April 12, 2006
I had one of the most interesting and stimulating conversations with strangers lately which makes me love Philippines a lot lot more. Meet George and Amor Bondad, owners of Sitio de Amor in San Pablo, Laguna which is part of the Viaje del Sol group. My friend Luisa and I after visiting Tahanan ni aling Meding decided to check out Sitio de Amor because we are hearing some good stuff about it and they say it was featured in a Dec issue of cosmo magazine. This 4.7 hectares farm place is a budding private resort (turning into a public one) which is a hobby of the Bondad couple for 12 years now. I always like to see these places when they are young and you can see them transform into that beautiful resort. What I like about this place is its simplicity and honesty. Of course this is far from The Farm @ San Benito's landscaping and concept, but this is a better than your typical Pansol Laguna resorts. Best time to go is during the Rambutan Festival in August or in time for the cool weather in Dec/Jan/Feb.
Going back to the conversations, I've never met a person that is more knowledgeable and well traveled in the Philippine Islands! They have been enlightened by the beauty of the Philippines and even gave me two great travel secrets: Blue Lagoon in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte and Unica Flora by Dr. Palinis in Lucban, Quezon (I can't wait to go there). They gave me a reason to go back and explore the north. They said that the best time to travel is during the Christmas Holidays (Dec. 20ish to Dec. 31) and recommended the following 5 day trip itinerary: Manila -- Vigan -- Fort Ilocandia -- Pagudpud -- Tugeugarao -- Manila. (stay tuned for this). Lastly, they reaffirmed my prediction that San Pablo will be the next Tagaytay because it is merely 1.5-2 hrs away, it is the fruit basket of the Philippines, great food and nature inspired restos, cool weather during the Dec-Feb season, and a province that surprises you each and every time you go there. Thanks to the Escudero family who started it all with their Villa Escudero coconut estate. If you are looking for a farm land, invest in San Pablo where you can still get it for P350/ sqm.
This is the mother Rambutan tree which came from Thailand and I'm planning to visit here to see her blossom during the rambutan season in August. The photo on the right is the newly built tree house and you can rent it for 10,000 (for 4 persons) plus P500 for each extra person which already includes the accommodation and breakfast.
This is the reception/ pavilion area where it is reserved for weddings, and special occasions. You can also eat in this resort with prior reservations for P600/ person. I have not tried their food yet but if ambiance influences your taste bud, then I'm sure it would be good.
They are just starting to complete the infinity pool to complement the natural spring pool they already have in the resort. By the way, this resort is beside a creek and this is way a lot more beautiful than the Inn of Seventh Ray in LA. The only missing ingredient is great food, and I can't wait to go back and try this out. Also, in the next couple of months, there would be a spa here so watch out for this place.
Last word on Sitio de Amor, if I'm going for an overnight stay in the San Pablo, Laguna area, this is the place I want to stay in!
Sitio de Amor Farm Resort
Km 88.8 Maharlika Highway
Brgy. San Antonio 1
San Pablo City, Laguna
+63 918- 9274346
Note: Bringing of Food & Drinks inside the farm is strictly prohibited.
Driving Directions (from Viaje del Sol Brochure)
Coming from Manila after the San Pablo border, stay on the Maharlika Highway until you reach Km 88.8. Along the way, watch for the Vitarich Southern Luzon office to your right. Shortly after Vitarich, look for the Sitio de Amor signage to your left. Follow the narrow road for about 600 meters. It will come to a dead end at the Sitio gate.