“Ang taong may damdamin ay hindi alipin.”
- Heneral Luna
I promised myself not to write anything about this until I’ve seen Jerrold Tarog’s Heneral Luna. Mikee felt so proud telling me that portions of the critically-acclaimed film were shot in their expansive ranch, while she was touring me around. So that piqued my interest a little bit that the day after, I immediately watched one of, I think, the most hilarious historical Filipino movies of all times (even if it was supposed to be an action war film) with copious serving of badass lines and crunchy Spanish cursing. In short, it was epic and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Just as much as I enjoyed my latest discovery in Taal, Batangas.
The wooden signage “Café at the Ranch” along the street of Taal was too alluring to be ignored. It was the curious cat in me that eventually led me to this wonderful place of restored ancestral houses and a charming and cozy café right at the heart of a ranch.
The café is the latest attraction of the MGM Farm. MGM is the combined first name initials of the three children (Mikee one of them) of prominent businessman Michael Villano, who has a penchant for acquiring and restoring old houses to its former glory and transporting them to his ranch. The café used to be an American colonial house previously owned by the ex-mayor of Taal.
The main dining area, painted virginal white with capiz windows and adorned with artificial grass wall and flowers, white tables, and inspiring quotes, looks very feminine.
The smaller private room on the other hand, with its horse bust and figurine collection, cowhide wall hanging, wall mounted antlers, and other horse-riding items, appears to be masculine.
The café serves intercontinental cuisine, local food, and those sinfully delicious crepes. Their baked salmon is simply to die for.
Sundried tomato pasta with shrimps
MGM also provides overnight accommodation to small groups who want to unwind and get away from the city, and experience a rustic and idyllic ranch life.
The mother house, a lovely bahay na bato from the neighboring town of Lemery, was a gift from Michael’s mother. It is equipped with old and traditional furniture and furnishings typically found in Filipino ancestral houses. It could accommodate maximum of ten persons.
House guests are free to use the ranch’s swimming pool.
The ranch is also home to beautiful horses and several farm animals such as cows, birds, sheep, dogs and peacocks. The horses are the regular star attraction during the Parade of Horses, which is part of the celebration of the town fiesta held every November.
With the pastoral beauty of MGM that comes with verdant and relaxing surrounding, great food, and nice people, it simply isn’t hard to find solace in this place.
The invigorating fresh Taal air might have cleared my mind because it made me realize that Artikulo Uno may be too severe for everyone, punyetero could be a term of endearment, and wanting more, well, it is often a precursor to heartbreak.
MGM Farm and Café at the Ranch
Tel. No.: 0906-5047308