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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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