Whenever balikbayan friends and relatives visit the Philippines, there’s at least one person who says, “I want to visit Villa Escudero!” This place often shows up on my Facebook feed labeled under “places to visit,” “unbelievable waterfalls to see,” and other clickbait travel stories. After putting it off for years, I finally visited Villa Escudero in Quezon (right off the boundary of Laguna) in April 2015. Soon after I blogged about it, this became one of my most popular blog posts. I’ve updated this post to make it evergreen.
The day pass price depends on what day of the week and what month of the year you visit. Click here for updated ticket prices.
It’s best to arrive at 10 a.m. or earlier. After paying for your ₱1,400 day trip entrance fee (this DOES NOT include an overnight stay), keep your ticket stub and sip your welcome drink. The typical route is as follows:
1. 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
If, like me, you prepped your mind to see a jaw-dropping gift from Mother Nature, you need to know the cold, hard truth. Villa Escudero’s waterfall is man-made. It was structured to blend in with the plantation river. The lunch area is strategically placed next to the artificial falls so that you may enjoy eating while spring water flows under your feet.
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 (US $27) 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 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.
Eat as much lunch as you want at the waterfall restaurant, but don’t expect a five-star luxury meal. Instead, you’ll experience 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).
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 is a great introduction to the Filipino culture. The dancers and musicians will present our country’s 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 on Fridays to Sundays and 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.
Raft and Explore
Other free activities include bird watching and swimming at the pool. Don’t miss paddling down Lake Labasin on a bamboo raft. Walk around the resort and admire the Escudero clan’s collection of historical artifacts, including a rundown plane and World War tank.
But Wait, There’s More!
If you’re still hopping like an Energizer Bunny by late afternoon, there’s a slew of activities you can do, like fishing, table tennis, hiking, and biking. Yes, they’re all still part of the ₱1,400 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. Walk-ins are allowed, but you may also reserve tickets online.
Date of visit: April 16, 2015
Blog post updated: June 10, 2019
I’ve been getting so many 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. Thank you.