college life · places

The Caleruega retreat was a breather.

A few weeks ago, our class went on a school retreat to Caleruega, Batangas. It was a welcome break from all the stress we’ve been experiencing, what with the mountain of schoolwork we’re expected to accomplish (*ehemthesisehem*).

The retreat compound was nice enough. I loved how the grounds were lush green with plants, so different from the drab gray of Manila. The air was fresh and crisp. And damn, it was cold. It was the coldest I’ve ever felt in my entire life. At night, I couldn’t sleep or even move, I was shivering so badly. I eventually developed a fever on the last day of our stay there. Perhaps I just have a low tolerance for cold temperatures, because everyone else seemed to enjoy the cool breeze.

Caleruega, I found out, was a popular venue for weddings. The chapel wasn’t big, but it was beautiful, perfect for just a small wedding.

Reaching the peak of the grounds was a short hike of around ten to fifteen minutes. Along the way, you would see koi fish in ponds, lots of trees, and a wooden hanging bridge. None of which I took a photo of because I was enjoying myself too much to worry about documenting everything. Although I did take a picture of this chapel (?) at the peak:

The view from the top wasn’t much, really, but walking in that cold morning air did wonders for my spirit.

I couldn’t decide whether I found the compound more beautiful in the morning or in the evening, when all the lights come on and the place is illuminated by lights hanging on trees.

Bokeh! ❤

And what retreat would be complete without touchy-feely crap? We played a game where we had to say something nice about each other, and a lot of us ended up crying. Oddly, I cried hardest when it was my turn to say something nice about someone else.

It wasn’t a perfect getaway: the food could have been way better, I fell ill on the last day of the trip, and I abhorred the early morning cold showers in the dorm bathroom. Still, I appreciated one of the last chances to spend time with the people I’ve been with for four years.

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