Hacienda Villa Escudero is a perfect place that showcases the rich colonial culture of the Philippines way back 16th century. A living proof of the country's rich culture and history still seen at the present.
The Hacienda Villa was founded in 1872 by Don Placido Escudero and is composing of 800 hectares of land area situated at the boundary of San Pablo, Laguna and Tiaong Quezon. It was a plain vast land of sugarcane that was converted into a coconut plantation of Don Arsenio, sole heir of Escudero in the early 1900's, 1st hydroelectric plant in the country was also built in here in 1929.
In 1981, some parts of the hacienda was then converted into a self sustained eco-tourism destination known now as the Villa Escudero.
What to do and see at the Villa:
*AERA Museum, a one stop shop museum that houses assorted collections. The museum was built imitating the structures of San Francisco Church and San Agustin Church's ceiling and wall designs both seen before in Intramuros. The 1st floor of the museum consists of Religious Artifacts and Huge Religious Images which is still in use for processions. From the seats of the spanish priers and bishops to their clothings to the Last Supper and Crucifixion of Christ. Stuffed-dried butterfly collections, moths, ants and grasshoppers are also placed on the cabinets for viewing as well as Philippine Endangered species-Tamarraw, Palawan Porcupine and Eagles are also present. While the 2nd floor is composing of Dona Rosario's Doll Collection gathered on all her travel around the world, Don Arsenio's Love Letters, Printing apparatus, huge collection of chinese wares, porcelains and jars, Ethnic jewelries local and international, Philippine and World's Traditional clothings, Antiques and different currency collections, Former President's Clothes and Relics from the WWII.
*A Local Village Tour riding on a carabao cart while being serenated by the villa's musician. Tour includes a view of the local houses inside, a short visit to the Capilla(chapel) where the old Escudero remains were placed, sightseeing on some bahay-kubo inspired houses for night accomodations and a stop over at the grandeous garden wedding area.
*Lunch at the Labasin Waterfalls wherein the waterfalls was a man made but the water flowing from here came from Mt. Banahaw. The waterfalls was originally built for the hydro electric plant for resort's used. Lunch buffet starts daily at 11:00AM til 2:00PM. Dining tables are placed facing the waterfalls where diners enjoy their countyside foods having their feet dipped on the calf-deep waters. The resort would like you to experience countryside living thus no utensils are allowed. You will be dining using bare hands on a banana leaf plates.
*One adventure thing to do at the resort is Bamboo Rafting at the Labasin Lake where a pair would roam around the lake paddling for themselves on a 30 feet deep water. The lake also houses Tilapia Fishes for those who wants to do some fishing. Do not worry coz life vest are provided for protection.
*A sought-after thing to see in the Villa is the Cultural Show held every week-ends and holidays. It is held at the Pavilion where guests are entertained by the live cultural presentation showcasing traditional dances,songs and rondalla (string musicians) that speaks of the country's prominent provinces and ethnic groups. It has been choreographed and directed by the late Ramon Obusan, country's national artist for dance.
Villa Escudero is a reflection of a lifetime dedication of love for history, love for country and love for its people that has been passed generation to generation and is now presented to everyone who wanted to experience a genuine hospitality away from the city.