Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015
The resort infinity pool




Lucban is more than its legendary harvest festival called Pahiyas that’s held every May 15. The town that sits at the foot of Mount Banahaw shares a bounty of attractive culinary history with the other towns and cities of Quezon Province. Regular days would have residents feast on local dishes that trusted cooking experts would easily whip up from memory. With every special occasion, the recipes got handed down to another food enthusiast and the gustatory spread just got even wider. The result of this rich cultural past makes the modern-day municipality a sought-after dining destination. And at its border in Barangay Iraga is where Samkara Restaurant and Garden Resort just opened this 2015 to celebrate this delicious heritage.

Piece of Pahiyas

Samkara Restaurant and Garden Resort is a countryside swath of pahiyas inspiration set against verdant hills and lush rice fields that weave through the fringes of Laguna’s Majayjay and Lucban. Conceptualized to cater to the discriminating traveler who has a penchant for communing with nature, the newly-opened attraction is neither for the homespun or the sybaritic. It’s simply designed to be an oasis of a getaway in an unhurried environment where one can wake up to the bedside view of the town’s farmland, sample sumptuous cuisines at its restaurant for memorable meals, and have a fresh spring water soak at the rice field-view infinity pool any time of the day... even in the wee hours!

Hardinera, Longganisang Lucban, and Chopsuey
Co-owner and hotelier Agnes Luna
Our booked Kalawili Room and welcome drink
The restaurant

The Pleasure of Inner Harmony

The people behind the restaurant-resort, a couple from the same province in Gumaca, couldn’t have envisioned it differently. The 7,000 sq.m. property was originally conceptualized to just house a decent dwelling such as a nipa hut or bahay kubo where they can retreat to whenever their hectic work schedule would permit. Soon, their passion for the hospitality scene made sense to transform it into a full-fledged leisure spot where other like-minded individuals can share in the reviving space. They are also eager to have the rest of Lucban experience the pleasure of their pleasant principles. After all, the name of their project reflects what it means in Hindu which is a combination of being a doer of good deeds and having inner harmony.

Rustic Getaway and More

I personally experienced both pleasures at the venue, roughly a couple of hours away from Alabang via Majayjay. Aboard an air conditioned UV Express, I arrived at the restaurant-resort with a fellow travel blogger in tow to taste Lucban in a completely unconventional way. Since it was my first time there, I lingered at the resort for awhile and did not hie off to nearby destinations. I made sure that I was in good physical condition to appreciate the natural surroundings.

First on my schedule was a sip of the establishment’s refreshing welcome drink at the restaurant. Soon, we were checked in at our booked Kalawili Room, a rustic 30 sq.m.-space of provincial charm. The room has double beds, each with an assigned round hoop canopy for the full countryside feel. It also afforded us a sensational view of the rice field next door from a rocking chair corner that opens to a veranda through a sliding glass door. I learned from a staff that the sawali or split bamboo materials were locally sourced out in the same province.

The Kalawili Room
The resort infinity pool
Crispy Suman, Crispy Dinuguan, and Pako Salad

Even on a fully-booked day, the resort will not look crowded as the rustic accommodations are specifically designed to only cater to a selected number of guests. What will surprise most of them are the semi-modern interiors via nifty room features that serve basic functions while the rest of the aesthetic exudes down-home sensibilities. There’s a room called Ugma that’s good for a big group like a family or set of friends. My personal favorite which I’ll be coming back for is the romantic Mayaw Room which has a pahiyas festival-inspired façade but with romantic interiors. Both rooms have a rice field-view veranda by the way.

Should you be in the mood to be a bit intrepid with your overnight stay, you can opt for the Mayuyaw Ifugao Family Hut which is a fenced dwelling space that’s erected above the ground but with its own open-air living room (complete with furniture and entertainment appliance) underneath.  

Town Proper and Taytay Falls Tour

We were scheduled to tour the town proper on our second day to see the old church, the famous Kamay Ni Hesus pilgrimage site, and its first historical museum because the establishment offers a shuttle service to and from the poblacion. The third day was to be the schedule of our visit of the nearby Taytay Falls in the next town of Majayjay which is just a 15-minute ride away from the restaurant-resort.

Find out more about our side trips on this blog here.

Frisky At The Rice Field-View Pool

For the rest of the duration of our stay, I found it easy to achieve a relaxed state of mind and emotion because we were surrounded by lush greenery. It also helped that whenever I’d feel frisky, the spring water infinity pool was just a few steps away from our room. I remember having zip lined my way through a farmland in Tayabas once, but it was my first time to have a biting cold soak at a batis-inspired pool that has a stunning view of a rice field.

The restaurant
Ugma and Mayaw Rooms

Al fresco breakfast of Fried Biya

Sumptuous Dining Experience

It was also convenient for guests like us to have an easy access to sumptuous dishes via the resort's restaurant which served local cuisine. For our meals, we had Lucban’s versions of the Hardinera (a comforting meatloaf dish), Longganisang Lucban (a garlicky sausage pronounced by locals as langgonisa), and Kinulob Na Baboy (pork dish that’s cooked in a deep container, sometimes with banana leaves). We also had orders of the Chicken with Oyster Sauce and the Ginataang Kalabaw (buffalo dish cooked in coconut milk). For breakfast, I personally requested for the bacon-like Fried Biya (goby fish) which tasted sublime with Samkara's homemade vinegar.

Kinulob Na Baboy and Ginataang Kalabaw
Standout Dishes

Of all the dishes we sampled, it was the Crispy Dinuguan (a seemingly dry version of the pork blood stew with pork cooked like the lechon kawali way) that was the most memorable to me because of its inventive flavour. Another crispy gem that stood out for me was the restaurant-resort’s deep-fried version of Suman (rice cake) for dessert.

Have a whiff of Lucban’s countryside grandeur via Samkara Restaurant and Garden Resort. You can have the best of the town in one space with enough luxury of time to explore the poblacion during your stay.

Address: Barangay Igang, Lucban, Quezon Province, Philippines 4328
Phone: (Globe) 0917-674-2693 or 0916-469-6276 (Smart) 0947-922-0081
Email: and
Restaurant Operating Hours:
(Mon-Thu) 6:30 am-10:00 pm
(Fri-Sat) 6:30 am-11:00 pm
(Sun) 6:30 am-10:00 pm

More Photos Below:

The Mayuyaw Ifugao Family Hut

Chicken with Oyster Sauce

The restaurant at night
The souvenir shop
Our booked Kalawili Room's bed and bathroom

Locally made Peanut Butter and other souvenir products


  1. Replies
    1. a swimming pool whose positioning gives the impression that it merges into other surrounding landscape.

  2. The town that sits at the foot of Mount Banahaw shares a bounty of attractive culinary history with the other towns and cities of Quezon Province. travelling Moldova

  3. Looking for a place to atay in Lucban.. Aamkara is great, viewed pics posted... Hm a night? Tnx

  4. Nice information regarding countryside.


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