In the tradition of Lakbay Norte tours, we just finished eating at the Historic Camalig Restaurant in Angeles City and we were gonna eat again; this time at Prado’s Organic Farms in Lubao. I almost swore off eating until I saw what they prepared for us.
The vibrant yellow walls of Prado Farms’ entrance greeted us upon arrival. The next thing I saw was a gate made from welded gas tanks, it looked so absolutely heavy and very very artsy. I knew we were in for an interesting afternoon right then.
Like passing a portal from the normal world to a not so normal one, the ochre walls of the farm entrance soon engulfed and threw us into a surreal landscape. You wouldn’t even think there’s a whole villa of strange cabins beyond that rough yellow wall.
Before exploring the grounds, we were treated to a mid-afternoon treat of organic pandesal, kesong puti and Lubao’s longanisa which I bet is the smallest in the world. I love the combination of kesong puti, ground beef and longanisa. A mug of thick hot coffee and kakanins soon followed.
Prado Farms is dotted by vividly-colored cottages; pinks, yellows, greens, all in their absolute hues. Knick knacks abound, an 80’s KLIM tin poster? Checked. An collection of hats? Checked. An assortment of wooden chandeliers on a strange stairwell? Checked. A four-poster bed sitting outside the garden? Checked.
The place can be described as a recycled village; some decors are made from recycled papers, the gates are from recycled LPG tanks and if you can imagine, one of the buildings inside the compound is an old train station; a whole building recycled. The experience was like stepping into turn-of-the-century Philippines on a slightly skewed hippie-induced psychedelic dream.
I entered one of the colored villas and found an almost Bahay na Bato feel, stone construction on the ground floor, light wood materials for the second floor. The windows were of capiz, the walls were painted in warm yellows, the floor beams of the second story exposed, and the tiles were of the vintage type that still has that artisan organic feel to it.
There was no one inside as I proceeded to the second floor. I emerged in a cathedral-ceilinged library. The sun was filtering through an open window and the humidity was suffocating. There was a sense of a lingering mystery around the room and it kinda gave me the heebie-jeebies. I took one photo and raced down the narrow stairwell.
The same quirkiness can also be seen on the other buildings; mottled pink walls, old doors and windows, weirdly shaped modern motifs. I explored further and found an old crumbling tree house of sorts overlooking an overgrown garden. It was like stepping through Tim Burton’s territory.
The compound can be toured through bikes parked around the complex or via a caravan pulled by a carabao. Yes, a carabao; well it is a farm after all.
Passing through another garden, we emerged at the real Prado farm. The path was unpaved, and the horizon stretches to forever. Here they raise farm animals and plant crops according to the cycles of the universe or something akin to it. Prado Farm tours are usually held on a much longer timeframe, usually an overnight stay to instill the philosophy of taking everything slowly, but since we were on a schedule, it was compressed to a few hours.
Our tour was concluded with yet another feast; this time it’s Prado Lechon and salad. The difference between Prado’s and regular lechons is that the pig is organically fed with Aragula leaves and the pig is stuffed with a duck while being roasted.
To be honest, I felt bad for the pig when I saw the lechon; I mean it doesn’t look as peaceful (peaceful?!) as the ones I usually see in feasts but once it was served and its crispy skin smacked my mouth, I totally forgot about peaceful lechon pigs. It was just so excellent. And oh yes, did I mention there was a salad too? Very colorful but I also forgot about it after taking a second bite of the lechon.
Prado Farms was the last destination for the Lakbay Norte 3 tour; we cheered our cheers and we danced our dance before formally ending the tour.
There was an air of sadness as the sun retreated down the horizon and painted a poignant orange glow in the sky. We boarded our bus which we considered our home for the past week, and zoomed into the darkening highways of North Luzon for the last time.
Prado Farms, Prado Siongco
Telephone: (0920) 903-0964
GPS Coordinates: 14.877811,120.512123 | Click to view location on Google Maps
Hacienda Day Package Rate:
Adults Php950.00/person | Children Php750.00/person
Entrance to Prado Farms, farm tour, carabao ride, morning and afternoon minindal, and Harvest Lunch