Everyone has this idea in their head that a beach resort is the perfect getaway. But what if you don't like sand because it's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere? What if you don't like the way saltwater irritates your eyes?
Not everybody is a beach person and that's what this list is for. This list is for mountain people. People who like looking at mountain scenery instead of the ocean horizon. People who like foliage and that cool mountain breeze. There are many of these places in the country, but in the interest of practicality, these are the ones closest to Manila.
1. The Farm at San Benito (Lipa, Batangas)
The Farm is a world-renowned resort that has over 60 prestigious international awards. Imagine getting lost in this: a "48-hectare lush green jungle, with a stunning view of the majestic mountains, fresh air with pristine and uplifting life-giving energy radiating around the property." We feel better already. There are over nine types of well-appointed suites and villas to choose from. The Farm highlights health, and activities are centered on detoxification and wellness. It takes a holistic approach, so apart from features like life coaching and stress reduction, there is a salon, as well non-invasive aesthetic procedures. (Heads up, carnivores: The resort only serves pescatarian and vegan meals.)
119 Barangay Tipakan 4217 Lipa City, Batangas; (+632) 8884 8074; (+63) 918-884-8080; thefarmatsanbenito.com
2. Mountain Lake Resort (Cavinti, Laguna)
A couple of hours away from Manila is a picturesque mountain view resort beside Lake Caliraya. At the top of this 300-hectare, Spanish Mediterranean-inspired property is an unobstructed and panoramic view of a sprawling golf course; on the horizon is Mount Banahaw. You can take a ride on banana boats, paddle boats, or kayak on the lake. For more unconventional activities, go fishing, visit the astronomy camp complete with a powerful telescope, or try your luck at an obstacle course should you require team-building facilities. For relaxation, there is a restaurant that serves fine cuisine, as well as a sky-lit Jacuzzi, sauna, and massage services.
3. Luljetta's Garden Suites (Antipolo, Rizal)
Once considered the best-kept secret of Rizal, Luljetta's is an expansive eight-hectare resort along the edge of Antipolo. Only an hour away from the city, it treats guests to a panorama of Laguna Bay and Metro Manila, enveloping them in an enclave of nature and relaxation. Apart from the usual pools (lap pool, hydro pool, ionized pool), hot tubs, and saunas, there is a spa, a restaurant, and a mini-movie theater complete with La-Z-Boy seats.
Sitio Loreland, Barangay San Roque Antipolo, Rizal; (+63) 925-766-7544; (+63) 917-867-6205; www.luljettas.com
4. Noni's Resort (Alitagtag, Batangas)
At over 1,000 feet above sea level, Noni's Resort rewards guests with breathtaking views of Taal Lake, Tagaytay Ridge, and Mt. Makulot. Noni's has various accommodations, from air-conditioned suites to simple tents to suit all kinds of adventurers. Entertainment is simple: there are board games and tabletop games, but all you really need to do is soak in that gorgeous panorama. This mountain view resort is also near Taal Town, Taal Park, the Dela Rosa-Ilagan House, and the Gregorio Agoncillo Mansion.
5. Sol Y Viento (Calamba, Laguna)
This hilltop resort overlooks Laguna Bay and Mount Makiling. Try getting one of the 16 cabanas as each has its own Jacuzzi for guests. If you're not afraid of public facilities, drop by the hot springs. There are pools, too, of course, and a variety of restaurants. Grab a glass of wine because that's the best way to enjoy the scenery. Adventurers can also trek the surrounding landscape or zoom through the view via a zipline.
6. Martessem Mountain Resort (Tanay, Rizal)
There's nothing but the breezy air and the uninterrupted view of the Sierra Madre here. And sometimes that's all you need. Martessem takes you back to simpler times: Its facilities include a chemistry bar, horseback-riding, a koi pond, and a lagoon.
Sitio Mayagay, Marcos Highway, Cuyambayl, Tanay, Rizal; (+63) 919-075-0448; www.facebook.com/pg/MartessemResort
7. Hidden Valley Springs (Alaminos, Laguna)
This beautiful resort is sandwiched between two mountains (hence the "valley") so it offers a different perspective of the mountain. A perennial getaway since the '70s, Hidden Valley Springs has amped up its facilities, installing lovely villas, a golf course, a restaurant, picture-perfect bamboo bridges, and six swimming pools (three are heated!). The highlight of any trip to this Alaminos resort, of course, is the natural waterfall nestled between beautifully thick foliage.
Alaminos, Laguna; Its reservation office is at Cattleya Gardens, 111 Carlos Palanca Jr. Street, Legazpi Village, Makati; (+632)-8818-4034; (+632)-8840-4114; (+63) 917-566-1485