And so there, after breakfast, we found ourselves all packed up and set for a family bonding. :D We arrived at JE Camp in Tanay, Rizal, after around an hour-long drive from our house.
We actually learned about the JE Camp because of my mom. She already went here with her friends a few months back Since then, my mom just can't stop telling how beautiful the place was. After paying for the day tour entrance fee (Php 150.00 per head), we rode an electric tram and was accompanied by a tour guide who went with us around the place and gave us some interesting insights about the place.
It's actually different from the usual camps, hotels, and resorts mainly because it is steeped with history – about the owner and about the Philippines. JE Camp Hotel and Resort was a private enclave of one of the most powerful Filipinos, former President (and now Manila Mayor) Joseph Ejercito, more popularly known as Joseph Estrada, or "Erap" to the masses.
It is also where Erap was incarcerated after he was found guilty of plunder in a case filed against him during the term of his predecessor. Instead of having him serve his penalty in the national penitentiary, he was allowed to be under “house arrest” at his own farm. The place was opened to the public shortly after Erap regained freedom when he was given pardon.
This 25-hectare piece of land really has a lot to offer. It boasts of luxurious rooms (with view of the Sierra Madre Mountains) and mini Olympic pool, which we didn't have the chance to take photos of because there were guests during our visit. :p
We were able to visit other parts though, even those restricted to public haha! Thanks to our tour guide Orlando Basa, for allowing us. :p
Fishing Village - It has a 20-ft deep fresh water lagoon with tilapia which can be fished. Fishing has a charge though.
Rancho Jota - Horseback riding may be availed for an additional charge too.
Mini Zoo - It has its own piggery, vegetable plots, fruit-bearing trees, horses, ostrich, ducks, and fish. Ducks’ and ostriches’ eggs are sold fresh and/or salted. We got to buy a boxful of fresh duck eggs. :D
Maranaw Village - With evident artworks from Mindanao surrounding the place, this is also where the kiddie pool and playground are housed.
There are also some sun decks, banquet halls, themed areas for big receptions/parties like weddings, etc.
Other than these amenities, JE Camp also has a chapel in a forested area, a museum and archive and a library which houses memorabilia of Erap.
Museum and Archives
Not too far from the museum is a burial ground with a large structure made of black granite and marble. According to the tour guide, Erap supervised the building of this stone grave where he wished to be buried.
Although I still haven't personally seen the hotel rooms, I don't think it would be a great idea for an overnight stay if you're eyeing for the usual hotels and resorts where there is an atmosphere of leisure and fun. It's perfect though if you want some quiet and peaceful getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. The place is also perfect for educational field trips as the museum and the library are worth looking into and the animals and nature may be of interest to young people. :)
I know a lot of anti-Erap people will never like it here, but if you are fond of visiting places with a bit of contemporary history or would just simply like to satisfy your curiosity, I guess the daytime guided tour is worth visiting. For Php 150.00 per person, you'll get to ride an electric tram and tour around the 25-hectare property for around an hour, depending on how much time you would want to explore the places open to the public.
JE Camp Hotel and Resort is located at Barangay Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal, about a 2-hour drive from Cubao, Quezon City.
JE CAMP HOTEL AND RESORT
Marcos Highway, Barangay Sampaloc
Tanay, Rizal, Philippines