Abe’s Farm in Magalang, Pampanga: Leaving Everything in Manila to Relax and Unwind
When In Pampanga, Abe’s Farm is the perfect getaway from the frantic pace of urban living. Time slows down as you walk through the orchid garden of the resort and enjoy the simple, nature-inspired comfort of your room. Visit the past as you peruse the E. Aguilar Cruz Museum, containing select pieces of the artist’s work and more. And you’d wish – I did – that time stood still as the ladies at the Spa pamper you with their magic hands.
Originally an estate where the late journalist-restaurateur Lorenzo J. Cruz (“Larry” or“LJC” as he was fondly called within his social circles) would bring family and friends for the weekends, Abe’s Farm was opened to the public in the 1990′s, serving our favorite Kapampangan dishes as well as offering pristine accommodation and impeccable service to its patrons.
Abe’s Farm is roughly a two-hour drive from the metro via the North Luzon Expressway. From the Angeles Exit, it’s about a 45-minute drive towards the direction of Mt. Arayat. Located far from the town proper, pollution is practically non-existent in Abe’s Farm. And that’s good, considering that the vegetation they grow here are distributed to the different establishments under the LJC Restaurant Group.
In the first part of our review, we tackled the Kapampangan yumminess of the food they serve in the Main House of Abe’s Farm. (If you missed it, click here.) In this article, we talk about the rest of our stay in Abe’s Farm and why staying there for the night is worth every penny!
Some of the dishes we sampled in Abe’s Farm.
Accommodation @ Abe’s Farm
There are two kinds of accommodation in Abe’s Farm: traditional Ifugao huts and regular rooms. Close to the Main House are Ulogs or traditional Ifugao huts. Standing on stilts, the sala is located at the open-air first floor while the second floor is where the bedroom is. Part of the ornaments found in the Ulogs are the bulols, carved images of Ifugao deities. Bulols scare the hell out of me (something to do with the superstition that spirits actually live inside them), that’s why I was relieved to find out that we weren’t staying there.
The more conservative, regular rooms are found in the garden area of the resort, adjacent to the Spa rooms and every bit as relaxing.
The rooms are a combination of traditional Filipino and Balinese design; it’s simple, elegant, and very much nature-inspired. There’s no television, no wi-fi, no nothing that would remind you of the Manila life. For my fiance’s parents who are used to equating relaxation with TV, it was scandalous! For me, it was actually refreshing.
Without the distractions of technology, I got to focus more on myself and the beauty of nature surrounding me. The room was perfect for me! The sheets and curtains were spotless white, pristine, having a gorgeous effect together with the somewhat voyeuristic wood-and-glass sliding doors that separate your privacy from the rest of the world.
You have a rack to place your things, an inclined chair to comfortably sit on (as my fiance is enjoying in the above photo), a lamp, four spot lights, the airconditioner, and an ordinarily green ceiling fan that keeps you company as you stare up before dozing off in the firm king-sized bed of clean, white sheets. Open the sliding nipa door and you’ll find the bath – the sink, the toilet, and the bath tub separated by cubicle-high doors. There was no bar soap, just bottles of bath gel, shampoo and conditioner, and more bath gel and shampoo and conditioner. So if you’re the spiffy type like me you might want to bring your own. (But then, if you are such then I wouldn’t even have to remind you.)
Filling the tub and soaking in it for a good 30 minutes before pulling the sheets and going to sleep, having the room and the king-sized bed all to myself (my fiance stayed with her parents – we’re conservative like that) I felt really pampered, spoiled, and I enjoyed every bit of it!
Sights & Amenities @ Abe’s Farm
One of the obvious attractions in Abe’s Farm is the orchid garden connecting the Main House to the E. Aguilar Cruz Museum.
As mentioned, the Spa and regular rooms are part of the garden. In addition, there are communal huts (pictured above) to lounge or have activities in. All sorts of flora can be found in the garden. I like how pine trees are growing in the garden. My fiance and her mom, quite obviously, were more attracted to the orchids.
For history buffs, the E. Aguilar Cruz Museum is a restored mansion courtesy of Larry Cruz and his good friend and fellow artist Agustin Goy. I like how the mansion’s restoration and museum’s design were guided by the same principle that has led to the LJC Group‘s distinct appeal, all the way back to Cafe Adriatico‘s founding in Malate:
“Things should never be too new or shiny… Elegance is the worn patina of things valued and treasured. And it’s not just material things.” – Lorenzo J. Cruz
The lower left photo in the collection above shows E. Aguilar Cruz‘s actual painting set. Above it pinned to the wall is his painting “Three Girls Waiting”. Apparently, Abe was a very profilic painter, but he was interested in nude art the most. (Good choice, chap!) In the museum, you’ll find dozens of Abe‘s select works. The lower right photo contains some of the collections of Abe: trinkets from China and other countries he visited, silver teapots, a songbird alarm clock, and a three-dimension slide viewer. The last item is curious because at the time the 3D viewer was the thing of the future. Abe was fascinated with the future, while we are beguiled by the past.
Amenities in Abe’s Farm include the swimming pool, a badminton court, and a table tennis area. Among the available amenities, only the swimming pool is well-maintained however. And we didn’t even get to swim because of the drizzle that morning (which was actually a perfect weather to wake up to, I must say!).
It makes for a stunning view though, huh?
The Spa @ Abe’s Farm
Finally, one of the definite highlights of our stay at Abe’s Farm would be the spa treatment we had in the morning. You can choose to have a full body massage (choose from Swedish, Shiatsu, or Aromatherapy) or have the masseuse work on specific areas of your body. From what we’ve tried, I highly recommend the basic one-hour Swedish massage!
The masseuse at the spa (pictured above) were trained by the same people at Tagaytay’s Nurture Spa. They’re also licensed private practitioners, so you know they’ll take care of you. Lying down in the massage bed, letting the ladies work their magic with essential oils and chopsticks (?), it was just what we needed to complete our relaxing stay, just before we drove back to Manila.
I like that the masseuse was sensitive to my reactions as she was applying pressure to areas of my body. While she would ask if the pressure was okay, she didn’t force all her strength even if I said, “It’s okay. Go lang!” They informed us that the massage was finished (in my mind I was pleading, “More! More!!! MORE!!!”) and left the room, allowing us to enjoy the sensation of complete relaxation, lying on our backs, coyly smiling and whispering, “Sh*t… Ang sarap…”
When In Manila and you want to get away, Abe’s Farm in Magalang, Pampanga is a great place to rejuvenate your soul. Personally, it’s one of the most relaxing overnight stays I’ve had. The food, the room, the spa are definitely the winners for me. The staff and the service were outstanding! Ready to leave everything in Manila?
98 Livestock Village, Barangay Ayala in Magalang, Pampanga
Open daily, 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
For overnight accommodations, pre-booking is needed
Phone: + (045) 865-1930
Mobile: +(0917) 8085187
Abe’s Farm in Magalang, Pampanga: Leaving Everything in Manila to Relax and Unwind, Part 2 – Accommodation, Museum, and Spa