Villa Escudero is a historical agricultural estate and resort on the border of Tiaong, Quezon and San Pablo, Laguna. It was opened for local residents, balikbayans, and foreign tourists in 1981. According to the official website, Villa Escudero “has a worldwide reputation as a showcase for the Philippines’ rich cultural heritage, offering a beguiling glimpse of its history, cuisine, dress, customs, and natural beauty a mere two hours away from Manila.” Indeed; I was a witness!
Whether it’s a company outing, an educational field trip, barkada hangout, or family retreat, Villa Escudero offers a wide array of time-consuming facilities and mesmerizing attractions that will make you come back for more! This place is also eminent for hosting wedding ceremonies.
After a stressful long drive (we “accidentally” exited at Batangas City due to the inclement weather), we craved the food this resort could recommend, but we were provided a number of welcome drinks first! Ahh, refreshing! It was considered a tradition to dine at Labasin Waterfalls Restaurant, yet we visited on a gloomy and rainy noon. As an alternative, the receptionist suggested settling down at the Recreation Hall.
We were escorted to a carabao (water buffalo) cart. An official photographer took a picture of us riding the cart, which we would have claimed before we departed. It costs around 150 pesos. Unfortunately, our picture was already purchased by our companions during that ride. They only printed one copy to make sure their efforts will not go to waste.
While we were heading to the hall, where the love of my life (aka food) is, three men were serenading us. They occupied the back seats of the mini jeepney. Each carabao had his or her name and we stumbled upon Maganda and Sandara! Together with my aunt, we sat beside the worker controlling the carabao and witnessed these “splendid” views!
Despite the “impressive” appetizers, the food was calling for me. I went straight to the buffet table without minding my family, grabbed a plate and a pair of utensils, and cut in front of the line. I took whatever was pleasing (oh, how I missed Filipino food!) and finally joined my family who was patiently waiting for me at one of the tables.
The workers wore native attires as part of their theme! This made us feel like we were in a province. Well, we really were. They were attentive too! They would restock each time a group dug up some food! If I’m not mistaken, there are numerous families living there already. They work at the plantation section of the hacienda or maybe, both, even at the resort.