Bright in pink, its main structures adorned with this girlish tones goes beyond what is expected with a cultural site. Villa Escudero was widely a plantation before, built for agricultural purposes. However, it transformed to be one of the most visited and known cultural and heritage theme parks in the CALABARZON region. Inside the sprawling premises are a variety of structures, manmade and natural ones, designed to give a unique experience to each and every visitor. Designed to be a day trip site, however, there are structures for accommodation should you wish to extend our stay and experience more of the park.
At its reception, you will be welcomed with a refreshing gulaman beverage and your eyes will feast on beautiful ceiling pieces hanged. There is a huge map on display to give you a glimpse of what is installed for you on the day. The staff workers don the traditional Filipino dress to complete the feel of the Villa Escudero.
We are led to a church-like facade which is actually a museum. Should you be bringing a bag and a camera, unfortunately, you have to deposit in the counter before entering the museum hall.
One of the amazing experiences is the carabao ride where you will be transferred to the hall near the waterfalls. During the ride, you will be beautifully serenaded by a pair songstress and guitarist, and their playlists are wonderful Tagalog folk and love songs. I wish this part could have been longer.
Enjoy your lunch buffet with your feet soaked in cold water from its iconic waterfall. Filipino dishes served in native wares and the usual wooden plate and banana leaves as plating are placed in two separate buffet tables.
The gushing sound of water, the rippling sounds of tree canopy above, the laughter, the gentle breeze – fuse them together – a fun and exciting experience. Thinking that this would be the best part of Villa Escudero? You have to witness the cultural presentation every afternoon.
At a large hall where more hundreds can be seated, you can enjoy viewing the rafting or have a sip of freshly brewed coffee.
Never miss the bamboo rafting while waiting for the presentation. Don’t forget to don sun protection and a bit of stretching or warming up for the upper extremities. You will be paddling with a partner, situated at both ends of the long bamboo raft.
The cultural presentation features folk dances from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Each music is live – from the gongs and kulintang of Mindanao, Spanish-inspired rondalla and the traditional drums of the Cordillera region. Each presentation seems to be impeccable as it garners loud applause from the audience. The costumes and props are also well though off and designed. I am amazed with the details of each presentation.
After the presentation, we are whisked away back to at the start of our day tour with a carabao ride – serenaded again by a lovely songstress.
Villa Escudero is more than a picnic site and a recreation area. More than a teambuilding option – it is just small window to the Philippine Cultural Scene barely scratching its surface. Our heartfelt thanks to the National Commission on Culture and the Arts and Philippine Information Agency for making this second leg of the Heritage Caravan possible.