Former President Joseph Estrada is the first Philippine President to be impeached in 2001 by the Senate because of the corruption charges and other controversies he was involved with during the time of his presidency. In 2007, he was sentenced to reclusion perpetua by the Sandiganbayan after finding him guilty of the plunder case filed against him. But he didn’t go to Bilibid because of an executive clemency signed by his successor on the same year. He didn’t go to prison either during his lengthy trial; instead he was put under house arrest in his private rest house in the mountainous Tanay, Rizal.
I’ve always been curious where the 13th Philippine President was detained, so one day I decided to pay a visit.
The 25-hectare private rest house, which used to accept only family and close friends of the Estrada family, is now the JE Camp Hotel and Resort (named after the initials of the President) and open to the public with a minimum fee of P150.
Guests can tour the whole place via the resort’s electronic tram.
The serene Fishing Village has a freshwater lagoon where one could fish for tilapias or simply just meditate.
The museum, library and archives serve as the repository of his book collection, awards and memorabilia as an actor and politician.
The El Ray which looks like an authentic saloon from the Old West pays tribute to the special friendship of the President and the late FPJ. I love the colorful and positive vibe of this place.
The Maranaw Village showcases the art and culture of Mindanao.
The hotel has 14 rooms that could accommodate families and large groups. Just a stone’s throw away from it is a beautiful swimming pool surrounded by trees and with hypnotizing deep blue waters.
The Rancho Jota and mini zoo shows how the President loves animals, particularly horses and ostrich.
The Executive House has a sun deck and balcony overlooking a lovely pond. Ang sarap magmuni-muni dito.
The Estrada Mansion, which is off-limits to the public, served as the prison cell of the President.
I enjoyed spending a day inside JE Camp. It was a breath of fresh air literally, knowing the life of the President and exploring this once controversial place that is now part of Philippine history. And I realized, at some point, different people may live in the same kind of hell. Except that the President’s hell during his incarceration, has an aircon and a pool.
JE Camp Hotel and Resort
Marcos Highway, Brgy. Sampaloc
Tel. No.: 572-1640