Saturday 5th of December 2015 and I had asked them to wake me up at 8 o'clock. No San Miguel
Villa Escudero Plantations
is 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of working coconut plantation and hacienda located 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) south of the city of San Pablo, Laguna province on the border with Quezon province in the Philippines. Since 1981, the plantation has opened its doors as a resort offering village tours, museum tour, food and accommodations. It has developed a worldwide reputation as a focal point to experience Philippine culture and history in a beautiful rural setting.
Light yesterday and it was quite easy to get out of bed. Breakfast and I asked for recommendations for a day tour at the travel desk.
The only thing that was of interest (that could be done in 1 day) was the Villa Escudero two and a half hour drive from Manila. I asked for the car to be here at 10 o'clock and I had time for breakfast.
We left the hotel and it was the same way we had been driving last Monday when we drove to Donsol. But before we left I complained on the car. Black windows and it was hard to see anything and to take pictures through the window.
Saturday and the traffic was kind of light, but I had expected less traffic. We made a stop at a 7 Eleven for a few diet drinks. There was a girl buying food in front of me, 4 hot dogs and some steamed bread. She explained that the food was NOT ONLY for her. She would bring it home to her family.
I was more concerned about the vitamins and I asked her why they didn't cook at home, much better than 7 Eleven. She told me that they could not get the same taste.
The guy behind the counter packed everything in bags for her. When she left she had got so many bags to carry her stuff in that I just had to react. I told her that we didn't gave a shit about the environment and the future.
- But what about your children?
We left 7 Eleven behind and we drove for about 10 minutes when my driver stopped to check the price on some fruit they sold along the road.
I tried one of the fruits and I was not impressed. Tasted, well, like nothing and it was mostly pips. So I was for sure not going to buy any of the fruits. My driver thought they were too expensive. We said good bye to the girl and we took off towards Villa Escudero. I was enjoying my diet drink in the back seat while enjoying the passing landscape outside the black glassed window.
We drove on the Pan Philippine Highway and we turned off the highway and we drove through some rice paddies until we reached a house. We had arrived to Villa Escudero.
The reason why I had chosen this activity was because they had told me that I was going to ride a buffalo cart.
I was under the impression that we were going to see an old village or, well, I really don't know what to expect. Except the buffalo cart.
I got out of the car and I went in to the reception and I got my ticket. Well, it was 4 tickets:
• Buffalo cart
• Entrance to museum
I was told that there was a cultural dance and show at 14:00. Yeah-yeah, blah-blah. I ripped off my buffalo cart ticket and I went to look for the buffalo.
I passed through a small gate and I asked for the buffalo. They pointed towards a flag pole.
It was a 30 meters walk next to a lawn with an old aircraft and a tank.
I reached the flag pole and there was a buffalo coming and the buffalo was not pulling a cart but a wagon. I was disappointed, I had expected an old wooden cart pulled by a buffalo. The cart reminded me about a wagon pulled by an electric car at amusement parks etc.
The only thing I had been looking forward to was the buffalo cart and the cart turned out to be a big wagon made of metal.
I had expected to have my own cart, but the wagons were built for 20 passengers or so. I was instantly feeling sorry for the buffalo having to pull this load. And God help the buffalo when Porky are getting up on the wagon
I took a seat up front but I was told that I was going on the other wagon. They are obviously taking one tour and then they change. And while waiting the buffaloes are having a good time in the water.
Well, I got off the wagon and I walked to the next one. They called the buffalo from the water and she came up. I was introduced to the buffalo that was named SEXY.
And she want up to the wagon and she donned the whatever they call the wood thing she have on top of her neck without any help.
I was not going with this buffalo as he was going to take a rest
This is SEXY, and she is having a good time in the water waiting for her turn to pull the wagon
This is SEXY, the buffalo for my wagon
This is the wagon I'm going in
We were joined by a guy playing Elvis Presley for me
We met another buffalo wagon
We took off and we were joined by a guy with a guitar and he was playing “classic” Elvis tunes for me, the buffalo and the driver. I was the only passenger. We drove on a dust road and we passed plenty concrete figures placed around the park.
And the concrete figures was about it. I had expected us to pass through an old village ore something. Here was nothing, a dust road.
Well, it was a service road for cars servicing the park and parking for the staff's motorcycles. But it was nice to ride with the buffalo while listening to the Elvis tunes. I thought that we were going for a round tour but we reached a stop and a sign saying “water fall” and I got off the wagon. The wagon was soon full of new passengers.
I reached the water fall and I didn't bother to go down to the water. I was soon realizing that this was the place for the included lunch. And we read on Villa Escudero web page: Waterfalls Restaurant
Lunch is served on bamboo dining tables set in a few inches of crystalline running water from the falls. The experience of dining on delicious local dishes with the sparkling waterfalls as a backdrop with
adjective having the structure and form of a crystal; composed of crystals: a crystalline rock.
• poetic/literary very clear: he writes a crystalline prose.
clear spring water running over your feet is a truly singular and memorable experience only Villa Escudero can offer.
Well, strange how we can look on things so different. I was for sure not seeing any crystalline water. Delicious local dishes, what the duck!? Can you name any Filipino dish? Asking the Cook what’s for dinner there is 4 answers to choose from.
Take the whatever and smash it up with a cleaver without removing any of the bones and then down in a pot. Add the same vegetables and you have a meal. I saw the buffet next to the tables and it was for sure nothing I was going to try. We can just imagine the food being there for hours.
I was watching the Labasin Dam for the hydroelectric plant when I young Chinese couple came up from the lunch place. The girl looked like she was about to die. She started to
Villa Escudero Plantations
Villa Escudero Plantations was founded in 1872 by Don Plácido Escudero and his wife Doña Claudia Marasigan. Originally a sugar cane plantation, the crop was converted to coconut by their son, Don Arsenio Escudero in the early 1900s.
A pioneering agriculture industrialist, he built the country’s first working hydroelectric plant - Labasin Dam - to supply his desiccated coconut factory and the Escudero Plantation house, which he and his wife Doña Rosario Adap built in 1929.
throw up and she was screaming so I thought she just had have her last meal ever.
I was happy that I had not had the lunch even though it was free. Free, well, it was included, but I prefer to pay a little extra for quality. And I think, not 100% sure, but almost that the Chinese girl had skipped the lunch even though it was included in the price.
I left the water fall and the Labasin Dam behind and I walked back to the buffalo wagon stop. There was a buffalo and wagon waiting and I got on board. Of course, front row with the driver. There was a girl in the back and it turned out that she was going to sing together with a guy and a guitar during the ride.
I asked for the museum and they were going to drop me at the museum. We took off and they guy started to play the guitar and he was singing together with the girl.
It was only a few minutes ride to the museum, well, the museum where almost where we had started the buffalo ride. The driver pointed at a pink hose and he told me that it was the museum. I said thank you and I got out of the wagon. 50 meters walk and I stepped inside the museum. Museum or junk shop?
2 floors of “collections” and I really tried to stretch the time as much as I could, but it was impossible to spend more than 7 minutes in the museum. There was nothing of interest, stuffed animals that looked at least to say ragged.
An old Japanese tank outside the museum
An old Japanese tank outside the museum
I stopped to look at the old Japanese tank outside the museum. There was an old airplane as well. This delayed my departure by 2 minutes. I was back at the reception after about 1 hour after arrival. I was hollering to the driver coming towards me from the parking lot.
- Bring the car, let's get the duck out of here!
We left Villa Escudero with screamin' and smokin' tyres and I was drooling thinking about Tempura at Mall of Asia where I expected to be around 4 o'clock. We were hauling arse on the Pan Philippine Highway and we were soon on the toll way towards Manila.
We reached the last toll booth and BAM! The traffic came to full stop and it was past 6 o'clock when I was back at the hotel. Day tour, 8 hours, 1 hour at Villa Escudero and 7 hours in the car. My last day tour in Manila that is for sure, now I have spent enough time in a car on the Philippines. So next time it will be a flight to Donsol, after having made sure the whale sharks is there. Then flight back to Manila and straight back home to Bangkok.
Review: Manila Day tour - Villa Escudero
Address: Manila Office: 1059 Estrada Street, Malate 1004 Metro Manila
Tel: (632) 521-0830 (632) 523-0392 (632) 523-2944
Web page:www.villaescudero.com Price: I paid 6600 Peso for 1 PAX - 2 PAX 4000 Peso something/ PAX including car from Manila
“From its humble beginnings, the resort has become a prime tourist destination for locals, overseas Filipinos and a wide array of foreign visitors to the country. It has a worldwide reputation as a showcase for the Philippines' rich cultural heritage, offering a beguiling glimpse of its history, cuisine, dress, customs and natural beauty a mere two hours away from Manila”
Above from their web page. Well, I can't help but wonder where they come up with all this. In short, what a waste of time and money this day tour turned out to be. I spent an hour at the place and I could as well have spent this hour at Mall of Asia.
If it wasn't for the buffalo it would have been rated:
Yes, if it had not been for the buffalo it would have been better to stay at the hotel room with a hangover. That pretty much sums up the place.
And yes, I skipped the Philippine Experience Show, and this is something we all have experienced in different parts of the world. “Experience Show where the country's rich culture comes to life, from its ethnic diversity to its colonial legacy” YAWN and YAWN again!
And the museum, please believe me, I really tried to stretch the time as much as I could. But I walked through the museum in 7 minutes. There is just a limit to how long you can spend looking at rags and junk. I cannot find words so I quote their web page again:
The AERA Memorial Museum, founded by spouses Arsenio and Rosario Escudero, houses one of the largest collections in the country, unmatched in its eclectic diversity. Housed in a replica of a long-gone church in Intramuros with painted trompe-l'oeil ceilings, the present building opened for viewing in 1987. The core of the collection is its trove of colonial religious art.
The superbly executed silver altars, gilded carrozas, ivory santos, embroidered vestments and intricately carved images and bas-reliefs and tableaux, most dating from the Spanish colonial era are a testimony to the artistry and piety of the Filipino. Reflecting a lifetime of dedicated collecting and the wide-ranging interest of the Escudero couple, there are also extensive collections of Oriental ceramics, natural history and ethnographic dioramas, costumes, household furniture, weaponry and many other items of interest collected in their travels around the world
One thing is for sure, they are not afraid of using superlative. I myself found the use for a few superlatives when I was finally in the car heading back to my hotel in Manila.
Of course, Tempura had to be cancelled and I had my dinner at the hotel before going to Robinsons. I should have been back home, but I have decided to stay until Monday and no need for any VISA runs before I'm leaving for the Tiger Safari in India.
Sunday was spent at the National Museum and Mall of Asia. I was finally getting to Tempura. They have changed their menu so my favourite was gone. But they had the Teriyaki that I liked so I was happy.
Monday morning and I have booked a car for 10 o'clock and off to the airport we go and Thai Airways flight back to Suvarnabhumi International Airport. I was surprised when I got in to the airport. They had rebuilt the check-in hall and Thai Airways had moved their check-in desk.
It looked kind of nice, still the old building. But last time I was here it was so 60's.
And for sure it looked to be 60 years old and worn back then. Check-in was done in a jiff and the immigration. What do you know? They have new booth and it looked, well, it was nice and clean. Security, had gone through a huge overhaul and it looked like they had updated their equipment. It was all done in a jiff and I was surprised.
But after the security it was the good ol' Ninoy Aquino International Airport and it looked to fall apart any minute. Last time I was in Thai Airways lounge it was raining in and now they had closed the lounge.
They had moved to the other side of the airport and I went there and I had half a soda water before I left. It was East Germany, at least that is what I was thinking of when I was in the lounge. Lucky that it wasn't raining.
Well, back in Bangkok and I'm joining Bangkok Slot Car Club. I bought a Scalextric race track for my nephews for Christmas and, well, I kind of got interested and decided to look for Scalextric in Bangkok.
I found Bangkok Scalextric Slot Car Club. The company Thai Slot Car Co, Thailand distributor of Scalextric electric model racing cars and sets and I decided to join. You just need to click HERE to find out all about the Scalextric adventure in Bangkok.
OK, it has come to my knowledge that we have senior citizens visiting my web page. How hard can it be? So it's not very easy for them to see the blue coloured links to the next page.
Jiffy (also jiff)
noun [in SING.] informal a moment: we'll be back in a jiffy.
ORIGIN late 18th cent.: of unknown origin.
So as you understand, in a jiff pretty much depends on your internet.
So I put a “Next” button here and I hope that there isn't any problem to understand how to use the button. So just CLICK the “Next” button on your left hand side and you will be on the next page in a jiff!
Marunong ka mag-tagalog? Walang problema! Magpunta sa kabilang pahina pindutin ang “NEXT” button sa itaas
Faites vous parlez le français? Pas de problème! Pour arriver à la page suivante faites s'il vous plaît un déclic le bouton “Next” ci-dessus!
Haga usted dice el español? No hay problema! Ver la siguiente página sólo hacer clic el botón “Next” encima!
Farla parla l'italiano? Non problemi! Per vedere la prossima pagina lo scatto per favore giusto Il bottone “Next” sopra
Sprechen sie Deutsch! Kein problem! Wenn Sie die folgende Seite sehen wollen gerade klicken der Knopf “Next” oben!