My cousin, a lawyer at the Supreme Court, and her fiancee (now my cousin-in-law and also a law graduate) decided to get hitched somewhere in Tagaytay. They chose a hotel for their wedding reception and the Transfiguration Chapel in Caluruega, Batangas for the rites.

Caleruega is not so romantic at night. But the Transfiguration Chapel is really beautiful.


To make the most out of our stay in Tagaytay, hubby suggested we book an overnight stay in the same hotel. We thought everything was going to be convenient and easy: leave Manila at 9AM, have an early check-in, eat lunch, scout for a hair and makeup artist, attend the wedding then uhm…sleep???? <naughty grin>

However, Murphy once again proved that he’s right (and most of it is our fault). Instead of heading directly to the salon after lunch (wedding is at 5:30), we decided to uhm, stay in our room first to, uh…take a nap???? Yes, take a nap it is!

As a result, we arrived at the salon (David’s Salon Tagaytay) late. It was already dark when the stylists were done. They assured us, however, that the chapel is a merely 20 minutes away. But lo, it wasn’t just 20 minutes away. It’s actually like going to Makati from Marikina. And that was just the tip of an iceberg-sized misadventure.

Since it was our first time to visit the place, we had to rely on the map attached to the invitation and google map for navigation. The maps indicated numerous landmarks which we should pass on our way to the chapel. But it was so dark we failed to see those establishments or places. So we had to make several u-turns and stops to ask for directions. Good thing most of the people we encountered were helpful and friendly. None of those who take advantage of lost tourists.

But it gets worse. Used to the bright lights of the Metropolis, we consider the Aguinaldo Highway dark and deserted already. There are long stretches that are still uninhabited with only reflectorized markers serving as our beacon. But it was nothing compared to our destination.

When we turned left to the road going to Lemery, that’s when we got really creeped out. No lights. No reflectorized markers. Not even an abandoned shack. Finally we saw a lone sign indicating the direction to Caleruega. At the entrance there was a guardpost and a lighted building so we heaved a sigh of relief. 

This map is useless when driving at night


But that was just a temporary interlude. Again, we had to navigate a long stretch of empty road  ahead. The asphalt eventually gave way to a dirt road and that’s when we started to get really agitated. We cannot see anything beyond 5 meters! We made several wrong turns.  Mr. M had to make a very tight U-turn so we will not fall off a cliff which we believe was there but cannot see because it was bloody dark. I even have to scream for him to stop driving several times because I wasn’t sure if the dirt road will actually lead somewhere or to an empty abyss.

Anyhoo, we did arrive but were very, very late. We missed my cousin’s pa-kape of Starbucks hot coffee and frappuccinos (you see, their love was made in Starbucks, hence the Starbucks buffet)in the chapel. My husband, always the snacker, helped himself to the remaining chocolate chip cookies as consolation for the fright.

Love made at Starbucks


We were very happy to see people at the church. And we made up for it by gawking at my cousin’s VIP (like Associate Justice Abad and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales) and politico (my congressman uncle and another female representative somewhere) wedding sponsors at the reception. Sayang we missed CJ Sereno who just attended the church rites.

Looking back, it was one of the biggest scares of our lives. My husband admitted he got really terrified because he was thinking of our two children who are still young (awwww). Those familiar with the place may think we are being grossly namby-pamby but for us, we are only glad to survive Caleruega at night.


About Ira Martin

They say women marry men who look like their dad. Or at least, similar in attitude and values. My father is a (retired) professional banker who's very family-oriented. So is my husband.

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