My grandfather visited us last Christmas Holidays and my brother and I decided to visit Villa Escudero to spend some quality time with our Lolo. Since my grandfather is around 85 years old we decided that we needed to rent a private vehicle (3,500 Pesos per 8 hours, rate does not include fuel) so that we could stop whenever my grandfather wanted to.
We spent one of the last days of the year spending time with our grandfather in Villa Escudero. He enjoyed the buffet lunch along the stream with the view of this waterfall and the cultural show. I hope this 2017 you will be able to connect with your family and friends, accomplish more things and be more awesome than you were last 2016. Happy New Year Everyone! #HappyNewYear #VillaEscudero #Quezon #Philippines #TravelPhilippines
We were worried that there might be a limited number of slots for the daytrip at Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort so we decided to do a reservation online via Credit Card (villaescudero.com). My brother and I payed in full (1,600 Pesos/person) while my grandfather gets to have the Senior Citizen Discount.
Since we were going there on a holiday and peak season we were paying the 1,600 Pesos/person rate. Unlike when going there on a non-peak season and on a weekday, which has the lowest rate of 950 Pesos.
You can know more about their rates here.
Originally, our desired departure time was 9AM but our father advised us to leave earlier since we would surely encounter traffic. We did follow his advice and he was right, we did encounter a lot of traffic.
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7:00 AM Our arranged rented vehicle arrived 30 minutes earlier so that we could leave on time.
Since it was a Christmas Holiday there were a lot of travelers to the point that the gasoline stations with restaurants along South Luzon Express Way (SLEX) were full. We decided to have our breakfast when we exited SLEX. We ended up in Chowking.
I also had a hard time withdrawing cash from the stopovers at SLEX.
11:21 AM After 4 hours and 21 minutes on the road, we finally made it to Villa Escudero.
There were so many people and vehicles that their parking lot was full and we had to park at the open area.
Talked to our driver that it might take us a while before we could go out and gave him some cash for lunch. We told him that if he could not find any food in the vicinity he could go out and grab lunch outside.
Safety Tip: Do not let your driver get hungry.
11:33 AM We then registered, since we reserved in advance we did not have to pay anything since we have already payed in advance. They also offer welcome drinks at the registration area.
We got advice on where to go and what to do in the registration area and since it was already near lunch time they told us to head to the waterfalls for lunch.
There was a map so you would know where to go.
After registration and a trip to the comfort room we were ready to enter and have our lunch.
11:52 AM I presented our passes to the guards on duty, we all got inside and instructed to proceed to the waiting area for the transport to the waterfalls.
The waiting area had a long line of people waiting for the carabao drawn carriage. I think there were about 5 carriages that passed before we got to ride. We had our grandfather sit down inside the waiting shed while we lined up sometimes under the sun.
12:16 PM After around 21 minutes of waiting we have finally been able to ride a carriage.
Looking at the carabao pulling the carriage with lots of people made me wonder how strong really are the carabaos. I have tried pulling an araro before but I was not able to pull it while a carabao looks like it could easily pull it.
Along the way there were singers with guitars that would ride on our carriage and would sing romantic comedy songs in a Filipino folk tune. I enjoyed it.
12:25 PM (9 minute ride) We alighted from the carriage and started walking to the waterfalls.
Our group made a wrong turn and ended up in the Pavilion. We were then redirected to where the waterfalls was.
Maybe they need to put the sign on a much easier place to see.
In case you wanted to leave your stuff behind before heading to the waterfalls you may do so by leaving them at their restaurant.
When we arrived at the dining area it was already full of people.
The sheer number of people made me think if doing advance reservation was worth it or not.
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Anyways, we were with our grandfather who can only walk real slow but refuses to use a wheel chair so that his muscles could still be trained. My brother volunteered to find a table while I guard our Lolo. When my brother found a table after around 5 minutes, we walked on ankle deep waters and when we reached the table we cleaned the table first since all their staff were really busy due to the many guests.
When we finished cleaning our table, we washed our hands and went to the buffet area.
There were a lot of buffet areas but each area had many people lined up.
12:59 PM Finally arrived back at our table with a plateful to eat.
1:15 PM We finished our food and decided to start going out of the waterfalls area.
We chose a different route going out.
We then went to went first to their restaurant above so we could use the Comfort Room then proceeded to Coconut Pavilion for the Cultural Show.
1:55 PM We arrived at the Coconut Pavilion (We sure took our time in the restaurant and the comfort room). During weekends and holidays, Villa Escudero has Cultural Shows for guests. This starts from 2PM to around 3:30 PM.
Since there were a lot of people already in the Coconut Pavilion, we found a chair for my grandfather around the side of the stage. Unfortunately, there were no seats left for us so we decided to just stand on the entrance when the show starts.
Going around I saw the rafting area which I really wanted to do but I have to keep my priorities straight, take care of our grandfather first before anything else.
When the Cultural Show started, I really enjoyed it. I think it was one of the best Cultural Shows I have seen in the country.
3:00 PM The comfort room was calling me again. Decided to head back to the restaurant as for sure the comfort room in the Coconut Pavilion will be full. Also, decided to do a sidetrip to the hydroelectric power plant to take photos of the waterfalls again.
3:10 PM Arrived back at the Coconut Pavilion, the cultural show was still running but we decided to head back out of Villa Escudero. We thought of how many people were there, how slow and few the Carabao Carriages were.
3:20 PM We got back outside. I saw some tricycles outside the gate and asked some details from them. It turns out that are available on the side of the road and at Villa Escudero. The rate of a ride is 50 Pesos/tricycle (one-way). A tricycle can fit up to 3 persons or 4 small persons.
Then we went on our way to Manila.
7:30 PM We arrived back at our home in Manila but not without stops at Jollibee Drive Thru and of course we had to fuel up the car rental. Fuel costs around 703.50 Pesos, we were using a Toyota Vios.
We paid for the Car Rental cost including overtime fees, tipped the driver and finally some rest.
Would I recommend Villa Escudero?
I do not think I am the right person to ask. Our priority that time was to take care and tour our grandfather and since he walks slow there were a lot of tihngs that we could not do but I am still glad that we were able to spend time with our Lolo.
I want to go back and try the rafting and the museum which my father was really fond of when he visited a decade ago.