Casa Esperanza, the spectacular property of singer Zsa Zsa Padilla and noted architect Conrad Onglao in Lucban, Quezon has been getting rave reviews on the Airbnb website. “Every detail is well thought of and the entire property is tastefully decorated,” wrote one guest. “The lush garden is every plantita’s dream!” The beautiful property “allows you luxury while communing with nature,” went another satisfied guest, while another comment went, “The privacy is priceless.”
Zsa Zsa and Conrad started building their dream farmhouse on the two-hectare property back in 2018. This year, they have decided to open two casitas for guests looking to experience their piece of heaven. Raul Manzano’s EIC on the Move was recently at Casa Esperanza to check out the place and chat with the two visionaries behind the luxurious farmhouse.
What led the couple to Lucban, Quezon, to build this home-away-from-home, says Conrad, were their visits to his sister-in-law’s property. “We fell in love with the place, the people, and the weather,” shares the architect in the episode. That’s when he and Zsa Zsa started to look at available properties in the area.
The farmhouse is built on a rolling terrain in Barangay Piis. “To the locals, this is really a worthless piece of property because it’s not flat. They can’t plant,” says Conrad, who masterminded the design of the casa. He didn’t mind the location because he likes to work on challenging properties. And he got what he asked for. “I was telling Zsa Zsa, this is probably the most difficult project I’ve ever handled,” he tells host Raul, adding that it’s also probably because of the distance from Manila and making sure the locals understand their vision.
The couple says they got the inspiration for the overall modern-meets-rustic look and theme of the farmhouse from one of their trips to New Zealand. “The roofs [of the farmhouses there] are in black, that’s why we made it into black,” says Conrad.
Asked about her role in the planning, Zsa Zsa says, with a slight laugh, that she’s the one who issues the approvals —with her partner being a designer and architect who is always just brimming with ideas, offering her many options. She’s the boss of course, Conrad quips, as the place was named after her. Zsa Zsa’s real name, to those who don’t know, is Esperanza.
Casa Esperanza is the couple’s passion project. “We were the contractor, architect, interior designer, landscaper, project manager,” says Conrad who is known in the industry for building high-end commercial and residential projects via his C.T. Onglao Architects, Inc., of which he is managing director and principal architect.
The fashioning of the property’s gorgeous landscape was overseen by Conrad and Zsa Zsa themselves. Initially, they hired people and provides them pegs but the results never quite came close to the “rustic and almost natural” look they wanted. The stone theme can be seen throughout the property. Another dominant material employed was repurposed yakal wood snapped from old houses. The couple also moved some of the accent pieces they have in their Makati home to the Casa, among them a buddha that used to hold pride of place in their foyer. They sourced their sofa, coffee table, lights from Restoration Hardware in the US, and they got some of their antique accents from Ricky Baylosis.
The casita for the guests has a smart TV and WiFi, mini fridge, and coffee machine. The room is 60 sq. m. in size and can fit four people. Two can sleep on the bed while another two can crash on the sofa bed. A casita has its own vanity, shower and bath tub that overlooks the garden. There are also no doors, making the spaces look bigger and flow easily from one room to the next. The books displayed in the casita are from the personal collection of the lady of the house who is known to be a voracious reader.
Completing this absolutely dreamy farmhouse is a 25-meter long, four-feet deep saltwater pool. And since it rains 10 months in a year in Lucban, guests who feel a little chilly, especially in the evenings, can gather ‘round the fireplace located by the pool and enjoy a bottle of two. The tranquil and serene surroundings are perfect for relaxing, kicking back, as well as practicing wellness and meditation. Zsa Zsa says it’s very peaceful there. The only disturbances, if you can call them that, are the sound of birds in the morning and crickets at night.
A night at Casa Esperanza is priced at P23,000++. For bookings, check out their page at airbnb.com.
Screengrabs from the EIC on the Move YouTube video