The last time I visited Villa Escudero was in the early 90s, a couple of years earlier than Elsa Klensch (as if it matters to Elsa, haha). Yesterday, my college friends and I decided to go on a whim after much discussion about doctor's appointments, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and menopause on our Messenger chat room.
I booked online a day before our trip, I made a request for a vegan meal for our friend Beth de la Rosa, and they happily accommodated.
Approximately 3 hours away from Manila, we left McDonald's Kia Theatre in Cubao at 6am to avoid the morning rush hour. From the South Luzon Expressway, we took the well paved Pan-Philippine Highway from the Sto. Tomas, Batangas SLEX exit to San Pablo City. Villa Escudero, an 800 hectare working coconut plantation and hacienda is located in the border of San Pablo, Laguna and Tiaong, Quezon.
The friendly staff in colorful Filipino country costume welcomed us with cups of cool Gulaman, a local sweet drink infused with gelatin squares. Photography enthusiasts, my friends took time to get good shots of the pink colored villa and church which houses the Escudero family's vast collection of santos* and carrozas*. After our museum tour, we rode a carabao drawn cart to the huge pavilion by the river. After freshening up, we headed down to the waterfalls where lunch was served, feet submerged under the cool running stream. We forgot our health issues with the sumptuous spread of Eggplant, Okra and Red Egg Salad, Grilled Chicken and Pork Belly, Beef Caldereta, and Squash and String Beans in Coconut Milk.
Yes, life is short, and we had the time of our lives having our feet wet, and going for seconds of the juicy grilled liempo*.
|Pink colored berries abound in the hacienda.|
|The pink church that houses the Escudero family's vast collection of santos and carrozas.|
|The latest addition to the hacienda, Casa Consuelo, brought piece by piece from the province of Pampanga.|
|Banana Q and Puto, served after a sumptuous lunch of Eggplant, Okra and Red Egg Salad, Grilled Chicken and Pork Belly, Beef Caldereta, and Squash and String Beans in Coconut Milk under the waterfalls.|
|Hydroelectric power is harnessed from the manmade falls.|
|The Chapel of the Ascension has been a venue for many weddings.|
|The Arbol de Fuego (Flame Tree) in full bloom.|
|Our carabao for the day, Mutya.|
To book a day trip or an overnight stay, go to http://villaescudero.com
*Liempo - Pork Belly
*Santos - images of Saints usually with heads and hands made of ivory
*Carrozas - processional floats with intricate silver or gold leaf cladding