Sprawling across Laguna and Quezon Province, Mount Banahaw easily changes the moods of towns that lie next to it. This includes the bucolic scenery in Lucban where I recently had an overnight vacation with six friends. A sight of the mountain's silhouette at Samkara Restaurant and Garden Resort easily disarmed me of any unnecessary blues that I might have brought with me from Metro Manila. It's just two hours away but, here, everything looked and felt different. Genteel structures obstructing the skyline were nowhere to be seen. Instead, attractive coconut trees and farming fields dominated the views. Most of all, it was always breezy.
|At the foot of Mount Banahaw with travel blogger friends|
|The Mayaw Room|
|Great for families|
1. Delicious Dining In The Middle of Nowhere
Samkara Restaurant and Garden Resort's location at the border of Lucban makes it highly accessible to both Majayjay and Lucban residents. This makes this spot in Barangay Igang a delicious one for dining out with loved ones. Surprisingly, locals regularly take the time off at least once or twice a week from their usual home-cooked meals to enjoy Chef Levy's stellar dishes.
|The souvenir shop and restaurant|
Since the property is located along the scenic Lucban-Majayjay Road, more and more travelers from Metro Manila and the rest of Laguna are starting to find it as a top choice for delicious stopovers, especially with its ample parking space.
|Extension of the main restaurant|
|Suso Sa Gata|
|Bangus a la Pobre|
2. Charming Venue For Intimate Special Events
If you're looking for a pleasant space for your upcoming special event, look no further. Samkara has special event facilities to cater to a decent number of participants. The charming scenery at the property is conducive for intimate meetings, seminars, and banquets.
|Enjoying our idle time at the natural pool (fresh spring water from Mount Banahaw)|
|The resort at night|
3. Relaxing Countryside Vacations
Foreign tourists are usually the ones who gravitate towards a rustic vacation where the countryside scenery of the Philippines can be best experienced because it's what they don't have back home. However, it's also becoming evident to the staff of Samkara that a lot of Filipinos also love the native ambiance of kubo-style guestrooms, Ifugao-inspired huts and "batis" pool maybe because it's something that they no longer get to see in the modern cities where they are based.
|The Ugma Room that's great for a large group of guests|
|The Ugma Room even has a daybed and a couple of private verandas|
|The lovely Mayaw Room that's romantic for couples|
|The Mayoyao Ifugao Family Hut which has an open living room at the base|
|Inside the Mayoyao Ifugao Family Hut|
For someone who has stayed at Samkara more than once, I can honestly say that the best part of the overnight stay is the breakfast. In the morning, the place doesn't just look different. It also somehow affects the first meal of the day in that the latter becomes quite delicious because the scenery is refreshing and everything looks so crisp and colorful.
|Breakfast with my travel blogger friends|
|All-meat Lucban Longganisa|
Starting this October, their sense of fascination will be heightened by the opening of the resort's latest attraction -- the Santa House, an amusing space where they can take photos next to an array of attractive holiday displays, toys, and knick-knacks. It's something that the owner of the resort is determined to keep as a tradition every year in preparation for Christmas, especially with the whole town proper of Lucban also into an annual decorative spectacle that's called Paskong Payas.
|A newly-installed Christmas manger near the restaurant|
|The Santa House|
|Toys and displays at the Santa House|
|Ducks can be seen at the resort|
Book your stay.
Photography by Aubrey Gacer and Karl Acepcion
Aubrey Gacer is a Manila-based freelance photographer. Check out his work at Gacer Photography.
Samkara Restaurant and Garden Resort
Official website of Samkara Restaurant and Garden Resort
Address: Sitio Malinao, Brgy. Igang, Lucban, Quezon Province, Philippines