THE COFFEE FARMHOUSE: A Hidden Sanctuary off Cavite

 

We drove into the unknown, and watched as the terrain slowly morph from the urban to the natural, as traces of metropolitan smog gradually cleared welcoming expanses of lush greenery and moist lichens. Sudden­ly, we found ourselves embracing nature, plopped down before quaint wooden ta­bles, overlooking gardens of ripe berries, while enjoying cups of freshly brewed coffee.

A mere two-hour drive from Manila, lay a hidden sanctuary unheard of to most travel­ers. The Coffee Farmhouse located in Alfon­so, Cavite, offers a unique laid-back environ­ment that immerses its guests in a peaceful, almost paradisiacal experience. Owned by locals Bert and Bebet Arenal, the single-hec­tare estate was first acquired as a private es­tate reserved just for family. Weary from the city, the retiring couple understood too well how strenuous the on the go lifestyle can be, and yearned to be nestled in their own natu­ral solace. Before long, constant praises about the farm’s secluded magic and potential led the Arenal family to finally open its gates and welcome explorers to experience the refresh­ing tranquility of the farm.

Upon entering The Coffee Farm­house, it is easy to guess where the family farm got its name. Guests will be greeted by stunning, paralyzing greens – transforming a typi­cal city-goer into an instant recluse. Rows and rows of healthy, coffee trees bearing aromatic flowers adorn the winding walk­ways with informative little plaques about coffee variety, growth and harvest. Flowering plants of every color are spread throughout the vast gardens, complementing the sea of green grass. If the spread of nature wasn’t al­luring enough, charming wooden benches, colorful hammocks and swings on trees or­nate the coziest of nooks – an open invitation to lay back amid beautiful surroundings and unwind during the day.

Filling home-cooked meals prepared by the farmhouse’s family kitchen led by Mrs. Arenal are beautifully arranged to welcome guests in the main house’s common dining area. Decorated with warm, earth tones and rustic furnishing, the interiors imbue a feeling of it being a home away from home. Menu se­lections, inclusive of main dishes, sidings and snacks, are customized along with the guest’s reservation to ensure a complete and worry-free vacation. In addition to its note-worthy kitchen preparations, perhaps the most excit­ing thing about The Coffee Farmhouse (espe­cially for coffee connoisseurs), is its delicious, free-flowing home-grown coffee.

Various recreational facilities ideal for both intimate family settings and team-building activities are found within the farm grounds. Aside from swimming in cool wa­ters, The Coffee Farmhouse boasts of a wide range of outdoor and indoor activities that will cover every interest – from playing sports such as volleyball, badminton, soccer and basketball with friends, to riding bikes and scooters with the kids and kids at heart, to shooting darts, and even to singing along ka­raoke, hanging out in the billiards hall, camp­ing underneath canopies or simply sitting next to a warm bonfire while munching on chocolate smores. The possibilities to explore are vast. As a bonus, soothing massages may also be arranged by appointment.

For guests who prefer a longer vacation, three residences named after coffee varieties are available for occupancy. Larger groups may reside at the Liberica Main House, which offers two rooms, ideal for seven per­sons each, or the Excelsa Guest House, which has four rooms, with each room fit for ten per­sons. The last residence, the Robusta Duplex, is comprised of two adjoining units, ideal for couples’ stay. All of the rooms are complete with toilet and bath with water heaters (mul­tiple T&Bs for larger rooms) and a natural ventilation system. These different room con­figurations and sleeping capacities make long vacations easier to arrange.

A truly captivating vacation destination, what sets The Coffee Farmhouse apart from the rest is the warmth, comfort and filial fa­miliarity Mr. and Mrs. Arenal shower their guests with. With the genuine concern and hands-on affection of the couple, it is easy to see why many travelers always promise to re­turn to this beautiful sanctuary.

Visit The Coffee Farmhouse web­site at http://thecoffeefarmhouse.wordpress.com or email them at thecoffeefarmhouse@gmail.com or call (0928) 555-5856, ad­vance booking is required. The Coffee Farmhouse is located at #23 Palumlum-Matagbak Road, Baranggay Palumlum, Alfonso, Cavite. Coming from Manila, take the Southern Luzon Express­way and take the Sta. Rosa exit. Turn right at the Coca-Cola Bot­tlers Plant and head straight to Tagaytay. Upon seeing the Tagay­tay Rotonda, turn towards the southwest direction (going to Nasugbu, Batangas) and travel approximately 12 kilometers to reach Splendido. The entrance of Baranggay Upli will be on the right, near a Police Outpost. Turn right and travel 5 kilometers towards Ba­ranggay Palumlum, Alfonso. There will be road signs that serve as a guide to The Coffee Farmhouse.

By ANA MARIA VICTORIA A. PASCUAL, contributor

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