Bountiful pleasures at Harvest Hotel

Ruby Asoy-Lebajo / Aug 5, 2015

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For this first-time Harvest Hotel visitor, the place evokes a very welcoming atmosphere and genuine Filipino hospitality. Upon arrival, hotel staff will treat you like a “special guest” and not just as any ordinary customer. You are thus assured of a fun and unforgettable stay because they will take care of all your needs.

By car, it took us almost three hours from North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) via the Sta. Rita Exit going to Harvest Hotel located in Pio Del Pilar, Cabanatuan City. Cabanatuan is the largest city of Nueva Ecija, touted as the “Rice Granary of the Philippines.” It originated from the term “Kaban ngTuwa,” which means a cavan of happiness. It is called Harvest Hotel because Cabanatueños believe that the “harvest season” is something that should be celebrated, including the opening of a new hotel.

Harvest Hotel was put up as a “legacy for the people of Cabanatuan” by Boy Ilagan, an engineer by profession, and wife Angie, both Natividad, Cabanatuan City natives, who became successful in their construction business called First Kingston Leisure and Services Corp., which supplies elevators to several major establishments. “It is their first four-star hotel in Cabanatuan City,” shares Marc Montesa, Harvest Hotel general manager. “They have been dreaming of having a very nice hotel in Cabanatuan but nobody wanted to invest so they put up Harvest Hotel.They wanted to give jobs to the local folk so 90 percent of the staff here are native Cabanatueños.”

Longtime dream

Since its opening late last year, the hotel has been receiving overwhelming response because there is now an impressive hotel in Cabanatuan. During its pre-opening, management conducted an intense and informative market profiling research and survey to make sure they are hitting the right market, mostly balikbayans, corporate groups, and travelers alike. Montesa says, “We are trying to make Harvest Hotel the top-of-mind destination in Cabanatuan.”

In fact, we noticed that locals truly liked the place, where they’d meet up, dine or have a nightcap at the Hotel’s lobby, lounge and restaurant. Online reviews noted rooms were very modern and spacious and conducive to a very quiet stay and pointed to Harvest Hotel as “… the best place to stay in Cabanatuan. It’s very modern, new, clean, and the staff very courteous and accommodating.” Harvest Hotel was even ranked #1 by Agoda.com, an online booking site.

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Suite with king sized bed

Harvest Hotel is an 83-room hotel situated in a seven-hectare property and is considered as the first full-service hotel in the city with high-quality amenities and reasonably priced rooms. There are standard twin, standard queen, suite, and loft suite; the latter is considered the hotel’s best room, located at the topmost floor and has two floors with a separate living area, dining space, and a king-sized bed and bathroom. All rooms have a 32-inch TV, a safety deposit box, top-quality mattresses and beddings, electronic key-card entry. Some parts of the hotel were built with a design that is protective of the energy and the environment.

There is also a swimming pool where Harvest Hotel guests can have fun and relax. Other attractions are the luxurious spa and the gym where guests can exercise to their hearts’ delight and keep fit.

Even the food is a must try at Harvest Hotel where they put a twist on Filipino, international, and Asian cuisines. More popular are the Cabanatuan specialties like Spaghetti Longanisa and Burgerniza, and cheeses (variety of kesongputi, carabao mozzarella cheese) and Bocconcini Caprese (fresh buffalo mozzarella balls). Chef Lester Marc Bergado is continually expanding the menu. The weekend all-you-can-eat offering every Friday, Saturday and Sunday is a hit, too, with Mongolian on Fridays, Tempura and Teppanyaki on Saturdays, and Family Brunch on Sundays.

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Pako salad, kesong puti, tomatoes and longganisa

Fun things to do in Cabanatuan

This travel enthusiast suggests how you can make your stay in Cabanatuan more fun and exciting:

  • Explore the Lakewood Golf and Country Club located in Maharlika Highway. The ambiance is welcoming and the grass is very well maintained. It is considered one of the top attractions in Cabanatuan City;
  • Pay a visit to Camp Pangatian Memorial Park, originally a military training camp which became a concentration camp for prisoners during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. It also serves as a memorial for the daring and successful attempt of Filipino guerillas to rescue Allied prisoners of war.
  • Experience nature at the Stone 8 Resort in Gabaldon. It has fresh air and beautiful scenery, while the water in the resort comes straight from the mountains. Brave souls can also try exploring the mountains for an exhilarating hiking experience;
  • Do sport fishing at Pantabangan Dam, now a tourist attraction and haven for sport fishing enthusiasts;
  • Explore Fort Ramon Magsaysay in Palayan City, the only Philippine Army base that boasts of its own runway, aircraft maintenance, and air control facilities. The sprawling base reaches all the way to the Pacific Ocean, over the Sierra Madre Mountains, with 12 kilometers of coastline;
  • Feel the nightlife at Khaliblu Super Club along Asian Highway 26, and appreciate its pharaoh-inspired design.
  • The Harvest Hotel is being managed by Hospitality Innovators, Inc. It is located along Pio Del Pilar St. Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija. For more information, visit their website – www.theharvesthotel.com.

Source: experiencetravel.ph

Where is Cabanatuan City?

"Whether you are visiting Cabanatuan City and its surrounding towns or taking a break from a long drive going to nearby provinces such as Baler in Aurora, Tarlac or Bulacan, Cabanatuan is your perfect pit stop. Getting to Cabanatuan is easy either via public or private transportation."

From Manila, Cabanatuan City is 3 to 4 hours by bus. Several bus companies dispatch buses every 15-30 minutes (24/7) to the city, from their various stations around Metro Manila (Avenida, Cubao, Caloocan/Grace Park, Divisoria, Pasay, Trinoma) ES Transport Five Star Bus Co., Genesis Transport Services Bus and Baliwag Transit, Inc.

If you are coming from Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark Field, Pampanga, instead of taking a bus from Manila, you may take Genesis Transport Services Bus in San Fernando, Pampanga. By private transportation, when you go to NLEX, you should take the Sta. Rita Exit. It is around 20 kilometers upon entering the NLEX-Balintawak highway. From there, go straight to Plaridel town, around 5 kilometers. It’s just a straight drive towards the North and you will be passing by the towns of Baliuag, Nadaan, San Ildefonso, Gapan, Sta Rosa and finally Cabanatuan City.