There is a certain kind of melody that plays in the middle of the night. The sound of crickets blends perfectly well with the gentle whisper of the wind and the rustling of the leaves. Every now and then, a small splash of water hums in to the evening melody. The music it creates is calming as it lulled me back to sleep. I heard it perfectly well that December early morning as we slept under the stars marooned in the island of Isla Maria.
Isla Maria is a small island located in the middle of Lake Lumot, a man-made water reservoir in Cavinti, Laguna. The island is a perfect spot to get marooned and detached from your busy city life. You can choose to sleep under a roof or under the stars. Or you can opt to sing your heart out until the first light of day. With amenities that cater to families, workmates, and even your barkada, Isla Maria gives you a different feel of island living.
I first caught a glimpse of Isla Maria on Facebook after a guest shared her experience and photos of her recent visit. I got curious because of Isla Maria's unique proposition - enjoying life on an island in the middle of a lake. It was something that was worth trying out especially for a beach person like me.
So how does Isla Maria re-defined island living?
Isla Maria makes the whole experience Memorable.
Living on an island on a lake is not the usual staple for travelers in the Philippines and being able to do so is a totally unique and memorable experience. But having the whole island for yourself, which we did, levels up the whole experience.
Isla Maria is like a huge house where you have everything that you need. You have a choice of accommodations - from a whole house to glamping. We did camp out in style on the island and we woke up refreshed to a bright and sunny December morning.
Time seems to slow down on Isla Maria and you get to spend more time with family and friends. You can share your stories while cooking your meals or while you take a lazy dip in their pool. You can even play a round of badminton or hide and seek during your free hours, which you get a lot. Evenings can be a lot of fun where you can lie down on its grass to gaze at the stars while a family member or friend belts out their favorite videoke tunes until the wee hours of the morning.
The island re-defines family or peer bonding. It gives you the opportunity to just re-connect effectively the old-fashioned way. Think of it as a family or peer weekend at home... only this time marooned in an island on a lake.
Isla Maria gives you a different kind of Adventure
If you think that the laidback feel of the island will tone down your sense of adventure, you guessed wrong. Isla Maria packages include a different sense of adventure with its water activities, fishing, and island hopping!
Yes, you heard it right! Lake Lumot has its own collection of islands that you can explore. But do not expect it to be the white-sand-type kind if islands. You can circumnavigate these bare islands, just a few minutes from Isla Maria, in a few minutes because it is that small. If you come in at the right time, you can catch a glimpse of migratory birds on its banks or water buffalo's lazing around its shallow waters. And did I mention that these islands/islets is a perfect spot for those unadulterated IG-worthy pictures?
And just when your food supplies run low (you have to bring and prepare your own meals at Isla Maria), do not worry because part of your activity is fishing. The fresh water lake is home to a number of fishpens that breed Tilapia. We docked in one of these fishpens and tried our hand on fishing. These fishpens make fishing an easy and fun activity and kids would love it! Asher definitely did enjoy it. You just pay the attendants based on how many kilos you harvested from the lot. Grill your freshly "harvested" tilapia and enjoy your meal.
The still waters of Lake Lumot is conducive for other water activities. You can deviate from your usual exercise routine by hopping on a kayak and paddle your way around the island. You can work out your upper body while getting a tan and enjoying the morning sun. Or if you have extra cash on hand, you can rent their jet ski and get on a high speed adventure on Lake Lumot.
Isla Maria Relaxes you.
Isla Maria is an easy escape from the hustle of the city. The place is laidback and disconnecting is an easy option for its guests. You can choose to just doze of on a hammock or enjoy the sunset view by the pool. If singing is your stress reliever than by all means sing your heart out until your voice cracks with its videoke machine. Or you can choose your own chill spot where you can read a book or meditate.
I loved their floating cottage where I spent most of my morning on our second day. Its cozy ambiance matched by some early 2000 music, blasting from the sound system, was a perfect spot to just chill and hum with the song playing. It was not just relaxing, it was nostalgic like an easy Sunday morning.
Isla Maria re-connects you with nature to Inspire you.
Have you ever experienced the calming effect of watching the sunrise or the sunset with the sound of nature surrounding you? That was exactly how the island makes you experience these nature shows. You can find your own spot and just enjoy watching the day turn into night and then night turning into day.
Take the time to lie on the grass to enjoy the sun or enjoy the cool waters of the calm lake. Better yet, get some adrenaline running by getting your guts together to jump into the lake. After a couple of rounds, relax on the bamboo rafts and doze off to the sounds of water slushing and soft winds blowing. Cap off the day by lying down on the grass to gaze at the stars and the evening sky.
Re-connecting with nature makes you realize that it is worth taking the time off with nature. Nature energizes and inspires you to be able to think clearly and to be more focused. And Isla Maria is a great place to exactly do just that.
Isla Maria makes you Appreciate the best things in life.
Isla Maria makes you realize that most of the things that make our lives better does not come with a heavy price. Connecting with family and friends is as simple as spending time sharing stories or laughing at the corniest jokes. Connecting with yourself is about taking the courage to jump or to listening to music that you get to enjoy. And that getting re-charged can be done by simply watching the sunset or by looking at the stars.
As you watch a fisherman tread through the calm waters of Lake Lumot as he does his daily chores, you learn to appreciate that life is simple. We get to realize that life can be simplified if we look closely around us.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
For most travelers, we have always associated island living with white sand beach coves on an undiscovered island. Isla Maria gives a different shade to that definition. This island on the man-made lake of Lumot gives it a more subdued vibe of having to spend a day or two on an island all for yourself. It is a great escape from the fast paced city life without having to worry about flights or long drives.
I am always on the lookout for the new destinations that offer a unique proposition. Isla Maria caught my attention because of its glamping and the idea of spending a day on island all for yourself. I must say that Isla Maria really delivered what it says it would.
Isla Maria should be on your bucketlist this summer. Spending a summer night on an island is a cool idea especially if you are talking about an island on a lake which we rarely find.
Getting There: Isla Maria, located in Cavinti, Laguna, is just a 3-hour drive from Manila by private car via Tanay in Rizal. They have tree houses, a family house, and glamping accommodations. Their standard packages include boat transfers, fishing, island hopping, and unlimited use of kayak, pedal boat, and videoke. You can check out details of Isla Maria packages or message them through their Facebook page by clicking here.
If you are commuting, you can take a bus bound for Sta. Cruz in Laguna from Buendia (Php68). You can then take a jeep bound for Cavinti and ask the driver to drop you off at the Johnson Junction (Fare is at Php30). Take a trike from the junction to Isla Maria or Lagpan (Fare is at Php150), the jump-off point to Isla Maria.
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Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.