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Villa Escudero | Where Nature Meets Tradition and Culture.

It has actually been months since we last visited Villa Escudero, but I wanted to blog about it anyway for two reasons: 1) Villa Escudero is one of the top tourist spots in this region (or perhaps in the country), and 2) this was such a fun day for the entire family; it has been years since my cousins and my siblings and I did something like this together.

Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort is an eco-tourism resort that showcases the history and cultural heritage of the Philippines. Located along the boundary of Laguna and Quezon, Villa Escudero is best known for its carabao rides, cultural shows, and its scenic waterfall restaurant.

The way to Villa Escudero. 
If you see this along the highway, then you're on the right track.

Established in the late 1800s by Don Placido Escudero, Villa Escudero began as a self-contained sugar plantation. Towards the early 1900s, the place eventually became a coconut plantation. In 1929, the plantation became officially known as Villa Escudero, the same year when Don Arsenio Escudero, Don Placido's son, built the country's first working hydroelectric plant to supply power to his dessicated coconut factory and to the entire estate.

In 1981, Villa Escudero opened its doors to the public, making it one of the oldest and most famous resorts in the Philippines. From its humble beginnings, Villa Escudero has become one of the country's leading tourists destinations for both locals and foreigners alike. It is especially popular among balikbayans or expats who have been away from their home country for so long and are eager to experience traditional Filipino food, culture, and heritage all over again.

A modified jeepney parked near the waiting area.

The Villa Escudero Museum, which houses religious artifacts and other historical items.
Picture taking is prohibited inside the museum.

We visited Villa Escudero last November, a few days after the onslaught of Typhoon Paeng (Tropical Storm Nalgae). Since we were traveling as a big group (there were 13 of us), I made a reservation about a week prior to our visit, which I booked through their website. I called the Villa Escudero office the day before our visit, just to make sure that they're open and our reservation was not cancelled because of the possible damages brought about by the typhoon. Thankfully, the staff confirmed that Villa Escudero is open and operational, and so our trip pushed through.

More of our Villa Escudero experience after the jump!

Our day tour tickets. Morgan got a 50% discount because he's 4 years old.

Upon arrival, we were ushered to the Reception Hall where we paid for our entrance fees and claimed our day tour tickets. The current rate for day tours is now at Php 1800 per head, and this includes a full tour of the museum, entrance to the cultural show, buffet lunch at the waterfall restaurant, and use of amenities such as the jacuzzi and swimming pool.

Hi, Sandara!

After claiming our tickets, we headed to the Kariton Waiting Area where our ride was. And by ride, I mean this fiesta-themed wagon pulled by a carabao named Sandara. (They have a few other carabaos by the way, and they're all females.) As we traversed the estate, a pair of singers seated at the back of the wagon serenaded us with Filipino folk songs. My siblings, cousins, and I happily sang along, much to the amazement of the three kids (Yue, my niece Maggie, and my nephew Morgan) and my cousin-in-law Ken, who is British/Chinese and is visiting the Philippines for the first time.

Enjoying the carabao ride.

Sandara dropped us off by the Souvenir Shop entrance, and from there, we walked our way towards the Recreation Hall where we deposited our belongings (i.e. bags and backpacks that we didn't want to get wet in the waterfalls). After securing our things and making a pit stop at the comfort room to freshen up a bit, we finally made our way to the waterfalls. To get there, you need to go down a plight of stairs. They're a bit slippery so make sure to walk carefully and hold on to the ropes and the hand rails.
The Souvenir Shop (kudos to the very accommodating staff!).

The hydroelectric power plant and the path leading to the waterfalls.

Watch your step!

Now here's the thing about Villa Escudero's waterfalls. It's called Labasin Waterfalls and it's actually man-made, structured to blend in with the plantation river. Nonetheless, it still looks gorgeous and very picturesque. Wading through the waters is also a very unique experience because hey, it's not everyday that you get to eat a buffet outdoors with your feet in the water.

Labasin Waterfalls.

The view from the top of the stairs.

Traditional Filipino food is served at the Labasin Waterfall Restaurant, which includes kaldereta, kare-kare, grilled meat (chicken and liempo) and fish, pancit, and an assortment of fruits and vegetables. (I particularly loved the kaldereta, grilled liempo, and pickled green mangoes.)

A glimpse of the buffet area and some of the vegetables that they serve.

Walking to the buffet area and back to your dining table can be a bit of a challenge, especially that day when the water was unusually high (we were almost knee deep into the water) and the river's current was flowing quite fast. That didn't deter us from enjoying the food, though. Even Yue, who had his lower braces placed the day before our trip, was able to eat a lot and even got second, third helpings.

Lunch at Labasin.

The buffet area, where food is served.

This was how deep the water was that day.

After our hearty lunch, we went back to the Recreation Hall to retrieve our bags and headed straight for the Coconut Pavilion where the cultural shows are held. We arrived about half an hour early for the afternoon show, which gave us a chance to take pictures by the lake located right next to the pavilion. 

Coconut Pavilion.

The Labasin Lake, located right next to the pavilion.

With my favorite son. :)

The Cultural Show started at exactly 2pm, and for the next hour or so, we were enthralled and mesmerized by the traditional Filipino dances and the talented performers. We even enjoyed a cup of Caramel Macchiato while we were at it. Yue found the show a bit boring at first, but as the music became livelier and the dances became more familiar, eventually, things became more entertaining for him.  

Traditional dances, music, and costumes.

Enjoying the show with a cup of Caramel Macchiato.

My brother-in-law and my cousins had planned to go bamboo rafting after the cultural show was done, but alas, the rafting deck was empty that day. Apparently, they temporarily suspended rafting that time because of the inclement weather. And with that, we finally headed to the Swimming Pool, which the kids had been looking forward to since the moment we set foot on Villa Escudero.

The infinity pool.

The kiddie pool.

There are three swimming pools in the area - a children's pool with playground, an infinity pool, and an adults-only pool located above. Proper swimwear is required, and kids aged seven and below must be supervised by an adult at all times. There's also a jacuzzi located adjacent to the infinity pool, but is strictly for adults only. The kids and my cousins enjoyed the pool for about two hours or so. By 5pm, they were all out of the water, because day tours are until 5pm only.

Big kids enjoying the playground, haha.

Umbrellas and chairs by the poolside.

Although it seemed like we were a bit pressed for time, we truly enjoyed our trip to Villa Escudero. Aside from being fun, this was a nice learning experience for the kids, especially for Yue and Maggie who had a better appreciation for Filipino culture and tradition after our trip. Even Ken loved this place, so much that he plans on bringing his parents here on their next trip to the Philippines.

Villa Escudero Km 91
Tiaong, Quezon
0917 583 7727

12 replies:

Mom Knows Best said...

I love the pink bus. This looks like a cool place.

Kathy said...

Sounds like such an amazing place. I'm loving all these photos. Makes me wish I could go there right now.

Christy G said...

This looks like the perfect spot to visit for the day. I wish I could see it in person. Maybe one day.

Susan JoyAmongChaos said...

This place sounds amazing! Your article makes me want to travel to the Philippines!

Beautiful Touches said...

These locations look so beautiful, I can't get over that very pink museum though! Love it!

Richelle Milar said...

Wow! This looks like a really wonderful and amazing place to visit! It would be a great experience for sure

Rose Ann Sales said...

This place is beautiful! The whole family would really enjoy to be here for sure!

Renee Franklin said...

Everything looks so beautiful there. I would love to visit some day.

Lavanda Michelle said...

That resort looks so beautiful, peaceful, and fun. I'd love to visit there someday. Thanks for sharing!

Zab Zaria said...

I can just imagine how much fun the whole family would have visiting this place! Thanks for sharing

Gust si Aroma said...

What an amazing place to visit. It's the perfect place to have an amazing day with the family!

Tami Creates said...

This looks like such a fun and interesting place to visit! :)