Get enraptured with Villa Escudero as the resort showcases the tranquil rural life in the Philippines and a journey into the past. An unusual but ideal family getaway for balikbayan, locals, and foreign tourists.
Villa Escudero in Tiaong, Quezon is best known for providing a fancy outdoor dining experience alongside the Labasin waterfalls. But, this fancy dining experience is only a portion of the day tour activities inside the Villa. The Villa Escudero also basks modest amenities and activities through which the Philippine culture and history are showcased.
Currently, the Villa Escudero provides their visitors with traditional home cooked Filipino dishes by the Labasin waterfalls, a pavilion, and a lakefront veranda. They also give access to their visitors to a tour around a heritage house and a Church-inspired museums which both display antique collections of the Escudero Family. And, made available classic shuttle services as transport service in the Villa.
The Villa Escudero brings their visitors on a journey back into the Philippine history since 1981. And, over time, they added new features in order to catch up with the latest trends while preserving the Philippine culture.
Through my experience during my stay in Villa Escudero, I’d like to share with you a guide to help you plan out your weekend getaway with your loved ones.
How to get there:
Taking a public transportation to go to Villa Escudero is not much of a hassle. You’ll only need to take one bus ride going to Lucena, Quezon Province via San Pablo, Laguna.
I’d suggest taking a bus at Araneta Bus Port, Quezon City. This newly opened bus station has clean and modern facilities from its ticketing system, check-in/out baggage counter up to bus parking. Definitely a safe and comfortable bus station. Schedule of the bus bound to Lucena, Quezon starts at 2 AM until 10 PM, from Fridays to Sundays. Bus fare may cost around P 158. Travel time from North Metro Manila may take two and a half hour or more, depending on traffic condition. Best if you can arrive at the venue before 9 AM to get the most of your day tour.
Once you step in on the bus, you may tell the bus driver or conductor to drop you off just right at Villa Escudero. Don’t worry, you’ll know you’re there when you see the welcome arc of Tiaong, Quezon.
From the welcome arc, you may see a waiting shed on your left where you can take a tricycle going to Villa Escudero. Tricycle fare costs P 50. Or, you can request in advance from the Villa Escudero to pick you up at the waiting shed if you are travelling with a group of more than ten.
Must Do in Villa Escudero
1.Lunch at the Waterfalls
Lunch at the Waterfalls are served at 10:30 AM until 2:00 PM. Every weekend and holidays, the place is jam packed with locals, foreigners, balikbayans with their family and friends. It is best to be there at 10:30 AM or earlier. So, you may pick the best spot close to the Waterfalls or just the right spot you prefer.
Prepare to get soaked at the dining area where almost calf-deep water is flowing from the Labasin Falls. Two buffet tables serve traditional Filipino cuisines. Buco fruit is not included in the lunch buffet package, but you may order them for an additional P40 per piece. More details about their food can be read further below.
By the way, Labasin dam was built to first supply water for the Escudero’s coconut plantation. Thereafter, it underwent reconstruction and served as hydroelectric power plant as well to provide electricity within its vicinity. Today, fifty percent (50%) electricity supply of Villa Escudero comes from the hydroelectric dam and the other fifty percent (50%) is, I think, supplied by Meralco. If you’re not familiar with Meralco, it is the electrical power distributor for the National Capital Region and for some areas in Mega Manila including Tiaong, Quezon Province.
2. Visit the Heritage Museum
Heritage Museum is one of the first establishments you’ll see once you enter the Villa Escudero. And, even before you enter the Museum, you’ll already find it trivial.
The Heritage Museum appears like a Catholic Church painted in bright salmon pink color. The real story is that the building is actually the replica of San Francisco Church which was first built in Intramuros during the Spanish colonial period. So, you’ll sense the Spanish influence in its exterior and interior design.
If you want to find more trivia, then I’d suggest you schedule a time to tour here. Here, you’ll find life-size images of religious characters with embroidered dress and silver and gold carrozas. You’ll also be surprised with an old and original altar and retablos with rococo style. The designs of most of the religious artifacts hint that they were created during the Spanish colonial period.
Philippine cultural artifacts are exhibited in the museum as well. Local artifacts will suggest the life of our Filipino ancestors before the colonial period and up to time Philippines has its own government.
Basically, everything on display inside the Museum is part of the collection of the Escuderos. Other things on display are souvenirs from different foreign countries that their parents have visited. 3. Merienda at Cafe Indigo
The best place in Villa Escudero to get some fresh air and eat merienda (Snack) is at Cafe Indigo. Cafe Indigo is only a small restaurant inside the Villa. Aside from coffee and sandwiches, you may try their classic Filipino merienda like puto at dinuguan (steamed rice cake and pork blood stew), turon (banana lumpia), and ginumis. Ginumis is a sweetened pinipig and coconut with gulaman and sago.
Apart from the colorfully presented classic Filipino merienda, you can also get to enjoy the view from the veranda of the Cafe Indigo. You’ll get a panoramic view of the lake from the waterfall spillway on the right, bamboo rafting area on the lake and pure green nature on the left.
4. Bamboo Rafting
Villa Escudero provides recreational activities for their visitors. This includes the Bamboo Rafting at the Labasin Lake. In Bamboo Rafting, only two persons are allowed per raft. Each will be asked to wear a life vest for safety purposes.
Bamboo rafting in the morning or late afternoon is a good exercise. And, while paddling in the lake, you can take a peek of the Mt. Banahaw. It will definitely be a picture perfect.
One of the best ways to beat the heat in Tiaong, Quezon, is to take a plunge at the newly renovated pool. The Villa Escudero made their venue perfect for a family summer getaway as they have the swimming area designed for kids and adults. The swimming area features a relaxing and instagrammable infinity pool, pool area strictly for adults only and a playground pool safe for your kids.
6. Lay on the Hammock and relax in the Riverside units
You can lay down and relax on the Hammock which you can find by the veranda of the Riverside unit. This will allow you to experience siesta (afternoon nap) in a serene place with fresh air and a relaxing view of the green plantation from the other side of the lake.
7. Dine at Coco Pavilion
Breakfast and dinner buffets are served at Coconut Pavilion. Coco Pavilion is spacious that they even use the venue for the Cultural Folk Dance Presentation. Coco Pavilion can also be rented as a venue for a family or corporate event. I really loved the Ginataang Manok. The breakfast was also delicious.
8.Ride a Carabao
To get around the villa, you can ride their shuttle services. You can take BLTB vintage bus, e-jeepneys, and carabao carts. The carts are designed with hydraulics making things easy for the carabao.
9. Watch a Folk Dance Show
Every Friday to Sunday and few selected Holidays, the resort staff performs outside of their working area, from the kitchen, reception hall to the landscape maintenance. While wearing colorful and detailed costumes, the resort staff with in-house musicians gracefully demonstrate our folk dances and songs.
The various folk dances and songs demonstrate the culture of the different region in the Philippines and Indigenous groups. Folk Dance Presentation includes the following:
- Pandanggo Sa Ilaw – a Spanish-influenced folk dance wherein the dancers move while balancing the oil lamps or candles on your head and hand;
- Tinikling – Bamboo dance in which two bamboo poles are held and tapped on the ground by two persons while two dancers steps in between the poles;
- Lingayen Dance – also called Binislakan Dance, in which sticks are used to represent chopsticks;
- KiereKiereBago Hele – a courtship dance;
- Sabong Cultural Dance – a dance in which the dancers depicts the story of a married couple arguing about sabong or cockfighting.
Rondalla Ensemble is the in-house string musicians of the Villa. They play the background music for the cultural presentation.
10. Tour inside the Casa Consuelo
Apart from the Church-inspired Museum, you can also get to marvel at a Heritage House Museum inside the Villa. The Heritage House Museum features rococo design built in the late 19th Century. The house museum was originally situated in Pampanga, or more particularly within the Clark Field.
Through the passion of Don Ado Escudero and Senorita Elsie to preserve Philippine cultural heritage, the house museum has been moved brick-by-brick from the Pampanga to the Villa in Tiaong, Quezon.
Since some parts of the house were already decaying, Don Ado Escudero had them carefully replaced in order to retain the original design of the house. The house museum is also furnished with the antique furniture collection of their family.
11. Ride the original BLTB
Another way to roam around the Villa is through riding the BLTB vintage bus. BLTB vintage bus is a mini bus with no air conditioning. This shuttle service resembles an old tram.
The Food in Villa Escudero
Villa Escudero serves traditional Filipino cuisines that include Adobong Batangan (braised pork belly with vinegar, garlic, and annatto oil), kulawong talong (grilled eggplant with toasted coconut and cream), and Pancit Buco (Philippine stir-fried noodle dish with the twist of using young coconut strands as its noodles).
My favorite dish from their menu are kesongputi (white cheese made from Carabao’s milk), dilis (dried fish), GinataangManok (chicken stew with coconut milk), pancitmolo (local dumpling soup), shrimps, ube and langkaturon (sweetened and wrapped banana with jackfruit), and ginumis. For the ultimate dessert, I really love their Mantequado Ice Cream.
The Rooms in Villa Escudero
The following are the rate for a day tour package:
Month: December, January, April, May, June,
Monday to Wednesday: P1,450
Thursday to Sunday and selected holidays: P1,600
Month: February, March, July, August
Monday to Thursday: P1,450
Friday to Sunday and selected holidays: P1,600
Month: September, October, November
Monday to Thursday: P 950
Friday to Sunday and selected holidays: P1,150
A day tour package allows the guests to access the following activities and amenities: (1) waterfalls restaurant serving buffet lunch, (2) Museum Tour, (3) Philippine Cultural Show, (4) Bamboo Rafting, (5) Rural Village Tour, (6) Bird Watching, (7) ride to Shuttle Service (Carabao cart, BLTB vintage bus, e-jeepney) around the Villa, and (8) Sports and Recreational activities like swimming, fishing, and the like.
Rates for Overnight Package are as follows:
Month: January to August and December
Longhouse Unit – P 5,500 to 6,000
Riverside Unit – P 6,500 to 7,000
Executive Longhouse unit with Aircon – P 7,500 to 8,000
Riverside Unit with aircon – P 8,500 to 9,000
Presidential Suite with Aircon – P 10,000 to 10,500
(All for a maximum of two persons)
Additional Person – P 2,300 to 2,400
Month: September, October, November
Longhouse Unit – P 3,600 to 4,000
Riverside Unit – P 4,400 to 4,800
Executive Longhouse unit with Aircon – P5,200 to 5,600
Riverside Unit with aircon – P 5,600 to 6,100
Presidential Suite with Aircon – P 6,200 to 7,100
(All for a maximum of two persons)
Additional Person – P 2,100 to 2,200
In addition to the lodging, Overnight Package includes lunch and dinner on the first day and breakfast the next day, and the activities and amenities included in day tour packages.
For other details and inquiries, you may visit their website, villaescudero.com.