Just waiting for stressed up Manilans aching for a respite is a hilltop enclave for rest, fun, or inspirational talks. Spread out on a seven-hectare clearing is the Rizal Re-Creation Center in Rizal, Laguna, complete with lodging, dining, strolling, sports, fishing, and conference facilities.
Taking the South Luzon Expressway, the hilltop spot takes about two hours from Makati through San Pablo, Laguna. This city is still home to old mansions reminiscent of Spanish times. Sign posts for directions are visible from San Pablo all the way up to Rizal and the place itself.
A series of sharp zigzag turns on the road passing through countryside scenes of mango groves, fruit farms, and breath-taking cliffs tells you Rizal Recreation is just nearby.
For active visitors out for action and out-door adventure, the place affords swimming pools—a shallower one for tots, and a six foot deep for adults, with a challenging long slide—all nestled at the foot of a gently sloping hill surrounded by abundant fruit trees.
A fitness gym lies next to the vast camping and soccer areas, with basketball courts, and an enclosed beach volleyball carpeted with white sand from Boracay. Wide hockey, soccer and camping grounds lie adjacent to the daunting obstacle course.
A cozy snack kiosk (with internet cubicle) and huge dining hall is in the middle of all the action, accessible to the hungry adventurer, and not far are the lodging cottages named after Southeast Asian nations.
Take a sip of cool coconut juice fresh from the tree as one sits back in the kiosk for refection.
A conference hall also stands in the middle of it all with extra session rooms, a two-floor bamboo tree house, mini zoo, and fishing area. Not far away towers the mystical Mount Banahaw, said to be haven for fairies and nymphets, a perfect destination for a planned morning hike.
Guests are always treated to an evening of “Tops Presentation”—a deft demo of spinning tops from the smallest to the biggest in the world. The tops are a collection of the Rev. Joseph Mauk, from Ohio, the manager, from his travels in Asia.
Meals come in buffet-style, classy and tasty, eat-all-you-can, served by polite crews, and accompanied by cheery, gospel music. The swell meals, courtesy of Mrs. Mauk, are often lavished with sweet, puffy European bread.
The stay can pamper the appetite for everything pleasurable and drop one’s harmful vice habits for a while; vices are barred in the premises to make the vacation healthy and clean.
For a needed break full of gratifying escapades, fun sports, meditation, quiet talks, and good food, visit Rizal Recreation Center in Laguna.