Villa Escudero is an old colonial plantation owned by the Escudero family, located just south of San Pablo on Luzon island. The property is 800 hectares and spans three municipalities in two provinces. Originally a sugar cane plantation, Don Asrenio Escudero converted it to a coconut plantation in the early 20th century after inheriting it from his father. The plantation went on to become massively successful and featured the Philippines' first hydroelectric power plant (to power the coconut factory). The Escuderos became pivotal to the battle for Filipino independence as their wealth and resources allowed them to aid many independence fighters by oprovding them with shelter and supplies.
The family's wealth also allowed them to build beautiful colonial-style Filipino haciendas which members of the family continue to reside in today. Moreover, the men of the family were renowned for being renaissance men in that they pursued a variety of interests and travelled widely - as a result, there is now a museum on the property which houses a fascinating collection of antiques and natural finds, like an enormous rare butterfly collection and taxidermied animals indigenous to the Philippines.
The plantation is open to guests and tickets can be bought at the front office on arrival. The plantation also houses a traditional Filipino restaurant which sits at the bottom of the old hydroelectric plant - visitors get to eat delicious food while dipping their feet the cool water that runs underneath the restaurant's table. Moreover, there also Carabao rides and swimming pools to keep visitors entertained. If the trip back proves too taxing, there are chalets available for rent, although booking in advance is essential.
Villa Escudero is approximately three hours bus ride from Manila.
Address: Villa Escudero, Km 91, Tiaong, Quezon.
Telephone: +63 2 521 0830
Transport: Take a bus to San Pablo from the Buendia Bus Terminal in Manila. This should cost around PHP180, which you can pay to the conductor once you board.
Admission: High season: PHP 1,450-1,600; Low Season: PHP 950-1,150.