Monday, December 06, 2021

Family fun at the Mountain House at Antipolo


We went on our first vacation in years! Yes, it was just a quick one, an overnight stay at The Mountain House in Antipolo, just a drive of an hour-and-a-half from our home in the middle of the city. But since halos dalawang taon na kaming nakakulong sa bahay, that drive felt much looooonger! But malapit lang talaga pala siya.

Inulan kami during our stay so I don't have review-type photos, and so I wasn't planning to blog about our trip anymore. But sayang naman our happy weekend! And if you found this post because you Googled for a review of the Mountain House, let me tell you about our experience. 

The Mountain House is a one-hectare property right by the side of Calawis Road. May malaking bahay na bato right at the entrance. You can't miss it kahit na maliit lang yung sign. Basically, i-Waze mo yung Mount Purro Nature Reserve - nasa kanan yung Mount Purro, nasa kaliwa ang Mountain House. You won't get lost, promise.

Pero ginagawa pa yung roads getting there so medyo stressful because our car hasn't really gone for long distances for 20 months so medyo scared kami na may mabali or ma-flat kami sa lubak-lubak na road.

From Marcos Highway, turn left when you see this.
We're driving on the wrong side of the road because half of it isn't done yet. 

Anyway, the parking is right inside, by the gate. Then the property slopes down into a moderately sized garden bounded by a bubbly creek. The garden has a small playground (just a swing set really), space for camping and a bonfire, and two glamping pods sitting almost on top of the creek. Also in the garden is an outhouse with a sink, toilets and showers. Plus an outdoor kitchen where you can cook, get water, and wash dishes. Yes, there's plumbing and running water naman.

This is the garden and camping area. At least I think that's what those circular platforms are for.
Secret pathways!
The two glamping pods

The big house has 5 bedrooms and looked beautiful but it was booked for that weekend. Sayang. The photos of the main house look great. Plus, my friend who stayed there with her family said there's hot water. And that's why my review will look different from other reviews you'll find online because theirs feature the gorgeous house, while mine will be the, uh, affordable version haha 

Since there were just 5 of us, I had planned to book the glamping pods but I was told the pods can accommodate only 2 people, 3 max. So they told me they had a Standard Room for 4 people. I booked that. When we got there, well, it's more of a room for 2 people soooo buti na lang payat kami! No aircon but grabe ang ginaw sa gabi!

The Standard Room was P4500 a night. Maliit lang yung room. Para siyang gardener's shed actually so nagulat ako dun kasi ang standard room sa hotel is at least 30sqm and this room was smaller. Lima kami, remember. But it was comfy enough for us. Malaki naman kasi yung kama. King-size siya, plus may two-seater sofa where our youngest boy slept. May electric fan. That was enough kasi maginaw nga. I wanted to turn it off nung mga 2 a.m. sa sobrang ginaw but if walang fan, the noise from the road isn't muffled. Yes, diba sabi ko sa tabi mismo ng road yung The Mountain House? It's a busy road, even in the middle of the night! You'd never think you were in a mountain. You can hear the trucks, tricycles, etc etc. 

That's where we stayed - the room to the right. The main house is behind it.

I know my pictures make it look less than stellar but it super rained while we were there so it looks damp and gloomy. But it's really a beautiful place! And it's great it can only accommodate a few people. I was really looking for a place na walang ibang tao because, hello, may COVID pa. And we hardly saw anyone, except during the bonfire, which we shared with another super nice and generous family. No checkpoints, no need for rapid antigen tests, no vax cards to present. So hindi siya complicated na trip. 

Oh, this is the best surprise for me! The food. Okay, you can bring your own food. No corkage fees so that's fantastic! But I highly recommend you get your food from the Mountain House. Ang sarap ng food nila! Pinoy food lang ang nasa menu - sinigang, pritong isda, adobo, laing, inihaw na liempo, tocino, longganisa, plus may fresh fruit, and drinks. Simple lang but I don't know if it was the fresh mountain air or they really cook well (I think both!) but the food was soooo good. 

And ang dami! You have to order in advance (all payments are done in advance, too). I ordered only for 3 people (P1,100 per head for 3 meals plus snack) kasi hindi naman kami malakas kumain pero hindi rin namin naubos. Daming food! Sarap! Napakain talaga kami.

Breakfast! Sarap kumain sa labas - chilly morning air tapos mainit yung food!
Lunch namin was in the kitchen ng main house kasi umulan nang pagkalakas-lakas.
 
Okay, what to do at The Mountain House. Well, there's not much to do, which is the whole point. If you just want to be surrounded by nature and get your kids away from the gadgets and the internet, go there (meron wifi but I didn't tell my boys that hehe). 


The kids did lots of exploring. They had so much fun! They were running around like crazy, which made my heart ache because they've been stuck indoors since March 2020. And because walang tao, they could shout and yell and laugh without bothering other people (and definitely without their Mama saying, "Indoor voice only!").

The boys crossed a rickety bamboo bridge, went down to the creek (my middle boy fell in), hunted for pebbles, checked out insects, danced in the rain, slipped on the muddy slopes (they laughed and laughed), played with the resident cat and dogs, and watched the trees sway gently and listened to their rustling leaves while swinging in hammocks. 

We had a wonderful time.

The fun we most had was really just being together. That's kinda strange to say since we have been together 24/7 since quarantine began, but my husband and I have work and chores, the kids have school. And we all have gadgets and TV to keep us busy and distracted. 

But up in the Mountain House, we just had each other. Their Papa took them on adventures around the property. And he convinced them to shower in the outhouse and they were shrieking because of the freezing water. I could hear their squeals all the way from our room. I pointed out plants and trees ("Mama, how do you know what kind of tree this is?" "You'll know by its leaves, trunk, and fruit." "But they all look the same! You're so smart!"). And in the complete dark of night, I told them stories of encantos and mga kapre at tiyanak and of the mysterious worlds that still exist in places where there are hardly any people. And they shivered with delight and a bit of fear (and also maybe kasi maginaw nga), and then they slept. And woke up early the next day to run to the outhouse to pee! It was definitely a new experience for us to have to run through a garden to get to the toilet! 

The kids want to go back. I would, too, but I'd stay in the main house next time because I really don't want na malayo yung banyo sa kwarto. Kasi naman naiihi ako mga 3 a.m. and no way was I going to trek to the bathroom by myself in the dark! But other than that, it was a delightful weekend. We had such a great time. Such great memories, even if we only stayed one magical night.

I hope you enjoyed our family fun at The Mountain House in Antipolo! Book a stay if you like (reach them through their Instagram or Facebook page - they're very responsive and helpful!) Have a great week, everyone! God bless you!

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