What to do in Tayabas, Philippines: Visit Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort
Labasin Waterfalls Restaurant
Get Your Feet Wet While Dining
The Labasin Waterfalls Restaurant offers a wide range of Filipino dishes to suit any craving. What's best about it is you get to soak your feet in cool water while eating. I doubt that this makes the food taste any better, but considering how hot it can get this far from the coast it certainly feels good.
Touring the Facilities
The restaurant is actually a minor part of Villa Escudero. A day tour of the grounds begins on a water buffalo-drawn wagon that beats a jeepnee any day just for the novelty of the ride. The lush grounds are fed by the same river cooling the feet of diners and include a museum featuring many intriguing items important to Philippine history, and an open-air theater where they present living Filipino history by means of dance.
In addition to overnight accommodations (most have no air conditioning, but are mostly open-air to let in the nearly constant breeze that flows over the river), the vast estates include houses and lots upon which to build for sale. Overnight guests can cool off in one of three swimming pools (one for kids and one strictly for adults) or take a plunge in the river. To explore the river, you can rent a bamboo raft and paddle around; just be sure you don't go over the waterfall!
You never know what you will encounter around the next bend at Villa Escudero. We saw a kid's slide shaped like a whale, water buffalo resting up to their necks in the river and relics from World War II, such as gun emplacements and even antique planes. Beautifully landscaped paths meander all over the grounds, leading to unexpected waterfalls and an amazing assortment of flowering bushes, trees and vines.
As is common in many of the more affordable resorts in the Philippines, Villa Escudero caters primarily to Filipinos. Even their website is partially written in Tagalog, so communication may be somewhat difficult for American tourists, but never impossible. Your best bet is to talk slowly though not condescendingly--and definitely not loudly; just because they are Filipino doesn't mean that they're deaf! Be sure to separate each word rather than run them all together as we Americans tend to do, especially on the Left Coast.
A walking tour of the facilities will leave you with sore feet and a large appetite, so it's a good thing the Labasin Waterfalls Restaurant is handy!
Accommodations range in price from P5,500 for a room with a loft to P8,500 for the Executive Riverside Units ($103 - $160). These are peak season prices for December, so you can save considerably if you book your room on an online agency in the off season.
© 2018 Tom Wagner