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“Wonderful place to experience various aspects of traditional Filipino life”

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Villa Escudero Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in San Pablo City
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 14 July 2014

Our family of 3 adults and 3 kids decided to stay overnight at Villa Escudero in summer of 2013. It was very accessible to public transportation. We took the bus, and got off at the tricycle terminal (along the highway) going to Villa Escudero. Each tricycle is PhP50 to the reception hut, where we were given cold gulaman drink while we took care of payments. There’s a small souvenir shop in this reception hut where we bought hats, shirts, magnets, etc before we went home the following day. All staff in the resort wore Filipiniana attire.... really nice.

The main resort area is a short bamboo-cart ride away from the reception hut.The resort is a coconut plantation so there are lots of coconut trees along the way. The cart is pulled by a carabao, and has a guitarist and a singer who both sing traditional Filipino songs during the ride. It was fun.

We registered at the hotel lobby but since check-in is not until 11 am, we all went swimming first. There are 4 separate pools... toddlers’, kids’, and 2 adult pools, one of which has a slide. At 11 am, we were able to bring our things to our room. Since no air-conditioned room was available when we booked, we had a long house unit. The unit was spacious...with 2 beds on the ground floor (one has a nice canopy) and 3 mattresses on the floor of the small second storey (up a narrow staircase). Everything in the unit is made of bamboo...very interesting for the kids. There is an ample-sized bathroom, a bit dark, with no free toiletries. Towels are provided. There is a ceiling fan, no aircon...and it got really hot in the afternoon and evening...you need to bring fans. Because we knew there is no TV nor wi-fi, we brought our gadgets/laptop and our Globe Tatoo so we have something to do in the evening, after dinner.

The price of PhP2,200 per person includes 3 buffet meals (per person price is higher for a party of less people). Lunch had lots of yummy food and we ate on native plates with banana leaves on top. Fresh coconut available for PhP50. What made it extra special was the man-made waterfalls and the tables being right at the river. It was a thrill to walk on the stony river as you go around the restaurant. The flowing river waters will reach to more than a foot up your leg so wear appropriate footwear and clothes. Your feet will be in the flowing river water while you sit and eat. The kids loved the waterfalls and we spent a long time just having fun in its waters after lunch... good thing the kids were in their swim wear (we went to eat lunch coming right from swimming in the pools). There’s an in-house photographer who takes photos that you can buy near the exit gate of the resort as you leave.... PhP 125 for an 8R size.

From the waterfalls, we went to the huge eating area near the sleeping units. We ate halo-halo while waiting for the one-hour cultural show scheduled at 2pm there (weekends only). Don’t miss this show because it is truly amazing. The dances and costumes were a treat to watch. You can also take photos with the performers after the show. After that, you can walk around the resort and take photos in various places with life-size statues depicting everyday barrio life. It was fun!

Dinner was in the same eating area where the cultural show was held. It was a bit dim. Food was just ok, less food selections than lunch. We had soup, rice, potato salad, pancit, fried chicken, 2 meat dishes, fish, vegetable dish, and biko (rice cake). We decided to rest for the night after dinner but you can use the swimming pool till 10 pm.

Breakfast was much better than dinner. I love their hot choco and champorado...don’t miss this, it’s super yummy! There’s also corn flakes, fresh milk, coffee, juice, rice, white bread, pandesal, puto, scrambled egg, ham, tinapa, meat dish, fresh mango, and different yoghurts.

We spent our whole morning in the pools. We also tried the bamboo raft ride... which made us nervous (don't worry, life vests are provided). Check-out was at 10 am so we just kept our luggage with us near the pool. There were lounge chairs and tables beside the pool and this is where we ate our lunch. We ordered from the nearby restaurant and they can bring the food poolside. Prices were very reasonable. We really liked their pancit bihon. After lunch, we used the big shower rooms near the pool then asked the front lobby staff for a ride out. Our carabao-pulled cart arrived shortly. We were taken to see the employees’ village within the resort and visited their small chapel.

Our last stop was the big 2-storey pink museum. We left our luggage at the bag counter outside the museum...no cameras allowed inside. Our tour guide explained all the stuff we saw...which included collections of religious statues, previous presidents’ clothes, jars, coins, weapons, stuffed animals, and other interesting stuff. It took us about an hour to see the entire place. Museum closes at 5pm.

After some souvenir shopping, it was time to leave. It was a very memorable trip! It exposed our kids to different aspects of traditional Filipino life and they enjoyed it. During our 2-day stay, all the staff were very nice, all smiles, (except for one lady in the hotel registration lobby).

Room Tip: If you can't stand the heat of summer, get an air-conditioned room
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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10  Thank Simplicity2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 24 June 2014

Our company outing and teambuilding was held at Villa Escudero. For some reasons, they decided our very large group (more than a thousand) will be accommodated well in the resort. I've been meaning to visit this hacienda famous for its man-made lake and falls where you can dine at the foot of the falls while your feet touch the cool water. While I feel that a whole day at Villa Escudero won't be as much fun if I am in a beach or in a mall, I decided to go anyway.

The entrance to the lake and pool areas is far from the villa entrance where vehicles are allowed. Therefore, it was a long walk toward our event venue. I learned afterward that we're supposed to ride the calesa-carabaos which is part of the package we paid for but for some reason, we just walked to the venue.

The place was scorching hot and we were provided with chairs and tables under big umbrellas but we still felt like sunbathing under those plastics. The activities to do in the hacienda during our time of visit are: boating-rafting on the lake, swimming at the pools, visiting the family museum-church, bathing at the lake-falls, and taking selfie-groupie shots while doing all of these.

I do not like boating as I am not a good swimmer and I'm afraid of falling off the raft. Our group, because of our big number, wasn't' accommodated to dine at the waterfalls which is my only fascination of the place. Because of my frustration, I decided not to visit the waterfalls anymore.

We ate the lunch under the umbrellas, comprising of grilled (inihaw) tilapya, kaldereta, among others. The food was okay.

I simply decided to roam around and take photos of the place since I don't have anything to do. I joined the trip to the church-museum which contain different types of woodcarvings of Catholic saints and all types of artifacts, relics and even remnants of animals and people owned or collected by the family. It's weird to see a church full of woodcarvings of saints people revere along with preserved animals and insects. The museum's contents are amusing but I think they can use a curator to better arrange the items for smooth historical experience to tourist.

What I like about the place: the comfort rooms are clean and they're generous with tissues!

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled on business
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3  Thank marikenya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 June 2014

Come here to have lunch at the waterfalls. The food is not that great, but the experience is. After lunch, watch a cultural show (featuring the employees of Villa Escudero) and ride a bamboo raft at the tranquil Labasin Lake. The day tour fee is quite steep at PhP 1,400 per person.

Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
10  Thank Sleepyhead29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 June 2014

We took our office staff and families right after the Philippine "summer rush". Nature's ambiance provided Mt. Banahaw in the distance, a sleepy river outside our river units, loads of tropical trees & landscaping, as well as the sights & sounds of birds interrupting the wonderful quiet. Buffet lunch with river water running through your feet was a unique way to cool off, and we loved the massive architecture and setting for Breakfast & Dinner overlooking the river.

FOOD WAS A SHOCKER. Provincial Filipino food DONE WELL can provide so much comfort in the belly and smiles on our faces, but this was not the case. The food was barely edible and greatly detracted from the Villa Escudero experience. A serious 180 is needed to address the culinary challenge. Since this is a working coconut farm, where was the buco juice straight from the coconut? Fresh buco pie? A look into providing simple, FRESH, delicious food could REALLY turn this place around. GOURMET is all food--however simple--PREPARED WELL...perhaps like it used to be...on the plantation.

Room Tip: Best place to stay is in a river unit, but you will need to ask for pillows/cushions to sit on the c...
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with friends
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4  Thank cbaiph
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 June 2014

Stayed for a day, luckily there was no room for overnight stays when we booked.
Arrived around 10.30 at the resort, got the ticket and then free to enter the resort facilities.
We started to wait for almost an hour to get a ox carriage to takes us into the resort area, so many people there...

When we finally got there they where moving the lunch buffet, which is included in the entrance ticket, luckily we where some of the first to get food (which was so so Filipino food), before we where done eating, the was line of more than 150 people, that was waiting to get food.
They really have huge logistic problems!

The place is surrounded by really beautiful nature mixed with Mr. Escudero's craziness, attempt to make a museum, mixed with plastic figures of humans and animals around the resort area.

It is a very local experience, too expensive (4200) 2 small kids and 2 adults for a day ticket.
I rather go somewhere else for that amount of pesos!

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank J0hn_travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2014 via mobile

Two thumbs up! Hotel staff are very efficient and accommodating :) It was my second time and the experience was an affirmation that our cultural heritage is still taken care of. Kuddos to the owners and creative staff! I loveeeeeeeed it!!!!

Stayed: May 2014
2  Thank Aya M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2014

Maybe my wife and I are spoiled by the "resorts" we are used to in the Caribbeans and we have a unrealistic expectation.. But even when we mentioned this place to others, they say there are now better and newer resorts compared to Villa Escudero..

1. Not exactly exceptional or noteworthy scenery.
2. Nice staff.
3. Buffet is decent. Usual Filipino items. Not a great number of choices considering it's a "resort".
4. Not that much to do. Pools are small and seem dirty. A little bit of sectioned-off area on the lake you can "raft" (bamboo rafts) in. Water seems dirty. You can ride the carabao.
5. The room we stayed in has no AC. I'm not sure if any of their rooms has AC.
6. The only thing notable is lunch by "waterfall". It's ok but the promo pictures look much better. It's not a natural waterfall. It's a man-made drop-off of the man-made lake (reservoir). See wikipedia for references.

For foreigners travelling to Philippines, I would not waste time and skip this place.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank gt6707a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Villa Escudero Resort

Address: Pan-Philippine Highway, San Pablo City, Luzon 4000, Philippines
Region: Philippines > Luzon > Calabarzon Region > Laguna Province > San Pablo City
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in San Pablo City
Number of rooms: 20
Also Known As:
Villa Escudero Hotel San Pablo City
Villa Escudero Resort Philippines/San Pablo City

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