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KALIBO: The Secrets of SAMPAGUITA GARDENS

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SAMPAGUITA GARDENS is a 2.6- hectare boutique resort located in Aklan of Sam Butcher, the artist and creator of the Precious Moments doll with its signature teardrop loving eyes.

The center of the gardens is Jojo's Christmas Cottage which is a Victorian cottage that offers Christmas Everyday Experience. It has a Precious Moments store in the ground floor and the JCC Museum of Christmas in the upper floors showcasing Precious Moments collectibles.

It is 15 minutes away from the Kalibo Airport and most families that travel to Boracay would make it a point to stay one more night in this Resort before flying out of Kalibo.

Some of the areas of the Resort are a bit dilapidated, but still functional. It is best to go as a side-trip during the Ati-Atihan festival or during the cold BER season in time for Christmas.

Check out what's inside Sampaguita Gardens: 

THE BEST OF KALIBO SERIES:

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Sampaguita Gardens Resort is located in New Washington, Aklan which is 30 minutes away from Kalibo proper via tricycle, or 15 minutes away from the Kalibo Airport.

Sampaguita Gardens-2.jpgEntrance fee is P50 for adults, P30 for 3 to 12 years old, consumable for food and entrance fees to the museum and mansion. (Read Entrance Fee Policy)

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The Garden is decorated with precious moments- themed displays like Precious Moments animals, 

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and Precious Moments Holy Family Belen.

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There are circus rides that looked rusty which they claim are still functional and operate every afternoon.

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It has a boutique hotel that faces the sea. (See Sampaguita Gardens Resort Facilities and Amenities).

(Tip: The Thai Massage in the Spa is worth a visit :)

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It has a dark-colored beach and the waters look a bit dangerous.

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The Sampaguita Gardens is where Philippine Airline's International Flight Crew stay when they fly to the Kalibo International Airport.

Where to Eat?

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There are three restaurants in the Resort: Sir Sam's, which usually has a buffet,

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Jojo's Christmas Cottage' Coffee Town, and

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Jojo's Poolside Grill and Restaurant  where I recommend you should eat.

See Jojo's Poolside Menu: 
Soup, Appetizer, Entree | Pizza & Pasta, Rice & Noodles, Sandwiches, Beverages, & Desserts

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The kids could swim here even if you are on a day trip.

 

Jojo's Christmas Cottage

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Jojo's Christmas Cottage is the all-year round Precious Moments store and Christmas museum.

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You can buy different precious moments dolls and the premium porcelain line.

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The History of Precious Moments® Dolls

In 1985, they were led to the Philippines where they first found a group of Bible school students that were about to lose their funding. To help the plight of these students, the Jonathan & David Company, the original licensor of Precious Moments artwork by Sam Butcher, introduced a line of Precious Moments dolls that were intended to appeal to children. The original tags from the first two dolls, the Jesus Loves Me Boy and Girl dolls, explain the company’s purpose and read as follows: "Deep in the heart of the Philippines, young Bible School students spend part of their day producing these Jesus Loves Me Dolls. Without the financial assistance, they would be unable to complete their education and go into their desired ministries.

The Jonathan & David Corporation of the Philippines began in 1981 when Bill Biel and Sam Butcher became acquainted with a small Bible College in  the City of Iloilo , located on the Panay Island. Upon their acquaintance, they discovered 33 students were dropping out of school due to the lack of sufficient funds. It was then that these two men decided to raise up a company for the sole purpose of supporting these students. These warm and beautiful dolls are the fruit of their labor. Carefully designed and produced with so much love, they are sure to win their way into the hearts of children everywhere."

Read More: The History of Precious Moments® Dolls

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Precious Moments Christmas tree ornaments

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Precious Moments Doll

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Precious Moments Angels

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You can go up to the Christmas Museum in the upper floors with P10 entrance fee.

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Third floor look of Jojo's Christmas Cottage.

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There was a Christmas Village display 

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... but it was not well maintained anymore when we visited last January 2013.

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At least, you can have a photo-op with the Precious Moments Angel

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Check out the Ford Model T c. 1925 parked in the garage of the cottage.

 

Precious Moments Chapel

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Don't miss to check out the meditation chapel hidden at the back of the Christmas Cottage.

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The Sampaguita Gardens' Precious Moments Chapel by the Sea  is the second Precious Moments-inspired Chapel after the Precious Moments Inspirational Park at Carthage, Missouri.

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The entrance to the Chapel.

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It is a peaceful place to reflect and give thanksgiving.

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There is no altar but just a centerpiece painting of Jesus feeding the children.

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They say Sam Butcher personally painted the drawings including the paintings on the roof.

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There are no windows but painted panels featuring The Lord's Prayer,

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Interpretation of Bible verses that kids could relate to, and

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... angels all around the mini-chapel.

 

Sam Butcher's Mansion

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I missed visiting Sam Butcher's Mansion the first time I came because I thought it was private and off limits to visitors.

You can actually visit, leave your shoes outside, and pay the P10 entrance fee.

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You can see the opium bed and different antique collections.

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The Thai-inspired mansion with teakwood flooring...

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The grand piano in the living room...

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Different collections and family portraits of Sam Butcher's family.

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Finally, you can see the master's bedroom on the second floor with his art collection and Japanese Ningyo Dolls.

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We went on a Day Visit and spent about 3 hours exploring the place.

(Note: We paid our tricycle driver P300 for a Kalibo town - Sampaguita Gardens round-trip.)

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I want to meet Sam Butcher someday to know the real story behind his Precious Moments empire.

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Overall, I love the Everyday Christmas feeling and a perfect place to bring kids when you are in Kalibo. Although most of the displays are not well- maintained anymore and you get the blue feeling of deteriorating grandeur.

The hotel and resort are operational and I'll make sure to stay overnight here with the family on our next trip to Boracay via Kalibo.

Sampaguita Gardens Resort
506 Rizal Street, Poblacion, New Washington, Aklan, Philippines
Telephone:  +63 36 264-3422 or 264-5555
Website: sampaguitagardensresort.weebly.com

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Best of all, we got a Precious Moments collectible entitled, "Life Father, Like Son" (P2,688).

 

THE BEST OF KALIBO SERIES:

Live an Awesome Life,

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Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
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If you have tips on awesome food and travel destinations, please email me at anton@diaz.ph.

Full Disclosure: We paid for our family trip to Kalibo. I wrote this blog post myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I have no business relationship with any company mentioned in this post or any organization promoting it. As a policy, I don't receive compensation from food and travel places we feature in the blog. 

P.S. There are a lot of controversial stories about Sam Butcher; about his Iloilo Mansion; and about his retirement resort called Sampaguita Gardens. I don't believe them. Not unless we hear first- hand stories from Sam and the family.

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Thank you to our friends from Unilab, Taddy and Erwin Ursua for the Sampaguita Gardens stories and foodie tips around Kalibo :)

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Hi!

Would you know the operating hours of Sampaguita Gardens?

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