A getaway to the province is a perfect way to escape the busy and polluted metro. Amid all the stress and pressure that surround us, a short vacation is a breather.
Aside from planning where to go, where to stay is essential too. Kilometers away from home, wouldn’t it be nice to be in a space that’s cozy, comfortable, and relaxing?
For my family’s Holy Week vacation, we decided to visit Taal, a quaint municipality in Batangas. Its streets are lined with Spanish-era ancestral houses all kept intact by the owner’s families. To cap off the time-travel experience, we chose a bed and breakfast that truly captures what living in a Spanish-era house feels like.
Paradores Del Castillo is the perfect choice. Its pale blue and white facade stands out among the cream and mahogany walls of its neighbors, but its Capiz windows still let the building blend in with the town’s theme.
As soon as we entered Paradores’ lobby, drinks to quench our thirst and damp towels to help us freshen up were served. It sure was a hot day and I felt more than welcome and accommodated with their sweet gesture.
And, as if those welcoming gifts were not enough, the hotel receptionists and crew greeted us with huge smiles on their faces. That alone was a sign that my family and I will have a great time.
The interior of the lobby was spacious and had enough sights to look at. A huge wall featuring a relief sculpture of people dancing was sure to catch one’s eye. On other walls and panels hung photos of the owners as well as paintings and other art pieces to marvel at.
Since we’re a family of 6, we decided to get the Papaya family suite. The staff said it’s in Casa Herencia, their lot blocks away from the main building. So, before we went our suite, we made sure to see and explore their main building first!
There were a lot of couches and seats available for waiting guests. They sure know how to maintain their color palette!
Board games were also available for children and children-at-heart to play with.
Here are other baubles in the lobby:
Outside the lobby is an open area. Their own restaurant, Ristorante ITAALiano, is in this area. The menu is a mixture of Italian, Taal, and Ilocano dishes.
A stairway on the right side of the lobby’s exit leads to Paradores’ rooms on the second floor. As we went up, we got a glimpse of Taal as well as the other towns surrounding it. It was beautiful. The lobby upstairs housed antique furniture that looked straight out of their era.
Several photos later, we’re off to our suite! A staff rode a motorcycle and led our vehicle to the suite. Upon arrival, we discovered that the whole lot’s first floor is the suite! The lot had enough parking space and a grass area with stone tables and chairs perfect for an outdoor meal on a chilly night.
As we turned the room’s key, we were greeted by red stone-tiled floors and thick gray walls. The room had its own comfort room, refrigerator, a cabinet with cutlery and flatware, an empty cabinet, a hot and cold water dispenser, a dining table, benches, a television, and the beds – that’s quite a lot, yet the room still had a lot of space.
We spent most of the afternoon inside the suite; probably because we were all tired from the trip to Taal. But really, who could resist the soft mattresses and the fluffy pillows? My little brother and dad, however, decided to take a dip in Paradores’ swimming pool located inside the village near our suite.
For dinner, we decided to eat at Ristorante ITAALiano just to try it. There weren’t a lot of people, probably because it was a weekday (and still not the Holy Week holiday). Most of the customers were guests in Paradores too!
The staff was really courteous and helpful, most especially to my 82-year old grandmother who was with us. There were a lot of stairs leading up to the restaurant, and the cobblestone floors weren’t really comfortable for her and her cane, but the people of Paradores made sure she went down the restaurant safely. They even gave her a small stool where she can place her cane and bag.
The food we chose were mostly Italian and they were really good. At first I thought the serving was small, but I ended up almost not finishing my food! It was really filling.
A complimentary breakfast greeted us the following day. We were the first guests to arrive and we surely had the best selection. Variety was the menu’s priority. It included the famous Taal tapa (cured beef), vegetable dishes, rice (and variants), soup, an array of bread and spreads, cereals and milk, fresh fruits, and a lot of drinks. You can also choose to order pancakes, waffles, and french toast. Since we’re a family of coffee lovers, the staff gladly placed a pitcher of their famous kapeng barako on our table.
Eyes wide awake and tummies all full, we finally went around town for a cultural heritage exploration.
Before leaving Paradores del Castillo, we did not forget to buy pasalubong for our families and friends back home. Yes, Paradores sells some of Taal’s delicacies like lambanog (coconut liquor), tapa, longganisa, and kapeng barako.
Paradores del Castillo’s slogan is “A place in time.” True enough, my family and I felt like time travelers when we stayed in Paradores. More than its antique furniture and vibe, we came back to the time when everyone was hospitable; where everyone can make you feel like you’re family.
Paradores del Castillo, the place and its people, surely became our home away from home in Taal.