Villa Escudero: A ₱1,400 Deal

Whenever I have balikbayan friends and relatives visiting the Philippines, I always hear at least one person say, “I want to visit Villa Escudero!” The funny thing is, I had never visited this famous resort in Laguna until last month (April 2015). I had always thought that since it’s a tourist spot that’s so easy to visit, I could put it off until a more convenient time.

High time I went with my Australian friends Aprille and Max a few weeks ago. Villa Escudero often filled up my Facebook newsfeed under “places to visit,” “unbelievable waterfalls to see,” and other clickbait travel stories.

When Villa Escudero first opened to the public in 1981, the waterfall restaurant became one of the highlights.

Suggested itinerary

It’s best to arrive at around 10 a.m. After paying for your ₱1,400 day trip entrance fee (this DOES NOT include an overnight stay), keep your ticket stubs and sip your welcome drinks. The typical route is as follows:
1. Hop on the carabao ride.
2. One-hour visit to the Memorial Museum
3. Village tour
4. Waterfall restaurant for lunch
5. Cultural show at 2 p.m.
6. Bamboo rafting
7. Other recreational activities, like swimming at the pool or bird watching

The museum first opened to the public in 1987.

The museum first opened to the public in 1987.And yes, all of these are part of the ₱1,400 ticket.



Man-made waterfalls

If, like me, you prepped your mind to see a jaw-dropping gift from Mother Nature, then prepare for the hard truth. Villa Escudero’s waterfall is man-made. It was structured to blend with the plantation river, with the lunch area strategically placed next to the falls to allow visitors to enjoy eating while spring water flows under their feet.

Bragging rights. This is where I had lunch one summer afternoon.

I wouldn’t call it a disappointment, especially since the owners never actually gave false advertising about the waterfall. I find it ludicrous how many tourists unleashed their wrath at Trip Advisor for this. Relax, people. For the ₱1,400 all-in entrance fee, did you really expect to have an orgasmic Niagara Falls experience?

A few tips: Wear shorts because your legs will be submerged in water throughout lunch. Pack extra clothes and apply sunscreen because you will get tempted to just flop and bathe under the falls. Walk carefully to avoid slipping on the algae that naturally forms on the cement. Don’t be startled when you feel something slithering by your feet. They’re just fish.

Filipino buffet

Eat as much lunch as you want at the waterfall restaurant, but don’t expect a five-star luxury meal. Instead, open your mind to a typical Filipino salu-salo (get together or party) where you can eat rice and ulam (entrées) with your hands on a banana leaf plate. Bagoong (fermented shrimp paste), sliced green mangoes, sinigang (hot soup), inihaw na tilapia (smoked fish), and many other Filipino dishes are served on the native-style buffet table. For an extra fee, order fresh buko (coconut).

My Australian BFF, Aprille Love

Ask your friends to take pictures of you having lunch with the cascading waters as your backdrop and a flowing stream of spring water under your feet. Man-made or otherwise, this experience is one for the books.

The Filipino experience

For tourists and foreigners, the 2 p.m. cultural show makes a great introduction to the Filipino culture. The dancers and musicians show off the country’s culture, customs, and brief colonial history with a series of performances narrated in English. The show covers the basics from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, and it reminded me of the history lessons I learned back in grade school.

The cultural show happens only every Fridays to Sundays and on holidays, so if you’re taking tourists to see this show, make sure you book accordingly.

When you leave the show and walk around Villa Escudero, you’ll notice a lot of statues that depict Filipinos in traditional costumes reenacting Filipino customs such as pangliligaw or courtship. I had fun explaining to Aprille and Max what the statues represented. My grade 1 teachers would be proud!

Raft and explore

I skipped bird watching and swimming at the pool, but made sure I didn’t miss paddling down Lake Labasin on a bamboo raft. My friends had to leave early, so I stayed behind to walk around the resort and admire the Escudero clan’s collection of historical artifacts, including a rundown plane and World War tank.

Lake Labasin. On the left you’ll find cottages where you can book an overnight stay.

Lake Labasin. On the left you’ll find cottages where you can book an overnight stay.

But wait, there’s more!

If you’re still hopping like an Energizer Bunny by late afternoon, there’s a slew of sports activities you can do, like fishing, table tennis, hiking, and biking. Yes, they’re all still part of the ₱1,400 (about US $32) package.

Villa Escudero is located at Villa Escudero, Km 91, Tiaong, Quezon
Telephone numbers: +63 (02) 523-0392, +63 (02) 521-0830, +63 (02) 532-2944, +63 917-583-7727, +63 919-993-4744, and +63 923-741-0605

Date of visit: April 16, 2015

 

NOTE:
I’ve been getting so many queries and reservation requests. As I clearly stated several times in this blog and the comments section, I AM NOT THE OWNER, MANAGER, OR EMPLOYEE OF VILLA ESCUDERO. I was simply a guest who blogged about my experience. Please stop sending me reservation requests because I cannot help you with that. Please contact Villa Escudero at the official phone numbers listed above the map. Thank you.



18 Comments

  1. I always see this sa Metrodeal and gusto ko talaga. Kaso nagwoworry lang ako na baka umulan. Anyway, I wasn’t really expecting the food to be ‘vikings-like’, since affordable nga. Like 2300, may round trip transfer na to Manila. I just want to see the falls talaga in person. And I want to experience it. One of a kind talaga. 🙂 Hope we can try it na soon, gusto ko din mag rafting

  2. Kate wrote:

    To the people who keep sending me reservation queries about Villa Escudero,

    I am NOT the manager or employee of Villa Escudero. The official website of Villa Escudero is:

    http://www.villaescudero.com/

    In that website, you will find the official phone numbers. Through those phone numbers, you may place reservations with the official employees of Villa Escudero.

  3. Noel wrote:

    Hi Kate,
    I am a Filipino and had been to Villa Escudero 30 years ago. Now that I have a family, I wanted to visit the place again with my family. Can I turn up there anytime and pay at the entrance gate upon arrival? How much is the entrance fee per person on weekdays and weekends? Thanks.

    • Kate wrote:

      Yes, you may drop by anytime, but it’s best to arrive at 9 a.m. because there are regularly scheduled tours and shows. We paid P1,400 per person.

  4. KB wrote:

    Who did you get the 1400 rate from? Contact details?

    • Kate wrote:

      That was the rate we paid per person upon entrance. Contact details of Villa Escudero are found at the bottom of the blog post (right above the map).

  5. David Barone wrote:

    Can I pay credit card for entrance fee the day of? Do you know if I can pay the entrance fee in advance?, how? their website is not working?…Thank you this is very helpful as I am planning to go to this place with family next month..

  6. Karljenkins wrote:

    Hi Kate is there any discount were about 20 heads I’m planning to visit next year,

  7. SJ wrote:

    Thanks for this Kate! I just want to ask, are there any required attire when going to the waterfalls, rafting and other activities in the tour? thanks!

    • Kate wrote:

      Nope. I saw people drenched in their regular clothes at the falls. But of course it’s better to wear something comfy, like shorts and a tank top. Bring aqua shoes if you don’t like the feeling of slippery stones.

  8. Hi Good day! I want to inquire this Villa Escudero. I have 35 guest wants to visit your place on January 2017 they are foreigner from Bangladesh. Can we make early reservation. By THe way I owned a Travel & Tours here in Alaminos, Laguna. And I’m promoting this Villa Escudero as one of the beautiful place outside in Manila. Please send me a qoutations in my email at triztanmarie@yahoo.com . I’m waiting for your kind reply. Thanks & Regards. Marinelle of Anne Marie Travel & Tours

    • Kate wrote:

      Please visit their official website at villaescudero.com. As I stated several times in this blog, I was a tourist/guest of the resort who happened to write an article about it. I am not the employee, representative, manager, or owner of Villa Escudero. Thank you.

  9. melai wrote:

    hi does 1,400 includes the buffet lunch?

  10. Gladys wrote:

    Any idea how much is the entrance fee for children?

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