03 May2010

IMG_3419

Flabbergasted. Almost speechless. Not sure if I was amused or bemused. Bizarrely attracted or after a pause, repelled. But this was certainly most unexpected. After a long morning spent traipsing through the brush on a family property just outside Tagbilaran, reviewing the work of a surveyor that had just mapped out our boundaries with orange spray paint, I was drenched in sweat, parched and famished. I asked our lawyer in Bohol to suggest a place for lunch and with a glint in his eye, he drove us a few minutes away from Tagbilaran, past the Baclayon church and turned inland for 2-3 kilometers up a hill. We arrived at a walled compound (20 hectares large I would later be informed) and a uniformed guard appeared. All guests to this compound were required to pay a PHP500 “cover charge” but this was chargeable against one’s meal. I presumed this slightly tacky fee was intended to keep out the hoi-polloi, or tacky masses. We paid the fees and the huge gates were opened to reveal incredibly well manicured lawns, mango orchards, a gravel path drive up to the main hotel/restaurant building. We had arrived at The Peacock Garden Luxury Hotel & Spa in Baclayon, Bohol. This is the place I asked readers to identify in this previous post, and a few of them got it right. :)

IMG_3392

So of course I have to start with the peacock in the garden, since the name of the hotel is The Peacock Garden. In a spacious netted enclosure under a tree near the hotel room building were a pair of peafowl. The pair seemed well cared for, and the stunning male with the excessively overdone plumage wasn’t into showing off his feathers that day. The peahen, nearby, was a drab grey brown and totally uninterested… Before sitting down to lunch, I took a quick tour of the pool and outdoor eating area, and that’s where I snapped those shots of the statue that had some guessing I was in the Mediterranean or California or elsewhere on the planet. Sitting on a bluff or promontory facing the Mindanao Sea, is this huge gleaming swimming pool and manicured gardens. What struck me about it all was how OUT OF CONTEXT it all seemed. There was just something that wasn’t computing, if you know what I mean…

IMG_3396

We entered the hotel restaurant, a huge room with chandeliers, heavy wooden furniture and an unusual assortment of decor strewn all over the walls, bar and other areas. The enormous room was fully air-conditioned, and there were some 6 waitstaff visible, and we were the ONLY guests that lunch time. From the sound of it, there wasn’t a SINGLE room occupied in the hotel. And there were no other outsiders who decided to dine there for lunch. It was an almost eerie, albeit by a bright and sunny corner table with spectacular view, experience. We perused an extensive menu of German and western dishes and a bit flummoxed, our table hastily ordered one pasta dish, one schnitzel, one turmeric chicken and one sparerib dish. As we waited for our food, we had a look around and our lawyer gave us some background information…

IMG_3397

Apparently, and this is not confirmed, the hotel is owned by a wealthy German heir and his Filipina partner, and the German gentleman invested a huge sum of money to purchase this piece of property and build a rather fancy hotel. He moved a lot of furniture from his home in Germany, hence the heavy wooden table and chairs in the dining room, an incongruous bar, family mementos and photos of ancestors on the walls, fencing and polo paraphernalia, beer steins, stuffed hunted animal heads, etc. This is completely my personal estimate, but I would say a MINIMUM of PHP200-300 million was poured into this complex based on what I could see and I was definitely of two minds on this. On the one hand, how wonderful that this gentleman would invest so heavily in the Philippines and this small town near where his partner was raised, and how wonderful that he had chosen to retire here. On the other hand, I still couldn’t get rid of that nagging feeling that this was really part folly, and perhaps the money could have been better applied or used. But it’s not my money, so I suppose whatever he desires, and can afford, why not? It’s best to say there are all sorts of tastes in hotel accommodations, and this is just one part of the spectrum.

IMG_3402

Sitting in the dining room, we took notice of just some of the details in the room… several wonderful hanging venetian lamps in the smoking section/lanai, hesitant and tentative watiers but obviously trained by a professional. A bar stocked to the gills with liquor, and a glass steam/sterilizing machine at the bar to ensure that the glasses were absolutely squeaky clean and crystal clear (you’d be lucky to find this at 5-star hotels in Manila!). There were a few things on the menu that were unavailable, but overall the selection was massive and I was wondering how long it would take the chefs to present our meal given that there was no one else there…

IMG_3406

After a reasonable wait, our food arrived. Again it had shades of a professional at the helm at the kitchen — incredibly hot plates, served with thick cloth napkins so the waiters wouldn’t singe themselves, an emphasis on presentation and garnishing, which all made for a classic western plate of food… My tomato and bacon pasta was extremely dry but tasted quite good nonetheless. I think it languished under a heat lamp for too long while the other dishes were being finished off.

IMG_3408

The schnitzel was very nicely done, still hot out of the fryer, served with some salted fries and some steamed and buttered vegetables. Note the slice of lemon with a bit of chopped anchovy and a few capers on top of the schnitzel. This was clearly prepared by a cook/chef with some professional credentials, it was just so bizarre that this was being served right here in the middle of the Baclayon hills… But this dish was good.

IMG_3409

From the chef’s specials list we also got some spareribs that were heavily sauced but completely consumed…

IMG_3411

…and a turmeric or paprika-ed (I can’t recall now for sure) chicken also served with rice.

IMG_3412

We shared an apple cake for dessert, had tea and several softdrinks and the bill came to a rather reasonable PHP700 per person (less the PHP500 entrance fee). I actually was surprised how reasonable the bill was given the setting and the food. The service was very attentive (almost too attentive) and kudos to the staff for this.

IMG_3393

After lunch, we asked for a tour of the hotel rooms, and were shown to these long buildings that must housed some 16-20 rooms each on two levels with an open-air outdoor corridor.

IMG_3417

We were shown this Premier Room, a large second floor room with spacious bathroom, small seating area, and a nice view of the pool and sea in the distance. This had a rack rate of PHP10,000NET but was on special promo rates of PHP7,200. A bit pricey, but certainly well below other more chi-chi Panglao beach hotels that can now range up to PHP25,000 per room. If you want a secluded, deserted, peaceful and quiet getaway, this might be your speed…

IMG_3422

The grounds were manicured and maintained by a small army of workers, and some water features and fountains with statues dotted the landscape, this one on the drive up to the main entrance of the restaurant. There is apparently a bar, club and wine room as well as a spa elsewhere on the premises.

IMG_3420

Another shot of the tail of the male peacock… and just when you thought you were discombobulated enough…

IMG_3425 copy

…parked in a carport was a gleaming Porsche, one of several that belong to the owners of the hotel, along with a Bentley and other luxury cars. Wow. What money can buy indeed. I like Porsches. :)

The Peacock Garden
Upper Laya
Baclayon, Bohol 6301
Philippines
T. 63.38.539.9231
F. 63.38.540.9487
M. 63.917.326.9000
www.thepeacockgarden.com

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Awesome!!!

    May 3, 2010 | 4:47 pm

     
  2. Nadia says:

    No matter how much that German dude spent on his property or how many Porsches and Bentleys he has…that statue by the swimming pool still says it all…TACKY TACKY TACKY!

    May 3, 2010 | 4:47 pm

     
  3. Marketman says:

    Nadia, at least it wasn’t buck naked. Heeheehee.

    May 3, 2010 | 4:49 pm

     
  4. Jack Hammer says:

    Wow….Amazing Place…glimpse of Serenity.

    That’s on my wish list on places to visit in the Phils.

    I made a similar gravy for my Veal Pot Roast this weekend and I used a secret ingredient that made the meat so moist and juicy and ofcourse welldone.

    Great Post MM…I know there is more to the Phils than the touristy places. Keep them coming.

    May 3, 2010 | 4:55 pm

     
  5. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Just read some interesting notes about The Peacock Garden owners, Hans and Lani Schoof. “The 40 furnished guests rooms done in the style of 18th century German architecture are housed in two detached villas….(The Schoofs) are admirers of National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal, and have incorporated rare and vintage Rizal memorabilia in the interiors of the resort. The centerpiece is the original living room furniture used by the hero during his lengthy stay at Pastor Ullmer’s vicarage in Heidelberg.”

    May 3, 2010 | 4:57 pm

     
  6. Joey in Dubai says:

    Tacky or whatever, the property is quite impressive! Thanks for the tip, MM.

    May 3, 2010 | 5:01 pm

     
  7. chrisz says:

    You failed to mention the furniture in the foyer that Rizal used when he was in Germany (with the supporting documents to back up that claim). Had you met the owner, you would have been charmed and edified. Admittedly, he has first world taste and standards. Quietly and without calling attention to his efforts, he has been doing all sorts of outreach activities not just for the town but for the entire province. Yes, Peacock is one of the gems of Bohol.

    May 3, 2010 | 5:04 pm

     
  8. Jack Hammer says:

    More Pictures of this place here http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotos-g1390126-d1389819-The_Peacock_Garden_Luxury_Resort_and_Spa-Baclayon_Bohol_Island_Bohol_Province_Visayas.html

    Not tacky at all but a labour of love. And to boot the owners are involved in uplifting the community. I would contribute to that by staying at this place.

    May 3, 2010 | 5:32 pm

     
  9. Marketman says:

    Jack and Artisan, I missed the Rizal memorabilia! And yes, I had heard they were doing well for the community around them. Kudos to them for that as well.

    May 3, 2010 | 6:07 pm

     
  10. Footloose says:

    A good friend of Rizal and his first promoter after his death was also German, Blumentritt. A great sigh of relief from me, Herr Schoof did not recreate a Bavarian village complete with buxom serving wenches in lederhosen like you will find strewn all over the world from the Okanagan Valley in the Canadian Rockies to Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil where the surviving Nazi command dispersed after the war. But I wish he had raised guinea fowl, nondescript though a lot more pugnacious than peafowl but truly delicious and they supply you with ginormous gizzards.

    May 3, 2010 | 6:30 pm

     
  11. Cris Jose says:

    I wish I could afford a weekend or two at that place… talk about being secluded… I would certainly love it there! :)

    May 3, 2010 | 7:32 pm

     
  12. wayne says:

    ok, at first I though this was at “Hearst Castle” – mainly because I too found the statue a bit “tacky”…
    Never would I have expected anyone to put a thing like that up anywhere in the Philippines – it just doesn’t fit in Southeast Asia ;)
    Then again… I’ve seen pictures of Pacquiao’s house… :-s

    Anyway, this German investor must be a “heavyweight” of some sort… who would invest in a luxury resort without guests?! Still, it seems to be a good place for a relaxing long weekend getaway…

    May 3, 2010 | 9:10 pm

     
  13. Rona Y says:

    If a statue by the pool is tacky, then pretty much every palace in Europe with statues by the fountains, etc. should be considered “tacky”, as well.

    That the owners have chosen to spend their money on this hotel may seem frivolous to some, but think of the number of locals the place employs currently (and also employed during the construction). Think of how well they’ve been trained, and how they could possibly use their training to work abroad, thereby benefitting themselves and their families. Does that not offset some of the perceived “tackiness”?

    Not only that, but how do you (general “you”) know he has not made charitable contributions elsewhere? How do you know what he has or has not done with his money?

    It seems unfair to judge this man (and his wife) as “tacky” based solely on this hotel, as some commenters seem to be doing. Perhaps it’s at least in part out of jealousy (just as some people may make disparaging comments about people who own fishpans ;-) ), but it’s just as “tacky”, if not more so.

    May 3, 2010 | 9:39 pm

     
  14. Hoz says:

    Who’d a thunk it? Such a first class establishment in the hills above Baclayton…Certainly elegant and beautiful, but also quite certainly NOT MY speed. I would feel more comfortable having my merienda on the beach on Panglao, Dumaluan Beach to be exact. (It’s the public beach!)

    BTW, I don’t consider the statue “tacky” if you can afford it. And it looks like Herr Schoff CAN.

    May 3, 2010 | 9:45 pm

     
  15. Mom-Friday says:

    WOW look at that pool! The place looks amazing! Only in the Philippines :)

    May 3, 2010 | 10:49 pm

     
  16. lojet says:

    Tacky, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. i think it’s beautiful.

    May 3, 2010 | 11:06 pm

     
  17. belliciosa says:

    wow! a life like this exists only in my dreams!

    May 3, 2010 | 11:08 pm

     
  18. lavabien says:

    Nice place, would’ve loved to stay there our last visit. I actually have a somewhat lowkey but very delicious and romantic lunch (yes it was romantic) by Dumaluan Beach from some manang selling grilled squid and blue marlin (sinigang too).

    May 3, 2010 | 11:11 pm

     
  19. Andre Marcelo-Tanner says:

    We ate here and were sick the next day and vomiting. The place looks nice but that’s about it.

    May 3, 2010 | 11:49 pm

     
  20. Doddie from Korea says:

    Hi MM and MM readers,

    I’d like to ask your help in helping my son win a cool backpack from a contest. I have entered Jai’s picture in a vacation photo contest from Two Nuts in Italy FB site. Can you help him win it by clicking number 11 on the contest link (http://surveymonkey.com/s/MWNRSVW), his picture is number 11. Unfortunately, the link doens’t show any pictures, only numbers.

    To see the picture I submitted, I uploaded it on my Photobucket. Here’s the link – http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v243/Doddie/IMG_5728.jpg It will take no less than 5 seconds to do it. Thank you in advance.

    Love,

    Doddie

    PS. He is the only pinoy in the group of vacation photos that was entered in the contest.

    May 4, 2010 | 1:05 am

     
  21. Jade186 says:

    Ferdinand Blumentritt was not German, but Austrian.
    Here’s a page from the University of Vienna website about Rizal’s friendship with Prof. Blumentritt for those who care to know (left side click):

    http://www.univie.ac.at/Voelkerkunde/apsis/aufi.htm

    A marker where Rizal stayed in Vienna:

    http://www.univie.ac.at/Voelkerkunde/apsis/aufi/rizal/marker.htm

    And schnitzels are also originally traditional Austrian fare, served with potato salad. The German variation would be served with fries (like the one above)!

    May 4, 2010 | 2:08 am

     
  22. ECC says:

    @Doddie from Korea, the link to survey monkey only gets me as far as their home page and I can’t find the page to vote for your son’s picture. Can you send another link? Also, was this picture taken in Soraksan? It is beautiful. I had the pleasure to visit Soraksan in the fall season and just loved it.

    MM, thanks for the information on The Peacock Garden. Will put it in my list of places to visit when I’m in the Philippines.

    May 4, 2010 | 3:09 am

     
  23. NidaFe Ortego says:

    For those commenting the Peacock Garden is a tacky place, here’s an anecdote about Liz Taylor: at a social event, Miss Taylor’s fabulously huge diamond ring drew the notice of Princess Margaret, who remarked, “That’s a bit vulgar.” Miss Taylor persuaded the princess to try on the ring. “There, it’s not so vulgar now, is it?” she said.

    May 4, 2010 | 3:30 am

     
  24. Footloose says:

    I stand corrected Jade186. Should have known echt Viennese are quite touchy being confused for being a mere German. That’s why Anschluss was such a triumph for the Germans. They came up in the world.

    May 4, 2010 | 5:09 am

     
  25. wayne says:

    well, Jade186… we’ll give you Austrians the Schnitzel, Sachertorte, The Opern Ball, Falco and even Wiener Wald – YAAAY ;)

    … die Oesis ;)

    Anyhooo… I need to check out Peacock Garden’s restaurant, if I ever get to Bohol this year..!

    May 4, 2010 | 5:47 am

     
  26. mbw says:

    hahaha!!! Germans here are everywhere! And they love the Philippines more than the locals hereabouts! They’re more into protecting the natural environments and constantly complain about the ignorance of the natives. Tsk-tsk….I cannot really disagree with them there. But there are also those who cannot leave Germany even if they decide to settle here. Their culture is so lavish that for a common Pinoy it can be like walking into Ali Baba’s den. So, they rather build a fortress around them…I know one who does. But they sure know how to handle money!!!

    May 4, 2010 | 8:04 am

     
  27. mayz says:

    i remember recording the voice-over for an avp of this resort — it seemed tacky on paper — but now i’m bowled over by the property itself! Tacky or not, this place is pretty impressive! thanks for sharing!

    May 4, 2010 | 8:18 am

     
  28. maia says:

    our family got the chance to stay here last year. service was wonderful, staff was courteous and efficient, the owners (we got to meet the daughter and the wife) were very accommodating, food was good, and their tandem massage was the best one i ever had so far. about 5 other rooms were also occupied at that time, and they were expecting a big group of about 50 korean or chinese guests the next day..

    however, there was that “i-can’t-put-my-finger-into-it” feeling of oddness as if we were transported to another place in another time, or we could have been just so awed to see something like this “emerge” in baclayon hills, or it must have been the change in ambiance – we had just come from panglao (we stayed at the amarela)… whatever, we still had a wonderful & distinct experience there! thanks for posting this, MM.

    May 4, 2010 | 10:04 am

     
  29. zeph says:

    I think one can hardly pull an objective verdict on this place based on a few photos. Still, using the word tacky may be too harsh. One could say there’s just some disconnect or incoherence if you prefer, between the architectural elements of the hotel, the landscaping and the immediate environment. If you take these elements out of context and appreciate them separately, you may just find them beautiful. At least that’s how I hope to explain what some folks can’t seem to put their finger on.

    Maybe the owner is going for a Mediterranean feel outdoors, who knows? And just because it’s in Bohol, doesn’t mean one can’t take inspiration from the opposite side of the world. I may have a bahay kubo full of Van Goghs and Rembrandts, and a chock full of terra cotta Chinese warriors in my lawn. That doesn’t mean I’m tacky, I probably just happen to have the most discombobulated art and artifact collection. :) In sum, I still think the world needs more kindness to go around. :)

    May 4, 2010 | 2:29 pm

     
  30. tamale8888 says:

    Wow, the place and the food look good!

    We visited Bohol a few years ago and stayed in a resort called Alona Palm Beach. It’s along Alona Beach in Panglao Island. It was beautiful and food there was pretty good. Allow me to share a review:

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1036817-d506017-r7550738-Alona_Palm_Beach_Resort_Restaurant-Panglao_Island_Bohol_Province_Visayas.html#CHECK_RATES_CONT

    May 4, 2010 | 2:56 pm

     
  31. Cynthia says:

    Thank you, Zeph, for your comment. Your last statement definitely sums it up. Being ungracious isn’t very helpful.

    May 4, 2010 | 4:32 pm

     
  32. natie says:

    it’s acres and acres of property, so scale-wise, everything seems to fit..my half an acre could only pull off a small japanese pagoda…it looks very well built and finished, and the landscaping is beautiful. one man’s tacky is another man’s dream..one could only wish to have one’s dream fulfilled….

    May 4, 2010 | 11:51 pm

     
  33. Jewel says:

    I wonder how they get their clientele.

    May 5, 2010 | 12:30 am

     
  34. The Peacock Garden says:

    Good day, Sir. We’re sorry to hear that some things had put you off during your visit. However, we do hope this won’t keep you from returning should your travels find you in Bohol and the town of Baclayon once more. We sincerely appreciate your thoughts and feedback on the resort, and would like to thank you for writing about the place. Cheers!

    May 5, 2010 | 3:04 pm

     
  35. Marketman says:

    The Peacock Garden, thanks for your comment. I would’t say I was put off, perhaps best to say some things weren’t totally my taste, but that’s fine, its hard to please all. I would reiterate however that I think it is a place worth visiting, and encourage readers to do so when they are next in Bohol… And as for the vote of confidence in Bohol, kudos to you for sure. Best regards, MM.

    May 5, 2010 | 3:37 pm

     
  36. erleen says:

    Btw MM, I suggest that you blur the plate number of the car. Just for security purposes. :)

    May 5, 2010 | 5:24 pm

     
  37. Marketman says:

    erleen, you are right, done. Though I have to say there are probably no other porsches like this on the entire island of Bohol… :)

    May 5, 2010 | 6:23 pm

     
  38. dHomemaker in the Kitchen says:

    definitely the first one on my list when i get back. another great pride for Baclayon. =)

    i’m also taking a little pride since my auntie was one of the few(i think) hired for landscaping the area. =)

    May 10, 2010 | 11:47 am

     
  39. foxratpig says:

    I’ve also dined here, and like you we were the only diners in the restaurant (I believe it’s called the Heidelberg) A quick review of my meal… a Greek salad for entree that had far too much fetta cheese , pork with mustard sauce and vegetables (quite nice, actually, although the vegetables were nothing special), my companion had steak but I can’t remember the cut or really what it tasted like, and chocolate mousse (nice and light) The bar is very well-stocked as you’ve mentioned, however the wine list is inadequate. Had a waitress hovering near the table the whole time, which actually annoyed me. I like to be left alone when I’m eating my meal! Price-wise, it is comparable to a standard restaurant here in Australia, or possibly a little cheaper… total cost was about 3000 pesos but that included several expensive spirits.

    You’re right about being discombobulated–it feels like you’re in Europe rather than Baclayon, Bohol, Philippines.

    The owner is a bloke named Hans Schoof. Yes he is German, not sure how he came into his money but he married a woman named Lani. He has a socialite daughter that was kidnapped with her then-boyfriend near Ayala Alabang a few years ago. I remember seeing the estimated cost of construction for the Peacock Garden in the Bohol Standard or Chronicle… I may be incorrect, but I think it was somewhere in the vicinity of $US3-4 million.

    May 11, 2010 | 9:23 am

     
  40. cagayan de oro hotels says:

    Great place. sure it is a pride of bohol. i’m coming back to bohol next year and i will also try those foods that you showed to me ^_^. nice post. keep it up.

    Jul 19, 2010 | 3:52 pm

     
  41. Telai says:

    My friends and I went there at the end of May for a late supper. And we were also the ONLY ones around. I agree with a lot of the things you said:

    “It was an almost eerie, albeit by a bright and sunny corner table with spectacular view, experience.”

    “The service was very attentive (almost too attentive) and kudos to the staff for this.”

    When we got there, Mr. Schoff, the owner called at our table, and then later on Chris, his son, gave us a tour around THE WHOLE premises! There are sooo much more statues in their spa! Haha.

    But really. Who’d have thought there exist this type of luxury hotel in that part of Baclayon?!?! :)

    Jul 24, 2010 | 7:28 am

     
 

Market Manila Home · Topics · Archives · About · Contact · Links · RSS Feed

site design by pixelpush

Market Manila © 2004 - 2017