What started out as a vacation house in Batangas grew into a resort-type of accommodation when the owners added rooms and decided to rent out the rooms to the early guests. This mansion-like house is now known as Casa Amara. The owners maintain that it is more of a private house with rooms for rent than a resort. But to us the WOWBatangas Team, it was like we were transported to Europe or the US with our Casa Amara experience, and being the “cowboys” that we were, felt like we were kings and queens with the treatment that we got from them.
Our San Juan Trip
Before going to Casa Amara for our Team-Building, we decided to tour San Juan a little bit, especially the Poblacion area. We were accompanied by Tita Maricris of the San Juan Tourism Office headed by Mr. Rodello “Bibingka” de Chavez. Palayok is a well-known product of the town and Tita Maricris brought us to meet the pot-makers who showed us how it was done. The next stop was at Tita Ester in Brgy. Calicanto who has introduced to our taste buds the best suman we have ever eaten. Finally we said some prayers at the San Juan Nepomuceno Church before continuing with our trip.
The Casa Amara View
From the main highway we turned left going to Brgy. Imelda. The access road is rough, but our companions who were in their subcompacts easily handled the terrain. A few meters from Casa Amara, an overlooking view of the sea will greet you and we immediately realized then that this will be a different San Juan experience. Casa Amara itself looks like a castle from afar, situated on top of a cliff, right beside the sea. We get mixed feelings of excitement, anticipation, and fear because of how high the house in relation to the sea below.
Ms. Gemma Kolb and her husband, owners of Casa Amara, had their first exploratory trip in San Juan and stayed at a popular resort. It’s an understatement to say that they immediately liked the place, and so they went back and built their house for vacation in 2012. The couple then decided to offer some rooms for rent, and when the guests started coming in huge numbers, they built more rooms and modified the other parts of the house for bigger groups. Ms Gemma herself was our host during the stay, and this early we would like to thank her for such an awesome experience.
The view upon making it to the sala or receiving area is just plain breathtaking. Right below the sala where the big dining table is you can see the bluish infinity pool and more than 180 degrees of view into the sea and the neighboring trees and structures. We were immediately given a choice among the rooms. There is no doubt about this, the girls loved their rooms! The wallpaper, decors and overall look of each room make them worthy of publishing in a magazine. They’re a little bit feminine from the perspective of the boys, but if the girls are happy, then everyone’s happy. All rooms face east into the ocean and the morning sun.
Most noteworthy among the rooms are 1) the Family Room with its own sala and kitchen (yes you can bring food to cook on your own with a corresponding corkage fee), and 2) the penthouse with a larger room and access to the veranda for an even more breathtaking view.
For our buffet lunch, merienda, dinner and plated breakfast, the staff and cook prepared hearty and delicious meals with a European touch. Most of these dishes are Filipino and the owner’s recipe and adopted to the local ingredients. We especially like the Ginataang Lechon Kawali with Sigarilyas for lunch, and the very unique and tasty Salad with fried wonton, tuna flakes, cucumber and tomato.
Casa Amara’s Conference Room can accommodate about 30 people so it is only meant for small teams. It was air-conditioned and conducive for talks/seminars with good sound system and projector. During the afternoon, we trekked down to the beach area for the actual games.
We used the beautiful pool in the mornings and from the afternoon until 12 midnight. It is relatively safe for kids.
Please note : the beach is a trek down from the main house. When we got there, our first impression was that the beach was beautiful with some stray plants and things from the sea. We cleared a part of the beach for our activities, and some team members tried getting into the water for picture-taking even with the huge waves. Before sundown we decided to return to the house, and it was a good 15 minute hike. So be ready for that.
The Event Setup
The event area setup can handle 80 people comfortably. The deck beside the pool is perfect for intimate family affairs like small wedding receptions and anniversaries.
One (1) Pent House for 12 pax – P18,000
Veranda w/nice view
TV w/ Cable
Bathroom and toilet
Cold & Hot shower
FOOD (choice of):
Buffet – P 1,500 per person
Plated – P 1,000 per person
Inclusion: Lunch – Merienda – Dinner – Breakfast
RESERVATION AND INQUIRIES : Contact +63 915 307 9149 or Private Message the Casa Amara FB Page
Our overall verdict : Casa Amara is worth your money for its unique feel. The view of the house and the sea is breathtaking all throughout the day (and night). The owners always tell guests not to expect top-notch hotel service. Come in with this in mind, and if you have kids bring your yayas, and you’ll have an awesome experience.
Photos by Joan Casey Espolong, Kevin Aguinaldo, Edison Manalo & JR Cantos