I woke up to an empty room feeling slightly disorientated, uncertain about the time. I got up and went straight to the toilet and did what had been constantly disrupting my sleep for the entire night. I was suffering from self-diagnosed stomach flu. I don’t know how I contracted the disease but it started a few hours after my very late dinner that Friday night. Hence the story of sleeping the weekend away in a farm resort, at least 4 hours away from Manila, Villa Elma.
It’s been a long time since I’d taken a blogger’s trip. My friend, Jerny, told me about a staycation in Lucban, Quezon that he had been trying to organize with other bloggers. Jerny, now a freelancer, relishes the freedom of not having a nine-to-five job. He gets to attend all blogging events, most of which, I couldn’t go due to work. His Instagram feed and story show the lifestyle that I once dreamed of when I was fiddling with the idea of going freelance. I have accepted though that I neither have the patience nor the discipline to pursue this path, thus I am back in the corporate, but I digress.
Jerny had been asking me several times if I was free to go to some of these blogging events but they always coincided with work or with another trip. When he told me about Villa Elma, the stars have finally aligned.
Friday night, I traveled to Quezon with Jerny’s girlfriend, Jane who just got out of her class and another friend of theirs. We met at the Jac Liner bus station in Buendia where we rode a bus that goes to Laguna. From SM Calamba, we took one of the shuttles that travel to Lucban. We had the misfortune of being seated in the back part of the van where we suffered long and agonizing hours of a migraine-inducing ride.
We reached Lucban in the thick of the night and hailed a tricycle to take us to Villa Elma. I spotted a curly-haired guy with fair skin standing on the side of the road, donned in an all-black ensemble. He has striking facial features that I did a double-take.
The tricycle stopped in front of a pair of steel gates and saw Jerny waiting for us. He turned to greet the other person who has just alighted from another tricycle; it was the guy that I spotted before. Turns out he’s one of the bloggers who would be joining us in this staycation. His name is Joel Andrada and he maintains a travel and lifestyle blog. We now call each other, “roomie” because we were bunked together on the ground floor of the cabin where we stayed.
We entered the cabin and met the other bloggers who were in the middle of a drinking session. They were talking about the misunderstanding that they had with the staff during check-in. Apparently, the manager was not around and the staff seemed to have little idea what to do with us. In fact, they weren’t sure if breakfast is on the table for our 2 nights stay.
I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand what was going on with the design of the room. Well, it had a “log cabin theme” going for it, the beams and walls were painted with rings and marks to simulate the wooden logs used in actual cabins. But the other elements inside the room confused me. There is a Christmas tree collecting dust in the corner and I wonder why it wasn’t put away when it’s already May. The decorative pieces were an eclectic mix of religious articles and paintings. There are florals and prints, bold colors that do not complement each other.
Joel and I slept on two separate mattresses, there is only one bedroom in the cottage and that’s where the other bloggers slept.
The Log Cabin is one of the room options at Villa Elma. The rate per night is ₱3,500 ($65.63) for 2 persons. They charge ₱350 per pax for additional guests, but kids aged 7 and below are free. The rate is inclusive of breakfast.
Other room options include the Twin House (₱2,000), Master’s Room (₱2,300), Tree House (₱2,800), Memorabilia (₱2,800), and Glamping Tent (₱1,400).
About Villa Elma
Villa Elma Farm Resort stands on a 10-hectare land on the foothills of Mt. Banahaw. It is also known as a pilgrimage site, built in 1992. It is owned by Magdangal Elma, a lawyer and former Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government. The nature park opened to the public in 2016.
The park is a composite work of art and nature. There you would see a great number of sculptures placed on different spots of the resort, the works of sculptors, Eduardo Castillo and Rey Contreras. There’s a park in which you can find the superheroes, hanging steel bridges, gazebos, a Holy Trinity Statue, and a 98-ft tall sculpture called Christ the Redeemer made by Polish artist, Paul Lewandowski.
Under the steel bridges, is a pathway that leads to Mahiwagang Paraiso where you can find more of their collections of religious statues. It has all the facilities of a resort, but the area seems to be abandoned. The steel benches are all rusty, the restrooms seemed to be permanently closed, and the is now filled with dark, murky water. I tried to imagine how it looked in its heyday and wondered why the management seemed to have stopped all efforts for its upkeep. It looks like the kind of place that would attract many visitors, I wonder what went wrong.
Down with the sickness
Saturday morning, we went to Elsa Cafe, the in-house cafe of the resort. Things got sorted out that we were served breakfast. When the year started, I quit eating pork and beef meat, hence I could only eat egg in our longsilog breakfast. Having spent the better part of the night going to and fro the toilet, I didn’t have enough energy to get me through the day. I had no appetite and I was feeling lightheaded that I couldn’t finish my food. When I could no longer bear the nausea, I excused myself from the group and walked back to the cabin.
The other bloggers went about the day exploring the resort while I stayed in the room sleeping or making frequent trips to the loo. My excrement is all liquid. No matter how many bananas I ate and how many loperamide I popped, my health didn’t improve.
It wasn’t until in the afternoon that I was able to get up from the bed. I joined Joel to the town for lunch. Come night time, my condition worsened. I lost count of the times I woke up from sleep to use the restroom. The stomach cramps were so painful I almost roused Joel from sleep to accompany me to the hospital. The only reason I didn’t bother him is that I knew we won’t be able to get a ride in those hours. Thus, I endured my pain in silence and prayed that it would be over soon.
The next day, I didn’t want to eat other than bananas for fear that it would further aggravate my tummy. Throughout this whole ordeal, I made sure that I was kept hydrated. The thought of taking a long trip back to Manila caused me great apprehension. I mean what if I needed to use the toilet somewhere along the way, what happens then?
I felt a deep embarrassment to my companions for not being able to hang out with them during this trip. I wasn’t able to explore the entire resort and I didn’t have a decent photo of myself. Alas, these things happen and there is nothing I could do about it.
It was not funny at that time but now, I find it humorous that I went all the way to Lucban just to sleep… and to use the toilet. As they say, shit happens.
Note: This trip happened on 13th April 2018.
Villa Elma Farm Resort
Address: A. Mabini Street, Brgy. Palola,
Lucban, Quezon Province
Email address: email@example.com
Contact number: +63 9770496186 / +63 9298388496