We went there some summers ago to escape the agonizing summer heat in Metro Manila, as well as its Lenten boredom. I mean Lent in the metropolis is boring. It’s more fun in the province and it naturally makes you less busy and inspirational. We went there as a clan of about 5 small families. And it surprised us that it took a short travel to get there. Less busy with traffic.
Not too far away but neither is it too near Metro Manila. After two hours or so on SLEX and finally after negotiating a narrow, strange rustic road, we found ourselves at the gate of Eco Farm Resort in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. We, the first team, were in a long van. The second team, in an SUV, came in after an hour. The road trip alone was quite an adventure.
The three small mansions (I called them that) were what first greeted us at the place. Two were both two-levels and the one in the middle was a small bungalow. The entire place was a sprawling 5,000 sq. mtr. farm resort about half of which was planted to fruit trees. The second thing that caught our imagination were the two swimming pools overlooking Mt. Makiling. We could almost feel the cool water and imagined ourselves soaking in it all day.
The adult pool was okay but we all decided to enjoy the kiddy pool. More fun swimming with the kids. Much more fun when you munch on crackling snacks under the shed by the pools. Actually, more than the junk food, we loved the egg, chicken and tuna sandwiches which never seemed to run out.
At lunch time, aside from our packed cooked food, we did some more cooking at the kitchen (you may borrow some utensils there) and grilling (we couldn’t eat without the traditional freshly grilled pork chops, bangus and tilapia). When all the mothers join forces together in the kitchen, expect a feast of delicious native cuisines—like the beef stew or nilagang baka. My older brother’s wife led the culinary team. I led the devourers later.
After the sumptuous lunch (and I mean, really sumptuous lunch!) and some refreshing and invigorating siesta, we reunited at the pool in the afternoon when the sun was about to retire. The clan refreshed some fond memories (so many weird and funny stories told!) and bonded like never before—this went so well with fresh rounds of snacks and our favorite drinks.
Near the pool was a closed and air-conditioned clubhouse where we watched our favorite TV programs from early evening to the wee hours of night and even till dawn. Some of us decided to call it a day at about 11 pm and proceeded to our rooms—but not without playing ghost first. Because the farm was quite dark at night, my nephews decided to pull a ghost trick on my nieces.
After a short game of hide and sick in the dark farm premises—with the help of his male cousins—Kiko wrapped himself up with white bed sheet and hid himself among the trees. When some of my nieces went out of the clubhouse to get something from their rooms, Kiko ran and did a silly ballet across the dark farm looking like a gliding ghost. My nieces bit the bait. They ran back to the clubhouse to tell me excitedly about a “ghost” in the farm which they saw “with our eyes!”
“Really!” I said smiling, somewhat with a good idea what it was all about. With my nephews around in the dark, “ghosts” are likely to “appear.”
Then later, my nephews confessed to the “crime” and had a good laugh about it all. But later, I asked them, “But what if Kiko met a real White Lady while he glided across in the black darkness?” They realized the possibility and pondered excitedly about it. “In fact I saw elves in the garden, Uncle Chy!” one nephew announced. “Really?” they all asked.
“Oh yes!” this nephew said. He took us all to the garden to show us. It turned out to be garden statues of elves.
The next day (we spent only an overnight), after breakfast, we left the resort with strong yearnings to re-visit in some distant future.