A resort in landlocked Talavera, Nueva Ecija has become a wedding destination of choice for couples who want a scenic outdoor experience for their big day.
Nestled in Central Luzon, which is best known for its rice fields, Tropical Garden Resort and Hotel is a 2-hectare gem of landscaping design.
About a four-hour drive from Metro Manila, on a normal summer day locals line up to swim in any of its five pools. But year-round, it is an al fresco events venue for occasions ranging from weddings to baptisms.
From family resort to events space
The place was originally created for private family events, Daisy Inos, who manages the resort, told INQUIRER.net. It was her late father Lorenzo Inos who built it back then on inherited land.
“Mahilig magswimming [ang mga bata] kaya nagpagawa ng ganun si Daddy (The kids loved to swim which is why Daddy made this),” she recalled.
Daisy’s brother, Lorenz Inos, used his landscaping expertise to design the area. His signature style is inspired by the Philippine landscape—partial towards native plants and natural materials such as rocks which he sees on mountain hikes.
As their father hosted birthday parties in the space, inquiries poured in from friends to use the area for their own events. Soon, they relented into making it a commercial enterprise.
In December 2009, phase one of the resort was opened for business. This included an open-air function hall and rooms.
After another few years, the resort further developed to phase two, which consists purely of open areas meant for garden weddings that can fit up to 700 people. More rooms and more pools also filled the space among lush greenery.
If Daisy’s brother has mastered landscaping, Daisy has found a knack for designing events. She and her daughter Karla, who handles clients, set up the spaces with artificial flowers and ornaments to make clients’ dream weddings come to life.
A decorated aisle and stage are included in the event packages, and clients appreciate that they do not have to outsource pricey designers.
Many of their clients are overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from around Luzon who want an elegant garden wedding that does not break the bank.
“Gusto raw nila dito dahil maganda na, maganda yung garden, [arrangement] ng wedding setup, tapos mura pa. Kaya ng budget,” said Daisy.
(Clients like it here because it is already beautiful, the garden is beautiful, the wedding arrangement setup, and it is affordable. It fits the budget.)
The resort is a one-stop shop for all events needs. Packages are inclusive of the venue design, chairs and tables, a buffet, lights and sounds, and a host. They start at P74,500 for 100 guests and can go up to P128,500 for 300 guests.
As mentioned, phase two is spacious enough to fit up to 700 people; packages can be customized with additional charges.
Rooms can accommodate up to 50 people and are also priced reasonably for guests who want to stay longer than the event or just want a quiet getaway.
A room for two costs P2,500 for 24 hours, a family room for 8 people is P5,000 for 24 hours, while a dormitory-style room can fit up to 20 people and costs P10,000 for 24 hours.
The first set of rooms are found in an artificial cave which Lorenz designed, as inspired by natural rock formations.
Another row of rooms faces a relaxing view of a stream filled with lily pads.
Mother-daughter team earns trust
Daisy may not have had plans to ever run a resort, but now she is training her daughter Karla to help with the family business.
While she was initially resistant to joining the family trade, Karla has since learned the ropes over the past two years.
“Natuto siya magnegosyo. Kaya na niya magmanage kahit di na tignan (She has learned to do business. She can manage it without supervision),” Daisy said with confidence.
When asked if she would have her own wedding in the resort, Karla said her mom will not allow it because she does not want to work during the ceremony.
It is clear, though, that she has picked up some of her mom’s business sense. “Ayaw niya yun? Libre lahat.” (Wouldn’t she want that? Everything would be free.)
Overseeing the operations is no mean feat: One set of staff is dedicated purely to maintaining the plants and the landscaping, while others are assigned to keeping the rooms clean and assisting during events.
Both mom and daughter are hands-on, ensuring that the event is set up in the morning for afternoon or nighttime parties. Karla is usually the last to leave after events.
When asked what challenges them, they are only able to gush about their work. “Nag-eenjoy kami sa business namin ngayon… Mabait lahat,” said Daisy of the people they work with. (We are enjoying our business now… Everyone is kind.)
“Parang naglalaro lang. Masaya lang (It’s as if we’re playing. Just having fun),” said Karla.
Daisy said clients appreciate their services so much that after weddings, they refer friends for other events, earning them a loyal base. “Nakakatuwa dahil yung client namin binabalikan kami. Pati yung kaibigan nila, kapag nagpapabinyag, dito na din.”
(It makes us happy because the clients keep coming back. Even their friends, when they have baptisms, they come here.)
You may visit the resort’s Facebook page for inquiries. JB