Long before the phrase physical (or social) distancing became a health protocol byword, love-struck couples have been practicing the concept, particularly on Valentine’s Day.
And despite its cheesiness to some people, it is a very unique excuse to drive to a road far, far away from the madding crowd. And with the threats of the Covid-19 pandemic still lurking, it has become all the more mandatory not just for the sake of a romantic ambiance, but also for health and safety concerns.
The following are some places where you can observe a physically-distanced, and hence, a cozier V-Day getaway and beyond.
Tagaytay Ridge. Since reopening last September, it has lured day trippers despite the limitations imposed by the quarantine classification and local ordinances which may vary from Tagaytay City itself and the neighboring municipalities. On weekends, the old normal problems of traffic jam and lack of parking space are back with a vengeance.
With its crisp gourmet food, soothing scenery and plummeting temperature, it is an irresistible destination at any given time. Thanks to the new bypass roads on both sides of the ridge, motorists can avoid the usual bottlenecks.
Down at the slopes of Ligaya Drive is The Observatory Tagaytay, a luxe artsy boutique hotel with spacious rooms and lots of open spaces, but only a couple of well-appointed rooms to ensure privacy and low guest density. And just like its name suggests, it is a superb place for gazing at the constellations and the postcard-pretty Taal Lake and Volcano at the terrace of every room.
The Observatory also has a wide open-air view deck for an unobstructed panorama which can host medium-sized events. The chic, modern mansion is punctuated with paintings which can evoke the artist and poet in you as you spend precious moments with your very special someone.
You can also drive a few minutes downhill to the lakeshore town of Talisay, and see Taal up close. If the placid lake beckons, you can go sailing or kayaking at the Taal Lake Yacht Club for a consummate action-packed date.
Anilao. Synonymous to scuba diving, this coastal village in Batangas is perhaps not on your radar for a couple’s getaway. Unknown to many, several dive resorts are so charming and ideal for a romantic hideaway, and if you take it further down—a wedding venue.
One such intimate cozy property is Vivere Azure at the far end of the Mabini peninsula which hugs the coast of Balayan Bay. Designed like an opulent cliffside vacation house, it is reminiscent of the Ellis Bell’s 1800s romantic novel Wuthering Heights.
Inspired by Balinese motifs, it boasts of 13 intimate and designer suites, each exuding tropical comfort which blend well with its green environment. Christened with exotic-sounding names, each suite has a unique character, design and purpose.
Guests can laze at the infinity pool overlooking the bay and the island town of Tingloy in the horizon, or bask at the sun, sea and sun at the private beach downstairs.
For couples who want to have a unique dive date, scuba services can be outsourced with its partner resorts so they can marvel at the lush marine biodiversity which is among the best in the world. But for those who would like to settle for snorkeling, Azure’s house reef has a remarkable profusion of aquatic and coraline life.
Mabini’s municipal circumferential road is also a challenging drive because of its slopes and Instagram-worthy curves where you can frame your car with the stunning kaleidoscopic sunset.
The Farm at San Benito. If there’s one lesson we have learned the hard way in this pandemic, it is taking care of our health and live in harmony with nature, particularly with trees and plant life. This eco-luxury holistic medical wellness resort tucked in the interiors of Lipa City in Batangas has been preaching the vital lesson of health and wholeness for the past two decades.
This 48-hectare property boasts of 40 exclusive suites and villas and natural medically-supervised health programs. For the Day of the Hearts, it has concocted an award-winning four-hour treatment for couples to cleanse the body of negative energy and restore vitality, as well as 5-course vegan or a 3-course seafood dinner under the stars.
But beyond V-Day, it has holistic treatments conducted by internationally–trained integrative medical, health and fitness professionals to address common lifestyle illnesses, as well as anxiety, stress and depression.
The tree-canopied barangay road leading to The Farm is no less romantic, that it has been chosen by Changan Motor Philippines to be the site of its media yearender out-of-town test drive and wellness treat.
For details on the Valentine’s Day offerings above, log on to their websites: The Observatory Tagaytay (www.observatory-tagaytay.com), Vivere Azure Resort (www.vivereazure.com), and The Farm (www.thefarmatsanbenito.com), or their Facebook and Instagram accounts.
A true-blue day tripper since age 19, he has travelled across the archipelago by land, air, and sea. As a communications trainer, travel photojournalist, tourist mapmaker, scuba diver, environment advocate, or simply a family road tripper, he has imbibed the diversity of the Philippines by learning the basic way of life of the places he visits.