I promised to myself to travel more this summer, and so I did ~ while fulfilling my long-time wish to see the Pahiyas festival. I was also thankful that I joined a tour group instead of driving out. Paying $20 (or P1,000) for a whole day tour that covered four towns, a hearty buffet lunch and with free halo-halo to boot was indeed worth it. I’d have to commend some travel agencies for making tours around the islands affordable for most Pinoys (and not just tourists or balikbayans.) This was one example where joining group tours is more advantageous than flying solo or venturing out on your own.
Anyway, here’s my picture at the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery with three other travellers I only saw during the trip. Again, the advantage of being in a group tour is that it wouldn’t look so obvious that you’re by your lonesome. And you can always make friends with them!
Here’s how our itinerary looked like:
4:30 a.m. – Meet-up in Makati City where we boarded a van and have coffee/early breakfast while waiting.
It was a three-hour trip to Lucban, Quezon and I didn’t see much of the scenery as I couldn’t resist sleeping!
8:00 a.m. – We arrive in Lucban, Quezon and take the Pahiyas route. Time to take lots of pictures! Some vendors in the town have export-quality hats made from buntal or buri, and I buy some. There are handpainted ones which cost as little as 35.
Somewhere along the way, I chance upon Lucban’s one and only vegetarian restaurant, Steps to Eden and ordered a mixed fruit shake. It was delicious! I couldn’t help but be amazed with the tales of of the owner who said they’ve been tapped to aid in the recuperation of some patients by preparing a special diet that is organic and meat-free. It got me thinking that we really should find time to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Two things that Lucban is famous for: its longganisa (native sausages) and pansit habhab (if am not mistaken, habhab is the act of eating from the leaves, as they don’t serve utensils with the noodles.) You can get a flavorful serving of the Lucban pancit for as little as six pesos!
By noon, we were ready to leave Lucban. The grand parade was at 2 p.m. yet but the tour organizer said this wasn’t advisable, as the crowds get even thicker. We motored off to neighboring Majayjay, a sleepy town in Laguna. Here, we took more pictures of the majestic (and ancient) Majayjay Church.
Our buffet lunch in Torio’s Canteen just across the church was very good, and came with the package tour. We had ample servings of pako (fern salad), fried chicken, grilled pork belly and ginataang tilapia. Lambanog, and an exotic dish of fruit bat was even passed around, but I skipped that. The owners of this countryside resto get high points for hospitality.
2 p.m. – We arrive in Liliw, Laguna ~ the “Slippers (Tsinelas) Capital of the Philippines. Turns out the town was also celebrating their fiesta. Some groupmates spent the time shopping for sandals and bags. We also taste the halo-halo with cheese in this place called “Liliw Fastfood.” Must-buy pasalubong in Liliw , aside from shoes and slippers: the custard roll in theie bakeshop, ginataang bagoong with santol and pastries from Arabela coffeeshop.
3 p.m. We arrive at the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery, another religious-historical site in Laguna. More on this in a future post.
Afterwards, we were off to face the horrendous traffic in South Luzon Expressway
This day tour was made possible by:
Nature Awareness & Conservation Club Inc.
Tel. Nos. 5157964 & 8061720
Bgy. Sta. Catalina
Tel. No. (049) 305-4995
Steps to Eden
102A Mabini St. Lucban, Quezon
Tel. No. (042) 540-2440