Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Villa Escudero- return to childhood thrills

Mid- October of this year, I was privileged to be the tour guide who yapped non stop with the hired grayline tour guide, for our company's Korean guests, two doctors and two lady managers from a large pharmaceutical company based in Seoul.

Ok, so this is not the most unflattering picture of me, but what is flattering is the place called Villa Escudero.

This coconut haven was a grand estate dating back to the Spanish times, where the Escudero family, planted coconuts to escape having their land parceled out to the masses. They employed hundreds of people to farm coconuts and to date, the plantation is now a tourist theme park of Philippine culture. Features of the park is the iconic carabao ride, with young native attired singers crooning kundimans and popular karaoke foreign tunes, depending on the visitors on the cart.

Apparently, our carabao is of Mexican descent by the name of a popular telenovela heroine!

The museum is contains collections of clothing, saints and religious icons, collections of jewelry, Filipiniana items, stuff animals, shells, botanical specimens and art are all crammed into this two story building, whose exterior is a pink and white chiffon cake facade of a church. The facade of the Escudero museum is decorated in pink and white, its design mimicking an authentic Spanish cathedral in Intramuros.

The native barong tagalog on a Filipino family during a formal event
Said to be the uniform of the first Philippine president, Emilio Aguinaldo

And the terno of the late Cory Aquino.

The Escuderos are fond of warrior garb as Japanese, Chinese and Koren warrior outfits are displayed here.
Medal plaque in honor of Gen. Douglas MacarthurA collection of Philippine knives, daggers and hand weapons
The hall of Filipino ethnic tribes

Philippine mollusks are archived in this showcase

The last stations of the Cross showing the death of Christ in the crucifixion is detailed wonderfullywith ornate robes on the grieving Mary and the lady disciples.A grand tableau of a silver altar, with life size images of the apostles and Christ during the Last Supper are at the center of the Escudero Museum.

A replica of a well-to-do Filipino home is depicted here, most presumable a mirror image of the home of the Escuderos.

The famed waterfall lunch experience is an integral part of the stay, a buffet of filipino delicacies, like adobo, chicken in gata, misua(wait that's chinese!), grilled tilapia, salad of green mango, kamatis, sitaw, tapa, and dessert of sago are among the selections. These are served on basket plates lined with banana leaf. Yes, the best part is to eat with one's hands, but etiquette now demands use of cutlery.

In the afternoon, we enjoyed a rondalla and native dance cultural show. My batteries all got juiced out from taking videos and photos of the show.

If you ask me, I'd enjoy coming back to this place, each person must be prepared to fork out 1, 250 on a weekend to enjoy all the attractions, and have transportation ready to travel to and from Manila. Considering the photo opportunities, and the historical snapshots to be had, it's not a bad package.

Here are some of the highlights of my visit, included here are videos of dances which could fit here in my blog: For the other videos, you can check my youtube links. A mythical sarimanok fashioned in coconut frond on a stick given by dancing kids

Blog revival

My friends right now are an eclectic mix of people all of whom I've met over food. And birthdays as well.

During this instance, we had a ball just celebrating the host's birthday, her dining table table was transformed into a Net cafe of sorts, with 5 laptops just on and whirring to the Net on her Wifi.

I realized too that to make friends is not as complicated, spending time, talking, opening up and sharing what you have are ingredients to friendships growing. Those who make this process complicated, or always finding excuses to just opt out of spending time, are not really worthwhile to be friends with at all.

Real friends do laugh, talk and don't mind the passing of time, even if everyone will be super busy during the week.

Kudos to you guys for carving a place in my heart. Luv ya.