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A Two-day Road Trip to Laguna

January 2013

My husband wanted to go on a road trip in the south and since the girls liked history, the family decided to go to the old churches in Laguna. There really wasn’t much planning done except for a printout of a blogger’s Visita Iglesia in Laguna in 2010. We packed clothes for an overnight stay just in case, though we really didn’t make any reservations since there wasn’t really anything definite in our itinerary.

We left Las Pinas at 8:30 am. After 1.5 hours of driving we were along Nagcarlan Highway on our way to our first church visit, San Bartolome Church.

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And within the area was the Underground Cemetery which was definitely a no brainer for our next stop.

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The locals recommended that we go visit St. John the Baptist in Liliw.

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Along the way, we passed by the main street which is the Tsinelas (Slippers) Capital of the Philippines, a side trip of shopping where prices would average around P75 for leather slippers, P150 for slip-ons to P350 for clogs.

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Despite the no-itinerary trip, it was a pleasant adventure for the whole family plus the weather was cool and no need to turn on the car air-con because it was too cold. We basically asked our way around and just thinking/asking recommendations and directions from the locals and everything went on smoothly.

It was late noon by the time we had lunch at a roadside carinderia that served Gotobang (Gotong Batangas), tapsilog and burgers. It was a cheap and filling lunch for the price of P300 for 5 adults.

lunchtime: gotobang, tapsi and burgers

After lunch, we proceeded to St. Gregory Church in Majayjay Church which is said to be the oldest intact church in Laguna.

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When I was a kid, I had this habit of looking around or under bridges hoping to find a waterfall or a river with clear water. I guess that child within me is still there as I asked my husband to stop every time we were on a bridge with a nice river under it because I wanted to take pictures.

Talahibing Bridge

Around 2 pm, we had to start looking for a place to stay for the night, but we were in the middle of a long winding mountain road in Majayjay where there were only trees. Then, on the next bridge stopover (Dalitiwan Bridge) as I was admiring the view, I spotted a yellow structure right beside the river approximately 100 meters away from the bridge. I was hoping that it would be a resort to end our search so we could rest. I needed to find out if it really was one so I stopped a local riding his pedicab to ask if it was a resort and yes indeed it was! He gave us the directions and so off we went to our abode for the night. There wasn’t really any signage at all and we hardly noticed that we passed by its entrance already so we had to go back to look for the gate as directed by the local.

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Dalitiwan River

The room at Dalitiwan Resort cost us P2400 plus an entrance fee of P150/pax. The room was good for 5 though a bit cramped but manageable. They didn’t serve any food (guests usually brought and cooked their own food) but we were able to contract a helper who was willing to cook us dinner and breakfast which cost us P1,300 for two meals for 5 adults. The view was really great. Aside from the natural river, it had its own pool, waterfalls and hanging bridge.

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On our second day, we headed off to Lucban Church.

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Right outside its gate you’d find the favorite snack of the locals, pansit habhab.

Pancit habhab, a favorite of the locals, for ony P7 plus another P7 for puto

No utensils needed, just dive into it for a mouthful.

and this is the way to eat it - no utensils

Next stop, Kamay ni Hesus…

Kamay ni Hesus

We did a stopover at Bumbungan Ecopark (again a superb view from the bridge) in Cavinti. Entrance fee was P10/pax and P150 for a picnic hut.

view from the Cavinti Bridge overlooking Bumbungan Ecopark

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You can actually set up tables and chairs on the road where there was water overflowing from one side to the other which was a dam like waterfall.

Next was Caliraya Lake.

A view of Caliraya Lake

We also passed by the Japanese Garden (P10 entrance fee/pax) which just opposite Caliraya Lake and strolled around admiring the trees which looked fairly similar to bonsais except for their size.

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Our last church visit was Pagsanjan Church.

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We had lunch at Calle Arco before heading back to Manila.

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This trip was really a joy ride on a budget with no fixed plans/itinerary, no reservations, and I’m just glad we did it. Thanks to my dear Bunch! Looking forward to our next adventure road trip!

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