Villa Escudero Day Trip Guide

Right off the boundary of Quezon and Laguna province is Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort, a favorite destination of the balikbayan (a Filipino visiting or returning to the Philippines after a period of living in another country). It’s a two- to three-hour drive from Manila or Cavite, and I visited the place for the first time in 2015. After blogging about my Villa Escudero day trip that year, this became one of my most popular blog posts⁠—until the pandemic halted travel in 2020.

Fast-forward to February 2022, Villa Escudero has returned to regular operations—with health protocols in place.

The day-pass price ranges from ₱1,100 to ₱1,600, depending on what day of the week and what month of the year you visit. Whenever people ask me, I just say it’s an average of ₱1,400 per person. Click here for updated ticket prices. As you scroll down below for my day trip guide, please note that the photos were taken before the pandemic. Your commute or car ride is another expense.

Kate was here. Trivia: All carabaos here are girls. According to the employees, male carabaos often break into fights, so they prefer females.

When Villa Escudero first opened to the public in 1981, the waterfall restaurant became one of the highlights. For most tourists, a Villa Escudero day trip is enough, but there’s an option to stay overnight.
Get your feet wet while eating as much Filipino food as you want.

Suggested Itinerary

It’s best to arrive at 10 a.m. or earlier. After paying for your Villa Escudero 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

Balancing act: Tread carefully while carrying your plates of Filipino food.
Explore the World War relics around the property

Man-Made Waterfalls

I blame it on those edited viral videos. If you’re expecting to see a jaw-dropping gift from Mother Nature like I did, 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?

Lunch by this famous MAN-MADE waterfalls

Filipino handa (feast)

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

Entrance and exit

Other things to do: Walk around the plantation. Wear a hat and sunscreen.

Filipino Buffet

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).

The AERA Memorial Museum, founded by Arsenio and Rosario Escudero, showcases the clan’s collection of religious and historical artifacts. It first opened to the public in 1987. Entrance to the museum is part of the ticket.
Villa Escudero’s owner’s favorite color is—you guessed it—pink.


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. They also have in-house photographers, who will take your photos using their camera and then sell you the printed photos a la ’90s Pinoy wedding. Man-made or otherwise, this waterfall experience is one for the books.

The Filipino Experience

For tourists and foreigners, the 2 p.m. cultural show is a great introduction to 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 of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, and it reminded me of the history lessons I learned back in grade school.

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

Ligaw or courtship


The cultural show, which is also part of the day ticket, is about an hour and 15 minutes long. Order a San Mig beer while you’re at it.

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.

Lake Labasin. On the left you’ll find cottages where you can book an overnight stay. There’s also a campsite along the Bulakin river.

Bamboo raft station. Use the bamboo rafts for as long as you want. It’s part of the day ticket.
That’s me rafting

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 day ticket.

Villa Escudero is located at Villa Escudero, Km 91, Tiaong, Quezon.
Telephone numbers: +63 (02) 8-523-0392, +63 (02) 8-521-0830, +63 (02) 8-523-2944, and +63 917-583-7727. Walk-ins are allowed, but you may also reserve tickets online.

“Villa Escudero: A ₱1,400 Deal” was originally published on April 16, 2015.
Blog post updated on June 10, 2019.
Blog post updated on April 30, 2022.