Monday, March 19, 2012

A Fun-Filled Weekend Adventure at Gratchi Farm Resort in Tagaytay

I'm not much of a sporty or an outdoorsy person; but when opportunities come to try out new things, I'm always ready and adventurous enough to give it a try. When a friend told me we were invited to visit a new resort in Tagaytay City, I jumped at the chance to explore a new place. 

And so we traveled for more than an hour last Saturday night towards a destination where we didn't quite know what to expect. Upon arrival at Gratchi Farm and Resort in Brgy. Cabangaan, we were cheerfully greeted by Ms. Gratchi Nuval herself along with some of her staff. 

We were shown to a structure they call The Ruins (because it was in ruins before they rebuilt the place) and were surprised, and utterly touched, at what we saw written on the white board in the dining area on the first floor.

Next, we climbed the stairs to the second floor where there is a living room and several rooms with single beds. Everybody scrambled to get first dibs on a bedroom each. 

Since they were still preparing dinner, we were encouraged to try out the pool table and ping pong table on the still semi-finished third floor. Rod and I found out we were the ones who will be playing there first because we had to tear the packaging off the paddles. It was nice to work up a sweat because I was getting chilled already with the cool Tagaytay wind. 

Dinner was a totally delicious, healthy food event. It was our first time to taste mushroom kare-kare, fried mushroom, and macapuno-like dessert that's also made of mushrooms! I am big fan of mushrooms so just imagine how happy I was about the menu :)

Before we retired for the night, we swapped stories with Geoff Nuval, Ms. Gratchi's son, who was visiting from the U.S. He told us that he'll be the one to bring us trekking the next day down to the river that's flowing behind the farm. He generously lent us his portable WiFi dongle so we could go online before we sleep.

I worked on my laptop for a while but exhaustion finally overcame me and I huddled under the blanket and fell into a deep and restful sleep. I was awakened the next morning by a knock on the door saying we already had to go down to breakfast. The temperature was very cold because it was drizzling so I was grateful to have my trusty sweater to keep me warm.

After eating and bathing, it was time to go trekking! By then, the rain has stopped and we set out to hike towards the back of the farm. I thought I was fit enough but still found it very challenging to navigate the long way down the steep ravine. I relied heavily on the walking stick Geoff gave each of us as well as the vines and roots of the trees which helped made the journey easier.

The cool and rushing waters of the river became balm to our aching feet. I was thankfully wearing slippers and didn't have to take any shoes off like some of my companions did. We walked upstream and simply savored the beautiful morning, the quietness of the place, and the close encounter with nature. 

The trip back up was a bit torturous though. I found myself breathing heavily even before I reached the halfway point. Still, it was good exercise and I resolved that I will make it to the top no matter what. When I got a glimpse of the Bulwagan (a big pavilion), I almost ran the rest of the way because I knew there must be cold water waiting there. 

I was right! Aside from the refreshing drink, laden on a long table are various kinds of kakanin, fresh buko, and pansit bihon. It seemed that we all ate ravenously after the rigorous exercise we just had. After eating, we took a short rest at The Ruins before joining other visitors in touring more parts of the farm.

It was very fascinating to walk into a building where Ms. Gratchi grows mushrooms. Hundreds of bags were hung from the ceiling and sporting oyster mushrooms in various stages of growth. We helped harvest a few and were briefed a bit about how the delicious food items are grown. If you want to learn how to grow mushrooms, attend one of the seminars which Ms. Gratchi conducts at the farm. 

Apart from mushrooms, lots of vegetables and herbs are being grown in the garden outside. There are also different kinds of farm animals roaming around the area. We all laughed when Ms. Gratchi pointed out two goats they named Caldi and Rita (get it? kaldereta! LOL). 

We climbed up a slope and found ourselves in the obstacle course area where companies can hold team building activities. The view is very nice up there and we had fun trying out some of the rigging they set up. 

The day passed by very quickly, too fast it seemed, because soon after, dusk was falling and we had to head back to Manila. Our Gratchi's Weekend Getaway was fulfilling and left us with lots of happy memories. Hopefully, I'll get to visit there again soon and, this time, with hubby who's more the mountain climber slash over-all outdoor enthusiast between the two of us. I'm sure he would thoroughly enjoy the activities the place has to offer, especially the trekking part :)

For more information about Gratchi Farm Resort, check them out on Facebook or contact 09189109633.

* Some photos borrowed from my friends who have nicer cameras than I do :p

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