to at Eco Saddle at night. After preparing and eating dinner (my boyfriend the vegetarian grilled a steak for me while I, the meat-eater, boiled sweet potatoes and made a salad), we settled in with a bottle of wine and a couple of board games with Timecop1983 and Lana Del Rey playing in the background. I never won a single game.
A little drunk by 1AM, I crawled into bed, checked what time the sun was going to rise and set my alarm before nodding off. We slept peacefully, only waking up once during the night when I heard a loud crash come from the table. In the morning, my leftover steak was all gone (a fat lake cat took it).
My alarm went off (and by off, I mean started vibrating because even my alarm is on silent) a bit before 6AM. I woke up Karlo and padded out of bed towards our balcony.
I wanted to do ALL THE THINGS but no one was up. Karlo went back to bed and I cleaned up our mess from the night before and made coffee. I sat in the early morning sun with my feet in the water, just taking it all in.
At 8AM, Eco Saddle’s caretaker, Salve, went up to our cottage and asked us what time did we want the driver to come by so he can drive the cottage around the lake. NOW IS A GREAT TIME!!! but Philip (the owner) said we should try out a couple of water rides first.
Philip kindly offered us two free lake activities: a high-speed boat ride in that floatie thing pictured above and a tsinelas ride. It’s a lot like Boracay’s banana boat where a jetski pulls you around, trying to get you to fall off. I really wish we had a drone or a GoPro to document these things LOL.
Then it was time for the main event: traveling around the lake in our cottage! The motor and driving/navigation area is at the back, where the manong in the photo is.
If you look closely enough, you’ll notice some flies on top of the bread. There are lots of flies in the floating cottage, normal for nature. There are also gnats/bugs (non-biting) that swarm to the lights (and then die) at night, too. Those things will take over the floor, the bed, the towels… basically any surface. They were easy enough to ignore, just cover or hide anything you don’t want touched.
(There weren’t any mosquitoes, though we still covered ourselves in natural bug spray just to be safe.)
Had we arrived earlier the previous day, we could have spent the afternoon docked on the other side of the lake. That would mean spending hours with the driver, too LOL.
The weather was perfect— sunny and breezy. It had rained the previous day so we were really lucky!
Again, I really wish we had a drone so that we could have taken photos of the cottage from afar. At one point, a boat drove by with strangers taking a video of us sunning ourselves on the balcony/deck.
“Did you see that?!” I was concerned because I wasn’t photo/video-ready.
“We’ll be part of their vacation reel,” Karlo replied.
You can swim but it’s a little hard getting back up on the deck. Karlo and I couldn’t go in at the same time because someone had to be on board to help pull the other in. I hope they add a small ladder to the cottage next time.
There aren’t any restaurants in the area so you’ll have to bring your own food, water, and ice. No need to make the same mistake as we did by buying and bringing our own pot, tongs, coolers etc! Seriously, what a waste of money. The floating cottage has its own tiny kitchen that comes with a single burner gas range, plates, bowls, glasses, utensils (including a knife, corkscrew, bottle opener, tongs), cooking materials (pot, pan, kettle), a large cooler, and a water jug with a faucet. They were also kind enough to set up a grill with charcoal (it was lit and ready when they brought it over!) nearby for us. The cottage doesn’t have its own functioning bathroom yet so you’ll have to use one that’s pretty close by.
PHP5000/night (4 people max)
PHP80/head Eco Saddle entrance fee (charged by the local baranggay)
How to book:
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire. I had to book this trip back in June to get a free weekend!
Jetski – ?4,000/hr for 2 pax max
High-speed tubes – inflatable rides that are dragged by the jetski – ?1000 for 15 mins (most rides are 2-3 seaters but if you’re a group, you can change the people who are riding for as long as it’s 15 mins)
Speed boat – ?1200 for 15 mins for 4pax
Kayak – ?300/hr for 2 pax
Electric motor boat/Electric Kayak – ?600/hr for 2 pax
ATV – ?600 for 15 mins for 2 pax
Buggy Car – ?600 for 15 mins for 2 pax
How to get there:
Search Eco Saddle on Waze. I’M SORRY, THAT’S ALL I HAVE. You can take the bus to get to Caliraya/Eco Saddle but it’s a lot more convenient to bring your own car.
Eco Saddle also has other cottages (some have themes, like the videoke and mahjong rooms) for rent. The place is also pet-friendly! We saw a couple of folks kayaking with their dogs and it was CUTEST THING EVER. They don’t have wifi but mobile data works great, so you can Instagram and Snapchat the heck out of your stay and make all your friends back in Manila jealous. I’d love to go back soon and maybe spend an entire weekend just lazing about and doing all the water sports. ♥