I had my first kawa hot bath experience in the province of Antique. It had been years but I still wasn’t over how fun and unique it was. I still remember the feeling of calm as the warm water, infused with coffee grains as an add-on, soothed my tense muscles. I was aching to do it again. Unfortunately, the pandemic made it really difficult to travel over the past couple of years.
Imagine my delight when I learned that there is a kawa hot bath place not too far away from Manila. And that it’s in Tagaytay. As I was booking a slot, I could already picture climbing into a hot kawa set against a picturesque mountain backdrop in the chilly Tagaytay atmosphere! And just a few days later, that’s exactly what happened!
Ready to become one of Tagaytay’s best bulalo? Haha! If you want to experience this unique kawa hot bath in Tagaytay, here are some of the things to know before you go.
WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?
What is a kawa hot bath?
First, for the unfamiliar, a “kawa” is basically an oversized metal wok or vat traditionally used in cooking dishes of generous proportions for a feast, usually a fiesta (festival), a wedding or a debut. These cauldrons are a ubiquitous sight at any Filipino celebration in the province.
I remember, on the eve of a major occasion (called bisperas), a team of neighbor-cooks would bring out these giant woks and place it atop three big rocks. In between these boulders, firewood is burned, creating puffs of smoke that, to me, signals that the party is about to start.
So yes, a kawa is typically used in cooking food, which is why the idea of a kawa bath is both fascinating and humorous. It’s as though you’re about to be boiled alive and get served for dinner. It never fails to elicit giggles from first timers!
I’m not sure how kawa baths started, but I think it was the town of Tibiao, Antique, that first captured the mainstream consciousness and turned it into a compelling tourist attraction. Resorts in neighboring municipalities and provinces soon followed suit, offering their own twist via add-ons. Some add coffee, milk, bath bombs, and a cornucopia of herbal leaves and spices. Before you know it, it has already crossed the seas and yes, it has reached Tagaytay.
What is La VeryOl?
Formally known as La VeryOl Mountain View Garden, it is a family-owned and family-run garden-slash-spa known to offer a kawa hot bath experience. In fact, the name “VeryOl”, while confusingly stylized, came from the names of the parents — Ver and Yolly. The family spirit is charmingly apparent as the members of the family take on hands-on roles.
Because the place is perched on the ridge, it affords a great view of the thickly forested slopes. However, don’t expect to see the Taal lake and volcano because they are NOT part of the view. But it is a relaxing vista, still.
Within the complex, there are also four veranda rooms for those who wish to spend the night — two of which can accommodate up to four guests. An in-house restaurant is also within easy reach.
What are the rates?
La VeryOl accepts both overnight and day tour guests. If you are near Tagaytay or from Manila, it’s possible to enjoy the Kawa Bath (and massage) on a day tour.
But if you are in the mood to splurge, you wish to savor the relaxing atmosphere of La VeryOl’s Mountain View Garden, or you plan to visit other attractions in Tagaytay, spend at least a night.
Note that aside from the kawa bath, they also offer a few more types of massage.
Here are the rates:
Day Tour Rates
- Kawa Hot Bath: P399
- Full Body Massage: P599
- Dry Massage: P999
- Ventosa or Hot Stone: P1,099
- Kawa Package A
(Kawa Hot Bath w/ Full Body Massage): P900
- Kawa Package B
(Kawa Hot Bath w/ Ventosa or Hot Stone): P1,400
- The duration for Kawa Hot Bath is 45 minutes.
- The duration for all body massage services is one (1) hour.
- Arrive 15 minutes before your schedule.
- A deposit of P200 is required for the use of towels and robes. You may get the refund after use upon check out.
- Add-Ons. Amplify your kawa bath experience when you add these products to your kawa bath package: Himalayan Salt (P85), Facial Collagen Mask (P85), Bath Bombs (P99), and Milk Bath (P110).
- Veranda 1 & 2
Rate: P3,800 (Room Only); P5,300 (W/ Kawa and Massage Package)
Type: A/C Rooms
Capacity: Good for two (2) pax
- Veranda 3
Rate: P5,000 (Room Only); P6,500 (W/ Kawa and Massage Package)
Type: A/C Room
Capacity: Good for two to four (2-4) pax
- Veranda 4
Rate: P5,500 (Room Only); P7,000 (W/ Kawa and Massage Package)
Type: A/C Room with Bath Tub
Capacity: Good for two to four (2-4) pax
- For Veranda 3 and 4, additional pax is P600 per person, exclusive of Kawa Package.
- The rates for the Veranda are inclusive of sanitation kit (face mask, sanitizer, disinfectant spray), toiletries kit (bath soap, shampoo, toothbrush, towel), private CR, free Wi-Fi, free parking, and breakfast.
- Avoid eating in the bed. Staining the linens may incur additional charges.
- Smoking is not allowed inside your room. There are designated smoking areas within the premises. Failure to comply may incur a penalty fee amounting to P5,000.
- Only fully vaccinated individuals are permitted to stay overnight. Guests 17 years old or below are also permitted to stay overnight.
- Don’t forget to bring your vaccination card. You need to present it upon arrival.
What are the amenities and features?
- Kawa Hot Bath. Take a refreshing dip in the warm water of the kawa bath as you enjoy the view, the place, and the vibe. La VeryOl has a total of 16 kawa units.
- Body Massage. Ease the tension of the past weeks when you avail of any of the massage services. Choose the one that suits your need.
- In-house Restaurant. Located just beside the reception area is the cozy restaurant that plantitos and plantitas will surely love.
What are the operating hours?
For those staying overnight, the check-in time for La VeryOl’s guests is 2:00 PM; the check-out time is 12:00 PM.
- Check-in Time: 2:00 PM
- Check-out Time: 12:00 PM
- Day Tour: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- CLOSED: As of December 2021, the establishment is closed on Mondays for sanitation and maintenance.
- Please check the latest announcements and updates from the official Facebook page prior to your visit/booking. Note that Monday is usually sanitation and maintenance day, so there’s a huge chance that the establishment is closed on this day.
- They don’t allow early check-in and late check-out. Check-in and check-out time are strictly followed.
- You need to honor your booked schedule. Failure to arrive on the reserved date means forfeiture of your booking fee (50% downpayment).
- Should you fail to appear on your scheduled appointment, rebooking or rescheduling is not permitted.
How to Book
- Contact the management (mobile phone or Facebook Messenger) for the current rates and availability.
- You will be asked to supply the following details: preferred date, number of pax, specify if overnight or day tour, and contact number. They will get back to you and let you know if there are still slots available for your chosen date.
- If available, they will send you your booking details, the inclusions, the total amount, and reminders.
- Pay 50% of the total amount as a deposit before the indicated due date to reserve and secure your slot. Failure to pay the deposit on time means forfeiture of your reservation. Note that the 50% downpayment is non-refundable. Payment may be done via PayMaya, GCash, or BDO.
- Send the proof of payment (deposit slip, receipt, etc.) to the management. We sent ours via Messenger. You can ask the management for the receipt before check out.
- The management will confirm your reservation and send you more details about your stay and the inclusions and the rules and guidelines.
Please take note of the policies — both health and safety guidelines. Check and ask if there are any additional requirements. Note that La VeryOl’s requires fully vaccinated individuals, so don’t forget to bring your proof of vaccination (vaccination card or certificate), just in case.
How to Check In
- Arrival. If you are bringing a car, you will be assisted by one of the staff members.
- Check-in. You will be directed to the Reception Area near the main gate.
- Go through safety protocols. Have your body temperature checked and sanitize your hands.
- Accomplish the contract tracing and health declaration forms. You may do it digitally via StaySafe App or manually by filling out the provided form at the entrance of the Reception Area. Bring your own pen.
- Present your valid IDs. All guests must present their valid IDs, so don’t forget to bring them.
- Settle the remaining balance. You will get the O.R. (Official Receipt) upon check-out.
- Review the details. Double check your kawa hot bath schedule and set the time for the massage service (if applicable).
- Enjoy your stay! If staying overnight, you will be escorted to your designated room. If going on a day tour, you will be escorted to the shower room to prepare for your bath and/or massage.
How to Get There
La VeryOl’s Mountain View Garden is located on St. Francis Drive, Barangay Francisco in Tagaytay City. It is an unassuming nook that is very easy to miss because it’s tucked into the inner alleys.
The main entry point is from Tagaytay-Calamba Road but you can either take SLEX or CAVITEX.
- Private Car. From SLEX or CAVITEX, continue driving until your reach Tagaytay-Calamba Road. Drive past Tagaytay Public Market. Continue driving until your reach Moriellis Restaurant or Marasigan Lane. Turn right to St. Francis Drive and continue driving until you reach La VeryOl’s Mountain View Garden. It’s recommended to use Waze for detailed directions and the live traffic situation.
- Public Transportation. From Manila, take a bus bound for Tagaytay or Nasugbu at Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX). Get off at Olivarez Plaza. There’s a tricycle terminal on the side. Take the special tricycle trip to Moriellis Restaurant. You can ask the driver to take you all the way to La VeryOl’s.
Do we need to make a reservation first?
YES, they only accept guests by appointment. Whether you are doing an overnight stay or a day tour, you need to secure your slot by making a reservation ahead of your preferred date of stay or visit.
The Kawa Hot Bath service and massage bath service have limited slots per day, so they strictly implement a NO WALK-IN policy.
If you are planning an overnight stay, book at least two weeks in advance. If you are only going on a day tour, book your slot at least three to seven (3-7) days ahead.
Are kids and senior citizens allowed?
Under Alert Level 2 restriction, guests below 18 years old and above 65 years old are already permitted entry. La VeryOl accepts vaccinated individuals from 18 years old and above. Don’t forget to bring your proof of vaccination — a vaccination card or a vaccination certificate.
Guests 17 years old or below are also permitted to enter the premises.
Protocols frequently change, so make sure to contact the management first if they are (still or already) accepting guests below 18 years old and above 65 years old.
When is the best time to go?
As usual, weekdays and off-peak seasons.
But if you can’t help traveling on a weekend, holiday, or peak season, it’s best to plan ahead and book several days ahead of your intended arrival.
Where to Eat
As mentioned above, there’s an in-house restaurant which usually operates between 7:00 AM and 10:00 PM. The menu includes all-day breakfast, vegetables, sizzling plates, snacks, house specials, and drinks (hot and cold, alcohol and non-alcohol).
The bestsellers are La VeryOl’s Special Bulalo, La VeryOl’s Whole Fried Chicken, Bicol Express, and Pinaputok na Tilapia, among others. But because we have reached our bulalo quota that weekend, we ordered Crispy Pancit Bihon, Gyoza, Sizzling Tofu, and Sizzling Pork Sisig. They were fine, but my favorite was the Crispy Pancit Bihon.
If you are staying overnight, the rates are already inclusive of breakfast. The choices are french toast, bacon and egg omelette, cheese omelette, and pancakes. The options for drinks are coffee and orange juice.
You may also consider having dinner at other restaurants in the area.
What are the nearby attractions?
Here are just some of the attractions near La VeryOl’s Mountain View Garden:
- Tagaytay Flower Market
- Tierra de Maria
- Tagaytay Picnic Grove
- Crosswinds Luxury Swiss Resort (NAPA, Ruined Project, etc.)
- People’s Park in the Sky
- Tagaytay Highlands
- Museo Orlina
Is it worth it?
Yes. This is one of the highlights of our team’s three-day trip in Tagaytay!
It’s not only the kawa hot bath experience that made this trip memorable but also the picture-worthy setting, the excellent service, and the proximity to Manila.
This is a family-owned business, and we witnessed how hands-on the family members were during our stay. They were making sure that the guests were comfortable and their needs were being met as best as they could. We also got to meet the lovely Mommy Yolly herself!
There are some areas of improvement. Our bathroom, for example, while spacious could use a little bit more attentive cleaning and some hooks to hang towels on. The room needs a mirror, too. But overall, we had a delightful stay! We will surely be back!
Other Tips and Reminders
- Follow the property’s health and safety protocols.
- Observe proper social distancing.
- Only guests who availed of the spa services are allowed inside the premises. No companions allowed.
- Kawa bath units are limited and are scheduled, so make sure to come on time.
- During busy days, the kawa assigned to you will depend on its availability. Usually, you don’t have the privilege to choose your spot. You might be able to choose your preferred kawa/location during weekdays or lean hours.
- The cut-off time for massage is at 7:00 PM. Schedule your massage upon arrival. Note that the availability is based on the massage therapists’ schedule for that day.
- Pay the 50% deposit to reserve your date of visit and settle the remaining balance upon arrival.
- For sanitation and hygiene, bring your own towel, slippers, and bathing outfit.
- The property provides free Wi-Fi access.
- Incidentals and additional orders/services shall be settled upon check-out.
- Payment may be done through BDO bank deposit, PayMaya, and GCash.
- Quiet time between 10:00 PM and 7:00 AM must be strictly observed.
- Pets are not allowed.
- Illegal items and activities are prohibited and will be reported to the proper authority.
La VeryOl’s Mountain View Garden Contact Details
- Mobile Number: 0966 982 7433 / 0927-681-1185
- Landline Number: (02) 7681-1185
- Email Address: email@example.com
- Facebook Page: La VeryOl’s Mountain View Garden Tagaytay City
Tagaytay Emergency Hotline and Contact Numbers
- PNP: 117
- Tagaytay PNP: (046) 413-1282
- Tagaytay Fire Station: (046) 483-1193
- Ospital ng Tagaytay: (046) 483-2160
- Unihealth Tagaytay & Medical Center: (046) 413-1940
- DOH COVID-19 Hotline: (02) 894-26843 or (02) 894-COVID / 1555 (For PLDT, Smart, Sun, and TNT Subscribers)
- Tagaytay COVID-19 Hotline: (046) 483-0604 / 0930 763 6055
2021 • 12 • 02
Additional words by Yosh Dimen