As any traveler will tell you, it’s impossible to fully explore Quezon province or any destination in just 24 hours. But if this is all the time you’ve got, we along with the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) have made a guide, which showcases some of the best this beautiful Tagalog province has to offer. Buckle up and bon voyage!
Stop #1: Lucban, Quezon
Famous for hosting the annual Pahiyas Festival, Lucban is the perfect gateway municipality to the Province of Quezon. The first thing visitors will probably notice is the majestic Church of Lucban. This historic structure was first built in the 1500s but reconstructed twice due to fire and other calamities.
If you walk a few meters around the church you’ll discover several stores selling Lucban’s signature pork product - Longganisang Lucban. Infused with plenty of garlic and other spices, Longganisang Lucban is the perfect pasalubong for your foodie friends. Guides say the tastiest Longganisa can be found at the popular food chain Buddy’s Restaurant, which was established in Lucban. Its first branch still stands in the city to this day.
No trip to Lucban is complete without visiting the “Mommy” of the Quezon Tourism Council, Ms. Milada Dealo Valde. An accountant by profession but a hostess by passion, Ms. Valde conducts cooking classes and demonstrations at her quaint bed and breakfast Sulyap sa Pahiyas located in Barangay Tinamnan, Lucban. There’s no better way to know the history of the Pahiyas festival and its traditions than through Mommy Milada’s colorful anecdotes.
Stop #2 Kamay ni Hesus
10 minutes away from Lucban is the church of Kamay ni Hesus. Considered by many as a healing site, people far and wide flock to Kamay ni Hesus to help cure ailments and make petitions. It has also become somewhat of a tourist spot due to the majestic hill turned shrine overlooking the area. So religious or not, Kamay ni Hesus is definitely worth a peek.
Stop#3 Tayabas, Quezon
A few kilometers from Kamay ni Hesus is the city of Tayabas. Known as the “City of Festivals,” Tayabas hosts several events over the year including the Mayohan or Suman Festival where locals share their produce as sign of thanksgiving. Tayabas is also the home of the historic Casa Comunidad de Tayabas - the largest surviving stone house restored by the National Historical Institute, and the Malagonlong Bridge - the oldest stone bridge constructed during colonial times.
If you’re looking for a snack during your visit to Tayabas, a must try is Rodillas’ Yema Cake (call (042) 793-3265). This decadent dessert has an icing recipe so delicious and secret that only the owners of Rodilla’s or their relatives are allowed to mix the ingredients at their factory every morning.
Stop #4 Sariaya, Quezon
Further down the trail is Sariaya, which has all the charms you’d expect from a Southern Tagalog municipality. There’s a lovely church, well-preserved heritage homes and friendly locals. But if there’s one thing that distinguishes this place from the rest, it’s the Agawan Festival celebrated every 15th of May. During this time, the town is decorated with young bamboo branches decked with candies, giveaways, and other goodies. After the traditional town parade, festival goers are then goaded into snatching these hanging treats in a celebration that can only be described as “happy pandemonium.”
Stop #5 San Juan, Batangas
Although no longer part of Quezon province, San Juan is the perfect final stop for your 24-hour road trip. Traversed by tourists for its relaxing beaches, San Juan has a myriad of resorts and accommodations built to cater to the weary traveler. One such accommodation is La Luz Beach Resort, a beachfront property with comfortable rooms and a private cove that’s perfect for a sunset photo session.
We hope this quick guide inspires you to visit the province of Quezon. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and hospitable people, it’s without a doubt one of the top tourist locations in the Philippines.
The Southern Tagalog Kulinarya Caravan is organized by Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA); it is one of the many Caravan Programs it will be offering at The 28th Philippine Travel Mart on September 1 to 3, 2017. For more information, visit www.philtoa.com