The moment we entered the farm’s gates, I felt like we’ve just arrived home.
It was our first ever company team building and our brilliant admins found this gem of a place as a venue: Tarawoods in Tanauan, Batangas. It’s just two hours away from Manila, an easy and fast escape from the pollution and stress of the city.
I felt instantly serene and close to nature as rows and rows of fruit trees greeted us at the entrance. It was almost December then so the air was cool and crisp.
At the heart of the farm lies this beautiful Mediterranean inspired home naturally adorned with vines and flowers.
The owners Albert and Chari Magsino personally welcomed us and told us to help ourselves to the refreshments table: bottomless natural calamansi juice, lemongrass and brewed coffee. The calamansi juice, which was made from calamansi harvested from their own farm, was so good.
After downing a glass of juice, I explored the charming country house that would be our home for two days. One thing that caught my eye was the mini – shrine at the doorway with a statue of the patron saint of the environment, St. Francis of Assisi.
Two small angels flanked the antique wooden doors which reminded me of old churches. I once dreamed of becoming an angel. I still want to be an angel.
The cozy sala had mismatched chairs but still looked perfectly put together. I could imagine watching movies with the family here or just chatting while eating merienda.
I especially loved this day bed. Looks perfect if you want to take an afternoon nap, read a book, write in a journal or just stare out the window and day dream…
I chatted with Sir Albert and found out that Tarawoods used to be a chicken farm. Then his father started planting fruit trees like red lady papaya, calamansi and mango trees that transformed the 18 – hectare farm into a wooded area.
They built the country house in 2000 to accommodate the growing family. Giving them an idea of things to come, guests and relatives would often comment that they loved staying in the farm because of its serene surroundings. Six years later, the family decided to open it to the public
The farm was named Tarawoods inspired by Tara, the name of the plantation in the old movie Gone with the Wind which their mother was fond of.
If some fixtures in the house looks familiar, it’s because the bricks and carved doors were bought from old houses in Vigan. They also had a craftsman make wooden furniture out of old railroad tiles.
This is the dining area where Pinoy food was served buffet style. I hardly had time to take photos of our food, it was always gone in an instant. They were that good.
Tarawoods also has modest amenities for recreation. There’s a billiards table that faces the open kitchen.
Outside there’s a swimming pool and lounge area.
They also have a conference room where we held our teambuilding sessions.
I wasn’t able to take photos of the bedrooms but they were really nice too. The rooms have brightly painted walls with huge windows and most have double decks and bunk beds.
Perhaps the only thing that’s a bit inconvenient is the shared bathroom. This might be more of an issue if you’re with colleagues than family. But I didn’t find it a problem because the bathrooms were well maintained and always clean.
Over all, Tarawoods is a perfect place for a simple, peaceful and relaxed weekend getaway. If we didn’t go here for work, I’d probably spend the day exploring the farm with my kids, having a good swim, eating a hearty lunch of sumptous home cooked dishes and curling up with a good book.
Signal’s also good here so I might just slip a little time for blogging and Tweeting.
What’s your ideal getaway?
For groups of 30, Tarawoods packages start at 1,000++ per person for an overnight stay. The base price for a wedding package is P25,000. For those on a budget, the Magsino couple are willing to work with clients on a package that fits their needs. Tarawoods is located at Barrio Natatas, Tanauan, Batangas. For inquiries, call Chari Magsino at 02-9864399 / 0928-3189287 or visit http://www.tarawoods.net