VILLA MILAGROS‘ WON­DERS

Now known as a place where perfect wed­dings are made, the man­sion was built from 1964 to 1969 as a gift of busi­ness­man Isidro Li­amzon to his wife, Milagros

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - - FRONT PAGE - By Louise Lizan

At the heart of Ro­driquez, Rizal, and at the foothills of Sierra Madre lies a clas­sic mix­ture of the old and new, a timeless place from the past born out of end­less love, ded­i­ca­tion and pas­sion --- the Villa Milagros an­ces­tral home.

Now known as a place where perfect wed­dings are held, the man­sion was built from 1964 to 1969 as a gift of busi­ness­man Isidro Li­amzon to his wife, Milagros (hence, the name) for their 35th wed­ding an­niver­sary on 3 Septem­ber 1969.

It then served as a sum­mer home for their 11 chil­dren — three boys and eight girls (not in or­der: Delia, So­nia, Zeny, Chito, Julie, Cora, Norma, Cristina and Romeo) and with over 34 grand­chil­dren.

How­ever, Villa Milagros has been stag­nant for four decades and a half with oc­ca­sional visits from their clan. It was on the verge of re­main­ing in the past, its halls and rooms va­cant and hol­low. There came a time where the Li­amzons de­cided to shut down the man­sion.

“They wanted to shut it down be­cause no­body was com­ing to visit. Ev­ery once in a while, there would be like tele­seryes com­ing to shoot (in the past),” shared An­drea Li­amzon-Cote, Villa Milagros’ man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and one of the 34 grand­chil­dren.

“It was a fam­ily thing,” she added.

An­drea added that the idea of hav­ing Villa Milagros as a venue came from her sis­ter-in-law from VS&F, a part­ner of Villa Milagros, who has been in business for three decades. “When they saw this prop­erty, they were, like, we could turn this into a venue! So, that kind of got the idea (of turn­ing Villa Milagros into a venue) rolling, but then we had to re­search (on how to do that). That’s how we got into it,” An­drea added.

So, to re­vi­tal­ize and re­live the em­blem of Isidro’s love for Milagros, the Li­amzons de­cided to open the doors of their clan’s trea­sure to the pub­lic.

Villa Milagros, from its en­chant­ing past, was con­verted into a pre-nup­tial lo­ca­tion, and a venue for gar­den wed­dings, in­ti­mate gath­er­ings or spe­cial oc­ca­sions.

“The whole ren­o­va­tion took two and a half years,” the Li­amzon’s grand­daugh­ter shared. It was she who made Villa Milagros great again and let other peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence the same happiness and love within the man­sion’s walls through their mile­stones.

To­day it stands as the epit­ome of clas­sic, sim­ple and el­e­gant ar­chi­tec­ture — with a pic­turesque land­scape, in­sta­grammable spots and an amaz­ing staff to help cre­ate that added magic.

It of­fers five rooms, named in honor of Isidro and Milagros’ chil­dren. Other parts of Villa Milagros are named af­ter the rest of their chil­dren as well — each part a piece of the Li­amzon clan re­mem­bered and im­mor­tal­ized through time.

Of course, as parts of the ren­o­va­tion and in­no­va­tion, these ar­eas are dec­o­rated with a mix of the past and the present, col­ored with the vi­brant hues of relief, com­fort and calm­ness. It con­verts stress into cool tones, clas­si­cal feel­ing and vin­tage vibes. No one can even imag­ine that half of the fur­ni­ture is five decades old, from ex-deals, auc­tions or an­tique shops.

Its lush gar­dens and the over­whelm­ing sense of com­fort of­fer respite from the hus­tle and bus­tle of city life. And from the rub­ble, Villa Milagros makes a name for the Philip­pines as one of the venues best to ex­pe­ri­ence and share life’s cel­e­bra­tions.

A walk inside

First im­pres­sions last — that is the kind of thing Villa Milagros is hop­ing to be re­mem­bered for right from the front gates.

From this van­tage point, the unique mi­rador tower en­ters into view, the ini­tials of Isidro B. Li­amzon (IBL) vis­i­ble on its walls. With its all-white in­te­rior and ex­te­rior to give a fresh new look to the once an­ces­tral home, bits and pieces of the present and past mix­ing in its fur­ni­ture, it is like en­ter­ing the past, or a house from a book. Villa Milagros’ mar­ble floors and aes­thetic walls are a tes­ta­ment to how beau­ti­ful it was in the past. It em­braces its vis­i­tors with fresh hues, giv­ing them time to breathe af­ter their long trip.

Even though old, noth­ing has been re­mod­eled into a dif­fer­ent era. Dis­tinc­tive fea­tures from the past are still seen and ac­cen­tu­ated with mod­ern or­na­ments, and no one would even re­al­ize that a drawer is five decades old, or the rus­tic lamp on it was bought just a few weeks ago. En­ter­ing the home, the Milagros’ suite comes into view --- the bride’s king­dom, where the mag­i­cal prepa­ra­tions were made be­fore their perfect wed­ding. Some fur­ni­ture that Isidro and Milagros used to love can be seen and felt inside like it never left.

“Even though not ev­ery­thing is orig­i­nal, when you go through all of the rooms, in all of the places, you get this feel­ing that all of it is still orig­i­nal be­cause we want to make it as vin­tage as pos­si­ble with­out sac­ri­fic­ing (the iden­tity of the house),” An­drea shared.

The heart of the man­sion is Li­amzon Hall, which is sit­u­ated just a few steps into the es­tab­lish­ment. It was wit­ness to the undy­ing love of Isidro and Milagros and fu­ture wit­ness to a lot more. It is sur­rounded by glass doors and walls that per­fectly il­lu­mi­nate the whole area and what was once the Li­amzon’s liv­ing room.

Up­stairs, four rooms are made avail­able for vis­i­tors. Each room makes for a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Isidro and Milagros’ chil­dren with their own sense of touch. Along with the rooms is Julie’s hall in the mid­dle, hous­ing the grand­est and old­est pi­ano, the Stein­way pi­ano, which Delia, one of the sis­ters, used to play. It is one of three Stein­way pi­anos left in the Philip­pines.

Greens sur­round the Villa Milagros man­sion --- an abun­dance of shrubs, trees and na­ture all around it. She saidthere was a deep pool sit­u­ated where the ban­quet hall is, but it had to be de­mol­ished to make space for the North Wing.

“What hap­pened was, if we kept the pool, the hall would have to shrink. The typ­i­cal wed­dings are a min­i­mum of 150, so our hall could ac­com­mo­date up un­til 300. So, if we made it smaller, we would have to cut off our mar­ketabil­ity,” she shared.

For An­drea, their back façade is more beau­ti­ful than the front. It’s the perfect back­ground for pre-nup­tial photo shoots, or de­but photo shoots, which is par­al­lel to the wide gar­den and swing that gives the taste of the won­ders of na­ture; lush shrubs, trees and an over­whelm­ing sense of calm.

And to fur­ther ap­pre­ci­ate the beauty of the man­sion, a walk­way is sit­u­ated in the mid­dle of the gar­den to­wards the North Wing, which is the ban­quet hall.

The North Wing is an ex­ten­sion of the man­sion and serves as a func­tion hall for the wed­ding re­cep­tion. It is de­signed as a white, wide and sim­ple box that is ef­fi­cient to de­sign and cus­tom­ize ac­cord­ing to the cel­e­brants’ pref­er­ences. Its walls are al­most all glass, paired with huge chan­de­liers, white and neu­tral walls with mar­ble floor­ing. It’s a 400-sq. m. hall that has enough space to cater to its vis­i­tors’ needs on the dec­o­ra­tions, how­ever grand, ob­scure or sim­ple these might be.

“So, we kind of tried to build it in a way that any­one can en­joy it. You could cus­tom­ize it ac­cord­ing to your needs — it can be sim­ple, el­e­gant and clas­sic, which is what we’re all about. But you could also change it and cre­ate some­thing out of it be­cause it’s all white. Any theme would work,” she shared.

On the North Wing’s side is Sanse’s gar­den, the place where wed­dings are held. Other venues for such oc­ca­sions are Cristina’s and Delia’s gar­den and ter­races.

All of the venues come with the Milagros Suite, and client may avail of up to three rooms for their en­tourage. The stan­dard venue (North Wing) is for five hours and comes with the gar­den. “What we of­fer is the feel­ing of this place, which is a beau­ti­ful man­sion. It’s not of­ten that you come across a spe­cial house like that,” An­drea said.

“Right now, we’re kind of look­ing at stay­ca­tions, too. For our off-sea­son. When it’s peak sea­son it’s all booked, but for off-days, week­days, we’re think­ing of of­fer­ing a par­tic­u­lar seg­ment. Not all, since I don’t think we can do the Airbnb thing. But for other things, we’re open to ex­plor­ing other forms of business,” An­drea said.

As such, Villa Milagros has part­ners such as Ban­quets by VS&F and Project Events MNL who are also as pas­sion­ate about cre­at­ing un­for­get­table mo­ments and mem­o­ries at Villa Milagros. And as it goes to­wards into its 51st year, An­drea and her part­ners con­tinue to rein­vent, ex­pand and in­no­vate to meet the chang­ing times, but also be­fit­ting the cel­e­bra­tions of kings and queens dur­ing their time.

With com­pet­i­tive rates and pack­ages, the Villa Milagros team works with a cou­ple’s bud­get. No cork­age fees and open-door poli­cies that can en­sure the most ded­i­cated ser­vice,

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit the Villa Milagros web­site vil­lami­la­gro­sev­entsplace.com and the so­cial media ac­counts of Villa Milagros, Ban­quets by VS&F and Project Events MNL on Face­book and In­sta­gram.

VI­TAL IM­AGE

VILLA Milagros man­sion fa­cade with a view of Delia’s Gar­den.

GRAZ­ING ta­ble ar­range­ment of Ban­quets by VS&F. ALJUR Abrenica and Kylie Padilla’s stun­ning wed­ding cap­tured at Villa Milagros.

A PERFECT wed­ding venue.

PIC­TURESQUE land­scape that is fit for any im­por­tant cel­e­bra­tion.

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