Monday, December 12, 2016

San Rafael River Adventure: A lush sanctuary in Bulacan

If I were to describe my stay at San Rafael River Adventure (SRRA), it would be a safe haven. Imagine waking up inside a glass cottage, amidst a garden filled with trees and greeneries, and a gorgeous view of Angat River. You'd want nothing more than to stay and to experience the calmness that the horizon brings, as you embrace its enchanting setting. Truly, this lush sanctuary in Bulacan is an ideal place for that much needed rest and relaxation.


HOW TO REACH THE RESORT

The Bulacan resort in San Rafael is accessible via private car or public transport. If you're commuting, you can take the Baliuag Bus in Cubao (P75 per way), and alight at Baliuag town proper. This is what we did. Though we ended up getting stuck in traffic on a Saturday night. What could’ve been a short 1.5 hour trip, turned into 3 hours. But as soon as we got off in Baliuag, our friend Karl immediately looked for tricycles that could take us to the resort. We reached the municipality around 10 in the evening, so we had no other choice but to pay the special trip worth P400 for two trikes (divided amongst 7 pax). The travel time going to SRRA from Baliuag took around 45 minutes. 

BEAUTIFUL GLASS COTTAGES

I’ve been dreaming of staying in one of SRRA’s glass cottages, so it felt surreal to finally dwell in one over the weekend. The way it was designed and constructed certainly made the modern-day cabin look picturesque in all angles. 


I loved the (bamboo?) blinds that were used to cover the walls of our accommodation, that when pulled to adjust, creates an interesting illusion. Even the glass walls of our cabin used one-way mirrors (those from the outside won’t even get a glimpse of our space). 


Our humble abode can accommodate four people comfortably. So my gal pals and I stayed in just one glass cottage. Claire and Beng slept in the bed downstairs, while Paula and I shared the one at the loft. Going up and down the second floor was a bit scary for me (given my fear of heights). But at least the view from the top made up for all of my worries.


The bathroom in the room was also just as nice, as it had all the things that we needed. It had complimentary toiletries (good for two pax) and towels for use. I certainly enjoyed taking baths here, given the unlimited supply of shampoo and body wash. 


RESORT ACCOMMODATIONS AND AMENITIES

San Rafael River Adventure also has five accommodations for rent [CLICK TO SEE RATES]. There are four glass cottages (good for 4 pax) and one glass villa (good for 12 pax) on site. All overnight packages include free breakfast, access to the Infinity Pool, and use of Paddle Board and Kayak. 


You can also go Glamping (glamorous camping), as the resort offers tents for day or night tours, and overnight stays. It’s a unique outdoor accommodation that will allow you to experience the comforts of a hotel, together with the recreation of camping.


Glamping at SRRA, whether for short or long stays, come with spacious tents for use (with an option to lodge at the camp site or by the river). Guests are also allowed to use the Infinity Pool, Kayak and Paddle Boards for free. Overnight stays include free breakfast.


ENJOY THE ACTIVITIES AT SRRA

There are plenty of activities that can be done while in the resort. Apart from swimming in their 6-feet deep pool, guests can also do some kayaking and paddle boarding by the river. The use of their Jetski and ATV rides can also be rented for an extra fee.


The resort is also perfect for company outings, especially for team building activities, as they offer separate areas for big groups to use, like an obstacle course and a floating bridge. 

 

RIVER CRUISE TOUR

You can also delight in a cruise down Angat River via SRRA’s floating raft, which can accommodate around 40-50 pax comfortably. The river cruise was a pleasant experience, as it made me reminisce my trip back in Loboc, Bohol. Only a small engine boat pushed the sturdy SRRA raft, as it sailed through the wide waterway. We certainly enjoyed the short tour over some good food and great conversations with the owner, Sir Rod. 


SRRA added an interesting feature to their raft, as a man-made, kiddie pool was built on board. Both kids and the kids-at-heart can swim inside the pool while the raft sails. And as the vessel moves, the water from the river starts to rush into the pool’s steel holes. Two of my friends actually got to try it, and they both enjoyed the strong rush of the cold river water.


ANGAT RIVER: A SEMI MAN-MADE WATERWAY

The locals did a gradual excavation to make the river wider, to help serve irrigation needs (no soil erosion issues whatsoever). Just like us, the old locals from Bulacan were also surprised that a waterway this wide existed in their province. 


WEDDING VENUE TO CERTIFIED RESORT

The owner of SRRA, Sir Rod was solely focused in his construction business. He only developed the resort to serve his leisure needs. Interestingly enough, he made a promise to his parents, that one day, he would give them a nice venue where they could celebrate their wedding anniversary. He made sure that he fulfilled this in a lot that he particularly owned. So when the viewing dock was finished, his parents took their vows there. 


Soon after, a family member urged him to build a pool, so that his guests would be able have something to do on site, which he did soon after. It wasn’t long until the addition and construction of more glass cottages followed suit.

FOOD OFFERINGS

It would be best to order beforehand, as the resort doesn’t have an in-house restaurant yet. So make sure to order in advance. You can also bring in food and drinks. But should you run out of supplies, you can visit the lobby where you can buy some snacks at the souvenir shop.


RESORT PAYS HOMAGE TO ITS PATRON SAINT

San Rafael is the patron saint of the town, thus naming the resort after him. The river, which is said to have healing powers, was the saint's source for fish. He was said to have used fish remains to heal the sick.


There are also fiestas being celebrated in honor of San Rafael, in the form of a fluvial parade (using SRRA’s floating raft), and an Angel festival (kids wear angel costumes in the street) every September. The Angel Festival is a vibrant merriment that pays tribute to its Seven Archangels.

A HIGHLY RECOMMENDED RESORT IN BULACAN

I highly recommend San Rafael River Adventure, as we found a home in this serene resort. It's a definite must-visit when going to Bulacan. So thank you to those who've assisted us all throughout our stay (special thanks to Sir Rod, Sir Darrel and the rest of the SRRA staff). We'll definitely come back!


Explore & Be Free!
Mai


Note: This is a sponsored stay with San Rafael River Adventure. (Budget Biyahera) I do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of the establishment or its owners. All views and opinions shared on this website are solely my own.

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