Last month, Dane, Nate and I were able to visit Villa Escudero with our friends CheVy (Ritche & Ivy, hehe). It was a quick day tour but we had a great time, however, we all wished we could’ve stayed longer.
Villa Escudero is one of the many famous attractions in the Philippines, it is located 10 kilometers south of the city of San Pablo, Laguna on the border with Quezon province. It’s about 2.5 hrs away from Metro Manila.
Villa Escudero was founded in the 1880s by Don Placido Escudero and his wife Dona Claudia Marasigan. Originally planted to sugarcane, the crop was converted to coconut by their son Don Arsenio Escudero in the early 1900s. A pioneering agro-industrialist, he built the country’s first working hydroelectric plant to supply his dessicated coconut factory and Villa Escudero, where he and his wife Dona Rosario Adap built in 1929. Their children opened the estate to the public in 1981. From then on, the resort started to become one of the tourist destinations here in the PH. (source: Villa Escudero)
|On our way to Villa Escudero|
We were supposed to meet CheVy at the airport in the morning since they came straight from Davao City but, we were stuck in the famous EDSA traffic and ended up having them wait for us instead. We arrived in Villa Escudero at around 12nn (which is very late for a day tour since day tour starts at 8am), and went straight to the man-made falls for our lunch. You’d have to ride on a wagon pulled by a carabao (which, by the way, has 3 employees in it, 1 drives, 1 sings and the other one plays the guitar) to get to the waterfalls restaurant.
|Carabao cart ride going to the waterfalls restaurant|
We were all very excited to see the waterfalls, not only because we were starving already from the long ride but the waterfalls restaurant seems to be very famous so we wanted to be able to experience it already, haha.
In the buffet table, many Filipino dishes were served for our empty tummies. I can’t name the foods served anymore but they were mostly the foods served in a Filipino karenderya. There were no spoon and fork to use but we were given chopsticks (well, we ate with bare hands instead!). I wasn’t very full, I don’t know if it was just me but I felt that the foods were “nakakaumay”. I am a type of person who eats A LOT in order to be full but at that time, (I can still clearly remember, lol) di talaga ako masyadong nabusog!
|Buffet table at the resto|
After eating, we took the time taking pictures by the waterfalls. I think it was Nate that enjoyed the falls a lot! He would almost not leave and would cry if we put him back to the table! haha. Nate loves water so there’s no surprise that he loves this place too! Here’s a proof:
|Having fun at the waterfalls restaurant|
After lunch and photo opp, we went up to see the beautiful lake. I was wanting to go bamboo rafting but later was told that we’re not allowed to take the babies with us so we had no choice but to stay and just take some pictures of the lake. I think bamboo rafting is really cool (but, well, there’s nothing we can do since we can’t leave Nate behind), maybe next time when we can have the opportunity to go back here :).
|Bamboo rafts and the quiet lake at 30 feet|
|can’t go rafting so we had our pictures taken instead! lol|
CheVy didn’t go bamboo rafting either so we just went and stayed at the pool where Dane, Nate and I decided to go swimming. And guess who loved the pool so much? Haha. Of course, it was my Nate again! lol.
CheVy just took photos, chatted and rested beside the pool while we were swimming. We stayed there ’til we decided to go home. It was a quick stay but we still enjoyed it. The place is very calm and quite (of course too far from the very noisy and polluted Metro) and it really takes you back to the old Filipino setting.
|Nate and mama at the pool|
|Nate having so much fun at the pool|
Upon going home, we passed by a different route. We were again serenaded by the employees, they sang some folk songs like the “paru-parong bukid”, “sa libis ng nayon”, etc. We passed by the houses of the employees and we learned that the family of the employees there were given a land where they can build their houses and in return, one of the members of the family will work in Villa Escudero, I think it’s a very fair condition. In that village, smoking, gambling and drinking alcohols are prohibit. I think it’s good, it’s a very quite place with disciplined neighbors and very safe village. We stopped by a catholic church where some of the guests went inside and prayed then head back to the entrance.
Things that we missed during this tour were the museum (because, unfortunately, 7 years old and below, not allowed to get inside and CheVy didn’t go inside the museum either), and the bamboo rafting.
I think we only stayed there for about 4 – 4.5 hours which is quite a short time for the day tour but it was still a good experience. In Villa Escudero, you get a glimpse of the traditional Filipino life and setting. And if you’re fortunate enough to visit the place on a weekend or holiday, you’ll experience the cultural show that starts from 2pm to 3:15pm at the Pavilion Hall. However, when we were there, we saw their practice for the weekend’s performance (at least, lol).
|Pavilion Hall (this is where they have the cultural shows)|
Things I like during this tour:
1. The serenity of the place, even though they opened it for public, they’re still able to keep the place calm and peaceful.
2. The employees’ uniforms! Love it, just love it. It’s definitely Filipino!
3. The place – I’m saying this for the nth time, the place keeps your spirit at peace.
4. The carabao cart, I can no longer remember the last time we rode a carabao cart (smaller ones we used when harvesting coconut), but I’m certain that back when I was Elementary, so while we were on the cart, my memories took me back to my childhood days.
5. Clean restrooms
Things the management can consider to better assist their customers:
1. If they have chopsticks, they better have spoon and fork. OK, I know this can be for the Korean tourists because we’ve seen many when we were there but, although we know how to eat using chopsticks, if it’s not what we’re used to, we’ll not like using it so since it’s a Filipino setting, I think they can either just completely remove the chopsticks and have us eat with bare hands or add spoon and fork.
2. I wish they have a “short time” rate for those who couldn’t be there at around 8am for their day tour. Their pricing is quite high, but I think that’s reasonable for those who can completely roam around the place. How about those who arrived at noon and those who can’t get inside the museum or go bamboo rafting like us, I hope they have a way to somehow cut their rates (I don’t know, just saying), hehe.
RATES AND ATTRACTIONS:
Since we got the day tour rate, here’s what we had:
P1,250 – adults
P625 – Children below 4feet
P700 Children below 4feet
8am to 5pm
We got there buy renting a van, we got it for Php 4,000 pesos. It’s a lot cheaper if you go in large groups since you’ll have to pay less on the van. There are rates offered in MetroDeal from time to time with vans all ready to just pick you up from Metro Manila. During this visit, didn’t get an offer from MetroDeal, the van was Ivy’s contact.
Other Attractions and Amenities you can do are:
*Philippine Experience Show
*Sports & Recreational Facilities
*Observe how coconut is harvested
Overall, we had fun, it was an awesome experience still but I think their prices are really high and that Villa Escudero is a bit overrated. The waterfalls restaurant was not we were expecting, I think our expectations were a bit too high because of the popularity of it and when you see that it was not what you were expecting, you get a little disappointed at some point. Also, the restaurant is a bit dangerous and slippery due to the algae, one tourist slipped and hit her b*tt big time, I know she felt so embarrassed and I felt really sorry for her. Nevertheless, again, we still had a great time and I am very happy to finally be able to visit and experience Villa Escudero.
|Food and drinks served at the pavillion|
|The carabao carts (there are too many of these!)|
|Two of the employees singing for us|
|The coconut plantation visible at the back|
|Water fountain in front of the Pavilion|
|Halo-halo by the pool? Why not!|
|The view of the lake just near the pool|
|World war 2 aircraft|
|Pool is ♥|
|Restroom beside the pool|
|left: hallway to the waterfalls restaurant|
|Guests enjoying their lunch with their feet dipped in the cool waters!|
|view during the carabao cart ride|
|Thank you CheVy for this wonderful time together, ’til next time! ♥|