Villa Escudero is a popular tourist destination in the Philippines that was originally established as a sugarcane plantation in the late 1800s. A few decades later, it was converted to a coconut plantation, and several decades after that, the children of the estate’s owners opened up the property to the public in 1981.
Located just two hours away from Metro Manila in Tiaong, Quezon, Villa Escudero is a fun place to spend the day in the Philippines. I had the opportunity to visit this place some years ago, and all I could remember at the time was eating lunch near a waterfall while my feet were submerged in water.
This time around, I got to do and see a little more:
The museum at Villa Escudero houses a trove of the Escudero family’s private collections. The facade of the building is pink, and that was the only thing I was able to take a picture of because no photography is allowed inside.
The collections inside include religious statues, cultural clothing, foreign currency, old butterflies. It’s fascinating to stroll through the museum and see all the things the family collected.
Ride a carabao
The second thing my family and I did after visiting the museum was hop onto a cart tied to a carabao (a water buffalo) that walked us to our lunch spot. I couldn’t stop appreciating these animals whenever I saw them in the Philippines because they’re massive and so strong! While on the cart, we were serenaded by one of the workers there while he played his guitar.
Fun fact: The carabao is the national animal of the Philippines and they’re widely used for farming there.
Take a selfie with a carabao!
This isn’t an advertised activity, but because I was so fascinated by the strength of our carabao (there were eight of us on the cart), I took a selfie with her. It’s something I penciled onto my bucket list while she carried us and an item I was able to check off in minutes 😛 Our carabao’s name is Maganda (which means “beautiful” in Tagalog) and she was 17 years old at the time.
We got to pet her, too 🙂
Eat lunch by a waterfall
Eating lunch by the waterfall at Villa Escudero is one of my favorite things to do there. The waterfall is manmade, but it’s still a fun experience stuffing your belly while enjoying the view and soothing sound of water crashing down.
The lunch at the estate is a buffet with soup, salad, rice, chicken and other entrees to choose from.
You have to get your feet wet to get to the food and tables, so it’s a good idea to have on some footwear (preferably with some grip) that you don’t mind getting wet. You can also make do without them if you make sure to walk very carefully, but there are some spots that can be a little slippery. I survived with a simple pair of rubber flip flops.
Watch the Philippine Experience Show to see cultural dances and music
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Philippine culture? Oftentimes for me, it’s hospitality and food. It wasn’t until recently that I learned about indigenous traditional dances other than the tinikling (a dance that involves the use long bamboo poles) and other types of traditional clothing other than the barong. Seeing this show expanded that new knowledge.
The Philippine Experience Show at Villa Escudero is something you’ll want to catch while you’re there. You get a little glimpse of what the culture was like before the Philippines was colonized by Spain, as well as a pretend cock fight.
Go bamboo rafting and swimming
My family and I didn’t do either of these activities, but they’re options and other things you can do at Villa Escudero.
Villa Escudero was a lot of fun and I think it’s a place worth coming back to. Be sure to take a trip there if you can!
To learn more about Villa Escudero, click here.
Thank you to my cousin JR for providing the closeup photo of the carabao and the one of me holding the coconut in front of the waterfall!