Are you looking for a farm just very near Manila where you can relax, eat good food, interact with animals, and not worry about the smell?
Let me tell you now: IT EXISTS!
In this blogpost, let me share with you the many reasons we fell in love with HappyNest Farm BNB, a family-friendly farm where you can go for the day, or sleep for a night (or more!)
I’ll be sharing the details of how you can book this at the end of this post.
One thing we loved about this farm is that it’s pretty! It’s comfortable and nicely put together (which is really soothing)! Can’t really pinpoint the exact style (barn? country? etc), but I love that even if there are lots of elements, the way they styled the whole place is just right – not overwhelming!
I do have to mention that it’s also clean! So important.
Trivia: that big rooster artwork? It’s made from scrap wood! How cool!
Their style extends to their rooms, too! Most of their rooms are for big groups, which is perfect for big families or barkadas.
Most of their rooms are called Brooder Houses – and they can fit around 12 people per room, I think (or more)! The beds are nothing luxurious (thin beds), but we didn’t experience any discomfort. There are two toilets and baths – nothing fancy, but has running water and heater, and an ample supply for tissue paper. They also have a supply of essentials: insect repellant, hand soap, and towels. I think there was shampoo, too. It’s better to bring your own toiletries, though.
The brooder houses are non-aircon, BUT, they have around 4 ceiling fans, and it’s quite breezy inside, so we didn’t have any problems. My sister, who had just given birth, found it really hot, though. It might be the hot flushes you get after birth (which I also experienced), so I would suggest delaying visit if you had just given birth, or pregnant (since you also tend to feel the heat a lot when you’re pregnant) IF you’re staying in this room.
What I really appreciated, is that they stuck with all white beddings and sheets. It just makes everything look simple, clean, and decent. I had a good sleep here!
NOTE: There might be different kinds of insects here especially at night. If you cannot stand seeing bugs, this place is not for you to stay for the night.
They also have one private room. The room itself is small, but you have a common area where you can hangout. We did not choose this room because the bed area looks typical, but, this one is airconditioned.
I’m not a heavy coffee drinker, but when the coffee is good, expect me to be raving about it. This farm offers really good, organic, and local coffee! And it’s only PHP 50/ cup for brewed coffee. They also offer Americano, Cappucino, Cafe Latte, and teas!
This is one thing we, as a vegetarian family, truly enjoyed in this farm – the food! You see, we’re not used to being served good vegetarian food in the Philippines – unless it’s a vegetarian/ vegan restaurant/ caterer. So, we were pleasantly surprised that this farm knows how to serve good vegetarian dishes.
The stay comes with breakfast, and honestly, I was expecting like a cup of rice and some omelette (what we are typically served when they find out we’re vegetarians), but we were constantly served with amazing meals in generous servings.
For breakfast, we had salad, fruits, garlic rice, eggs, and tofu a la cubana! For lunch, we had vegan pasta, malunggay bread, salad. For dinner, we had a boodle fight, and this was our food list: Roasted Eggplant Soup, Papaya/ Squash/ Malunggay Rolls, Mushroom-Spinach Balls, Blanched Veggies (harvested from their farm), Kangkong Tofu Adobo, Mulberry Leaf Fritters, Fresh Fruits, Buko Juice! Can you imagine that? Plant-based eaters’ heaven!
But…not only that! They also cater to other diets. My sister is avoiding gluten, so they made her a Ginataan dessert using coconut flour! I loooove the food here. Fresh, simple, tasty!
NOTE: For these kinds of meals, it’s best to let them know ahead of time. And you can also help explain your diet to them – like for us vegetarians, we explain what we can eat (vegetables, mock meat, dairy), and not eat (seafood, meat, and seasonings with seafood and meat like fish sauce or bagoong).
THOUGHTFUL TOUCHES ALL OVER THE FARM
I appreciated how this farm had thought of what their guests could possibly need – and put them out for use.
When it started to rain, we were pleasantly surprised to find umbrellas just outside the play room. There were hats for when it’s too sunny, too!
In our room, we had out supply of insect repellant, and since it’s a room for a big group, there were lots of hooks for everyone’s towels and jackets!
LOTS OF SPACE FOR SCREEN-FREE ENTERTAINMENT
There are no TVs in the rooms, but there are books everywhere – in the rooms, in the restaurant area, in the play area, etc! They also have boardgames and puzzles (forgot to check if they’re complete!), and other screen-free entertainment options, like a guitar (though it lacked one string so we weren’t able to use it), cool bamboo scooters (one had a flat tire), and a shelf full of other things for sports (they have a basketball court, too). Plus a pool! You can swim here, too! Just beside the swimming pool is a huge treehouse you can climb and hangout in!
HappyNest’s own version of things to do in their farm:
In this farm, you can choose to do nothing, or do lots of things! It’s entirely up to you (or your child, haha). My son and I enjoyed riding this bamboo scooter. Unfortunately, the smaller one that would have been perfect for him had a flat tire. You can also bring your child’s scooter or bike.
TODDLER-FRIENDLY PLAY AREA
Since the owner has a toddler herself, this farm has a lovely play area. In fact, on certain months, they do hold playdates every Saturday, from 9-12. I appreciate how they had low tables, lots of different kinds of things to tinker with, and books for children. But I’m not sure just how much I really like it, haha. Why? Because my toddler wanted to spend most of his time here. Haha. We could actually leave him in this room (there were also sofa beds for us adults), but I think this space made him less interested in exploring the other parts of the farm. Haha.
NOTE: The play area is usually set up inside their conference room. So, when there’s a conference or event, it gets moved somewhere else.
CHEMICAL-FREE PLANTS FOR HARVESTING
I loved this part of the farm – the container gardens! Our greens during meals came from here – literally farm to table food! During playdates, harvesting greens is included, I think. You can also request for this activity, just not sure how much they charge because we weren’t able to do it. But glad to know their greens are chemical-free!
This is something we extremely loved in this farm. Normally, the animals in animal farms (even the ones where children can interact with animals) are still in barns and cages. Here, they do have their own shelters, but they are often let out to roam the farm.
Apparently, they are mostly the owner’s pets and not animals raised for food or for farm work. They even have a water buffalo (locally called Kalabaw) pet. It was so fun to just walk alongside these animals!
You can help feed them during feeding times, too. My son totally enjoyed this. Beware of the animals, though – they will definitely come flocking to you! 😛
NO SMELL IN THE ANIMAL FARM
Aside from the animals being free-range, what surprised us and what we really appreciated is that the farm has no smell! It doesn’t have that usual smelly features of animal farms – even in the shelters (maybe the pigs, a little bit – but very faint compared to all the other farms we’ve visited). The formula is somewhat a secret, but basically, they do some really good composting (no chemicals!), and it really really works!
We had a really fun time at this farm and highly recommend this place! However, there are a few things I need to mention here so you know what to expect:
- This is not a 5-star hotel. Don’t expect great beddings, thick towels, or really nice bathrooms. They’re simple and basic, but clean – that’s what’s important.
- For the Brooder House, there’s no aircon. Keep all the curtains down before you sleep if you don’t want harsh light coming in the morning. Expect some insects especially at night. And some frogs outside your door.
- Because the animals are free range, there might be poo here and there. We usually go barefoot, but best to keep shoes on in this farm.
- Bring insect repellant. And flashlight.
- A brownout occurred when we were there, and they have no generator. That means no electric fans working, and no heater working, too.
- They don’t have a fridge in the rooms, but they do have water dispensers in the restaurant. Bring your own bottles and refill them before you sleep.
- The lock system of the brooder houses are quite weird. It’s one of those slide locks that you can only open from where it was locked. So, for us, a group of 3 adults, a toddler, and a baby, it was quite a hassle. Everytime someone leaves from the room and someone else wants to stay inside, someone who’s staying in the room has to lock it from the inside (because it’s very dangerous to lock them from the outside). Otherwise, the door would be left open (and all the insects would come in). This was quite okay in the morning, but when we left at around midnight to go to the Big Bad Wolf booksale nearby (haha, we booked in time for this sale lol), we had to wake up one of our companions so they could lock the door. And when we arrived, we had to wake up one of them to let us in.
- If you plan to leave at night, tell them ahead of time. We weren’t able to do this thinking there was always someone at the gate, so going back, we had to wait awhile before someone heard us. Haha.
- Cellphone signal (especially Globe) is weak.
- If you plan to wear long dresses, let me stop you now. Haha. So I actually brought a long comfortable dress (that was quite long for me), and I ended up sweeping a lot of poop. Hahaha. Photo below for fun.:D
OTHER THINGS WORTH NOTING:
- The farm is friendly for seniors/ people who have a hard time walking/moving around since it’s mostly flat. Also, it’s well lit at night which we truly appreciated.
- You can drive all the way here. It’s just 1.5 hours away from Manila (we came from San Juan, Metro Manila).
- Contact them for the schedule of their playdates. It’s usually every Saturday, from 9-12. Their playdates come with some activities + lunch! It’s only PHP 350/child or adult.
- You can do team building/ retreats here. They can also arrange birthday parties at really affordable rates! As in! Super worth it because the rate comes with food already + basic styling!
- They also accept photo shoots here.
- It’s also nice to stay here during the rainy season – it was raining on and off when we went and it was beautiful.
- Helpful things to bring for your child: insect repellant, boots (or shoes you don’t mind getting muddy), comfortable clothes (about 3 sets if you’re going for the day), sunblock, water bottle, rain jacket/ windbreaker, swimwear.
HOW TO BOOK:
If you want to stay at the Brooder House, it’s PHP 950 per person per night. Discount is applied to children and seniors as well as PWD. It’s PHP 750 for children ages 2-10 (or seniors/ pwd). Children ages 0-2 are free of charge.
If you want to stay in the room with a/c, it’s PHP 2500 for 2 + PHP 750 extra person. A maximum of 3 adults can stay in that room.
All bookings come with breakfast and use of swimming pool and outdoor activities.
You can book with them directly by emailing them (you may write to Ruth): HappyNestPMC@gmail.com
You can also follow them on Instagram for updates.
Or, you can also book via Airbnb if you want to use your credit card, or you’re booking from a different country since payment for direct bookings must be paid upfront via bank deposit/transfer. Do note that Airbnb has a small fee, though. If you’ve never booked via Airbnb, you can use my invite link to get a discount. Click HERE to book and get your discount (search for it under Santa Ana, Pampanga location).
Hope this blog was helpful! Have fun in your trip!
*Visited in July 2019.