I’m living in the moment I’m living my life Oh, easy and breezy With peace in my mind Peace in my heart Peace in my soul Wherever I’m going, I’m already home I’m living in the moment
It was a little over four months ago when a friend sent a DM on Facebook asking if I was available to join a bloggers tour of a new resort in Zambales. Knowing my hectic schedule filled with binge watching The Walking Dead and Hannibal (very inspiring dramas) I thought about it twice and then said, “Sure, I’m free.” The tour had to be rescheduled and we finally embarked on the journey to San Narciso, Zambales last March 29, 2014.
After a three hour drive via the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) we arrived in Zambawood at high noon. The sun shone bright like a diamond (sorry for the Rihanna reference), it was the middle of summer after all and we were welcomed by the staff who even brought umbrellas and cold towels to cool us down.
In my head I was asking, “Where’s the banana boat? Is there a videoke machine?,” but upon a closer inspection of the resort I knew that it was not the typical resort where you spend your day riding one and singing your lungs out to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” over a bucket of Red Horse and masakit sa batok na sisig. Zambawood evoked a vibe that made me feel like I was in a ranch in the middle of Arizona or a weekend home in Martha’s Vineyard. It is the kind of resort that Travel & Leisure or Conde Nast Traveler would love to feature on its pages.
Zambawood is a sprawling ranch estate where guests can spend their days exploring the mystical qualities of the shores of Zambales. Credit goes to its gracious owner Ms. Rachel Harrison, who lest I forget, also welcomed the travel bloggers in her tranquil abode. An accomplished architect, her design aesthetic is seen in every corner of the luxury resort. Married to an international executive, she has traveled around the world and added things that inspired her when she built Zambawood. By the way, maybe you’re asking why did they name the resort Zambawood? It is an homage to Hollywood as the resort has been a location for independent movies. With a backdrop that’s fit for the cinema, maybe the major studios will pick this resort for their next blockbuster.
With our welcome drinks in hand, we were eager to see more of Zambawood and what it has tooffer. Entering the well appointed rooms felt like going into a room in someone’s home, only this home was more stylish than our homes could ever be. The main house was so presko, maaliwalas as they say in the vernacular. Its stark white walls combined with the eclectic decor was a refreshing sight on a hot summer day.
We especially loved the driftwood furniture, which according to Ms. Rachel were salvaged from trees that were uprooted in the past typhoons that hit Zambales. They also have wooden chairs that were built with out nails, if only I could bring them home.
We were already hungry after the three hour drive from Manila so lunch was in everyone’s mind, and lunch was what we got. There was no sisig or crispy pata, it was a healthy fare of fresh vegetables and sea food that is in keeping with the resort’s vision of living a good life with good food. Some of the vegetables that were served to us came from the resort’s very own farm, Julyan’s Farm to be exact which was named after Ms. Rachel’s second son, Julyan who has autism. The farm provides him with a tranquil space where he can be involved and see his crop of organic vegetables grow and raise free range chickens.
Ms. Rachel confided that it has been hard to raise a son with special needs but she is thankful for the fact that Julyan can now manage himself, it’s still an everyday struggle but Zambawood has become a perfect place for him. She told us that aside from doing his duties at the farm, he also surfs. I for one cannot surf to save my life, so hats off for that Julyan.
The resort was originally built as a vacation home and a sanctuary for Julyan. But seeing that the upkeep and maintenance was so expensive, she and her husband decided to open their tranquil abode to people who would want to relax even for just a weekend. First it was just the couple’s friends who checked out Zambawood and then by word of mouth, the resort is now attracting clients, from family reunions, to corporate functions, seminars etc.
Of course a resort experience shall not be complete without the mention of the pool and the beach. The infinity pool was so inviting but we were still tired from the travel and still had to digest the amazing lunch that we had. It was just time to relax, immerse ourselves in the environs of Zambawood and engage in conversations.
At dusk we went to the beach where a lovely set up for a picnic was done by Zambawood’s staff. Chips, wine, San Mig Light, a beautiful sunset by the beach, what else could I ask for? Well, there are a lot of things on my list but that’s for another blog post. Just like the lyrics of Jason Mraz’s song, it’s all about living in the moment. And for that moment it was to relish the Zambawood experience.
More of our Zambawood experience in my next blog post, which I hope will be as soon as possible. 🙂
Read my fellow bloggers post about Zambawood:
The Zippy Zambawood by Paula Anntoneth O
The Zambawood Journey by Jherson Jaya
Zambawood: A Resort Like No Other by Joanne Tan
Zambawood: My Luxury Beach House for the Weekend by Faye Santos
Zambawood: Of Stories and Synchronicities by Rem Tanauan