Villa Escudero is not a new attraction. I remember that the first time I heard about it (and planned to visit it) was like 15 years ago (that means I was like 7 years old then, LOL).
This May, my ex-exgirlfriend and I were scouting for a place to bring my Nanay, my sister-in-law Ann, and her daugther Marian Rose for the customary culmination of their annual summer visit and stay with us. Knowing that I haven’t been to Villa Escudero ever before (she’s been there a couple of times) my xxGF again suggested it to me just like she had several times over the past years.
I had my usual apprehensions. First, I had some doubts on whether Villa Escudero is still as beautiful as it used to be considering that it is now at least 20 years old (we later learned that it is so much older than 20 years). Second, the entrance fee is quite pricey at P1,400 per adult and P700 per child, considering that there would be 8 of us — 5 adults, 3 kids. (Regrettably we had to leave behind my niece Mhaio and our two kasambahays due to budget constraints) And third, we had planned to visit Villa Escudero too many times already only to NOT push through in the end due to some last minute show stoppers. In other words, I though I was jinxed from ever visiting Villa Escudero.
But it did push through this time around! Hooray! And I am glad that it did. Though already old, Villa Escudero is surprisingly well kept.
The cultural presentation, which is the highlight of every Villa Escudero visit, is world class. And one cannot NOT be amazed to learn after the cultural presentation that the dancers are the employees themselves — receptionists, utility men, restaurant cooks and servers, etc.
The all-Filipino lunch at the foot of Villa Escudero’s mini dam is a “must experience” for visitors. Many visitors actually indulge themselves by going right under the mini dam’s spillway, enjoying the cool water cascading from the approximately 30-foot high spillway. Devouring a sumptuous lunch with fresh water flowing right under your table and through your feet is definitely a distinctly unique experience, don’t you think? It was for us.
Up above the spillway the scene is serene and picturesque. Visitos leisurely navigate the calm river with their oars while seated on bamboo rafts.
My sister Kiddo and I tried the raft later that day. She had difficulty getting over the fact that there could be people enjoying their late lunch about 30 feet below just several yards downstream. I had to assure her that I am capable of deftly piloting the raft so that we won’t go over the spillway and crash on top of the unsuspecting people down below.
Villa Escudero has the biggest and most impressive museum I’ve seen in the Philippines, too. It’s not the biggest in terms of the size of the museum itself, but I dare say it has the biggest collection of artifacts, art works, and all manners and sizes of curiosities. Yes, even more impressive that our own National Museum! It can well be declared as a national museum considering its collection of historically significant artifacts. I do not know how they managed to do it but they appear to have the actual inauguration speech wardrobe of all past Philippine presidents from Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo all the way to PGMA! And I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of their collection.
Needless to say (but I say it anyway), the whole family had a great time in Villa Escudero. Probably the one who enjoyed it the most was no other than… ME.