Have a taste of rural life by bamboo rafting along scenic Labasin River at the heart of Villa Escudero Resort & Plantations in Tiaong, Quezon, a two-hour drive south from Manila. There is something magical about idly rowing along the still waters of the river while taking in the beautiful scenery — a cover of trees on one side and Villa Escudero’s native thatched al fresco restaurant and café on the other. On a clear day, you’d be able to make out the mystical Mt. Banahaw in the distance. Sometimes birds would fly by or a resident turtle will surface from the water.
Labasin is actually a manmade body of water that collects water from Mt. Banahaw and feeds the reservoir that powers the resort-plantation’s very own hydroelectric plant.
Kayaking is included in the fees you pay for for the day tour. Only kids from seven years old are allowed to river raft by themselves. Lifeguards are on standby and guests are required to wear a life vest to ensure safety. Swimming, even dipping of feet into the river, is not allowed.
Visit Villa Escudero Resort and Plantations, KM 91, Tiaong, Quezon, +632 523 0392. Tours cost P1,250 per person on Mondays to Thursdays. This price includes buffet lunch by the waterfall, carabao cart rides, museum visit and bamboo rafting. Weekend rate is P1,400 for the same package and includes a cultural show. Children from three to six years old get a 50 per cent discount.
How to get there
Hop on a Lucena-bound DLTB or Jac Liner bus from Buendia corner Taft Avenue terminal in Makati for a two-hour travel to Tiaong, Quezon. Get off at Villa Escudero and take a tricycle to the resort plantation.
Here’s another idyllic river cruising story you'd want to read: Take me to…Buhatan River.
Published September 2016