Just returned from a weekend at The Lily and all I can say is WOW! It is not your typical hotel or resort but a beach home at Lian, Batangas.There isn't really a word to describe how wonderful this place is. But I will try to give a good overview of our experience, so this is probably going to be lengthy.
A charming home nestled in the town of Lian, Batangas. It was surely a treat after a hectic work week to be invited by the owner Ian Reyno to his humble abode.
Using our Waze phone app, the drive from Manila took us almost 3 hours
. Passing through the chilly weather and scenic view of Tagaytay to the small villages and fields of Nasugbo. Along the way, there were small markets, rice fields, kids playing basketball under a tree and residents bonding with their families leisurely. I cannot help but appreciate the neighborhood’s simplicity of living. We drove until we reached the gates of the house. To my amazement, there were a few endearing goats who were feeding on grass welcoming us. It was a reminder we were now in quaint and rural part of town for the next two days.
We were received with warmth and hospitality by the house caretaker Grace who gave us a tour of the place. A stunning Asian contemporary designed house. The entrance of the house displays the picture of Ian’s beautiful mother, Lily Reyno. Hence, the name of the place was chosen to commemorate her persona of simplicity, charisma and calmness.
Each room and corner of the house had exquisite bits and pieces of display chosen by Ian himself. I adored his unique collection of adornments coming from his personal travel in Bali, Japan and Thailand. Vibrant and naturalistic paintings posted on the walls created by Filipino artists were part of his assemblage.
All the three rooms I visited were convivial and gave me a homey feeling. As we were accompanied to our assigned room, I noticed there was no television sets and wi-fi. Initially, I got flustered and when asked about the absence of technology, they simply explained that their positive intention is to focus bonding with companions and enjoy quality time. It is an opportunity for guests to catch up on their reading, contemplate, read, pray and recover or simply enjoy the art of doing nothing. A relevant choice to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
I was excited to see more so we were accompanied for a short stroll to reach the beach front. We were kept in awe as we watched a regal and breath-taking sunset view.
Sine we were warned to arrive hungry, I could not wait to eat dinner early since they prepared my favorite and delicious grilled meat (liempo) and some tilapias. If you book at The Lily, bringing and cooking your own food is encouraged and allowed. . A barbeque grill and kitchen complete with its’ utensils is ready to use. The other option is to have them prepare every meal for your family and friends with an assurance of home-made food at its supreme quantity and quality. All from the labor of love by the caretakers Grace and Allan. They serve the best local dishes like adobo and "tulingan sa gata" which is prepared overnight.
After dinner, we hanged out at the cozy gazebo. Listening to our mobile music accompanied with good wine and mixed drinks; we had a great time catching up and relishing the great company of the owner.
Once you finish your wine bottle you can include it as part of the assortment neatly arranged at their marquee’s display . Each has a story and a serve as a reminder from the guest’s tête-à-tête of their stay.
Incidentally, it was the first night the pool was operational. The glistening blue color makes it so inviting and when the light hits, it becomes magical, Despite the light rains, my friends took a dip and leisurely swam in the sublime pool while I enjoyed a relaxing home service massage. So for massage addicts like me, don’t forget to request for their on-call therapist to complete your calming vacation.
The following morning, after a restful 8-hour uninterrupted sleep, we were served with sumptuous breakfast of pancit lomi. A Batangas specialty which has a thick hearty soup served with noodles, chicken and topped with pig rind (chicharon). It was a tasty and tummy filling treat which kept us stuffed until late in the afternoon.
The rest of the day, we had more time to stroll the white beach, swam, drink and endless chit chat. The hours ran so quickly we didn’t realize it was time to pack up and prepare for the journey back home.
Just before leaving, we even had the chance to bring home some local fresh fish delivered by neighbors. We had an array of yellow tail fusilier (dalagang bukid) and threadfin beam (bisugo).
It was truly a relaxing experience and filled with good memories. I fell in love with the place and would definitely go back in a minute. If spending solitary time and bonding with family and friends is of your primary importance, The Lily is the heart's home which can live your taste.
Photo credits: Rocky Ubana