I didn’t tell Jane, my girlfriend, where would we be heading. It was a surprise. I just told her we’re going somewhere far south. It was already weeks since we went somewhere away from Manila. My feet were itching to go somewhere new. Someplace we could experience another culture within our grounds. My mind wanders away when I am in the office, imagining we’d go somewhere and get lost.
I decided to look for Japanese themed resorts that will definitely fit my taste. I had been to Japan as my first international travel and was wondering if we could experience the same within the Philippines, and I wasn’t wrong. I kept on searching until I found one I was aiming for, the Makiling Onsen Hotel located in Los Banos, Laguna.
The trip from Buendia, Manila went over 2 hours due to traffic but it was cool. Supposedly, we should be at the resort by 2 in the afternoon but she was late and rush hour period already set in. We arrived at the hotel around 4-5 in the afternoon.
Makiling Onsen Hotel
Makiling Onsen Hotel from the outside was just like the onsen (hot spring) houses I’ve seen from Kinosaki in Japan. It looked authentic somehow. That was quite remarkable. The facade looked good with anchored woods, Japanese lettering bearing the name Makiling Onsen, and statues that are looking like the ones from Japan. This resort hotel offers traditional Japanese atmosphere that is good for people who needs to go away from the crowd and wanted to experience a little bit of Japan without flying from the Philippines.
Entering the onsen hotel, on the right is the entrance and their restaurant, Azabu Restaurant, that offers Filipino and Japanese specialties. On the left are the pool area, parking area, function hall, and the onsen (hot spring).
Upon entry, we were greeted nicely by the front desk staffs. Immediately, I brought out my booking papers. After verifying my details, we were then guided to our room. Luckily, from a budget room (Japanese futon-style), ours were upgraded to Twin Bed (as it was the only upgrade available) and we were good with it. And oh, the front desk area has Japanese samurai figures and little things about Japan. We get to have our breakfast voucher and the onsen pass for the night.
Do not forget to ask for Yukata (Japanese traditional dress) for a whole Japanese experience! You can wear your yukata every time you like. We had it on from our room to the pool, to the onsen rooms, and until we get to eat our breakfast in the morning. Jane loved it!
Remember the freebies: Yukata, Free Breakfast for two, and Onsen Pass.
Our room was on the 3rd floor. It was equipped with two beds, sofa, refrigerator, wardrobe, dining area, an in-room shower and comfort room, and a balcony. The balcony was a plus as you will be able to see the mountains and the road directly in front of you. Across the street was also the Splash Mountain Resort. The top floor has a gym facility and a room for dining – Japanese style.
Makiling Onsen Hotel wouldn’t name it with “onsen” or hot-spring for no reason. They provide Japanese hot-spring alike experience to those of who wanted to avail service. You can still avail and experience onsen even when you’ve not booked a room. It’s open until 10 pm. You have to tell the front desk at least 1 hour prior to availing the service so they can get your onsen room hot and steamy. Before that, we spent our time in the pool for ourselves.
The Onsen Area
Onsen area for Makiling Onsen Hotel is located above the parking area and beside the pool area. The rooms are not quite big, just enough for two to five people at most. Having experienced onsen in Japan, the experience here is almost quite the same even though the room is practically small.
There are two rooms available. One for men and one for female. Originally, men and women are in separate rooms, especially if in groups. However, since we are a couple, it was turned into a private bath for us, just the two of us. Yes! You can use the whole facility for whole one hour.
Since I knew how onsens work and with the dos and don’t, I told her that stuff. Don’t worry, there are instructions on the locker room before you enter the onsen. You have to wash your body first before entering onto the onsen as well.
It was around 35-45 degrees Celcius hot so be careful when you dip in. You have to dip in slowly in order for your body to adjust the temperature. Hot springs are known for their therapeutic and positive effects on skin and one’s self. It will help with one’s blood flow circulation. Soothes soaring muscles and helps with the colds. All in all, it gives about a positive outcome for your body. However, if you feel like you’re palpitating already, move out from the pool and stay in the locker area until you feel relieved and dip again.
It was a really good one hour in the onsen! Muscle sores were gone after the dip and I felt rejuvenated as well. Just like when I was in Japan. This was such a great feeling!
The Azabu Restaurant is located downstairs, from the entrance to the right. They offer Filipino and Japanese cuisines. Breakfast menus include dish-“silogs” like tocilog, tapsilog, hotsilog, and much more. Japanese cuisines also come with a variety like ramen, yakisoba, their bento’s, etc.
For our breakfast, we had silogs. Before we left, we also had Ramen and a bento for lunch. It was sumptuous. Delicious. Yum! The ramen tasted authentic and it was really good! We’re stuffed and ready for the next surprise destination, the Isdaan Floating Resto – Park.
How to Get to Makiling Onsen Hotel?
From Cubao or Buendia bus stations, ride a bus bound to Sta. Cruz (Laguna) and tell the driver / conductor to drop you off at Splash Mountain. In front of Splash Mountain Resort is the Makiling Onsen Hotel.
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