As a kid, I’ve always been so fascinated with chapels, especially those unassuming village chapels. While large and spacious churches exude grandeur and class, small and modest chapels radiate simplicity and serenity.

Caleruega’s Transfiguration Chapel, the property’s main draw, embraced me with that warm welcoming feeling, an ideal feature for a retreat destination. But other than being a place for reflection and prayer, the chapel bears witness to many unions of people vowing everlasting love for each other.

The place got its name from the municipality of Caleruega in Spain, the birthplace of the father of the Order of the Preachers, Saint Dominic de Guzman. It was built to serve as a venue for contemplation, but has made a name for itself over the years as one of the most well-known wedding venues in the country, especially from those from Manila.

How to Get to Caleruega Church

Getting to Caleruega is not too complicated. Whether you go there by public transportation or by private car, you will travel along Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway coming from Manila. The jump-off point to the chapel is also the same as that of Mount Batulao — KC Hillcrest Golf Course.

MANILA TO CALERUEGA CHURCH by Bus

Taking the bus to Nasugbu is not only cheap but also convenient. You just hop on and alight at the jump-off point. There is no need for multiple transfers because buses pass by KC Hillcrest.

  1. From Manila, board a bus bound for Nasugbu. Advise the driver or the conductor that you are going to Caleruega or Batulao. You can just tell them to drop you off at Hillcrest. Some drivers know the place by its former name “Evercrest,” so if they don’t know Hillcrest, just say Evercrest.
  2. From KC Hillcrest entrance, hail a tricycle to Caleruega Chapel.

Fare: P115 – P130 (Bus); P50 per ride (tricyle).
Travel Time: Approximately 3 hours

Bus companies plying the Manila-Nasugbu route:

  • DLTBCo Bus in LRT Buendia: The bus terminal is located at the corner of Taft Avenue and Buendia (Gil Puyat Avenue).
  • BSC Bus in EDSA-Taft Pasay: The bus terminal is situated behind Mc Donald’s along EDSA, near MRT Taft Station.

MANILA TO CALERUEGA CHURCH by Van

Riding the van/shuttle service is also convenient and faster but the fare is a bit higher than the bus. You may take the van to Nasugbu in two locations:

  • Taft Avenue-Gil Puyat Avenue: The terminal is in front of Jollibee at EGI Mall.
  • EDSA-Taft Avenue: The terminal is behind the Kabayan Hotel.

Fare: P180 (Flat Rate) at the time of writing.
Travel Time: Approximately 2 hours
Note: Just tell the driver to drop you off at KC Hillcrest or Evercrest.


MANILA TO CALERUEGA CHURCH by Private Car

VIA SLEX

  1. From Manila, take Santa Rosa Exit and turn right after paying the toll fee. However, Santa Rosa is suffering from serious traffic congestion problems, so we recommend taking the Greenfield Exit or Eton Exit instead.
  2. When you reach the end of Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Road, turn right to Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway. Continue driving until you reach the Cavite-Batangas boundary. You’ll know you’re at the right place when you see the WELCOME TO NASUGBU arch or the MALIGAYANG PAGDATING SA LALAWIGAN NG MAGIGITING arch.
  3. Drive past the welcome arch at the fork (Y-intersection) until you see KC Hillcrest entrance on the left side.
  4. Turn left and continue driving until you see a road sign telling you to turn right going to Caleruega Chapel. Note that the road is mostly rough.

VIA EMILIO AGUINALDO HIGHWAY

  1. From Manila, drive along Emilio Aguinaldo Highway, passing by Bacoor, Imus, and Dasmariñas.
  2. At the end of Emilio Aguinaldo Highway is the Tagaytay Roundabout (Rotonda). Continue driving to Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway.
  3. At the Batangas-Cavite boundary, you’ll see a Y-intersection. Left goes to Lemery. Right goes to Nasugbu. Take the right road with the WELCOME TO NASUGBU arch, drive past the Welcome arch until you reach KC Hillcrest entrance on the left side.
  4. Turn left and continue driving until you see a road sign telling you to turn right going to Caleruega Chapel. Note that the road is mostly rough.

Note: Emilio Aguinaldo Highway is a busy road/route because public transportations normally take this route.


TAGAYTAY TO CALERUEGA CHURCH by Jeepney

If you are traveling from Tagaytay town center:

  1. Take the jeepney bound for Nasugbu and tell the driver to drop you off at Hillcrest/Evercrest.
  2. From KC Hillcrest entrance, hail a tricycle to Caleruega Chapel. Fare: P50.

THINGS TO DO AT CALERUEGA

As expected from a retreat center, Caleruega, with its lush surroundings, is the perfect place for relaxation and bonding with friends, family or your special someone. You don’t need to stay overnight to feel energized; the property provides spaces that will let you reflect about life and refresh your thoughts. Here are the must-visit spots inside Caleruega.

  • The Transfiguration Chapel. This is the most photographed structure and the one you commonly see when you search “Caleruega” on Google.
  • Tent Chapel of Transfiguration. This is not to be confused with the main Transfiguration Chapel. You have to walk further until you reach the farthest end of the property.
  • Fountain Compass. The first to greet you after you pass through the entrance gate.
  • Cenaculum and the Dominicum’s grand stairway. The grand staircase is a good backdrop for a photo session with your companions.
  • St. Dominic’s Point. This is located near the Cenaculum and the Catalina Hall.
  • Manaoag Drive Via Crusis. This combines nature tripping while reflecting the Way of the Cross, just before you reach the Koi Pond.
  • Koi Pond and its walkways. You will reach the Koi Pond when you walk further past the Manaoag Drive Via Crusis.
  • Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and “Thy Will Be Done” Sculpture. Both are located near the Transfiguration Chapel.
  • Hanging Bridge and Kampo Arriba. Another good spot for taking pictures. You have to get past the Hanging Bridge to get to the Tent Chapel.
  • Kampo Terraces and Amphitheater. This is located near the Hanging Bridge and Kampo Arriba.
  • Worm Farm. Just in case you are interested. Haha.
  • Garden Café. Try some tasty snacks and delights at Caleruega’s in-house café.
  • Japanese Garden. Another beautiful spot for the nature lovers.
  • Shop of Delight and Plant Nursery. If you want to buy someCaleruega mementos and souvenirs. They also sell seedlings.
Caleruega Sunset

Notes:

  • The staff will give you a brochure with the map of the whole Caleruega after paying the entrance at the gate.
  • Going there at dusk or late afternoon will present you with the daytime, sunset, and nighttime view of the chapel.

WHERE TO STAY AT CALERUEGA

Since Caleruega is also a retreat center, it also offers several types of lodgings that satisfy the different needs or preferences of the guests.

  • Twin-Occupancy Cottages: 8 units
  • Quad-Occupancy Cottages: 16 units
  • Family Cottages: 15-person unit and 8-person unit
  • Pahingalayan (hermitage cottage w/ kitchen): 1 unit
  • Tomasino Hall: 80-bed (double-deck) dormitory
  • Catalina Hall: 90-bed (double-deck) dormitory
  • Kampo Arriba: campsite and outdoor gatherings

If you want to extend your stay in Tagaytay, here are the options: Tagaytay Hotels.

If you want to explore the beaches of Nasugbu, here are the options: Nasugbu Resorts.


SIDE TRIPS FROM CALERUEGA

After your visit, which will only take two hours at most, you will find attractions that are just a few hours from Caleruega such as the beaches of Nasugbu, while some are just along the way like the Sky Ranch, Mahogany Market, and Twin Lakes in Tagaytay. You can even choose to make Caleruega as the side trip instead if you’re not doing a retreat.

  • Tagaytay. If you are coming from Manila (via SLEX or Emilio Aguinaldo Highway), you will pass by Tagaytay before you reach Caleruega, which is just about 10-15 minutes from the boundary of Batangas (Nasugbu) and Cavite (Tagaytay). Enjoy the cold weather and the view of the Taal Lake while you slurp on the famous bulalo or sip a hot drink.
  • Nasugbu Beaches. Nasugbu beaches may not have the finest sand but they have that raw and rugged appeal, especially the many coves and the islands/islets. Nasugbu also boasts some of the high-end members-only beach resorts including the Canyon Cove, Pico Sands Hotel, and Club Punta Fuego among others. Another Nasugbu gem is Fortune Island, which is famous for its Greek-inspired ruins. More info here: NASUGBU TRAVEL GUIDE.
  • Mount Batulao. Sharing the same jump-off point from the main road, Mount Batulao is the attraction nearest to Caleruega. This is good news for a mountain enthusiast like me! But for those who are not into hiking, from a viewpoint near the Transfiguration Chapel, you will be treated to a panoramic view of the mountain and the landscape. Plus, the sunset is a noteworthy sight.
  • Fantasy World. This “abandoned” castle and theme park in the rolling hills of Lemery, Batangas, has been gaining much attention recently. The theme park side of it is not operational, but it still provides a good backdrop for photos. More info here: FANTASY WORLD TRAVEL GUIDE.

SAMPLE CALERUEGA ITINERARY

Note: This is just a suggestion. You may adjust according to your needs and preferences.

07:00 am – Bus to Nasugbu (KC Hillcrest), P120
09:00 am – Trike to Caleruega, P50/ride
09:15 am – Caleruega Tour, P30 (entrance)
12:00 nn – Trike back to the main road, P50/ride
12:15 pm – Jeep/Bus to Tagaytay town center, P27 (jeep) / P25 (bus)
12:45 pm – Lunch, P150
02:30 pm – Bus back to Manila, P115

This sample itinerary should cost you around P540 (USD10, EUR9, SGD14).

More sample itineraries with other side trips will be added here, so don’t forget to check back.


CALERUEGA MASS SCHEDULE

Regular mass service is held at the Chapel of Transfiguration every Sunday, 11:00 AM.

For weddings, the chapel can accommodate only three weddings per day. Here are the time slots:

  • 9:00AM – 11:00AM / 3:00PM – 5:00PM / 6:00PM – 8:00PM (Mondays to Saturdays)
  • 8:00AM – 10:00AM / 3:00PM – 5:00PM / 6:00PM – 8:00PM (Sundays)

CALERUEGA WEDDING RATES AND POLICIES

The charming Transfiguration Chapel has gained prominence as a wedding venue, holding a long list of reservations from couples who wish to tie the knot here. The chapel is not too intimidating but rather cozy. The brick walls add warmth to the intimate occasion.

For those who want to celebrate their dream wedding at Caleruega, here are the things you need to know.

Caleruega Church Wedding Rates

Chapel Use Only:

  • P15,000 (off-peak season)
  • P20,000 (peak season)

Notes:

  • The rates are inclusive of the sound system, organ, CD player, and the sacristan (altar boy) who will assist the officiating priest.
  • Peak season is from December 1 to January 31)
  • The couple should tap the officiating priest and provide the flower arrangements, choir, photographers, lectors, commentator, carpet, offertory items (candles, mass wine, and bread), and missalette.
  • Use of aircon is optional. Should you want to avail it, the rate is P5,000 for two and a half hours.

Caleruega Reception Venue Rates

  1. Plaza de Aza and Tuktok: P40,000
    • Open-air roofdeck where tent outfitting is possible
    • Seating Capacity is 200 pax
  2. Veritas Hall: P30,000
    • Indoor venue with additional P7,500 for air-con usage
    • Seating capacity is 200 pax
  3. Gazekubo: P25,000
    • Indoor venue with additional P5,000 for air-con usage
    • Seating capacity is 60 pax
  4. Kampo Arriba (camp Site): P40,000
    • Outdoor venue where tent outfitting is possible
    • Seating capacity is 200 pax

Notes:

  • Food is not included. The couple should contact their own caterer.
  • Sound system is not included.

Caleruega Church Wedding Schedule

For weddings, the chapel can accommodate only three weddings per day. Here are the time slots:

  • 9:00AM – 11:00AM / 3:00PM – 5:00PM / 6:00PM – 8:00PM (Mondays to Saturdays)
  • 8:00AM – 10:00AM / 3:00PM – 5:00PM / 6:00PM – 8:00PM (Sundays)

Caleruega Reservation Policies

  1. Reservation is on a “first come, first serve” basis.
  2. No pencil booking (provisional booking).
  3. Down payment is required. P5,000 for the chapel and P10,000 for the reception. This is non-refundable and non-transferable.
  4. Confirmation is in effect upon completion of the balance A MONTH BEFORE the wedding. Failure to do this will automatically cancel your slot and will be made available for others.
  5. No bank transfer.
  6. Rates may change without prior notice.

Wedding Reception Restrictions

  1. Reception Venue Hours.
    • Until 3PM for morning wedding schedule.
    • Until 9PM for afternoon wedding schedule.
    • Until 11PM for evening wedding schedule.
  2. Music and sound system. The volume must be modulated.
  3. Smoking. No smoking inside the Caleruega premises.
  4. Fireworks/Firecrackers. Fireworks are not allowed inside the Caleruega premises.
  5. Parking. Free parking inside Caleruega and assigned parking space outside.

Other Requirements and Reminders

Accomplish the wedding documents at two months before the wedding. Here is the list of required wedding documents. (Note: Better to inquire personally, so everything is clear.)

  1. Marriage License with 120 days validity. If you are civilly married, present the original copy of the Marriage Certificate.
  2. New copy of Baptismal Certificate. Please inscribe the copy with “For Marriage Purposes”.
  3. New copy of Confirmation Certificate. Please inscribe the copy with “For Marriage Purposes”.
  4. Birth Certificate and CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage Record) with three (3) months validity.
  5. Pre-Cana Seminar
  6. Canonical Interviews. Coordinate with the parish secretary of San Antonio de Padua Parish.
  7. Marriage Banns. Three (3) Sundays posting from the couple’s parish.
  8. Name or License Number of the officiating priest. Present also the copy of the priest’s Celebret and I.D. issued by his congregation.
  9. Names of Principal Sponsors
  10. Certificate of Freedom to Marry. This is required only for those who stayed out of the country for more than two years.
  11. Couple’s picture. The size is either 1×1″ or 2×2″.

Coordinate with and submit the requirements to San Antonio de Padua Parish located at Barangay Kaylaway in Nasugbu, Batangas. Here are the contact details:

E-mail: st.anthonyofpadua020217@gmail.com
Mobile Number: +63 908-867-3935
Office Hours: 1PM – 5PM (Tuesdays); 8AM – 12NN, 1PM – 5PM (Wednesdays to Saturdays); 8AM – 12NN (Sundays). The office is closed on Mondays.


Caleruega at Night

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an entrance fee?

Yes. P30 per person.

Is there parking space at Caleruega?

Yes. They used to allow parking inside, but when I went there last November this year, there’s a designated parking area near the entrance for FREE. But there are times when it gets really crowded and the designated parking space run out of slots, and you have no choice but to park outside. The “parking boys” usually ask P30 – P40 parking fee.

What are the contact numbers of Caleruega?

Mobile Numbers: +63921-270-9890 or +63921-830-4226
E-mail Address: caleruega_philippines@yahoo.com

What is the office schedule of Caleruega?

8AM – 5PM (Monday – Saturday); Break time (12NN – 1PM)
8AM – 5PM (Sunday); Break time (10:30AM – 1PM)

What is the schedule of mass service in Caleruega Church?

Sundays, 11:00 AM.

Is it only for retreats, mass services, and weddings?

No. Other than retreats/recollections and weddings/receptions, Caleruega also has the venue for leadership and team building camps, marriage and family encounters, prayer and renewal workshops, and other workshops (arts, music, etc.)


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Asta Alvarez

Asta Alvarez

Blogger at PhilippineBeaches.org
Asta is the Managing Editor at PhilippineBeaches.org and a regular contributor to The Poor Traveler. She's also a mountaineer, production designer, and cineaste.
Asta Alvarez

Comments

  1. Lourdes says:

    Hi! We’re plannig to celebrate my husband’s birthday in Caleruega. Last time I visited the place, I saw some cottages near the koi pond. Wasn’t able to inquire further about those, though. I wonder if we can stay there from morning until late afternoon and bring in some food good for 3 pax. Thanks.

    • Asta says:

      Hi Lourdes!

      If I remember correctly, picnic is allowed there and one of the places for having picnic is the area near the Koi pond. :)

  2. DJ says:

    Had my retreat in Caleruega and it was super solid!!! Everyone is approachable and kind!!! I super love the nature and the “calming effect” that this place gave me! 3 days here are definitely not enough but can relieve the 4 years of stress college life gave me haha (but yeah seriously) will surely come back!!!
    it made me feel home like ust <3

    btw, i wanna know if i can stay here alone for a week? or do you have any required minimum pax?
    (after graduation maybe)

    • Asta says:

      I enjoyed my visit here too! Since it’s a retreat house, most of the rooms are for big groups but Caleruega has rooms for small groups like family or barkada. I think the twin-sharing room is okay for solo travelers. Here are some of them:

      Twin-Occupancy Cottages: 8 units
      Quad-Occupancy Cottages: 16 units
      Family Cottages: 15-person unit and 8-person unit
      Pahingalayan (hermitage cottage w/ kitchen): 1 unit

      To be sure, you may also contact their office:

      Mobile Numbers: +63921-270-9890 or +63921-830-4226.

      I’m planning to visit again soon! :)

  3. debbie says:

    hello there… thanks for all the useful info but i’d like to know if there’s an access for a wheelchair going to the main chapel? thaks again and good day

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