Sometimes all it takes is just one unexpected element to transform an ordinary restaurant experience into something magical. In the case of the Waterfalls Restaurant at Villa Escudero, The Philippines, that element is a waterfall – which you might’ve guessed from the restaurant’s name. You’re right in thinking that a waterfall inside a restaurant is nothing new. However, Waterfalls has switched things up and put the restaurant in the waterfall.
Now, the restaurant is not literally inside of the waterfall. Obviously it would be pretty difficult to eat with water dumping on your head; but you will get wet at this restaurant. It is an al fresco affair with tables set up in a few inches of flowing water at the base of the waterfall. The waterfall itself isn’t the booming kind with explosions of white water. It is actually the spillway of the Labasin Lake dam, which maintains a constant and gentle flow of crystal clear spring water.
Besides the waterfall, the restaurant itself is pretty simple. The dining tables are made with bamboo and the buffet tables are fringed with leaves so that they blend in with tropical jungle that surrounds the restaurant. With the presence of so much flowing water, the restaurant doesn’t really need to be anything fancy. The simplicity and natural materials of the tables complement the dynamic waterfall perfectly. They allow diners to focus entirely on the unique atmosphere of the restaurant.
All your senses are engaged when you sit down to eat: the waterfall looms large in front of the restaurant, dominating your field of view; your ears are soothed by the sounds of flowing water; the pleasantly cool stream runs over your feet; and both your nose and taste buds are treated to the aromas and flavors of many local dishes. If getting your feet wet isn’t enough to cool you down on one of the Philippines’ many hot and humid days, many diners go lie at the base of the waterfall after their meal.
This restaurant is just one part of the much larger Villa Escudero plantation. The plantation, originally founded in 1872, first opened its doors to the public in 1981 and has since become a popular resort and cultural center. Today there is a museum, village tour, bird watching tours, a Philippine experience show, and bamboo rafts all geared toward teaching visitors about the traditional culture of the Philippines.