Nowadays, it is really hard to find an out-of-town place that’s distant enough from Manila. While there are lots of good choices you can find online, this one place I recently went to truly left a mark. Cottages and Many More a.k.a. Eco Saddle is your sweet back-to-basics escape from the hustle and bustle of the metro.
My friends from TripZilla invited me to come over to take photos and maybe write an article about the place. I happily obliged since I was in Manila anyway.
The journey there was an adventure in itself. For the most part of the trip, I was on commute. I had no idea how long it would take but I told myself to just enjoy the moment. I hitched a ride with a colleague who had a car and was on her way to Laguna. The driver dropped me off at SM Calamba and I was on my own from there. I rode a jeepney to Sta. Cruz and alighted in the middle of nowhere where Charm, our editor, picked me up because it was already so late at night and there weren’t any other means of transportation available.
Thankfully, if you’re coming in from Manila, you don’t have to go through the same route I did! Haha. I was just being adventurous. You can actually take a bus to Sta. Cruz, Laguna from Cubao or Buendia for only PHP 160. When you get there, take a jeepney for PHP 30 to Lumot, Caliraya and alight at Mount Carmel a.k.a Eco Saddle. You’ll see a sign along the highway. Cottages and Many More is about a 10-minute walking distance from there. There’s also a roundtrip Hi-Ace van service available for PHP 6,000.
Eco Saddle has seven different cottages that can cater to different types of travellers. There are a few directly facing Lake Caliraya, a tree house, mahjong cottage, even a karaoke cottage, and of course the floating cottage which is the centre of attraction.
The huts are simple yet cozy. You also do not need an airconditioner because trust me when I say this, the place is cold! It gave me the Tagaytay feels.
Eco Saddle is far from civilisation so better be prepared with your own food and potable water, especially. It is advisable to bring pre-marinated or pre-cooked food, utensils and charcoal so you can grill and cook your own food. There’s a grilling area that’s free to use.
10 Fun and Exciting Things To Do in Eco Saddle
Okay, enough blabbing. This is the juicy part that I know you’re excited to find out. What makes Eco Saddle special? Here are 10 fun and exciting things to do in Eco Saddle!
#1 Sing your heart out in the exclusive karaoke room
Filipinos love karaoke. I was so surprised to find a big karaoke facility complete with cool things like a smokes machine, disco ball, coloured lights and comfy couches.
#2 Pamper your feet by getting a Doctor Fish massage
You’re in for a treat if you try the Doctor Fish massage. These fishes will “eat” your dead skin and getting a massage is said to have good health benefits like a healthier blood circulation. It’ll tickle for a bit but it’s a fun experience especially for first-timers like myself.
#3 Calm your muscles at the jacuzzi
Yes, Eco Saddle has a jacuzzi! It’s a nice little area where you can also take in the view. You’ll have to let the management know if you want to try it out.
#4 Cruise Lake Caliraya on a floating cottage
The floating cottage Is the centre of attraction here. During the day, you can opt for a cruise on Lake Caliraya and at night when it’s docked, cherish the evening sky and cool breeze.
#5 Ride a tandem boat or kayak
Eco Saddle does not only provide accommodation with a view, you can also try out a few water activities like riding a tandem boat or kayaking. They’re perfect for those who want minimal physical activity.
#6 Learn how to drive a jet ski
Jet skis scream adrenaline. Whether it’s your first time to drive one or if you’re already an expert, Lake Caliraya is the perfect playground as there’s only very minimal amount of water activities so you’ll have the lake all to yourself.
#7 Conquer the ATV trail
Apart from the floating cottage cruise, the ATV ride is probably my favourite. The terrain is interesting and again, you have the area all to yourself!
#8 Hop on an electric bike
I couldn’t try the electric bike because of my height. Haha! But I was pleasantly surprised to know that something like it actually exists.
#9 Scream your lungs out while being swiftly taken away by a jet ski
I have to admit, this was a scary ride. I got to be the one standing and man oh man was it hard. If you can’t find your balance, you’ll fall like a piece of stone which is exactly what happened to me. Still, it was a great thriller.
#10 Just RELAX
I couldn’t write this article without adding the most important activity—relaxing. Eco Saddle is the perfect place to shut down and enjoy fresh air.
Cottages and Many More has seven different cottages ranging from PHP 2,500 to 5,000. Most of the cottages can accommodate up to four people with the exception of Villa 7 and the Tree House that can fit eight and seven people, respectively.
You have to pay PHP 80 per person. This money will go to the barangay.
|Type||Rate (PHP)||Max No. of Pax|
|High-speed tubes (dragged by a jet ski; 15 minutes)||1000||3|
|Speed boat (15 minutes)||1200||4|
|Kayak (1 hour)||300||2|
|Electric motor/kayak (1 hour)||600||2|
|ATV (15 minutes)||300||2|
|Buggy car (15 minutes)||600||2|
On commute, you’ll spend less than PHP 300 to get to Eco Saddle. If you’re in a large group, I suggest hiring their two-way van service for PHP 6,000.
I highly recommend visiting Cottages and Many More. Whether you’re looking for adventure or you’re on a soul-searching mission, Eco Saddle won’t disappoint.