For Paz’s bridal shower, my girlfriends and I decided to skip the conventional shower party (and skip the plane as well) and treat her to a road trip to the south of Luzon. In 2 days, we covered some parts of Laguna, Batangas, and Quezon!
This road trip was inspired by a witty guide of Laguna, Batangas, and Quezon, called Viaje del Sol, translated in English as the “way of the sun”. The whole concept of Viaje del Sol is to provide travellers, culture and nature-lovers, or adventure-seekers, suggestions of places to visit in these three areas, a road map, or simply a guide to having wonderful times in the south.
Casa San Pablo
Our first stop isn’t a part of Viaje del Sol but we visited the place upon the recommendations of some locals of Laguna.
* * * * * * * *
First Stop: SAMARAL SEAFOOD RESTAURANT (Not part of Viaje del Sol)
Our meeting place was just outside of UPLB and it was almost lunch when we met so we decided, the night before, to have lunch somewhere in or near Los Banos. And since locals know best when it comes to the secrets of their places, we didn’t think twice after we read reviews about Samaral Seafood Restaurant. We then had our first stop at Samaral’s in Calamba. (Note: There’s also Samaral in Calauan but it was farther than the one in Calamba from our meeting place.) And thanks to the locals who blogged about this restaurant. I should say that we had a really great lunch — fresh air, nice view, and good, good food. We had baked mussels (tahong), sinigang na hipon, grilled pork chop, and a house specialty, grilled Samaral.
Address: Calamba, Laguna
Inside the UP Los Banos Campus
Sinigang na Hipon
Baked Mussels (Tahong)
Grilled Pork Chop
Grilled Samaral – House Specialty
* * * * * * * *
Second Stop: HERBANA FARMS
From Calamba, we decided to head to Batangas (the way to Tagaytay Higlands via Batino CPIP Access Road). It was quite a difficult drive to the farm since we had to pass by narrow and uncemented roads, plus we got lost a few times, but we didn’t complain since we considered it as part of the adventure (and we liked it!).
We never realized that its address, Kilometer 59, is actually a yellow boundary stone marking the kilometers along the road until we reached Kilometer 54! No wonder several locals looked confused when we asked where Kilometer 59 was!
We were relieved when we saw Kilometer 54 and happy that we could finally check out the farm. Inside the farm, we met really nice people — the farmers! One of them informed us that the owner was in Manila. So, the farmers instead showed us the greenhouse and the area where they would plant organic vegetables. However, when they were ready to show to us the other side of the farm and even introduce us to one of their bosses, we were greeted with a growling female voice from the house.
After a few minutes, one of the farmers came out of the house and told us that they couldn’t take us around anymore just because we didn’t call before hand. We called, yes, but all of the numbers given in Viaje del Sol’s map were out of reach. We could have understood better if she showed herself to us and told us properly that they only entertain guests with reservations.
Oh well, they’ve just lost some visitors. We swore never to be back in Herbana Farms.
* * * * * * * *
Third Stop: LA VISTA PANSOL
We took the same route back to Calamba and since it went drizzling shortly after we left the farm, we decided to take a dip at La Vista Pansol’s Hot Spring. We were glad that this time, hospitable people greeted us at the reception area. We were lucky though, that for PhP 60, we were able to relax in La Vista Pansol’s warm waters all by ourselves!
The place still looked the same though since the last time I visited in 2004. I wish they would start to add something else to the resort so people would keep on coming back.
Address: Norville Subdivision, Barangay Pansol, Calamba, Laguna
Contact Number/s: +63 49 545-1850
* * * * * * * *
Fourth Stop: CASA SAN PABLO
Towards the evening, we decided to finally head to Casa San Pablo and we LOVE CASA SAN PABLO even from the start. This was my second time at Casa San Pablo and I’m very sure that this wouldn’t be my last. The owners are uber wonderful and hospitable (and very, very entertaining). They never fail to make their guests feel that their home (casa) is a home away from home. Even the workers are so nice to their guests.
We actually had a quite scary experience along the way to the place since it was already evening and there were just a few lights in some of the roads but one of the owners, Boots, was very patient in helping us trace our route from Los Banos to their place. He even assured us that he would set aside dinner for us since he knew that we were arriving late.
Upon arriving in Casa San Pablo, we were greeted with warm welcome. For PhP 350, we had a buffet dinner consisting of Sotanghon Soup, Pinputok na Tilapia, Lechon de Pugon, Mixed Veggies of Lumpiang Ubod, and Leche Flan.
The rooms of Casa San Pablo are very unique that each has a theme of its own. We got a very cozy, artistic room of six (although we were only 4) with two bathrooms and toilets.
Can’t say more about the place except that it’s a superb inn to stay when you want to relax, experience nature, bond with family and friends, and eat good Filipino food. The owners’ personalized and wonderful service will definitely make you want to go back for more stays!
(L-R) Juk, Me, Paz, and Lyn: Enjoying the Night After Dinner
Address: Gomez Compund, Barangay San Roque, San Pablo City, Laguna
Contact Numbers: +63 917 812-6687
Directions:From Manila, take the South Super Highway. Exit at Lucena/Batangas Exit. Go straight down the highway towards Batangas, passing the Makiling Conference Center, St. James Academy, and the Yakult Factory (all on your right side). Upon reaching the Batangas junction, turn left, passing Junction Inn and the Laurel statue. Go towards Sto. Tomas. You will pass by Jollibee, Rose and Grace Bulaluhan, and the Pamilihang Bayan. After a few meters, you will reach the Batangas intersection with an Isuzu Truck showroom across. Turn left towards YKK Factory. Drive straight towards Alaminos. At the Alaminos boundary, follow the shard curve of the road to the right. After Alaminos proper, drive straight down the highway towards San Pablo City. After crossing the San Pablo border, you will see Riverina Village to your left and then a Caltex gas station. After Caltex, there will be a fork-like curve ahead. Take the left road. This is Colago Avenue. Drive down Calgo Avenue to Barrio San Roque. Watch for the PT&T office and the Community Hospital on your left. You will notice a welcome arch (which says Mabuhay Barangay 1-A San Pablo City). Immediately after this, Kay Inay Resort is on your right, Turn into the resort gate. Casa San Pablo is in this resort.
* * * * * * * *
Read more of Day 2 of Viaje del Sol Series 1.