Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

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.

It's of little wonder why hospitality expert Agnes Luna chose to transform the property from a private family hideaway into a fully operational resort and restaurant. Something so attractive couldn't be left to be appreciated by just a few people. Since formally opening in 2015, it has already catered to numerous local and foreign tourists who have made repeat visits because of its accessibility in this side of mainland Luzon. Visitors don't need to make boat transfers to experience a worthwhile retreat and there's a van in Alabang's Festival Mall that regularly leaves for Lucban where the property is located.

At the foot of Mount Banahaw with travel blogger friends
The Mayaw Room
Great for families
Countryside ambiance
Still not sure how to enjoy a visit of Samkara Restaurant and Garden Resort? Check out the following three reasons that can prove it to be worth your while:

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
Pepperoni Pizza
Diners can order traditional Quezon Province favorites like the hardinera and Lucban longganisa or choose from a panoply of international dishes. Regardless of the order, though, one's lunch or dinner usually becomes extra-special because of the refreshing views of nature. The restaurant's dining area is cleverly designed to showcase vistas of the neighboring rice fields and coconut trees.

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
Bamboo Rice
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
It's actually easy to book a venue anywhere, but one that can naturally ease the nerves and even transform a typical event into a memorable one is hard to come by. The scenic journey alone to this spot in Lucban is worth the trip, so booking an event at Samkara is an easy choice.

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
Guests can stay at a variety of lodgings like the Ugma that's great for a large group and the Mayoyao Ifugao Family Hut that's great for 4 to 6 guests. Couples or small families can opt for either the native Kalawili or the semi-modern Mayaw which both have a private veranda.

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
Tinapa Rice
All-meat Lucban Longganisa
Fried Biya
Children or kiddie guests are often the ones who are fascinated by the day tours (free use of the pool and a rate-inclusive lunch and afternoon snack for Php400; kiddie rate at Php200) because they get to see ducks or fish for fresh tilapia at the property.

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

An attractive destination such as Samkara Restaurant and Garden Resort is not common in the Philippines. And it shouldn't be because it's where you're supposed to temporarily forget your urban worries and determine what's precious in your own version of life.

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
Mobile: 0917-674-2693
Email: reservations@samkara.ph


  1. maganda ang mga paligid...i would like to visit your place..


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