Friday, May 25, 2012

Road Trip to Villa Escudero with San Pablo's Sulyap Gallery Sidetrip

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Our day started early.  We left the house around 6:30 am for Villa Escudero.  From SLEX, we took the Batangas/Lucena exit and drove past the town of Sto. Tomas towards the direction of San Pablo City, Laguna.

Right after the Thank You arch at the border of San Pablo and Quezon was the 1km access road to Villa Escudero.

The day tour rate is 1400 pesos.  It comes with the Museum Tour, Carabao Ride, Lunch Buffet, Bamboo Raft Rides and the use of the swimming pool.

We were welcomed with a drink of Sago't Gulaman and were ushered to the covered walkway leading to the Museum.  We walk past the Pink Villa before and were asked to surrender our things for the Museum Tour.

The Museum is housed in a small church.  It’s filled with huge antique religious icons and church vestments, as well a collection of historical artifacts, traditional costumes and clothes. They do not allow picture taking inside the museum.


Around the property are life size dioramas depicting a Filipino rural life.  Before our carabao ride, we were able to catch the fiesta parade, with a marching band, paper mache giants and dancers.  


After the parade, we took the carabao ride to the grand pavilion.  Riding with the group is a singer and guitarist rendering classic Filipino love songs as we navigate through coconut plantation. We want to be early for lunch, which starts serving at 11:00 am to get a good seat in front of the waterfalls.  The recreation center is right across the entrance to the falls.  Should you arrive early, you can have a game of pool, dart or just sing at the café’s videoke.


The highlight of the visit was lunch.  We were able to get a table on a shady corner right in front of the falls.  The buffet consists of local Filipino dishes such as pansit, roasted chicken, liempo, blanched vegetables, and chicken tinola for the soup.  Dessert was a pile of pineapples and banana cue. What makes the experience special is that you eat while your feet is submerged in ankle deep cool water from the falls of the hydroelectric dam.


After the meal, we went to check the pool area and the boardwalk to the bamboo rafts.  After a few minute rests, we were in line to give it a try.  It was surprisingly stable and we were asked to wear life jackets for safety.  Maneuvering the raft was a bit tricky but it will not take long until you get the hang of it.  After rafting in the afternoon sun, we treated ourselves with Halo-Halo at the Café along the Lagoon.

We finished the Halo-Halo just in time for the start of the Cultural Show at 2:00pm in their grand pavilion.  Local performers as well as other cultural groups performed traditional Filipino Dances and introduced the different cultural groups of the country.

Right after the show, we went swimming in the pool.  The resort has lockers to store your valuables for a minimal fee of 50 pesos.  After freshening up, we took the carabao ride back to the entrance for some last minute picture taking.
Before heading back to Manila, we decided to have dinner in Sulyap Gallery and Cafe in San Pablo City.  It is located at the old Cocoland Compound near the Poblacion, and you can ask any tricycle driver for directions.

I have written about this place during my last visit:
http://moleinthefoot.blogspot.com/2012/04/sulyap-gallery-cafe-san-pablo-laguna.html
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