Over the years, my family and I have driven back and forth from Manila to my hometown Naga City numerous times. Our route, which traverses through the provinces of Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon (with a possible detour at Camarines Norte) before reaching Camarines Sur can last 8-12 hours depending on the traffic. However, this means starting the drive really early in the morning and having limited time to enjoy good meals and sights along the way.
A more enjoyable option is to break the road trip in half by stopping over somewhere for the night. In the past, our pit stops were usually random guesthouse or inns in towns of Lucena or Gumaca. These places aren’t really that notable, but they offered the basics like beds and running water (sometimes).
The past few driving road trips though, we’ve managed to have a more comfortable overnight stay in Graceland Estates & Country Club in Tayabas, Quezon as guests of family friend Atty. Rey Alejandrino, Law Dean of the Enverga University in Lucena City, who happens to be a member of the resort. While Graceland prioritizes members and guests of members who can avail of special rates, they’ve opened up the resort to the non-members as well subject to the availability of rooms (prior reservations are required). For those who just want to visit, see the sights of the resort, or dine in the restaurant, Graceland offers day tours to the public.
Graceland Estates and Country Club is a lavish 11-hectare development inside a 22-hectare property located along the eco-tourism district of Tayabas, Quezon. The resort gets its name from Elvis Presley’s mansion in Memphis, Tennessee. The owners are said to be big Elvis fans, and you can see nods to “The King of Rock & Roll” in how the areas are named such as Memphis Cafe & Grille and Blue Suede Cafe.
According to the founders, Graceland’s structures and facilities were designed and planned to complement the natural contours of the land. They claim that no trees were cut or uprooted to make the trails and roads in the place and more hardwood and fruit-bearing trees have been planted all over the land.
Graceland offers overnight accommodations with 40 studio-type apartelle rooms and 16 two-story/two bedroom villas located within nature-inspired amenities and attractions that are ideal for couples, families or groups. They also have a campsite with a bonfire area for those who prefer to commune with nature.
The Apartelle rooms are best for individuals or couples. The rooms are clean and comfortable, and could fit 2-3 people comfortably. There’s a big bed and a lounging chair that could double as an extra bed. There’s also a small private dining area with the bar / breakfast nook, kitchen sink and refrigerator. Rooms come with their own TV set with cable.
The rooms are designed with an old-world charm, with heavy use of bamboo, wooden details and floor tiles. All the rooms feature wide sliding doors that lead to a balcony that provides a great view of the resort’s greenery, rice fields and Mount Banahaw. There are no elevators here, so guests who have problems climbing may want to book the rooms on the ground floor. However rooms on the higher floors have better views. The Villa rooms are ideal for families and larger groups, since these can fit up to 6 people. Villas come with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, its own living room and kitchen/dining area.
The natural surroundings provide a good base for travelers looking for some R & R while also offering a range of recreational activities including boating, horseback riding, jogging and bike trails.
One of the main features of the resort is a 2.2-hectare Man-Made Lagoon which contains water sourced from Mount Banahaw. Here, visitors can enjoy fishing, pedal and paddle boating or kayaking. The resort also boasts of two swimming pools, a children’s playground, basketball, tennis, simulated beach volleyball courts, and its own putting green for golfers.
Ideal for team building events, the country club also contains an adventure camp with a rope course, zip line, and wall climb, archery and airsoft area.
Another point of interest for history buffs is the collection of retired U.S. military jeeps. I heard that there’s a collection of Elvis memorabilia somewhere on the premises, but it’s not open to the public. The resort also contains a deer farm, which is home to a small herd of native Philippine brown deer.
Graceland’s in-house restaurant, Memphis Garden Cafe & Grille offers guests a wide variety of international and Filipino cuisine with some dishes featuring unique twists on traditional Quezon dishes.
Interesting local dishes on the menu include Pancit Lucban, Pork Hardinera (Quezon’s version of embutido or meatloaf), and Kulawo (banana heart cooked in coconut cream). For dessert, we tried their Chocolate Lambanog Balls, moist chocolate cake shaped into balls infused with lambanog (coconut arrack), a distilled Filipino alcoholic beverage which originated in Quezon, which is known for its numerous coconut plantations.
For breakfast, we had the signature Lucban Longganisa, a garlicky and slightly sour sausage, which is always a favorite. The restaurant also offers fresh-baked breads, pastries, custom cakes and interesting local delicacies like Atcharang Ubod, Special Bagoong and Yema Spread for sale.
WHY YOU SHOULD CHECK-IN
Because of all its amenities and location, Graceland Estates & Country Club is a good option for weekend getaways for those based in Metro Manila and nearby provinces. The place offers secure parking, offers loads of activities compared to usual hotel stays, and is a great venue to spend quality time outdoors with your family or friends. Its location is best suited for those with their own form of transportation. You can bring your bikes and explore the sights nearby.
From here, guests can conveniently get to sights and attractions in Tayabas, Lucena, and Lucban. This makes it a good base for Christmas, Holy Week and summer because of big festivals in the area like Pahiyas, as well as popular pilgrimage sites like Kamay ni Hesus in Lucban. During our recent road trip back, we were also able to visit the quaint Majayjay Church and Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery.
TRAVEL TIPS AND USEFUL INFO:
- Day Tour Entrance Fee: P300, includes P100 consumable
- Overnight Camping : P400/person
- Apartelle: Single Occupancy with complimentary breakfast: P2750; Twin Sharing with two complimentary breakfasts: P3000
- Villa: Good for 6 persons with 4 complimentary breakfasts: P7500
- Excess guests ages 7-12: P400
- Excess guests over the age of 12: P800
- with complimentary breakfast and floor matress
- Check-in 2:00 pm / Check-out 12:00 pm
- Privileges: Use of swimming pools, basketball, tennis and simulated beach volleyball courts, jogging and biking path, and children’s playground
- No outside food allowed. Members are requested to present their card to avail of special rates.
RATES FOR RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES:
- Fishing (per kilo caught): P80
- Boating @30 min/peron (paddle, pedal or kayak): P100
- Jet Skiing @30 min/person: P1500
- Biking @30 min/person: P80
- Horseback Riding @30 min/person: P100
- Putting Green @1hr / person: P300
- Adventure Course – Prices start at P50
- (Wall climb, ropes course, zip line, rappelling, archery, air soft or combination)
- Fishing Rod rental @4 hours with reel – P150 / Without reel – P100
- Cabana Rental – P500
- Tent rental – P900
ADDRESS & CONTACT INFO:
Graceland Estates & Country Club is located in Barangay Camaysa, Tayabas City, Quezon.
Call or email for details
(042) 793 2693 / 793 2857
(02) 899 6597 / 896 9113
0917 597 5315 / 0922 484 9393 / 0907 219 9960
HOW TO GET TO GRACELAND ESTATES & COUNTRY CLUB:
From Manila by Car
- Follow SLEX and Pan-Philippine Highway to Tayabas-Sariaya Road in Lungsod ng Tayabas.
- Continue on Tayabas-Sariaya Road and drive to Tayabas-Lucban Road.
- Make a slight left onto Tayabas-Sariaya Road.
- Turn left toward A. Dela Cruz Street.
- Turn left onto A. Dela Cruz Street.
- Turn left onto Tayabas-Lucban Road.
- Graceland will be on the right side.
From Manila by Public Transit
- Board a bus going to Lucena.
- Get off at Lucena Grand Terminal.
- Take a jeepney toward Lucban.
- Ask the driver to drop you off at Graceland’s gate on the right side.