Travel Guide: Accommodation, itinerary and things to see when planning to stay at Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort in Quezon Province
This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.
Best things to do at Villa Escudero
January 2017, Quezon Province. Villa Escudero is an eco-tourism plantation and resort located between the borders of San Pablo, Laguna and Tiaong, Quezon. Before planning your trip, book in advance via their website. Contact the management by email to prompt you how to deposit your day tour payment. Day tour rates cost P1,450 (Mon-Wed); and P1,600 (Thu to Sun) inclusive of buffet lunch, museum visit, use of amenities, and cultural show.
Welcome drink. Upon arrival, prior to your travel, have a digital copy or print of your reservation and deposit slips/online transaction in case the reception request for it. Since we made an online reservation and online payment, just mention the account who made the reservation. Claim your pass or stubs for the gate, carabao ride, museum, and lunch. Don’t over indulge with the welcome drink, it’s just a cold gulaman with vanilla and sugar served over a small glass. We rather drink plain, no-so-cold water, during the day tour the weather is extremely humid so don’t forget to dehydrate or bring a reusable water container.
Carabao cart ride. Comes with a serenade of Filipino local songs by a female singer and guitar man. The souvenir shot is priced at P200 per photograph. We got two copies, one from Maganda carabao ride and one from the waterfall restaurant.
Museum tour. This museum does not allow photography of any forms. A two-story structure, it houses artifacts from Chinese era to giant statues of the Catholic church. From the ground floor, the museum has extensive relics from churches, antique portraits and animal preserves. The second floor exhibits a collection of old paper money and coins, letters, old clothes by the prominent Filipino personalities, heirloom jars, and indigenous tools. The museum visit gathered feedback from the previous travelers saying they are not worth it – due to the narrow path, non-air-conditioned, dusty, crowded artifacts, and not well-maintained. Come to think of it, why “NO PICTURE TAKING INSIDE THE MUSEUM?” If you’re smart enough, the answer is evident after you’ve seen what’s inside the exhibit. It’s not air-conditioned yet there were CCTV cameras installed in every corner of the building aside from the personnel who guarded the post. Their security is tight, the relics are not just old things, some are rare, some are gold, some are silver. Bear in mind, even the National Museum of the Philippines allows mobile photography and point-and-shoot (except for DSLR and with camera flashes). There is nothing to hide.
Waterfall restaurant. Villa Escudero is popular for their man-made waterfalls restaurant. Yes, the atmosphere is definitely fine, you get to experience kamayan (eat with your bare hands) buffet-style lunch with your feet soaked under the stream of water. But the food needs improvement. The buffet serves Filipino dishes, even so the inihaw (roasted) tilapia (fish) and liempo (pork belly) were burnt – hard to chew meat. There were flies (langaw) all over the food counter, an uninviting attraction which can be avoided if they had appropriate measures. The hacienda being a coconut plantation has an abundance of buko (coconut water). These are charged separately from your buffet bill and each buko can be bought at triple the price. The waterfalls are not for clumsy individuals, the floor is a little slippery.
Watch the Filipiniana cultural show. Features traditional Philippine folk dances and music set at 2PM to 3:15PM. The dance troupe are exceptionally outstanding. The highlight of the performance is the rendition of singkil (Muslim dance) and the finale with tinikling (bamboo dance) features adult and kids dance collaboration. You can also dine in while watching the show.
Roam around the hacienda. The day tour pass offers bamboo rafting for a separate fee per person and swimming (inclusive of the package you pay). Take a stroll and have picture-perfect selfies around the lagoon. Take a peek of the Escudero’s mansion from the outside. The history behind the “waterfalls” – is used to be the Arsenio Escudero Hydroelectric Power Plant; the irrigation in 1872. By 1937 it became a hydro-power plant. Today, it’s the venue of the restaurant. If you can’t finish the walk within the day, you have the option to stay overnight or so, accommodation types are available, just check their official website.
Buy seasonal fruits. Laguna and Quezon are abundant in lanzones but the cost per kilo is almost the same as the Manila market (plus you get to pay for your gas, toll fees – still you save nothing.) Nevertheless, the perks of buying from the locals is you can ask for “patikim” and “dagdag” numerous times with kindness. Some are even freshly picked; the store is located within the farm land.
Buy memorabilia. Majority noticed that the souvenirs at this resort are relatively overpriced. Stream your budget and think about if you really need this now? We managed to buy shirts, maybe because of the carabao emblem. Though honestly, these shirts were never really worn after the trip. Most of the time I gathered all the souvenir shirts and cut them into patterns from the center logo and we made them into quilts and served its purpose, maybe as a surface cover. Conventionally tourists are into ref magnet, as a travel collection and as a pasalubong. Here the cheapest you can get is at P200, the same component you often get at 3 for P100 from other local tourist attractions.
Overall, the plantation visit was a worthy heritage experience, for the most part – from the kids who haven’t seen, mingling with the carabaos.
Villa Escudero, Km 91, Tiaong, Quezon
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