September 28, 2016
If you do not have the luxury of time to travel for several days without worrying about work or school, then you should give a southern road trip a shot! Move on from the usual Tagaytay and Batangas and let’s go down the road farther into Laguna and Quezon. Here’s a quick itinerary to follow for your next weekend trip!
Try to leave Manila as early as possible. Quezon is just a stone’s throw away, but the heavy traffic could get in a way. We advise that you have breakfast while on the road to save time. Drive through SLEX and pass through Sto Tomas until you reach the Pan-Philippine Highway, dissecting San Pablo Laguna and Tiaong, Quezon
Quite difficult to find but this trip will not be complete without a visit to Augusto “Ugo” Bigyan’s secret pottery at Tiaong, Quezon. Enjoy his eclectic property, his impressive pottery collection (which you can buy, btw), and the delicious food! Just make sure to call ahead of time for lunch reservation. Also, we suggest that you take farthest route first (Tiaong, Quezon) so you don’t have to waste time moving back and forth from Laguna and Quezon.
A favorite destination amongst the balikbayan, Villa Escudero is a massive property that is not only a plantation but also a tourist destination! Check the Escudero family’s massive antique collection, which is housed in an old pink church! They serve lunch at the Labasin Falls (which doubles up as a hydro-power plant). And to cap off a country-side lunch, try bamboo rafting at the Labasin Lake.
Don’t miss the cultural dance show at 2 in the afternoon choreographed by National Artist Ramon Obusan! The 1-hour show tells the tales behind every local and regional dance in the country.
If you’re looking for a charmingly authentic bed and breakfast place within the route, Casa San Pablo is the perfect place for that. Utterly rustic in the looks and feel, the quiet inn is tucked inside the family compound along the busy streets of San Pablo. The portable hammocks, eclectic rooms, wooden furniture, and palm and pine trees are enough to lure anyone with its countryside charm.
Take a dip after a long day and get recharged for yet another long night!
Have dinner at another charming B&B, Sulyap. The restaurant serves authentic Filipino dishes and a museum of religious figures and wooden furniture. The museum probably housed the biggest antique collection in San Pablo.
As soon as the chit-chats are done over dinner, you can go back to Casa San Pablo. Relax and a take a full night’s rest! You’ll need more energy for your second day at the South.
Start your morning early and get ready to visit the famous 7 lakes of San Pablo, Laguna.
First to visit is the Lake Sampaloc. It is the largest among the seven and is situated right behind the city hall. Go for a walk or rent a bike and enjoy the majestic sight of Mt. Cristobal and Lake Sampaloc.
After Sampaloc Lake, make it your #squadgoal to visit all the remaining lakes that surround San Pablo City! This is a challenge, since lakes are situated far from each other. The rest of the lakes are used for fishing but it’s still worth it to see them all up close and personal. Lake Palakpakin is the shallowest and is used for fishing; Lake Mohicap is where they culture tilapia; Lake Calibato is the deepest and supplies nearby city thanks to its abundant fish; and lastly, Lake Bunot is primarily used for floating cages operation.
The most beautiful lake amongst the seven, Lake Pandin is the town’s best-kept lake. The lake is shaped like a basin thanks to the trees that surround and hide the lake in plain sight. Lake Pandin might be the hardest to reach. It requires around 15 minutes of walking up and off hill to get through the lake.
Upon reaching the lake, enjoy bamboo rafting, swimming, or just plain appreciating the beauty of this lake.
In addition, you can also have your lunch on the raft at Lake Pandin, prepared by the locals around the area. After eating, you can just jump off the raft and take a good swim! Lake Pandin is the only swimmable lake out of the 7. It’s crystal clear water is definitely refreshing!
Just a minute trek on the steep terrain of Lake Pandin is the welcoming view of its twin lake Lake Yambo, which is just separated by a narrow strip of land from Pandin. According to an old folklore, the lakes are named after ill-fated lovers, Pandin and Yambo, who are separated by a curse to be never near each other much like the strip of land separating the lakes.
After a little adventure at the Lake Pandin, it’s time to head home! Kiss the south goodbye and hop onto your ride. Depending on the traffic, you can be back in Manila in just two hours. Just in time to be ready for yet another Monday!