Like any other long break that we had before, Donya Teresa (my mom… er, that’s her Instagram account name!!!) suggested the entire family to go out during this Easter Sunday to have some RnR. We decided to go somewhere East to avoid the expressways in the North and South (heavy traffic going home on this day). We chose Tanay, Rizal to visit the famous Regina RICA, but after this, we had an overnight stay at Basyunan Resort.
Baksyunan Resort and Conference Center is nestled atop the Tanay part of the Sierra Madre mountains. It is a two-hour drive from Manila, passing through either Marcos Highway or Manila East Drive. Since it was Easter Sunday, we decided to use the Marcos Highway route as we expected heavy traffic around the Antipolo area if we have used the other route. Refer to the Google Map below for its location:
We arrived at Bakasyunan at around 1 p.m. of Easter Sunday after our short trip at Regina RICA. Unfortunately, as usually the case of towns located atop mountains, it was raining hard when we got there. The little trickles of rain dancing happily across my windshield on the way to Bakasyunan became a deluge when we got there! And the family was planning to have a lunch-ala-picnic! Anyway, the rain stopped after some time and we finally got to have our lunch. According to Joan, the receptionist who entertained our checking-in, the gloomy weather just started the day before, but always stopped in the afternoon.
The entrance to the reception was decorated for the summer feels. Take a look at how pretty it was:
We were checked-in in the VIP Room good for 12 pax (with en suite walk-in closet and bath), which just cost us Php 9,000!!! That’s a steal!
Take note, though, that the VIP Rooms were located at the second floor of the main building, which is quite an old building. It gave me the eerie feeling that I was in the Marcos Mansion in Ilocos. Especially the bathroom!!! Just imagine a Shake-Rattle-and-Roll movie where the undin will come out of the toilet bowl anytime!
On the other hand, not all of the rooms are old. Only the VIP Rooms are old as they are located in the main building. The other rooms offer the more modern feel, good for couples, families, or smaller groups:
Once we were settled in our room, mom, lola, and the rest of the thunders rested for some time while the younger ones (yes, including me, wifey, and baby!) excitedly changed attire to try out the pools.
Other things to see in Bakasyunan are:
And since Bakasyunan is also a good venue for team-building activities, the facilities it offers for this are also top-notch:
Here are some personal takes on our experience in Bakasyunan:
- Friendly staff. The receptionists were able to keep their cool despite the barrage of customers who were checking in when we arrived. Kudos again to Joan for facilitating our smooth checking-in process, and to Neza for efficiently handling my call! During our dinner, another set of kudos again to the manager(?) for personally assisting us find a good spot in their restaurant (we had two babies with us, so we were busy looking for a spot which is not too hot nor cold for them).
- Wide array of amenities and facilities available. Bakasyunan is not just for swimming. You could commune with nature and just take a stroll around its grounds. Or try out their wall climbing, rapelling, mini-golf, zipline or other attractions available.
- Well-maintained pool. ‘Nuff said, mainly because it’s their main attraction especially during these hot summer days.
- Exhilarating view of the Sierra Madre mountains. Since it’s located on top of Tanay, you could expect a grand view of the longest mountain range in the country. You could even see several of the giant wind turbines from Pililla from the balcony!
- Credit cards accepted! This is a major plus for me. Although it is a resort, it is located in Tanay, and after a couple of hours of driving through winding roads atop the Sierra Madre, establishments accepting credit cards can be few in this area.
- Organized, comprehensive website and Facebook Page. In this day and age, a resort’s website can spell the difference whether a potential customer will check in or not. Bakasyunan has such an organized and comprehensive website, complete with room rates! (I’m not sure whether room rates should, by default, be published, but I find it personally discouraging during the planning/preparation stage of an outing if the room rates are not readily available.)
- FB admin not always online. Facebook Pages of a particular place has now been one of the go-to venues for researching about it. As such, it would be very helpful if FB message inquiries could promptly be answered. I first inquired through their FB Page on April 7, and was only answered on April 10. I was able to settle our downpayment immediately. Apparently, their FB Page admin is another person because the next day, I got a reply apologizing that their VIP Rooms are already all taken. I just replied in a friendly manner that I’m one of those who have already booked for the VIP Rooms, and suggested that hopefully, their FB Page admin is always available online for these online inquiries.
- No BPI account. This would have been a major plus point for me especially when I was settling the dowpayment as instead of still falling in line in the bank (well, actually, it was my mom who fell in line to deposit the downpayment :D), I could have just used the “Transfer to Anyone” function of the bank’s mobile app.
- Bringing of food not allowed. There is a whopping Php 200 corkage fee per person (huwaaat??!!) for “real foods” brought into the resort. On the other hand, cookies, bread, biscuits, tsitsiria – the “fake” foods are exempt from this corkage amount. This is understandable for those checking in overnight, but for those only as a daytrip, it would save a lot of money by bringing your own food.
All in all, our experience in the resort turned out to be great. This was one of mom’s “dream vacation” (because she was a fan of the now-defunct Dolce Amore teleserye and this was one of their location shoots), and for the rest of the family, they all had a great time.
PS We also had a quick sidetrip at the Pililla windfarm after our stay here! 😀
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