Soloviento: Not Quite Glamping, Not Quite Camping
There’s a lakeside rest house in Caliraya, Laguna, that visitors are calling “Baguio meets Batangas.” Windsports enthusiasts come for the lakeside activities, while the non-sporty types come for the quiet escape.
Soloviento’s accommodations depend on your needs. You may bring your own tent to pitch and just pay for the entrance fee. You may rent one of the outdoor campers or dorm-type rooms. There’s no air-conditioning—just fans and fresh air.
You’re not really roughing it because there’s a restaurant at the clubhouse, a central mesh hall where all guests congregate for meals or to simply hang out. There are employees around the resort to help you with whatever you may need. And of course, there’s Bingo, the high-strung Jack Russell who runs the place.
It’s not exactly glamping either, because the amenities are just the basics you’ll need throughout your stay—like shared bathrooms and a common dining area.
As soon as you get there, you leave your car at the designated parking space, and Soloviento’s employees (including Bingo) pick you up. They carry your luggage and you go on a short barge ride to Soloviento across the lake.
A golf cart welcomes you there, and you have the option of riding the golf cart with your bags or just walk to the clubhouse. As soon as you check in with the owners, you settle in your chosen amenities, and you’re free to go about your day as you please.
Activities include renting the SUPs (stand-up paddle board) and kayaks, swimming in the lake, strolling around the resort to find hammocks and swings to laze on, and ordering gourmet dishes from the kitchen, which is run by the lady behind Connie’s Kitchen. For every item you purchase or rent, you have to sign order slips that will be compiled for your final bill at the end of your stay.
We met three of the owners during our stay two weekends ago—Manu, Eddie, and Connie. Tito Eddie shared stories of how he and his friends started Soloviento. They were camping and watersports enthusiasts who were in Laguna so often that they were one of the first to know about a plot of land that was for sale many years ago.
He and his friends decided to purchase this piece of land and turn it into Soloviento, a lakeside resort for family and friends who are looking to get away from Metro Manila. One of their friends who helped put up the place passed away years ago, and Tito Eddie showed me one of the first few campers they brought to Soloviento. It’s located at the far end of the resort, away from the busy clubhouse.
“May I pick up pinecones to take home?” I asked Tito Eddie and Tita Connie. “Yes, go ahead!” they said. Tita Connie showed me one of her crafts at the dining hall—dangling pinecones. “What are you planning to do with yours?” Tito Eddie asked. “I’ll dry them, paint them in different colors, and place them in a bowl for our living room,” I said.
The weather was crazy in Metro Manila that weekend. Thank goodness we left early in the morning to head to Laguna, hours before the storm surged and made some roads impassable. It was chilly at night, reminiscent of my vacations in Baguio. The water in the lake was cold, but a few degrees warmer compared to the windy air.
I ticked one item off my bucket list that weekend—balancing on an SUP. It’s not as easy as I thought. You need muscle power to get far.
“Let’s go back when it’s warmer,” suggested my friends. “Like maybe summer,” I said. I’ll definitely go back—for camping, SUV-ing, the dog, and the food from Connie’s Kitchen (more on that in my next post).
August 24, 2016