“Rising tall and majestic in the highest point of Caleruega is the Transfiguration Chapel. From here one can behold the expanse of Caleruega and witness the glorious opus of radiant nature – a symphony of sky, tree, and the distant hills of Batulao. Like St. Peter during Jesus’ transfiguration, anyone who experiences such splendor of nature’s poetry will declare: Lord, it is good for us to be here… (Mt. 17:4)”
So reads the official website of the Transfiguration Chapel of Caleruega, more known simply as Caleruega, a “house of prayer and renewal” located at Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas. Run by the Dominican Order of Preachers, a religious group that operates schools and universities, Caleruega is more than the chapel and has facilities and amenities that can be used for retreats, recollections, seminars, workshops, and of course, weddings.
An image of the Risen Christ, sculpted by Filipino artist Ben-Hur Villanueva in 1996, greets visitors outside the chapel, whose façade is a reproduction of the original chapel in Caleruega, Spain. Two main features – the hut-shaped roof and the stained glass design beyond the main altar – all point to the Transfiguration of Jesus, from whence the chapel got its name. The rest of the structure is also abounding with symbols, from the steel doors designed with seven grapevines, symbolizing the 7 sacraments as well as the fact that Jesus is the vine and the people are the branches; to the carved tree trunk representing the “stem of Jesse” as described in the book of Isaiah; to the tabernacle that depicts the burning bush; and to birds carved on the communion table reminding all that God provides.
Caleruega is very conducive for wedding ceremonies. Beautiful European-inspired architecture, cobblestone or brick steps, cool breeze, set on a hilltop, with a fantastic view of Mt. Batulao as well as the hillocks of Tuy and Nasugbu – and the words “picturesque”, “solemn”, “quiet”, and “breathtaking” come to mind. These descriptions spill over into the interiors, whose seating capacity of only about 150-200 lends an air of intimacy to any ceremony. The grounds’ lush landscaping and outdoor décor also provide fantastic photo ops, whether pre- or post-nuptial.
Since this is a popular venue for weddings, couples are advised to book at least a year before the wedding date. The busiest seasons are during summer and December. The church also allows only one ceremony in the morning and another in the evening. The wedding fee of P15,000 includes the sound system, use of the organ and a sacristan. It does not, however, include a donation to the officiating priest; the couple is allowed to provide their own.
The complex has possible venues for reception: the Plaza de Aza and Tuktok, and the Veritas Hall can be rented at P40,000 and P30,000, respectively, and can seat up to 200 guests. The Gazekubo, good for 60 pax, can be rented for P25,000. Other alternatives would be restaurants and hotel resorts found on the way to and in Tagaytay City, such as Chateau Royale, Josephine’s Restaurant, Sonya’s Garden, Splendido, etc.
Caleruega is a two-hour drive from Metro Manila, accessible via Tagaytay City where one makes a right to Nasugbu, then, after the Nasugbu welcome arch, left to Evercrest Golf Club. Note, though, that the road is still a bit rough. The couple should also consider their guests’ transportation and lodging, as well as footwear for that walk from the parking lot to the chapel.