Modern Living

Lipa and a hop from Manila

- Scott R. Garceau -
Drive 90 minutes or less out of Makati, and Lipa City in Batangas has much to offer the local history buff or nature lover, with plenty of Spanish-era churches and hiking trails to tackle. Good for them.

But nestled just a few minutes near the city proper is a sprawling 185-hectare estate devoted to even more exclusive pleasures: that’s where you’ll find Mt. Malarayat Golf & Country Club and Residential Estates.

Tucked away right off National Highway, you will find there a challenging 27-hole golf course, a beautifully landscaped country club with full-service sauna and massage center, and plenty of diversions for kids including a children’s pavilion, swimming pools and a playground. And there’s nothing like the scenery of Mt. Malarayat in the distance — a sure reminder that you’re far away from the noise and bustle of Metro Manila. In fact, it’s so quiet at night, you might begin to welcome a little traffic noise, bright lights or lively bars. But after all, this is a place to get away from all that.

The country club is the hub of this recreational outpost, with a fine restaurant offering Vigan longganisa and pandesal with kesong puti for breakfast, plus a fine local Barako (planted and harvested by Figaro Coffee) that will kick your day into gear.

The Mt. Malarayat course is quite challenging, say the seasoned golfers. According to one: "The greens are long, and even if you land on the green you have to make really long putts." He describes the layout as "undulating," with plenty of bumpers and sand traps. Those who are up for a challenge, though, will find it a unique and non-wimpy course. Its 7th Hole was even ranked among the "Top 500" Best Holes in the World by Golf magazine.

There are plenty of tournaments a year at Mt. Malarayat, but the biggest is the Philippine Open, usually held in May. In addition, the facility also offers summer sports clinics in aqua aerobics, badminton, taekwando, tennis and swimming.

Hotel walk-in rates at Mt. Malarayat are somewhat pricey, ranging from P3,500 for a Deluxe Lake View room to P7,000 for the Deluxe Premiere suite. But they’re well accommodated and comfy after a long day spent on the links or feeding the ducks. One nice service is the in-room massage, which is a great day to cap off a day spent doing… well, whatever you want.

Surrounded by shady tree cover, the landscape at Mt. Malarayat Golf & Country Club is conducive to exploring or just walking around. According to new general manager Alan Dimayuga, the mostly concrete pathways linking the cabins, golf club and recreation centers were landscaped by STAR writer Paulo Alcazaren. The layout offers a people-friendly environment with a pleasant "living" ambience to it. Sunk down below the duck pond level near the links, the covered pathway is a good place to sit down, feed the fish and fowl, and enjoy the "infinity" effect of the surrounding waters.

There’s an adult-sized swimming pool, plus a kiddy wading pool near the children’s pavilion. Beyond that is a playground which can occupy your kids for at least another hour while the grownups are tackling all 27 holes.

According to Dimayuga, there’s also a bigger recreation center under construction which will include a bowling alley, billiard tables, day-care center and plenty of activities for teens and adults, too. Right now, they also offer an equestrian center and a fishing pond. In short, plenty to occupy the "golf orphans."
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Of course, Mt. Malarayat also sells shares in its secluded little estate. You can contact the Active Group, Inc. for information on rates and deals at 893-7024 to 28, or visit their website at www.activegroup.com.ph.











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