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Enjoying the hacienda lifestyle

By Irene C. Perez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:51:00 05/18/2008

Filed Under: Lifestyle & Leisure

MANILA, Philippines - Waking up to a bright day with sunrays on your window, the scent of morning dew all over and an organic breakfast that includes freshly brewed barako coffee is the promise of Hacienda San Benito in Lipa, Batangas, just two hours away from Manila.

San Benito is a project of Milrose Realty Development Corp. that believes ?there?s a farm in everybody?s heart.?

?This is the first commercial-integrated farm within a residential estate,? said Milrose managing partner Gerry Castro. ?We do not aim to recreate nature. We have nature in our location.?

The 22-hectare property at the foot of Mt. Malarayat boasts of a cold climate to rejuvenate weary city dwellers. Lipa is being groomed as the next Tagaytay with its yearlong soothing weather.

Milrose recently gave the media a tour of the Lipa estate that is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.

Real farm living

Architect Jason Buensalido of Buensalido+Architects said Hacienda San Benito lets everyone have the haciendero feel.

?We prefer a rural country theme instead of a Victorian setting that doesn?t go well with our tropical weather. We don?t want anything too manicured, we want a green, organic and natural community,? he said.

?We also encourage the use of indigenous materials and we have controlled building density.?

Hacienda San Benito sports the ?Real Farm? theme. ?It is a proudly Filipino venture that is accessible, easy to maintain and affordable,? said Milrose vice president Ricky Ocampo.

Castro said prices of lots are competitive with condo rates in Manila. Target buyers are new couples, overseas Filipino workers and urbanites who want a good investment or refreshing vacation home.

Each lot has sizeable backyard for farming. Tenants could raise poultry, goats, even horses themselves, or have them under the care of hacienda farmers for a fee.

Five districts

Hacienda San Benito is divided into five districts?Pueblo (for small families and couples); Rancho (for bigger families); Hacienda (lots with block fencing); Vista (alongside the creek and has an awesome view of the vast property); and Rotunda (with a separate gate exclusive to the 18 biggest lots).

The model unit is ?Glorified Bahay Kubo,? a charming Spanish-Filipino house with lots of natural lighting and warm interiors. The one-bedroom, two-level unit can be viewed at the hacienda.

Once finalized, Hacienda San Benito will have a five-hectare farm called Finca Central?the heart of the hacienda.

It will house herbs, veggies and fruit trees; a grape vineyard and pineapple plantation; a garden of flowers and ornamental plants.

Farm animals such as free-range chickens, turkeys, ostriches, goats, sheep, cows and carabaos will also be raised.

Finca Central is the aquaculture center as well, complete with tilapia ponds and koi lagoons. Water babies could also go for a dip in Laguna de Oro, the 750-sq-m cascading pool.

Amenities and freebies

The Commercio de Ciudad, or mini-plaza, with the Welcome Center, Trading Post and Farmer?s Market, is where landowners can sell or trade their harvests. Restaurants, gift and flower shops can also be found here.

Pizza lovers can pick ingredients at the Pizza Cabana, a pizza-shaped garden, and have it baked in the café.

Coffee junkies, on the other hand, can cozy up at Terraza de Barako where they can have a cup of barako latte by the relaxing view of a coffee plantation.

Kids will be fascinated with the Molino del Viento?the country-style windmill that serves both as a landmark and water tank.

The Capilla del Sagrado Corazon is also in the works, as well as La Primavera?the clubhouse for community and family activities like weddings and debuts.

?HSBC?

Professional farm managers from Hacienda San Benito Cooperative (HSBC) will assist landowners in making the most out of their lands, thus ensuring productivity and profitability.

?We want to give everyone the look, sound, feel and taste, and smell of a real farm where children can play and pet the animals,? Castro said.

Call 7724262 or 7721697 loc 109. Visit www.milrosedev.com.



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