TEXT & PHOTOS: Kaycie Gayle
As the guard opened the high gate of Abe’s Farm and I had a peek of its grounds inside, I felt I was welcomed to the haven of Art of Doing Nothing. True enough, my dolce far niente has officially commenced the moment the car has entered this hideout haven. Without any plan in mind of what to do here besides staycation, I am just really looking forward to be spontaneous and be recharged. Upon alighting from the car, the small native structure that seemed to be like a grander style of Nipa Hut registered to me instantly. It is surrounded by refreshing greens that give the ambiance a feel of provincial life. Without any guide, it has a way of telling you which way to trudge and your gut instinct will tell you to proceed to the upscale hut first after seeing the green wooden signage bearing name Abe’s Farm. Stepping on the narrow stone steps towards it, heightened my excitement as it brought me nearer to the hut. Upon approaching the entrance of the structure, I realized that it is the restaurant of the resort. Though the structure looked small from out front, I was surprised that the inside of it is spacious. Walking inside the rustic restaurant feels like visiting a friend’s abode in the province since it was originally a private rest house that was thoughtfully planned to accommodate family and friends. Being made of antique wood and bamboo has certainly made it a native-inspired farmhouse and would be preferred by anyone who would like to relax during their vacation for its airy ambiance and natural light.
Abe’s farm signage as seen from the gate
Parking space and pocket garden in front of the restaurant
Side of the restaurant
Back part of the restaurant
The open-air restaurant is filled with woodwork furniture from chairs tables and planks and is decorated with paintings, old pictures, and other personal belongings and collections of the owner. This quaint restaurant has a colorful ambiance made possible by the local arts and crafts displayed inside. Moreover, there are daybeds on some nooks, which suggests that the place is intentionally designed to be relaxing and an attractive spot for a siesta.
Upon entering the restaurant you’ll instantly see its foyer and its front desk, and across it is an area which seemed to be their own native version of a lounge where guests can sit while waiting. On it, you’ll see a wooden banner that says ‘Ang Tinadahan ni Aling Merlie Sari Sari & Insnak Bar’ which literally translates to ‘The store of Merlie, Assorted and Snacks Bar’. It also has a wooden bench and two inclined chairs with table that seemed to be a tree trunk converted into a table. Passing through it you are finally entering the main restaurant where you’ll see pictures of ‘Abe’ and the bamboo drawer that serves as the divider from the entrance and the dining area. On its side is what seemed like a living room where you can sit comfortably should you want to take a rest for a while. Consistent with the theme of its interiors, its chairs are made of wood and what seemed like a treasure trove’ table. Meanwhile, some of the areas of its galleria volada or cantilevered walkway are reserved as dining area and game area. Every part of the restaurant has been consistently designed to follow a native theme resthouse that even their washroom has been tastefully done with native materials. Its walls are made of bamboo with a painting hanging on the wall and its certainly clean hence making anyone who would need to use the washroom comfortable. Meanwhile, if you climb on their upper floors, you’ll discover that it has a loft on the second floor where you’ll see bamboo couches and two double beds with comfortable mattresses. These beds are surrounded with fine white mesh which looks like a softer mosquito net which gives the area a romantic vibe. From the second floor, you’ll be surprised to see another winding wooden stairs that lead you to the topmost level of the restaurant, which is the attic. It has a narrow space with big windows on both sides that allows you to have a view of the compound and makes the place well ventilated as it allows a steady flow of cool air. From looking around the place, you would certainly realize that the resthouse turned restaurant exudes a simple country life on the farm.
Facade of the Resthouse
A peek to the main restaurant from the window
Game area on the galleria volada
Communal sink and mirror
Bamboo walls on the toilet
Stairs from the loft to the attic
Bed surrounded by fine white mesh
Two beds on the loft
Chairs on the loft
Couple chair on the attic
Regardless that you are a foodie or not, you would certainly enjoy staying in the restaurant, as it has a feel of staying in a resthouse with unlimited Filipino food. The restaurant allows you to dine according to your comfort as it gives you different interesting dining areas. If you are in a group and prefer privacy then you can choose on a somewhat native version of a conference dining area that can seat at least 10 people in a round table. Meanwhile, if you prefer to have a refreshing view while dining then you can choose to stay on the veranda which has a pool view that would definitely provide you a very relaxing feeling while eating. On the other hand, if you just want to enjoy your drinks while staying on a daybed, then you can do so, by just going to the side of the restaurant. If you are a foodie, then chances are you would spend most of your time inside the restaurant, trying out their wide variety of food offerings as you will never run out of choices during your whole stay here. Being nestled in Pampanga which is known to be the culinary capital of the country it is understood that its like the main highlight of this place.
Main dining area
Dining area on the galleria volada with a pool view
Kitchen area and dining area overlooking the pool
Dining area on the Galeria Volada
During my stay in the resort, some of the dishes I’ve tried are Kare-kare which has an oxtail and tripe, combined with vegetables that were not overcooked. It has a creamy and rich taste of peanut sauce and its consistency wasn’t too thick and is perfectly complemented by the shrimp paste. Also, another dish I’ve tried is the Sisig which was served underrated yet savory. But what I was really curious about trying here are the Tasty Bamboo Rice wherein the rice with shrimp and spices was served in a Bamboo shell, ‘Sikreto ni Maria’ which translates to Maria’s Secret in English, which is actually a rice cake and ripe mango slices covered with vanilla ice cream with panocha/piloncillo on top and the Tamarind Shake which is made of Fresh Tamarind. Another good option for refreshment is their Mango Shake which has the perfect blend of sour and sweet
Sikreto ni Maria
Fresh Mango and Tamarind drink
A spot at the side of the restaurant t where you can enjoy your tamarind drink
For overnight stays, Abe Farms offer different kinds of accommodation. One is if you prefer a more exotic adventurous stay, you can rent an Ifugao Ulogs or traditional Ifugao huts which are sturdy huts made of hardwood, cogon, and rattan, however, you must share a common bath and toilet outside and these are located near the pool and restaurant.
Meanwhile for those who prefer a more convenient stay and ensures privacy then they have the conservative, regular rooms which are located in the garden area of the resort, and just near the spa rooms. Their suite is surrounded with the lush view of the gardens and styled with a combination of traditional Filipino and Balinese design. It is simple, elegant, spacious and clean. It is furnished with woodwork furniture, locally produced decors and beds with white linens. Its floor-to-ceiling glass windows, allows sunlight to provide natural lighting making the suite well lit especially during the day. Moreover, it’s wood-and-glass sliding doors allows you to see the lush green outside, despite being inside the room. Rest assured that the suite is well ventilated as it has both aircon and a ceiling fan that makes your siesta in the afternoon comfortable. When you just want to curl up in bed then you can sleep either of the two king-sized bed with clean white sheets, or if you prefer to just sit while looking out from the glass door then you can opt to get comfortable on the suite’s available inclined chairs. You can also have your coffee anytime by making your own through the complimentary coffee and tea making facility. Should you want to freshen up, the suite has a clean bathroom with bathtub and complete bathroom toiletries.
Just ensure that when you go to Abe’s Farm, you are really set to do the art of doing nothing, and ready to cut your connection from the online world for a day or two as there is no wi-fi or even television in the suite. But certainly, you would be refreshed especially in the morning upon waking up in a lush garden environment while hearing the chirping of the birds and smelling the morning mist. During your stay in Abe’s Farm, just do the art of nothing to connect with the natural setting and cut your connection for a while in the digital world.
Entrance to the Garden
Walkway of the garden
More suites for Accommodations
Sliding Glass door
Bed in the suite
Another bed in the suite
Now when in Abe’s Farm, you’ll be amazed that the surrounding and each corner is designed to be conducive for relaxation. Expect that it would really encourage you to take time to slow down. While doing the art of nothing you might just want to be spontaneous and just go around to discover more of this big property.
At the time of writing, they have a restaurant, accommodation, spa facility, and the museum. For anyone who expects to see a farm inside because of its name, there’s none actually although the place is filled with greens and they have big gardens. Since it still has a lot of idle lands, maybe, just maybe, they might still be able to set up an organic farm in the future to keep up with its name.
Orchids garden and interesting walkway
Do as you please while walking leisurely around the property since it is quiet and undisturbed. Stay on the places where you want to spend your time as there are no distractions. This place would really allow you to meditate, slack, or even lull you to sleep. You can lounge on the gazebo, communal huts, and other resting nooks that is surrounded by a well-manicured garden and lush greeneries and have your siesta while enjoying the cool breeze.
As you stroll around you may spot the swing at the back of the house turned restaurant wherein the swing seat is made from plain bamboo and swung from a tall tree. Enjoy the view of the lawn and the garden while breathing in the clean fresh air as you ride on the swing.
Back of the restaurant
Walkway back to the restsurant
When you’re tired and want to freshen up take a dip or even swim on their pool. If you just want to enjoy the pool view then you can just sit on their sun loungers while enjoying some fresh air.
As you explore more of the grounds you’ll find a museum that would allow you to have a glimpse of the life of Emilio Aguilar Cruz. He was a well-known writer, artist and was fondly called as “Abe” which means ‘a friend or life companion in Kapampangan’. He is actually the man behind the name of the restaurant, as his son who built and owns the rest house turned restaurant and the resort wants to pay tribute to his father. The museum was actually a 1930’s two-level house with an art deco theme. It is beautifully restored where almost everything is kept original as it is when it was built. Inside you’ll find different antique pieces of furniture, and the works, and personal belongings of Abe.
Self Portrait of Abe
Gate and the front yard of the museum
From the porch, you’ll find vintage hats hanged on a ‘bastonero’ or hat rack by the main door, going inside, you’ll see a collection of antique flat irons where you have to put charcoal to use it. On the kitchen, you’ll see old bottles lined up on its window sill and antique wooden tools and brass jar used to make tsokolateng batirol on the floating shelf above the window. A few more steps, you’ll reach the room where Abe’s suitcases are displayed, and another room where the different pictures of Abe and his family are exhibited. Exploring more inside, you’ll reach a somewhat workspace of Abe, where his wooden work desk, tools and painting supplies, doodles, scribbles of poetry and letters, self-portrait and sculpture are displayed. If you are going to carefully look around, you’ll notice that he seemed to be interested in nude women art the most, as there are several paintings of nude women exhibited around. Once done discovering the collection on the ground floor, then you may climb up to the second floor through the antique stairs. On the second story you’ll also find different rooms, there is a library where its table and chairs are made of solid wood, then there are rooms that contain antique bed and study table, moreover, there is also a veranda where you can look down at the lawn surrounding the house. After satisfying yourself in exploring the museum, you may want to take time to walk around the yard of the house turned museum and even read the historical marker displayed on it.
Vintage Hats on the Bastonero
Vintage Iron collection
Some of the displayed works of Abe
Antique chairs by the window
Another set of table and chairs by the window
As you walk and continue to wander around the grounds of Abe’s Farm, you’ll realize that for a moment you forget about technology. However, because the place is so good you can’t let it pass without taking photos of it, and it’s okay, cause when you go back, you’ll realize that even by just looking at your souvenir photos from your staycation you would be relaxed, as it reminds you of the pleasure you’ve had from doing the art of nothing at Abe’s Farm.
A spot in the resort that is liked by guests for their IG photos
Abe’s farm is located at 98 Livestock Village, Magalang, Pampanga
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All expenses are paid by the author.
If you’ve been to Abe’s Farm or have enjoyed a staycation elsewhere, kindly share your insights, by writing it down on the comment box below. You may also share this post to anyone whom you think likes staycation.