Villa Escudero is an ideal tourist destination both for local and foreign travelers who are seeking for a quick getaway due to its propinquity from Metro Manila. It is situated on the boundary of San Pablo City, Laguna and Tiaong, Quezon and approximately 90 kilometers and 2.5 hours drive from the Philippine capital.
I have seen many wonderful photos of Villa Escudero from the web and social media sites which overly induced my desire to finally proceed with our day tour in this popular resort over the weekend.
We started our Sunday early for a short road trip from our place in Imus City, Cavite to Tiaong, Quezon. We traversed the South Luzon Expressway from MCX (Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway) to Sto. Tomas exit. Then continued for about 30 kilometers more to Quezon Province’s welcome arch via Pan-Philippine Highway (AH26) and turned left onto the Villa Escudero Access Road which is the first road on left after the arch.
Toll Fees (One Way):
MCX to Calamba Toll Plaza – 97 pesos (USD 2)
Calamba Toll Plaza to Sto. Tomas Exit – 25 pesos (USD 0.5)
The resort is open for day tour from 8:00am to 5:00pm and we were there at about 10:00am which I think is a perfect timing. It is advisable to do an early reservation online from their website as this place might be blocked or fully booked for an event, though they accept walk-in guests but only for small groups. The day tour fee is inclusive of lunch buffet, carabao-drawn cart ride, access to the museum, swimming pool, unlimited bamboo rafting and free cultural show (weekends only).
Day Tour Rates:
Adult – Weekday 1,250 pesos (USD 25) / Weekend 1,400 pesos (USD 28)
Children 3 to 6 years old – Weekday 625 pesos (USD 13) / Weekend 700 pesos (USD 13)
Children below 3 years old – FREE
Either you reserved online or did walk-in booking, you need to secure your stubs from the reception counter then enjoy their complimentary welcome drink. Then you are good to go for a long fun day tour in Villa Escudero.
At first, we thought that this vibrantly looking architecture is a Church but then, we were told that it was actually a Church turned into a museum; so we are partly right. We took the chance of taking photos in its pristine surrounding before heading inside. There is a counter at the entrance where you can keep your belongings but you will be asked not to leave your gadgets and wallets. Photo taking inside the museum is strictly prohibited, so we enjoyed all the bits and pieces that it offers with our bare eyes.
This museum was. opened to the public in 1981. It lodges one of the country’s largest private collections of world antiquities which the family Escudero acquired during their travels around the Philippines and also overseas. The rich collection includes religious artifacts, antique furniture, porcelains, ethnic and tribal garments, World War II relics, clothes worn by the past Philippine presidents, preserved animal remains and many other interesting ancient pieces. The staff working inside the museum were also very diligent in explaining the history and origin of every important item.
Carabao Cart Ride
After the walk through in the museum, we proceeded to the loading area of the Carabao Cart Ride. Carabao is a domestic water buffalo and considered as the national animal in the Philippines. Here in Villa Escudero, all carabaos are named. Ligaya brought us in while Madonna sent us out later. They only use female carabaos to transport people in and out of the resort as we were told that the male carabaos tend to fight along the way.
Buffet Lunch at the Waterfall Restaurant
It is one of the highlights and maybe the top reason why travelers opt to visit Villa Escudero. This extraordinary lunch experience by the man-made waterfalls is also the main reason why we also traveled all the way here in Quezon.
Lunch buffet is open from 11:00am until 2:00pm and we were there early to avoid the crowd. The buffet offers traditional Filipino dishes and desserts. You can eat your food in ‘kamayan’ style (using your hands) while soaking your feet in the shallow running water.
You may also plunge into the waterfalls if you wish but I was too busy looking after our Little One while she enjoys the plummeting water.
The entire family can do more bonding in their newly opened swimming pools. They have a pool for the children with 5 water slides, an infinity pool overlooking the Labasin Lake and an exclusive adult pool with 4 hot tubs located on the upper ground for 18 years old and above only. Proper swimming attire is a must to utilize these swimming pools. Children who are not potty trained must wear a swim diaper which you may also buy from the store inside for 80 pesos (USD 1.6). They also have a clean shower and changing room located conveniently in the area. You can also rent a locker for 50 pesos (USD 1) to keep your stuffs.
Philippine Experience Show
The Filipino cultural legacy comes to life in the Philippine Experience Show which happens every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and on holidays. The show is a collaboration of various dance performances representing the culture and traditions of different provinces and ethnic groups in the the Philippines. I can say that this is similar to our crew show in the ship, as it showcases the talent of their very own staff working in the kitchen, restaurants, maintenance, housekeeping and others. It is really a must see show especially if you want to know more about the Philippines.
I am really excited to try it from the moment that we arrived there but I saved it for the finale of our day tour. This is probably the best thing to do to conclude your visit in Villa Escudero. The only sad part was, I did it all by myself as my pregnant wife and little one are not safe to come aboard with me. I paddled around Lake Labasin while enjoying the view of lush surrounding and nature.
If One Whole Day Is Not Enough
If you are planning to stay overnight or longer, they actually have variety of accommodation options that will suit your needs according to your budget. Well for us, a day tour is adequate but we will surely be back in Villa Escudero probably with our relatives and friends. I am not paid to write this post but we are really happy and satisfied with our experience.