I'd been to Villa Escudero but that was the time beyond my memory, I guess my parents were taking advantage of the child discount. (It's pointless though since I don't remember it at all. Save for one thing that made me want to go back.)
Staying overnight in Villa Escudero can be quite expensive to the point that I don't think it's still worth it. We, therefore, opted to take the day tour instead for Php 1400.00 (weekend rate).
There are plenty of things unique to the Villa Escudero experience. The family owned a lot of collections featured in the museum. (I guess it's the "I don't know where to put my money anymore" syndrome. Or maybe they just love these certain eccentric things.) One particular artifact that stood out was the shrunken head. (How gross can that be?)
Another is taking the carabao-pulled carriage. I guess that's nothing so special but... bakit ba?!... I am easily pleased. :D
This is the part I really was waiting for! This is the only thing I vaguely remember from my past visit- eating lunch in the water falls! It's actually a man-made falls for generating electricity (how cool is that??) and we got to eat near the falls with my feet immersed on the water. This would've been better if there were spa fishes but we're not that lucky. Surprisingly, the food is very tasty unlike typical tour buffets.
There was a man going around with buko (coconut) juice and we asked for 2 thinking it was free. But alas, we were billed Php 50 each! That's an arm and a leg for a buko here in the Philippines! Much more in Laguna where Villa Escudero is partly a coconut plantation.
After stuffing ourselves with good food, we needed to burn some fats. Bordering Villa Escudero is a river where you can fish for your food (they'd cook for a small fee whatever fish you catch) or row bamboo rafts. We did both! It was hard to row the bamboo rafts (meaning it's an effective exercise.) and to fish! We didn't catch any fishes so we ended up just fattening them up.
We were soon tired and finally rowed back to shore. After a little more exploration of the hacienda, we called it a day and drove back to Manila.
It's nothing much more than a relaxing (although tiring, wait, that doesn't make much sense..) trip for fresh air and and some different things to do.