Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Gardens at Chateau Royale Tagaytay

In a fit of brain fever my husband bought the largest home backyard pool he could find in the mall. It has a diameter of 12 feet and is 3 feet deep. All in all it needed almost 1,500 gallons of water, and at least six hours, to fill it up.

Right from the start complications arose. With that amount of water we couldn't just replace it every time we wanted to, especially since Maynilad has just connected Cavite, and our water bill had shot up a thousand per cent.

We needed a filter, which cost more than the price of the pool. And because our residence is surrounded by trees that shed leaves like hairfall with the constant sea breeze, we needed to put a lid on it. Sadly, it's been a month and I have gone to all the malls within my radar, but all I could find is a pool cover that's 10 feet in diameter.

But what would life be if we kept our attention on shortcomings? Particularly if you have kids who called you at the office every hour offering to set up the pool themselves. There is a real, 25m swimming pool a stone's throw away from our house, but we forbade the kids to go there without me or the husband, as there's bound to be a lot of children for the lifeguard to watch over, and the nannies can't swim. 

So we set up the backyard pool, and started to reap happiness. If I got home early I joined the kids in the evenings immersing ourselves in the pool, whose water had by then become a steam bath after a day's boiling in the sun. Whenever I stood up I shivered, because the ambient air was several degrees cooler.  

It was fine for a while, and we were happily waterlogged. One evening I declared to the husband it was worth buying after all, even with the filter, because we didn't need to go out of town anymore for a vacation.

But then green cottony things started growing in there. And multiplied so fast we couldn't keep up with straining the water with nets. We had to use the water for the plants, and for cleaning the pavement, but it began to get thick that at last I had to have it released, the pool scrubbed.

I have not seen our latest water bill yet, but I'm not planning on getting myself shocked. Into the garage went the pool, empty of green slime, and into the van went the kids, packed for a vacation in a cooler clime with a cold swimming pool.

We ended up on the slopes of Mt. Batulao, by the border of Cavite and Batangas and thirty minutes out of Tagaytay proper, where the temperature approximates Baguio City. There's a 15-ha resort there with icy-cold twin pools, a fishing lake, picnic grounds, a lotus pond, children's playgrounds, as well as indoor steam baths and sauna if ever we missed our backyard pool.

But the main attraction for me was the countless greenhouses and gardens that stretched for kilometers along the property. It was where I first saw blooms of basil, white and ethereal, and the large unfurling petals of pink lotus flowers.

radish blooms

Tagaytay is known for plantations of pineapples, and here we were presented with fruits in various stages of development.

I didn't know pineapples started out in coral, pink and blue-violet hues.

kamote abloom in lilac

It was fun to slide open the door of a greenhouse and discover what plants were growing inside. There were several that served as nurseries, and the kids had a heyday identifying which vegetable the sprouts would become.


The kids didn't want to leave, and I had a hard time departing myself. I loved the place, and I promised we would all soon be back. The only thing I regret was that the in-house restaurant didn't make use of all those wonderful greens being grown. It served usual Filipino fare - meats and soups that were flavored with synthetic powder. It was so out of sync with its surroundings.

I can't decide, though, if we should be there every weekend, or we set up the pool again. I contacted a chemical supplier, and I was told that besides granulated chlorine, I needed to buy dry acid to mix it with, and a kit tester to ensure we put in the right amount. Or chlorine in tablet form, which needs to be in a specially designed floater, plus the test kit. Each serving a different purpose, but both sets setting me back thousands more. And which makes me think weekend vacations would cost less, after all.

a cow smirking at all of my trivial human travails

Chateau Royale Sports & Country Club, Inc.
Km. 72 Batulao
Nasugbu, Batangas
Tel. Nos. (632) 696-4374 / 696-4376

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Anonymous said...

what a funny post. this had me in stitches. until i saw the pictures. then i marvelled at all those colors and shapes.


Kai said...

Yes, Lou, I had to find humor in it, hehehe.

Grace In Full Measure said...

We tried treating our pool ourselves but it's really a tricky business. It's so hard to put in the right amounts of chlorine, etc., that we just decided to hire someone to clean it regularly. You might want to give it a try? Does Chateau Royale require membership? Is there a hotel there? Thanks!

Mrs. L said...

Beautiful photos! And I'm laughing at the pool adventure :)

Kai said...

Mrs. L, I still want a pool, though, hehehe.

Hi Grace, yes, I'll keep that in mind, thanks, especially since I want a real, permanent pool in my near future. ;-)

Anonymous said...

i think we passed by this place on the way to fr. suarez's monte maria in alfonso cavite. tagaytay sure has seen a lot of development.