Caleruega is probably known as the most popular wedding chapel around Tagaytay. It is much photographed, and the image of the chapel of Transfiguration is most likely etched on the visitor’s, or prospective visitor’s minds.
But what exactly is Caleruega? Caleruaga is a town in Spain, the birthplace of St. Dominic de Guzman, father of the Order of Preachers. The Filipino Dominicans wanted to honot the legacy of their founder by naming this retreat destination in his honor.
Many people think of Caleruaga as a Tagaytay destination. It may very well be, because it is but two kilometers or so away, near Hillcrest (formerly called Evercrest), in the town of Nasugbu, Batangas. Its topography and climate will indeed make the visitor think he is still in Tagaytay.
The Cenaculum is the very first structure that one will see upon arrival at Caleruega. This is also the gateway to the Chapel of Transfiguration, and to the retreat center accommodations. I would advise visitors though to save the visit to the Chapel of Transfiguration for last. Toilet facilities are available inside the cenaculum.
It is advised that visitors park their cars around the fountain in front of the cenaculum from where they can start the short walk to the koi pond, the hanging bridge, and the tent chapel. For tired legs, park benches are available on a shaded area near the parking slots. (UPDATE: Friends and a reader have reported that Caleruega does NOT anymore allow parking inside).
WALKING AROUND CALERUEGA
Walk to the road on the right if you are facing the cenaculum. It is a beautiful walk, with interesting hand carvings representing the Stations of the Cross on what they call the Manaoag Drive. You will arrive at the beautiful koi pond surrounded by ferns and walkways, leading to the camping area and amphitheater.
CROSS THE HANGING BRIDGE AND WALK UP TO THE TENT CHAPEL
The hanging bridge is lovely. The walk uphill to the tent chapel is easy, and I counted 100 steps. There are benches around for those who may get tired easily.
THE GARDEN CAFE
Walk back from the tent chapel via the same route taken going there. Relax and have a drink, or buy mementos at the Garden Cafe. Or visit the lettuce greenhouse, and the plant nursery where you can buy seedlings.
REMEMBER THAT IT IS A RETREAT CENTER
The pamphlet handed out to visitors define Caleruaga as a sanctuary amidst the beauty of nature where pilgrims are open to prayer, to creative transformation, and to Gospel values. While there are camping grounds, visitors must not, and can not use the grounds like they were camping near the beach. The whole complex is a No Smoking zone. Silence near the retreat centers is observed.
WHAT YOU CAME FOR: THE CHAPEL OF TRANSFIGURATION
From the cenaculum, take the door on the right and find the signages leading to the chapel. You will pass thru the retreatants accommodations (section just above). In front of the chapel is another famous icon: the sculpture named “Thy Will be Done”. Say a prayer or two inside the chapel. Or attend mass is one is scheduled.
For your inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +639218304226 during daily office hours 8:00am-5:00pm, Manila time.
Regular Sunday Mass is at 11:00 AM at the Transfiguration Chapel of
HOW TO GET TO CALERUAGA.
Visitors pay an entrance fee of P30 per head. Their phone numbers are +63 921 270 9890 and +63 921 830 4226. To get there, I have searched online for a map and here is what I deem to be the best, just note that Evercrest has been renamed Hillcrest :
Go to Tagaytay:
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 rotunda. Upon reaching the rotunda. Take the road going to Batangas and follow this map..
Alternatively, from Manila take the Coastal Road and take the Aguinaldo Hi-Way passing thru Imus, Dasmarinas, and Silang and on to Tagaytay. Follow map.
From Tagaytay: take the road to Batangas until you reach the next town of Alfonso (where Tagaytay Royale and Sonya’s Garden are). Immediately after Alfonso is the town of Nasugbu. Go past the “Welcome to Batangas” sign. Drive on until you get to Hillcrest (formerly Evercrest).
Take that road on the left. You will see the entrance to KC Hillcrest Hotel on your right. Drive past Hillcrest, past the Don Bosco Chapel on a Hill, until you get to a crossroads. Take the right turn (there is also a Caleruega sign) 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.
COMMUTING TO CALERUEGA.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Take any bus that passes thru Tagaytay. These are buses destined for Nasugbu, Balayan, Lian, Tuy or Calatagan. Get off at Hillcrest (drivers/conductors might still know it by its former name Evercrest, be aware) in Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas (the conductor can drop you there).Tricycle service is available at Hillcrest entrance. Or hike 2 kilometers to Calerueaga..
you will drive past these hillside accommodations