Villa Escudero: Love, Renewable Energy and the Heritage of a Philippine Hacienda

I was invited to have lunch. I was just expecting to enjoy a hearty buffet while I soak my feet in a river.

Villa Escudero is in Tiaong Quezon.

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We arrived and rode a carriage pulled by a carabao. With us is a band singing kundiman, traditional love songs. The melody was soft and flowing, and the lyrics so true you can apply it in real life. Better enjoy the view while humming to Pilipino love songs.

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There were museums that flaunt the exquisite collection of the family and how they traveled the world, bringing memoirs from each travel. There was a treasury of butterflies, historical nick nacks from all over the Philippines, antiques and much more. I actually wanted to see one of the historical homes, just to see the interiors.

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My favorite?

The set of letters; in deep Tagalog. A compilation of love letters from Sening and Charing. It was probably a norm in their time but in this day full of “doe”, “sweeeg”, and “beshiewaps” reading it felt like reading poetry. Their love felt simple, comforting and certain.

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We played.

What do you expect to do in a playground? We are adults, but sometimes you ought to let the little kid out.

Finally, lunch time!

Buffet, authentic Pilipino food Laguna style. I have carried blanching vegetables and pairing it with spicy fish paste from this trip. Pako; fiddle fern, is a fave treat. They have utensils but we preferred to use our hands. Munching over bananaques, we soaked our feet whilst watching Labasin waterfalls.

After eating a hearty lunch, we walked around. I noticed an old building and read the inscriptions. The place is hydroelectric. In 1929, they built the first hydroelectric plant in the Philippines. Sening isn’t just romantic. It was the reason for building the damn.

Above the falls was Labasin Lake, a reservoir. There are rafts you can ride on and paddle your way. The water was subtle, paddling was easy. You can feel a tinged of fear. You’ll fall off, or you’ll go too far it will be hard to go back, but I guess it is part of the ride.

My friend told me to bring a swimwear. I mindlessly brought one.

To my surprise, the place has pools and jacuzzis!

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We swam.

Suddenly the rain poured. It was actually rainy season when we went. So we transferred to the jacuzzi. They weren’t finished with the construction yet. There were still yellow tapes shouting “caution”. We politely asked if we could use it. The crew was kind enough to open two of it. It was pouring, but we were laughing over nonsense while enjoying the hot bubbling water.

In my pebble my mind I was just expecting to have lunch by the waterfalls. What I got was so much more.

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