My favorite feature of a trip to Villa Escudero is the cultural show. They put on a show starring the hacienda workers and they do it on weekends so their children can also participate. Shows are held Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays from 2:00-3:00 p.m. at the Coconut Pavillion. When i was there, there was this little girl who earned a...more
After seeing a Living Asia feature on Ugo Bigyan Potteries in Tiaong, Quezon, my husband & I wrote it on our list of must-see places in 2009. We weren't disappointed when we went there. The ambience in Ugo's compound is so refreshing after a long, tiring trip. Not only were we fascinated by Ugo's pieces on the gallery, we were fortunate to have met...more
Villa Escudero is a working coconut plantation founded in 1872, it has developed a worldwide reputation as a focal point to experience Philippine culture and history in a beautiful rural setting.A Series of volcanic mountains, shades of coconut trees and pulsating green fields just two hours of drive away from Manila. A highlight of a tour is visit...more
Augusto "Ugu" Bigyan is a ceramics artist. He in the 1990s had opened his pottery workshop in Tiaong, Quezon to the public, serving lunch amid a cluster of nipa huts in a garden. Ugu produces dinnerware sets, decorative tiles, also plates and bowls, lamps and décor items, some combined with bamboo (such as in cup handles) and rattan vines and in...more
Dropping by this orchidarium was a spur of the moment thing. We were looking for another plant nursery when we passed by Gintong Talulot and was immediately mesmerized by the field of orchids in different colors. We decided to stop and the owner graciously entertained us. He gave us a brief tour of the place while patiently answering our numerous...more
Earthkeepers is a garden-restaurant is known in Tiaong as the only restaurant serving organically grown products. While it started as, and still is, a commercial garden selling plants, landscaping materials, and native products, it also boasts of growing organic plants which they serve to their restaurant diners. The native restaurant is built at...more
Ugu Bigyan is a native of Tiaong whose works rivals his workshop in popularity. Workshop is a red clay house connected by brick paths to several native huts built on a vast garden. Each hut has its own function - reception area, dining area, spa, bedroom, showroom. A tree house even sits atop an old tree. Ugu's pottery works such as plates, bowls,...more
Villa Escudero used to be a vast coconut plantation in the mid 1800's. In 1980, the owners decided to develop a portion of the plantation into a tourist destination while maintaining its rural setting. Native cottages were built along a lake for overnight stay; bamboo rafts are available for cruising the lake; an old chapel was converted into a...more
Ugu Bigyan's place is a show-case of his art. Being a potter and a landscape artist kept him busy in the previous years with his contracts taking him all over Asia. But when I talked to him last weekend, he said he is slowing down and concentrating on his pottery and on his restaurant venture.You can explore his Garden and look at his various work....more
Walking from one attraction to another could be very tiring especially on summer days. Villa Escudero management thought of this wonderful cart to amuse the guests and help them enjoy the visit.Ride one and tell the driver your preferred destination (pool, church/museum, falls, etc.). There will be a short waiting time...the cart should be full...more
One of the most unforgettable experiences that I have in the villa...a buffet lunch al fresco! The area is near Labasin Waterfall and so the guests can enjoy their lunch with cool water flowing over their feet. The food is mostly barbeque and some other native dishes served over banana leaves. Note: This is part of the fee you'll pay for the...more
Enjoying slow food, the ceramics and the garden all handmade by Ugu Bigyan.
Okay... so we forgot to take more food pictures... This, to me, is a testament of how much we enjoyed the food that we experienced at Ugu's place :)
Ugu has assistants that prep the ingredients for him but he does all the cooking himself!
Reservations for lunch must be made a day ahead with a minimum of 10 persons. He appreciates for his guests to be there on time because timing is important for him. :) If you are going to be delayed please call him so he can adjust his schedule accordingly. :)
HOW TO GET THERE -
If you are from Manila, take SLEX and drive on towards Bicol till you get to Tiaong, Quezon. Drive past the Tiaong town center till you get to Lusacan, Tiaong. Watch out for the arch saying Lusacan National High School on your left just before you get to Don Ysidro Memorial School. Turn left, and drive on the narrow road way beyond the railroad crossing... drive on till after the basketball court. You will see a sign for Alvarez Village (still on the left side), turn left and drive on a little ways, Ugu's house is easy to spot. It's the reddish house with a wide parking space just inside the fence. :) Don't worry if no one greets you when you alight from your car, just walk to the back of the house. That is where Ugu's shop, garden and restaurant is located. :)
Favorite Dish: His menu is simple but everything was delicious because all ingredients he used are fresh and came straight from the local market. That is why you need to reserve ahead if you plan to take your lunch at Ugu's place. He needs to plan for your numbers and need to see what is available in the public market for the day of your visit.
Our lunch menu:
Soup: Pork Mushroom Soup
Appetizers: Kulawong Puso ng Saging, Pako Salad, Tahong with Mustasa
Main Course: Fried fish with Mango Salsa, Grilled Spareribs, Calamares, Shrimp Curry
Dessert: Ginataang gabi with Sago
Drinks: Buko Juice
When taking the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX):
1. Exit at 50A (Lucena Exit)
2. Turn left at Sto. Tomas (Batangas) junction
3. Head straight south and bypass Alaminos town and San Pablo City
4. Slowdown at Quezon province boundary arch. The villa is immediately to the left.
We were directed to this shop by the Tiaong Tourism Office. The "shop" turned out to be a 2-story residential house with a small area off the living room that serves as a showroom of their coconut-based products. Their product line includes vinegar, pickled papaya, jam, body lotion, scented oil, and lip balm, all made from coconut.
What to buy: The shop's specialty, coco vinegar with fresh chili, is what kept us dropping by the store whenever we are in the vicinity.
In our last trip, the owner gave me a lip balm as birthday present. It is yellowish in color which smells of and tastes like vanilla.
What to pay: Your money can go a long way here. One small bottle of vinegar costs only P25, while the bigger bottle costs P40.
Tikub Lake is one of the "secrets" of Tiaong. Not many people have heard of it judging from the responses we received when we were trying to find our way to the lake.
The lake, measuring 75m in diameter, sits on a crater of an extinct volcano. It is surrounded by lush vegetation although local fisher folks have put up fish pens within the lake.
From the national road, follow the sign towards Lipa City. Upon reaching Total Gas station to your left, turn right to the road across it. When you reach the steel bridge, slow down and turn right on the first small road, across the barangay hall. Drive straight on rough roads until you reach a clearing going uphill to your left. Walk uphill until you reach the lake.