Find Serenity in the Heart of Santa Rosa

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By Rosemarie Reyes – SouthTrip Editor-in-Chief

As the country careens towards the holidays, sometimes we just need a quick escape from all the chaos. For Southerners who don’t relish braving traffic, nor have the time to spend on a faraway holiday destination, booking into a city hotel nearby is the perfect solution. This is exactly what we discovered in our neck of the woods when we checked in at SOUTHPICK RESORT AND HOTEL.

Located in the quiet part of Santa Rosa, Laguna, Southpick Resort and Hotel actually started when the Alignay family built a mini (25-meter) Olympic pool in their property in 2008. It was initially a place for the Alignay sons to learn swimming and practice cardio exercises. In no time at all, it became the venue for training and practice of the local community swim team. Ms. Lillibeth Alignay, the family matriarch, narrated how it all began almost 12 years ago. “Southpick started operations in 2008 to cater to MILO swimming lessons where our own kids were enrolled. At that time, Santa Rosa, Laguna didn’t have an ideal pool size for such activity so that motivated us to open the place and provide a venue for swimming lessons. That way, we can also monitor our kids.”

The resort quickly grew as other facilities were built to accommodate stays, dining and venues for more sports activities and events, both corporate and private. A well-equipped gym (open Monday-Saturday 8am-12nn, 5pm-9pm and Sunday 8am-12nn) is found within the property, providing weights and body training, inclusive of instructors. There are also facilities for boxing, indoor halfcourt basketball, circuit training and crossfit. As the family is committed to promote sports tourism at Southpick Resort and Hotel, it is part of their mission statement to be socially responsive and offer sports and recreational activities. It is also their mission to provide superb service and observe constant upgrading to meet customer ideals.

Ms. Lillibeth and one of her sons, Albert, welcomed us to their city resort, tucked in a quiet and predominantly residential area. The Alignay family, with a diverse portfolio of businesses in the construction, hospitality, real estate and food industries, hails from Santa Rosa. This explains why they firmly support the local community, going as far as helping promote the Santa Rosa swim team prepare and train for regional competitions. The family even formed an in-house swim team, the Blue Sharks — a testament of their advocacy to promote sports tourism and the youth, particularly local students. Ms. Lillibeth and her family believe that sports is the best way to develop good training and discipline in the youth, divert them from harmful vices and activities and more importantly, can be used as a stepping stone to further their education as scholars.

While the huge pool occupied a sizable part of the resort, we were content to look at it — and the tall palm trees — from the floor-to-ceiling glass doors of our Deluxe Room. As blue as the pool water is, our room has the same calming blue tones that blend well with the contemporary smooth walls and raw cement floors. A queen bed, flat screen cable TV, ample storage and charging stations, modern work desk with a Louis ghost chair and bedside table (which handily serves as additional bench for seating and depositing the luggage) complete our very comfortable room. A unique feature of our room at Southpick, aside from the high ceiling, is the bathroom. A simple wall doesn’t divide the bed and bath areas. More like a small compact structure with sloping sides and glass ceiling was fitted inside the bedroom and then equipped it with bathroom amenities. Cool!

Our tour around the property started with Southpick’s three pools. Aside from the mini Olympic-sized one where, at that moment, nursing students from nearby a college were training, the resort has a smaller outdoor kiddie pool (with slides) and an indoor pool, also equipped with a slide. All pools have adjacent areas for rest and play. A dining hall on the second floor with a balcony overlooking the pools can accommodate more people.

Given all the facilities to exercise and sweat, our idea of a getaway is one where we can exercise the mouth. What getaway is complete without food? In Southpick, the food is superb. For dinner, we feasted on inspired culinary masterpieces: a healthy platter of Four Seasons Vegetables, juicy and fresh Spicy Butter Garlic Shrimp, Beef Salpicao (with fried sotanghon and bell pepper), Baked Morcon (perfect holiday dish!), tender and flavorful Rosemary Chicken with Rosemary Mushroom Gravy, rich and delicious Pork Pata Tim and my personal favorite of the night, Binagoongang Bagnet — crispy, crunchy, fork tender and comparable to the authentic bagnet offered in roadside eateries going up north to Pagudpud. Breakfast the following morning consisted of a hefty plate of corned beef, two sunny side up eggs, rice and coffee. Good ‘ol Filipino food done right. We actually wished we can stretch our vacation to savor more inspired creations. Our hopes went up when Ms. Lillibeth revealed that plans are underway to open the resort’s restaurant to walk-in guests on a daily basis in 2020. More reason to take a quick lunch break or dinner date.

If you’re on the lookout for event venues in the south, Southpick has two function rooms available; the bigger of the two fits up to 150 people. Ms. Lillibeth stressed that for event clients, their priority is to give excellent service at competitive prices. Those booking a function room will also have access to complete party services that include food catering, flowers and decor, sounds, photography and videography, party favors, hosting and entertainment. As Christmastime is the peak season for wedding receptions, corporate parties and family renuions, it is a good idea to have an event venue that can also allow your guests to have a comfortable stay after the festivities. Southpick Resort and Hotel has different room types to suit different budgets and numbers of people. Private Rooms, Deluxe Rooms and a Suite are perfect for two while the Dorm Rooms can fit as many as 20 people. The resort’s 14 rooms can accommodate up to 130 overnight guests easily.

Before the season gets any more hectic, why not escape for a quiet night right in the heart of Santa Rosa, Laguna at Southpick Resort and Hotel? It did not cop the 3rd place for Class A Category (Cleanest and Best Hotels, Resorts, Restaurants and Gasoline Stations in the province of Laguna for 2017) given by the Laguna Tourism, Culture, Arts and Trade Office, for nothing.

For reservations and inquiries, call 0977.836.0479 or 0923.657.7107 or email southpickresort@yahoo.com. Visit www.southpickresort.com for more information. Southpick Resort and Hotel is located at Tatlong Hari Street, Brgy. Sinalhan, Santa Rosa, Laguna.

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