Daily Tribune (Philippines)
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
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.