Note: Highest rating is 5 stars
- Customer Service: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
- Value for Money: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
- Over-all: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Blog post of our booking (and some photos of the place) HERE.
One thing I have to say about Sonya’s Garden is that I am beyond satisfied with their customer service. From booking them, to our food tasting, to the number of phone calls/text messages we exchanged, to our reception, to our overnight stay with them, up till we returned 2 days later to get our signed copy of Sonya’s book… not once did I feel like I wasn’t taken cared of. Given that our means of communication is mostly via cellphone (texts/calls) and an occasional visit to their place, our transactions are always smooth. I never had a problem with them… not even once.
We had a number of changes with regards to our reservation with them… the number of guests, the menu, and the special requests.. through it all Ms. Gerlie (the AE assigned to us) was always accommodating and helpful. After paying for the reservation fee last year, we only met up again about a month or so before our wedding to finalize things and pay 50% of the total amount but we would exchange texts and I always got a satisfying answer.
Initially, our menu was supposed to be their regular pasta and salad but after our food tasting, where we sampled their Filipino menu, we decided to go with that instead. Hubby argued that it’ll be more filling for our guests plus there will be more choices for them too. It’s important for us that our guests enjoy their dinner… you guys can’t imagine how many times I’ve heard our friends/relatives say… “Ano pagkain ninyo, yung salad at pasta nila? Nung last time umattend kami ng wedding dun nagutom lang kami. (What food will you have on the menu? The last time we went to there to attend a wedding, we had to eat someplace else afterwards cause we weren’t satisfied with what they served.)” once we announced that our reception is at Sonya’s. Well, after our wedding they went away feeling very much satisfied and with happy stomachs. 🙂
Here’s a snapshot of our menu (DIY item for each table):
During the reception, we agreed that we’ll be eating some bread and spreads while having our retouches and the office receiving area was offered for our use. We had a whole basket of bread, 3 types of spread, a glass of dalandan juice, and water. It was a good decision on our side cause we barely ate during the reception itself. We were too busy with the pictorials and chatting with our tablemates to actually eat anything substantial. This is a tip for all other couples too… eat something prior to the reception itself cause really you guys will be too busy to eat anything once the program starts.
Sorry I can’t give a more concrete description of how the place looked during the reception cause I didn’t have time to notice anything else other than what was happening… hehehe… I felt like time passed by so quickly and honestly, I also wasn’t that comfortable being the center of everyone’s attention too. *shy* All I do remember is how our guests kept singing praises for the food served that night. They loved everything on the menu specially the kare-kare (stew with peanut sauce) and chicken galantina. One friend even wanted to complain when the waiter took away their platter of chicken galantina when it was time to serve the dessert. I really have funny friends that way…
O, and did I mention that everything on the menu is refillable? Guests can ask their food platters/bowls to be refilled for as many times times as they want to.
And… we even had our own signage too (this was taken the next morning):
Some were placed along the highway, at the parking entrance of Sonya’s, and going to the reception area. This was included in the package already.
After the reception, Ms. Gerlie handed us our packed food we were surprised that we had two sets! So we gave one to my family and the other we kept, but eventually handed to hubby’s family the next day.
We spent the night there (once again part of the package since we reserved for 100 guests) and it was heavenly and I am beyond sorry that I don’t have any pictures with me!!! 😦 The place we stayed in was the one nearest the Sunflower dining area. It was a whole room furnished the way a Filipino countryside house would be. The room had 1 big bed and another smaller one, capiz windows/sliding door (leading to the bathroom), mini Persian chandeliers, small dresser, backless sofa, native reclining chair, and white floors (interspersed with wooden planks). Even the one and only electric fan was inside a wooden box to go with the native feel of the room. They provided stacks of books (current authors included) on all the small tables in the room and for a book lover like me, this was such a treat! The bathroom was an enclosed area inside the room with the sink, toilet and shower all inside it. They provided bath towels, bathrobes, towelettes, small bottles of shampoos, small soaps, a box and roll of tissue paper, and toothbrushes. There are even blades of grass in each drawer… I’m not sure but I’m thinking they might be lemongrass cause of the way they smell (but I might be wrong on this)… that makes the drawers smell so fresh and clean. The whole place smelled like roses which maybe due to all the rose water surrounding the place. I fell in love with it so much that we bought a bottle of rosewater linen spray so we can take the Sonya’s Garden vibe home. The blankets seems to have goose down inside them and they feel so soft and warm and comfy. No aircon, TV, radio, computer, or (gasp) wifi inside the room but we didn’t mind. We just practiced “the art of doing nothing” while we stayed there… and we loved every moment of it! 🙂
Breakfast was served in the the area at the end of the pathway (right after all the guest cottages/rooms) and it was such a feast… literally. Here’s a sampling of the Filipino breakfast:
It included daing na bangus, chicken and pork adobo, mango ensalada, garlic rice, fruit platter, and hot chocolate (the native chocolate not those instant ones). It also had tortang talong but I wasn’t able to take a photo of it anymore. Aside from that we also tried their Continental breakfast (no photos, sorry) which included a plate bacon, sausages, mushroom and herb omelette, bread with butter and jams, plus cereals and milk (which we requested not to be served anymore cause everything’s too much already). There was also a plate of fried sweet potatoes with their own dip (don’t know what it was made of). And before I forget to mention… everything was refillable. Yeah, as if we’d still need a refill after such a heavy breakfast! Everyone was very attentive to our needs (we kept on getting hot choco refills without having to ask :)) and Ms. Sonya was even able to come have a chat with all the guests having breakfast (there was about 6 groups of guests I think). One of the ladies in-charge informed her that we were the ones who had the reception the night before and she congratulated us and apologized for not being able to attend. Such a sweet woman! Before we left the breakfast area the lady who we learned was the one who oversees the place (right hand of Ms. Sonya I guess?) had a small chat with us and gave her best wishes too.
After breakfast we walked around the area, bought some linen spray, room diffuser, and Sonya’s book. We wanted to have the booked signed but unfortunately we missed her by a few minutes so we left the book with them and went back for it.
Side story… when we eventually went back to get the book the same lady who had a chat with us at the breakfast area still remembered us and exclaimed “Andito na ulit kayo! (You guys are back!)”. Amazing! Anyway, here’s the book we bought with Ms Sonya’s dedication for us:
We regretfully checked out at around 10AM since we had to go to the house of hubby’s uncle before his family goes back to Manila.
Ok, just realized this is getting to be such a looooooong post already. I do apologize but there’s just so much to share! Once again, we had a great time and enjoyed our stay there. We’re happy that our guests enjoyed the food we selected and hopes that they did leave the place with full hearts and stomachs. 🙂
- Customer service… very much happy with their service and not even once did I feel like I wasn’t important there. It was such a treat to experience hospitality on that level. They were very accommodating in our requests such as mixing up the menu items to include items we want, oxtail and meat only for the kare-kare, chocolate cake flavor for our wedding cake and cupcakes, borrowing of items such as bowls for the pica-pica, etc. We really felt the difference specially when we ate at another very popular restaurant nearby and we had to wait for almost 30 mins just to get our bill.
- Food (during the reception and breakfast) and drinks… their Filipino menu is a must try. Unfortunately it’s available for big groups only (and should be ordered in advance) but if you guys end up having the opportunity to try it, please don’t forget to order their kare-kare. It’s sooooo sarap (tasty and good)!!!
- Venue setup… I particularly loved the indoor garden feel of the reception venue. We added a few flower arrangements (taken from the church) but it was ok even without that. The couple’s sofa was very comfy and I think it could even serve as a sofa bed.
- Sounds system supplier… played the tracks we wanted via our laptop and didn’t make a mistake, not once. Plus provided additional song fillers while people were saying their speeches. We honestly didn’t think about that and we’re thankful they did.
- Couple’s picture taking area was a bit of a squeeze… maybe it’s because of the large couple’s sofa but the area beside it was quite difficult to navigate. Quite unfortunate since guests do have to walk along that side to go behind the sofa during the picture taking sessions.
Damage on our pockets: Php 112,540
Venue = Php 10,000
Food = Php 89,040
Cake = Php 5,000
Sounds System = Php 7,000
Tip = Php 1,500