Weekend in Kapusod, Mataas na Kahoy: A Treehouse by Taal Lake

Kapusod Treehouse

The Story

After coming from Cagbalete Island, Quezon Province, we started looking again for not-so-crowded places to visit. At first, it feels like getting with animals this time will be a great option. However, there are no places that offers exactly what we want. It is either there is no near accommodation or it is a too typical one. So, we look for more and we found a tree house available for booking in AirBnb. We immediately booked the property right after seeing it. Why? Simple. Because both of us wanted to try living in a tree house! The treehouse, being on the edge of Taal Lake is a big plus! Gladly, it is available on our chosen date.

Check out: Cagbalete Island’s Hidden Secret: A DIY Budget Trip to Villa Pilarosa

This trip to Batangas is originally planned for the 1st weekend of September, 2016. However, due to bad weather conditions, we asked if the booking can be rescheduled on October 1st. The host, Ms. Ipat Luna immediately approved our request. 🙂 Just so you know, AirBnb bookings are not the typical hotel or room accommodations you can book on other sites. The accommodation bookings are called properties, since these are all privately owned, and the host (the owner of the property) will treat you as a guest.

Attention: Late post! Served as the first post for 2017. 😀

Kapusod Treehouse

You might be wondering why this treehouse, or its location is called Kapusod. This is simply because it sits just on the right side of Taal Lake Conservation Center that is being run by Pusod, Inc in Sitio Kinalaglagan, Mataas na Kahoy, Batangas. So, from that, the term Ka Pusod was born. We’re here in Batangas, where the prefix “Ka” is frequently used, whether you are a Kapamilya or Kapuso. 🙂

Are you ready to climb up in your dream tree house?

Pusod, Inc.

 

In photo: PUSOD TLCC

Pusod is a non-profit and a non-government organization that has the main mission to enhance and protect the ecosystems of the Philippines (Read more: http://pusod.org/). TLCC is cofounded by Atty. Ipat Luna, who is engaged in environmental law and policy practice for more than 20 years.

Taal Lake Miniature Representation

Our Stay

Right after arriving in the property, we are warmly welcomed by Ka Betty,  not mentioning the black big dog named Howler (If I’m not mistaken). Ka Betty together with her partner, Ka Boy are the caretakers of Kapusod. Or should I say, the ones that seems to manage everything even in Pusod TLCC, atleast mainly in people that come in and the food to offer.

Entrance of Property. Showcases the love of the owner in biking.

We had a small talk with Ate MJ, daughter of Ka Betty. According to her, the treehouse was built three years ago, right before the main house of Ms. Ipat and Mr. Howie Severino was built. Oh, did I already told you? Atty. Ipat is the spouse of Howie Severino, one of the key broadcast journalist here in the Philippines. Isn’t that great that the couple offer their private property for others to enjoy this beautiful scenery too?

 

Taal Lake on a cloudy afternoon. Shot taken in the treehouse.

We did not met Atty. Ipat and Mr. Howie during our stay since they are out of the country. I was shocked to know that since Ms. Ipat is replying to our text messages and even called us when we can’t find the place! As per Ka Betty, they are usually in Mataas na Kahoy during weekends, and personally talk to their guests. Well, maybe on our next visit, Howie will teach me how to kayak! Haha.

Raz: I love sitting here!

Anyway, Ate MJ is the one that managed or had taken care of us during our stay in Kapusod. Two Chinese guys also came to Kapusod during the night, just on time when we are eating our delicious tawilis dinner. We were shocked to see them as we are already thinking that the treehouse has been doubly booked. Gladly, they said that they are booked to stay  at Earth Dome. Earth Dome is a new “room” that serves as an option for those who wanted to stay in Kapusod when the treehouse is occupied. Both the Earth Dome and Treehouse is available for bookings via AirBnb.

Book Treehouse by Taal Lake here.

The Earth Dome, just in front of the natural pool.

The two chinese guys were kind and nice to talk with. Even though we had a bit of a hard time speaking with them since there is a bit of an accent with their english. However, they are patient enough to repeat what they have said when we didn’t get it clearly. They are planning to go to Taal Volcano’s crater and they are convincing us to join them. We are hesitant since this is out of our plan for the weekend, also we need to be gone by noon the next day since we need to travel back to Clark, Pampanga for our work the next Monday morning. So, we just bid them to have a happy trip to the crater by the morning.

For the whole morning, we just enjoyed relaxing in the mini natural pool located just beside the Earth Dome. We also roam around the whole property and of course, to the conservation center where we read some more information about the place. We are also able to take several photos. Thankfully, the weather agreed with us since Mr. Sun showed his bright face throughout the morning.

Natural Pool connected to Ipat and Howie’s rest house.

By around 11am, the boat coming from the volcano island has been there already. It seems like the two guys did enjoy the scenery and insisting that we should had gone with them to the crater. Well, I just told them that we will, but next time. Waee (one of the guy) showed me the photos they have taken in the crater, and I should say, the scenery is really great.

During our stay, Ka Betty is busy entertaining other guests in Pusod TLCC as well as preparing food for them. There are many other foreign nationals that were there, and they are being toured around by TLCC officers. Given that, the supposedly “brunch” meal became our lunch. It is fine since we tend to stay longer lying, feeling, and breathing the fresh air in the treehouse. 🙂 It turned out that the two guys left Kapusod before we did.

Sonny while planning for the future?

Booking & Travel Guide

Kapusod Treehouse
Kapusod Treehouse by the Lake

Accommodation and Food Expenses

Kapusod Treehouse is available for booking via AirBnb. Pricing varies by season. We got ours for around P1,500 for a one night stay, including AirBnb fees.

Regarding the expenses, you may opt to order food right there on the property, from Ka Betty. She prepares delicious and tummy-full dishes for P250 per person per meal. Just let her know if you wanted your food catered. You shouldn’t miss fried tawilis fish if this will be your first time near Taal Lake. In our case, we let her prepare our food for dinner and brunch for a total of P1,000. I must say, the food is really good and “sulit”!

Book Treehouse by Taal Lake here.

Travel Expenses

For travel expenses if you go by commute, here is the fare matrix:

Cubao to SM Lipa Grand Terminal – P132/person
SM Lipa to Leviste Highway (Jollibee/Caltex) – P7/person
Leviste to Balete – P20/person
Tricycle to TLCC – P20 (optional)
Tricycle going back to SM Lipa – P300 (since jeepney from Balete is very rare)

On top of the accommodation cost for the treehouse, the trip will only cost a little above 600 pesos (1 pax), and around 950 (2 pax) if you are going with a companion. Well, of course, I guess you need must have a companion, regardless of the money you can save. 😛

How to Get There

We took the Balete route going to Pusod TLCC. From SM Lipa, cross the highway then ride a jeepney going north that says Tanauan. Pay minimum fare and get off at Leviste highway (Jollibee/Caltex). Right from the public market, there is a jeepney terminal there going to Balete. Get off at the intersection going to Brgy. Palsara. You can just walk until you cross the high steel bridge or ride a tricycle that will bring you directly to TLCC. The center is walking distance from the intersection/municipal hall. Do not ask from locals in Balete about TLCC as they barely know about it.

Guide Map

We pinned the landmarks and location of Kapusod Treehouse below:


As an alternative, you may want to take the Tambo exit route since it will be more easy but fare will be a bit higher. Just get off at Tambo exit (marker is Jollibee on the left side), cross the street and ride a jeepney that says Mataas na Kahoy. Get off at 7-Eleven, ride a tricycle to Pusod TLCC. Fare is P80 per way.

You will pass by this steel bridge before arriving in the property.

When going back to Lipa, you’ll get a hard time on looking for a jeepney to ride in Balete. As suggested above, ride a tricycle. You can ask Ka Betty (in our case, Ate MJ) for assistance, ahead of the time you are planning to leave. She will heartfully  look for and arrange a tricycle for you.

If you want to go on a full tour in the crater, here’s the matrix. However, you can go cheaper by looking for a boatman yourself, especially if your travelling solo or in a small group.

More Photos:

The simple bed in the treehouse.
Avoid the mosquitoes! Use this.
Just figure out how to make water come out in this faucet. Yes, this is a faucet and a sink. Hint: a stone. 😀
Preparing to check out.

This first weekend of October is so remarkable since we had given the chance to live in a tree house even for just a day. Yes, the accommodation is rustic, and you can get more comfy feeling when you opt to booked on a nearby resort. But, you can’t get the same experience living the simple way like what we did.  Not mentioning that the personal touch of the owner and caretaker that will make you feel that you are a good friend of them, not just a stranger coming somewhere.

sunset-taal
Sunset.
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