The Enchanted Kingdom or EK is the last place to visit in my little girl’s field trip this year. I volunteered myself a chaperon for I was excited to enter again the magical world of EK to see their newest attractions EKstreme Drop Tower and Disc-o-Magic. High school level had their field trip here yesterday and my teen-age son Pao told us he enjoyed riding in these two heart-stopping rides.
Our first fun-filled water enjoyment in Splash Island was dated Feb. 25, 2000, in celebration of Paolo’s third birthday. The entrance fee at that time was P250 for the adults and P190 for kids below 3 feet. Fortunately, we have no photo souvenir because of a camera malfunction. But everyone especially Paolo had enjoyed it so much. Eleven years after, we’re back in the ultimate Water Adventure Fun Park in the Philippines.
What thrilled us to celebrate our mother’s 60th birthday at Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort is their unique dining experience on native cuisines in Labasin Waterfalls Restaurant and the showcase of Philippine’s rich cultural heritage. We skipped the usual beach getaway this time to enjoy day tripping in the hacienda and embrace our unique culture. Ika nga, “Iba ang Pinoy!”
Provincial life, with its vast coconut plantation and with the smell of fresh country air is what Villa Escudero worthy to visit. It is located in the Tiaong (Quezon) and Laguna (San Pablo City) boundary, a two and a half ride from Manila.
We paid for the entrance fee (P1,200/head) at the main pavilion where we were entertained by gracious hosts wearing the traditional baro at saya. Souvenir shop was inside the pavilion but as of the moment, it was still closed. To our delight, we were given refreshing ice cold teas. But our excitement was suspended to the air when we were informed that lunch at Labasin Waterfalls Restaurant is temporarily housed in the hacienda’s main hall due to the effect of typhoon Santi who had passed last October. The area was inconvenient to use because of high level of water. Sayang! Anyway, there are other amenities to enjoy so off we went for our day tripping.
A day trip includes buffet lunch, carabao-cart ride, Museum tour, swimming, bamboo rafting and watching Philippine Experience Show.
The Museum was closed that day so we just passed by and looked at it with admiration. At the plaza, we saw sculpture of the Escudero ancestors and World War II memorabilia like war planes, cannons and tanks. There were also sculptures of typical Filipino barrio scenes. Our little girl was amused looking at a little boy feeding piglets and later came closed and smiled.
“Mutya” – Carabao-Driven Cart
Riding in a carabao-driven cart tickled the adrenalin rush. I was excited because it was all our first time to experience the ride. Our carabao was named Mutya. As it moved slowly, we were serenaded by a girl and a boy wearing baro at saya singing original Filipino folk songs.
our carabao-cart ride with “Mutya”
Along the way we were greeted by stunning picturesque countryside view, lush and verdant landscape, fresh air and acres of coconut plantation. There were again sculptures of Filipino scenes like man courting a woman and other barrio activities. Indeed it was a feast for the eyes! And our little buddies who were accustomed to urban living had enjoyed our cart ride.
We first indulged ourselves with a refreshing treat in the swimming pool. It has two pools, one is for the adults and the other is for the kids. Swimsuit was strictly imposed. We were not allowed to wear t-shirt and short with zipper. It’s good we brought our swim wears.
While they were busy on swimming activity, me and my hubby took time to explore the rest of the hacienda. We went to see the rooms and houses. We walked beside the blurry lake dotted by cottages and trees. Mount Cristobal was in the background. It was a clear day and so wonderful to walk around.
Eat All You Can Buffet
Tired and hungry, we went to the restaurant for our “Eat All You Can” Buffet! We lined up one by one to choose our desired foods to eat. There were kare-kare, beef caldereta, lechon manok, dried fish, steamed vegetables with deserts like banana cue and tapioca balls. And later we were munching our yummy lunch!
Philippine Experience Show
By 2 pm we headed to the Coconut Pavilion to watch the Philippine Experience Show. The resort’s staff and employees gracefully showcased various dances from Northern, Central and Southern Philippines. I was so impressed by the choreography, colorful costumes and their graceful movement on stage. Tinikling and Pandanggo sa Ilaw were so good to watch for. It reminded me of my elementary days where I used to perform cultural dance on stage. The finale is the “Sinkil” which I admired the most and applauded much by the spectators. It was indeed a lively show and a very good source of dance steps for school or company programs.
No one from our buddies wanted to get out from the swimming pool so it was me and my hubby who tried bamboo rafting. The raft was composed of long bamboos with two small chairs. When I stepped my first leg I thought I will fall, so I was very extra careful when I stepped my other leg. I balanced myself before I sit. Or else I will sink instantly. My hubby rowed well. My hands got tired paddling here, there and everywhere. My hubby used his full energy going back to the base. Our shorts got wet. But we maneuvered so well, we didn’t drop into the hazy lake like the other guests.
Labasin Waterfalls Restaurant
After all the activities, we set off to see Labasin Waterfalls Restaurant, the famed dining area in the hacienda. The 20-feet man-made waterfalls cascaded freely to the area where picnic tables and chairs are set. But as of today, it was so clear. Never mind if we didn’t experience the hacienda’s unique lunch. There is another thing to enjoy in the area, that is to play with the waterfalls. The wall wasn’t flat at all. It had a curve where my buddies enjoyed the flowing water while laying their backs on that wall.
Our day trip ended up almost 6 pm. We went back to the entrance through the carabao-cart again. Delighted, we gave courtesy tip to the three staff behind the ride. Souvenir store was closed so we have no collections to keep. Sad.
Villa Escudero is rich in Filipino culture. It’s good that we brought our kids and they enjoyed our day tripping. I was thankful that this resort was open to the public.
It was a memorable day and everyone of us had fun.