The province of Batangas is known for some of the most beautiful churches in the country. For instance, it is the home of the Basilica of Saint Martin de Tours, the largest Catholic church in Asia (Check: Taal Basilica). We concluded our trip in Nasugbu by visiting one of the most popular wedding venues in the South, the Calaruega Eco Park. Visiting this place has been on my bucket list for quite some time. I have attempted to include the site several times during my previous Pilgrimages in Batangas but none of them managed to push through.
Finally, i was able to get a chance to visit this famous Eco Park in Nasugbu. Compared to the old and century-old churches in Batangas, Calaruega is relatively new. The chapel and the entire Eco Park was built in 1995. The chapel is located on a hilltop and getting there was a bit of a challenge (although there is a shortcut that will take you straight to the chapel). Interestingly, Calaruega is named after the birthplace of Saint Dominic de Guzman, the father of the Order of the Preachers (aka as the Dominicans). To honor his legacy, the Filipino Dominicans establish the Calaruega Eco Park with an attempt to somehow replicate the humble town of Calaruega in Spain.
Please be mindful that the Eco Park is not freely accessible. There is an Entrance fee of Php30 per head. There is also a parking fee of Php20 for motorcycles and Php40 for 4-wheeled vehicles. The fees, of course, will be used to maintain the place. Although the place is very much known for the Transfiguration Chapel, the huge Eco Park also offers a lot of worth-exploring places that makes it ideal not just for weddings but also for retreats and meditation. Visitors will be given a leaflet to help them navigate the eco park.
The Calaruega Eco Park is open for various activities such as Retreats, Recollections, team buildings, workshops, weddings, and receptions. If you are simply looking for a serene location or a quick escape from the city, this could be an ideal go-to place. If you are going to start from the main entrance, the first place in the map is the so-called Fountain Compass which can be found in front of the Cenaculum which also serves as the Refectory.
The Fountain Compass
The Cenaculum/ Refectory
The fountain in front of the Cenaculum
A Closer look of the Cenaculum
The facade of the cenaculum highlights a stained glass window with the image of Saint Dominic De Guzman. There is also a couple of statues near the main entrance, a small bell in the pediment, and some pineapple finials on top of the pillars. Pineapple finials in Catholic Churches symbolize Jesus Christ – as a single pineapple plant gives its life for its fruit and dies, so Jesus our Lord gave his own life for the salvation of all.
Long cemented pathway that takes you to other attractions in Calaruega Eco Park
The place is surrounded with trees and ornamental plants of different species.
Definitely a sight to behold. Here, you can see a spectacular view of green fields. Calaruega Eco Park also overlooks the Mountain ranges of Mt Batulao.
The stunning view from Calaruega Eco Park
A stone stairway going to one of the cottages in Calaruega
Close to Nature, Closer to God
The Japanese Garden
Probably one of the most beautiful attractions in Calaruega Eco park is the Japanese Garden. The place can be explored bridges and is also surrounded by luscious green garden and a Koi pond.
Connecting Steel Bridge in the Japanese Garden
Definitely picture-worthy in every corner. It’s not really surprising why this place has become one of the popular wedding venues and prenup shoot destinations. Did you know that the rates for the use of the Chapel alone will range from 15k to 20k? That excludes the use of their wedding reception areas.
A well-maintained Koi pond
A beautiful garden indeed
The Hanging Bridge
Another popular attraction in Calaruega is the Hanging Bridge that leads you to the Tent Chapel of Transfiguration.
The Hanging Bridge of Calaruega Eco Park
The bridge leads to the Tent chapel which is also surrounded by Native-inspired Stations of the Cross
To reach the famous Chapel of Transfiguration, you need to go through the so-called Dominican Steps. It takes more than a hundred steps to reach the top. It is quite exhausting so make sure you bring a bottle of water with you.
The Dominican Steps
Stunning view of Pine trees along the way
Despite the challenge, you will surely appreciate the view
Embracing the beauty of nature
As you reach the top, the first structure that will greet you is the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Our Lady of the Rosary
The Transfiguration Chapel
The stunning chapel of Transfiguration of Calaruega Eco Park. The church is surrounded by a beautiful landscape garden.
It features a simple yet beautiful facade that resembles those castle-like structure in Burgos, Spain. The center of the facade is of red adobe bricks with a rose stained glass window with the logo of the Order of the Preachers
The pediment features a small bell and a cross
The interior of the chapel is equally stunning. The altar features huge stained glass windows depicting the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ
The main altar of Calaruega Chapel (Chapel of Transfiguration)
Things You Should Know Before Visiting the Calaruega Eco Park
- Entrance Fee (as of writing) is Php30/ head
- Parking fee Php20 (Motorcycle)/ Php 40 (4 wheeled vehicles)
- Regular Sunday Mass : 11AM held at the Transfiguration Chapel
- This is still a sacred place so make sure to dress appropriately.
- Caleruega Church is open daily from 08:00 am to 05:00 pm. Please note of the break times from 12:00 nn to 01:00 pm (Monday-Saturday) and 10:30 am to 01:00 pm
How to Get to Calaruega Eco Park
- From Makati via SLEX (South Super Highway) take the Eton exit. Follow the TO TAGAYTAY signs and turn right after the Tagaytay Public Market towards the Tagaytay rotonda. Upon reaching the rotonda. Take the road going to Nasugbu, Batangas.
- From Tagaytay: take the road to Batangas until you reach the next town of Alfonso. Immediately after Alfonso is the town of Nasugbu. Go past the “Welcome to batangas” sign. Drive on until you get to Evercrest where you will see, on your right, a CALERUEGA sign pointing to the left. Take that road on the left. You will see the entrance to Everecrest Hotel on your right.
- Drive past Evercrest, past the Don Bosco Chapel on a Hill, until you get to a crossroads. Take the right turn and drive until the end of the road (before you reach the end of the road which is Caleruega, you will see hillside accommodations on your left). The road stops at the entrance to Caleruega.
- Public Transportation:
Take any bus that passes thru Tagaytay. These are buses destined for Nasugbu, Balayan, Lian, Tuy or Calatagan. Get off at Evercrest in Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas (the conductor can drop you there).Tricycle service is available at Evercrest entrance.
Feel free to check all the other churches in Batangas that I already blogged about.
- Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish
- National Shrine of Padre Pio
- Saint Therese of the Child of Jesus (Lipa)
- San Sebastian Cathedral
- Our Lady of Mount Carmel Monastery
- Basilica of Saint Martin de Tours (Taal)
- Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay
- Immaculate Conception Parish (Balayan)
- Monte Maria Shrine
- Saint Francis Xavier Parish (Nasugbu)
- San Antonio de Padua Parish (Nasugbu)
Other Places to Visit in Batangas
- Loren Island of Nasugbu
- Papaya Island Cove in Nasugbu
- Mount Talamitam of Nasugbu
- Fantasy World in Lemery
- A Visit to Taal Volcano
- The Galo River of Nasugbu
Feel free to watch my Vlog below