Clear waters are normal in the province way back then. A stream ran beside our old house, for instance. With clear and clean water, we could wash plates in that stream if we choose to. It was not too deep so we could go fishing and take a swim. It’s now gone, killed by overpopulation and pollution. No, not just the fish, but the stream itself.
These days, clean natural bodies of water are rare. The bodies of water that our children could frolic and have fun are usually man-made, including artificial lakes and swimming pools. Villa Escudero (San Pablo City) has its manmade lake and swimming pools. Plantation Bay (Mactan) has its huge swimming pool which resembles a beach.
Then there’s Clearwater Country Club (Clarkfield, Pampanga), with a manmade lake for kayaking and fishing. There are swimming pools, of course, and I must say that the pools are child-friendly, with wide shallow areas for kids to enjoy. Every place has its pros and cons. Clearwater is suited for spending time out with toddlers, or functions like weddings or company outings. During the time we were there, at least 5 companies were having their outing, and 2 wedding receptions were in place. The fact that all were done at the same time means that Clearwater has enough space to cater to these activities.
If you want a romantic getaway, other places like Villa Escudero is, in my opinion, better than Clearwater. The good thing about Clearwater, however, is that it’s just under 5 minutes from Mimosa, which means you have easy access to Mimosa’s 36- hole golf course and the Casino Filipino (as well as the other establishments in Clark). Unlike in Montevista (also in Mimosa), however, Clearwater doesn’t allow food and beverages to be brought in. Also, unlike Montevista, cars are not allowed inside Clearwater (you have to park outside and walk all the way to your room), but since I saw cars inside, I’d like to believe those are owned by management.
(For directions on how to get there, refer to the directions for Montevista. Go straight past Montevista, then straight through the flashing traffic light. You’ll see Clearwater to your right after around 300 meters. If you’re lost, call 045-599-5623, 0145-599-5624, 02-584-4053 or 0917-520-4403. You could also read more at its website — yatsleisure.com. Or see the map for easy reference).
Admission fee for visitors is P1,200 and P600 for adults and under 12, respectively. Rates are different for members and non-members. For instance, swimming is free for members, but 150 for non-members. Boating and kayaking (150/hour for members, 495/hour for guests). Fishing (100 for the rod, plus per kilo fee for the kind of fish caught). There are various rooms, but I suggest the Lakeside Lodge (P6,270) because, well, it’s beside the lake. It’s a cluster of 6 rooms, each with 2 twin-sized beds, plus 2 rooms with 4 bunk beds. There’s a closet cabinet, luggage rack, writing table and chair, cable TV, refrigerator, individual aircon, phone and a nice, clean bathroom. Aside from the Lakeside Lodge, there are Outdoor Living Tents (P2,200 for guests), Luxury Tents (P3,762) and Family Inn (P5,016). These are the rates listed in the brochure and some may have already increased. For instance, when I took my son to go fishing, we paid P110 for the rod (instead of the published P100) plus P25 for the bait (which is not mentioned in the published rates).
The place is silent and peaceful, well, at least until our companions found the karaoke microphone and my son found the swimming pool. I was just surprised to learn that with the area, there were no roving guards. We had to go out at around 2 a.m. to get the milk from our car (a good 10-minute walk to the parking area because, remember, private cars are not allowed inside the premises) and no soul was in sight. No one, including any security personnel.
Since this is nature, you should be prepared for the usual natural features, which city dwellers often refer to as “inconvenience”. There were plenty of mosquitoes — both in the early morning and, of course, in the evening, so bring anti-mosquito lotion specially if you have kids. With our meals out in the open field, ants provided extra bites to that of the mosquitoes (you could, on the other hand, choose to eat at the restaurant). These “inconveniences” provide an authentic probinsya atmosphere to the place, in addition to the sound of insects at night. Clearwater is not exactly one of those venues that you’ll fall in love at first sight, unlike Villa Escudero. Still, each one has his/her own preference, so it really depends what you want in a place.