By Jojie Alcantara
When one thinks of a vine, a vision of a plant which grows from the ground come to mind, its stems climbing and winding steadily up the trees or walls for support.
Vine Molave, Zamboanga del Sur
Close your eyes and you will feel the breeze of a rustic countryside where peace and quiet offers solace to your need for some stress-free getaway. Think of a vintage house where vines are creeping in close comfort, not to cover its beauty, but to add distinct character to it.
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In a quiet town of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, such a bucolic stylish lodge has emerged as a new homestay to experience, thanks to the ancestral home of the Geraldizos. The Vine Molave is born.
Vine Molave, Zamboanga del Sur
“We thought of a name that best describes the overall mood of Molave, its fertile grounds ripe for progress. We want something organic to a valley, not too modern for a town setting. Something that would represent a strong spirit to thrive, grow and stand out,” explains Gary Dujali, a second generation Geraldizo, and the youngest son of Eulalia Dujali. She is the eldest daughter of Hospicio Geraldizo, the matriarch of the family who inherited this ancestral home which stands out as the first concrete house in the 1950s.
Vine Molave opened completely this year as a cafe, resto+bar, and bed & breakfast in one spacious location. Nestled within a sleepy town where time slows down to accommodate yearning for a laidback R&R, this structure stands imposingly, beckoning visitors with the familiar Mindanaoan warmth and hospitality.
Its logo depicts that of a vine which stands out for its stark simplicity, elements and focus, created by Anjo Philip Dujali Quinalayo, the family’s multimedia arts graduate of Benilde and nephew of Gary.
What makes a B&B setting so comforting in provincial areas is that relaxation is the essence of vacation. Coupled with lovely amenities, personal top-notch service and beautiful ambience to view and unwind— one does not think twice to experience such a memorable stay.
Vine Molave sits on the second and third floor with 11 rooms, individually prepared in distinct style and character, and making you feel like it is your own from the comforts of home. Full bed and breakfast amenities include an access to the mini jacuzzi pool which exudes privacy in a stylish setting.
The introductory rate starts reasonably at P1,888 with free hearty breakfast for two, and a creatively crafted countryside menu set that whets the appetite.
Designed meticulously with the history of Molave and the legacy of the family in mind, Gary explained how they planned a modern and youthful architectural design that does not veer away from the pride of heritage.
The owners made sure the place will boast of modern amenities that will respond to the basic needs, and “not just for mere showing off.”
“In one of our travels together with my nephew we thought of turning this ancestral lot into a building that represents our passion as a family…. the love for good food and relaxed dining, coffee and night life. Until today we still look for rented rooms and apartment. We were inspired by an idea of a structure that will house all of these,” Gary says.
They both took in all the inspired ideas from those trips, looked over condo designs, put it together and applied it to Vine with the nephew as the architect.
“I had some friends with ‘good eye and impeccable taste’ help me put together the look and the pieces, a lot of which are actual pieces from our family house. It is passion over business, or rather passion with business sense as we want this to be a long term family business. We are a private family and we’ve never engaged in such type of business in the past,” explains Gary.
Vine is deeply rooted in its origins coming from a valley, and it manifests its strong homey feeling to the residents who may not be aware of the family legacy or the history of Molave.
Molave sits in the heart of Salug Valley. With agriculture as a predominant source of business, it is considered one of the most progressive towns and classified as a first class municipality of Zamboanga del Sur.
Though it offers less of the tours you expect from other destinations, it is a fresh breath from the hustle of urban commotion, a change of pace and a needed opportunity to recharge the spirit.
Vine Molave’s picturesque ambiance, architectural design and homey feel easily make it a favorite among photographers and creates a perfect setting for intimate gatherings such as birthdays, engagements, family reunions, and more importantly, prenuptial pictorials and the weddings that follow.
As the center of commerce for its neighboring towns, it is a wonderful exploration for the adventurous type — a 30-minute drive to Pagadian City (capital of Zambo Sur), 45 minutes away from Ozamis City in Misamis Occidental, or 2 hours away from Dipolog City. One can also explore the neighboring municipalities with yet unknown potential destinations still under the radar of Mindanao’s tourism boom.
Zamboanga del Sur photo by Jojie Alcantara, published in Mabuhay Magazine, 2008
This is one of the tourist attractions in Zamboanga del Sur, a natural habitat called Pod-ok Mangrove Boardwalk in the municipality of Tabina, which cradles century-old mangroves lining the coastal area. In the 70s, an earthquake and tsunami devastated this municipality, but what protected and saved the townsfolk from total damage were the mangroves deeply rooted in the soil. Photo by Jojie Alcantara,published in Mabuhay Magazine, 2008
Zambo Sur offers many idyllic locations from underwater and snorkeling explorations in nearby Tabina municipality (Talisay Beach, Tambunan Beach and Marine Sanctuary, and the Pod-ok Mangrove Boardwalk) to the more challenging hilly treks and cultural immersion in the tribes of the gentle Subanen people who lives by the edge of the enchanting Lakewood.
Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur, photo by Jojie Alcantara, published in Mabuhay Magazine, 2008
This mystical spot called Lakewood (a huge mountain lake with a quiet town in its riverbanks) holds a peculiar belief among the river dwellers, a tribe called Subanen. The old folklore was that a giant sea serpent lived underneath this huge lake, somewhat of a local Loch Ness monster. Photo by Jojie Alcantara, published in Mabuhay Magazine, 2008
For the rather laidback traveler who yearns for a serene staycation with only a book, coffee and a swim in mind, however, Vine Molave awaits like a mother about to cradle you in its arms, offering its warmth and strange, comforting familiarity.
It is just like coming home to your grandmother’s vintage home, and feeling this sudden, overpowering urge to stay for some time.
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“The best hotel in the South, ayaw ko ng umalis (I didn’t want o leave). I really enjoyed my stay, awesome room, it feels like I am at home, awesome food mura at masarap (cheap and delicious), super linis (clean), the architecture design of the hotel, the lobby, garden and rooms are unique, above all the people working in this hotel are very nice, the service is great! They always greet you with a smile, you will feel the sincerity, you will really feel you are welcome. Two thumbs up” – Ronnie Liang, International DJ
Vine Molave houses Vine Cafe which opened the earliest (May 2016) while the whole building was still under construction.
Although its menu showcases heirloom recipes proudly passed on from generations, it is not your usual little town café, exuding a metropolis feel to accommodate bakasyonistas from Luzon and Visayas. Baristas were trained and supervised by a Manila team. Expect hot coffee mixes, exclusive frappe drinks and café specialty dishes of pasta and sandwiches which tickles the palate.
“Not just your ordinary café in the province, Vine Café offers a brand-new and high-end experience! We were so delighted with the get-up of the place, city-like and stylishly modern. It’s like stepping into a state-of-the-art facility but in a garden setting. Though modern, Vine does not sacrifice a cozy and homey ambiance. With that, you can comfortably work in your own space and pace, leisurely bond with your group of friends, or wholeheartedly talk with your special someone. More importantly, the food and drinks do not disappoint! Their bestsellers are the Beef and Cheese Super Fries and Minty Oreo. The fries are generously topped with ground beef, corn kernels (which I found absurd but good), lettuce, and whole lot of cheese. Mexican tacos and dogs, eh! Those are just my faves! So for a one-of-a-kind café, Vine’s food can be rated excellent as per town’s standard.” – Mary Rosalie Olandesca, lifestyle blogger
VINE RESTO + BAR
Another first for the Molave community is the Vine Resto+Bar, situated at the back of Vine Café. The full service restaurant offers heirloom recipes coupled with a fusion of Japanese dishes, pasta specials and delicious Filipino favorites like the kare-kare. Trained by the Manila team, the full bar arrangement offers premium co cktails and exclusive concoctions, cocktails and frappe mixes.
On Fridays and Saturdays, the area transforms into the party place after dinner with live acoustic bands and featured DJs to liven up the evening. Top Manila DJs have come to perform like manila hypins master Dj Ron Poe, Lady Dj Brendz of Penthouse Manila, and Dj Kael of Cable Car, Royal.
To date it has hosted memorable parties and anticipated events in town, featuring popular performers in the country, like Jona Viray, Maricel Callo and Michael Pangilinan.
For full information on contact details and how to get to Vine Molave, please visit www.vinemolave.com. Book a stay and your new kind of adventure awaits in Zamboanga del Sur!