Last week, I was channel-tripping (such a lazy bee) and I came across the Filipino film Villa Estrella¬†on Cinema One. Shifting to the movie-fanatic gear, I was confused on the genre of the film. In the villa resides a ghost that takes over bodies, a murder story of two patriarchs, and a love triangle of its stars. The water ghost covered with algae should have been cut off and simply replaced by a human-like ghost (so as not to distort the viewers’ perception of the real villain). Nevertheless, it was an attempt to give a new offering to the moviegoers since Filipino films are flooded by rom-com flicks and I’m getting allergies already. But the effort was futile and perhaps horror films are just made into ‘cash cows’ rather than backed up by a riveting story line.

Days later, I found myself travelling on our way to Villa Escudero, my family’s first out-of-town trip as a birthday celebration for my sister, Aira. It took us 2.5 hours to get to our destination. Upon entering the area, we drove along the coconut plantation. The scenery was so stress-relieving, completely different from the metropolis. Also the accommodation was satisfying; the employees were so courteous and helpful – also different from the previous resorts I’ve been to. They’re also dressed in period costumes just like in Velada Tomasina.

Just some memorable things:

1. Carabao Ride
We were fetched by a carabao-driven cart on our way to our cottage. The calm breeze was complimented by two workers who serenaded us of Filipino folk songs. The ride was only around 10 minutes but it was enjoying because once in a while, the passengers will be amazed by strong carabao that has some ‘tricks’ to show on the road. ūüėČ

2.¬†The Cottage Called ‘Campupot’
The cottages in Villa Escudero are named after Filipino floras. Surprisingly, we were assigned in Campupot. Funny name, as what the family members always say. My mom even ‘trolled’ on the key by removing some letters to make new words (just check it out in my sister’s Facebook album). Nevertheless, it was a fine cottage. The air was cool enough and the ventilation gives a native-life feel inside. The¬†mattresses¬†are so soft and comfortable while the bathrooms are well-kept. The¬†ambiance is so inviting that you have to resist the pull just for you to enjoy the great outdoors. Ultimately, it was a chance for the family to really bond because the cottage was spacious enough for us to actually hear and speak with each other.

Inside the Cottage

3. Waterfalls
Water coming from Mt. Makiling falls onto us as we enjoyed the (remote) waterfalls inside Villa Escudero. Getting wet was indeed more fun here. Hours before, we had our lunch near the waterfalls but in the afternoon, it was deserted so we enjoyed it ourselves (unknowingly, there was a cultural show going on at that time!)

AND ALSO! My sisters and parents spared their time boat-riding (I was left behind with my grandmother because I’m faint-hearted on water). The food was also great and appetizing. My tummy easily got full because of the buffet meals. ¬†And of course, we had a lot of pictures ¬†to remind us of our wonderful stay in Villa Escudero. See what my Dad has to say:

There are also different sides of the story. Mom was able to talk to a Villa Escudero worker and he shared some insights on his stay in the hacienda. As for the whole family, it was really a rare opportunity for us to be together because of the demands in the city. Can’t help but feel nostalgic when the times were simple back then but I guess what’s important is that you enjoy with each other’s company. After all, family members have their own, unique way of making each other feel family.

‘Til our next trip!