features Casa San Pablo, Colette’s Buko Pie and Pasalubong Store, and the Lake Tour; and Part II features Kusina Salud, Kinabuhayan Café, and Pettyjohn Pottery Studio.
There are other locales that may be the prized favorite of some of you out there – don’t worry, we’ll get to them soon enough. We take heed from the Viaje del Sol community as they suggest for travelers to go at their own pace, to pick what they want to do and see from the Viaje map.
After all, the important thing to do is to go on the journey.
CASA SAN PABLO
Its sprawling lawns, rustic setting and eclectic décor, coupled with the ever-present faces of inn-keepers Boots and An Alcantara, as well as ‘Mama’ (Boots’ Mom) make Casa San Pablo one of the most welcoming inns of our country. No two rooms (or pieces of furniture for that matter) are exactly alike at Casa, reflecting the Alcantara’s celebration of individuality in humanity. The ‘lutong bahay’ buffet is served during breakfast, lunch and dinner (make sure you ask for the tsokolate with pinipig flakes – a fabulous way to start your morning) and the staff are attentive and never without a smile. For P500.00/hour you can get a massage right within the privacy of your room, or perhaps out on the lawn underneath the stars if you like. The most popular room at Casa? “The hot wheels room,” confirms Boots. For reservations and inquiries on rooms, rates, company outings, and artist and/or spiritual retreats at Casa San Pablo,
You’ve likely seen the Colette’s signage at many different places throughout the country, but one close look at the flagship store in San Pablo City and you’ll know right away that nothing beats the original Colette’s. Colette’s Pasalubong is open 24-7, and if you call ahead of time you can set up a tour with one of their representatives so you can see just how they make their delectable offerings, like the cassava bibingka, buko-pandan pie, and ubo macapuno pie. Don’t leave the store without the Buko Pie Supreme (P195.00). “It’s selling like hotcakes,” says Nory, Operations Manager at Colette’s. Click here for reservations and inquiries. While you’re there, make sure you try the calamansi smoothie at Caffe Curio, their on-site café. Click here for Colette’s contact information.
LAGUNA LAKE TOUR
Part-time environmentalist and Sampaloc Lake resident, Mandy Marino, is nice enough to open up his home to guests who want to take a tour of Pandin Lake (and to see its twin Lake, Yambo). Have lunch at his patio overlooking Sampaloc Lake, and then take a 15 minute car ride to a hiking starting point. Another 15 minutes of easy (and shaded) walking and you’ll find yourself at Pandin Lake, where locals will take you through a bamboo raft ride through the placid expanse of water surrounded by lush vegetation. Here, nothing comes between you and Nature. Wear your swimsuit and bring a towel (and a picnic lunch if you like) because you’re going to want to jump in – the water is that inviting, especially on a hot summer day. The cost per head is P185.00 (comes with fresh buko juice). For Mandy Marino’s contact information, click here.
Although the service is laidback at Kusina Salud, Chef Paul Poblador’s approach to the food is far from casual. Kusina Salud, the Laguna country home of fashion designer, Patis Tesoro, is a must-visit not only for every traveler, but every foodie alike. Where else can you get a topnotch buffet at only P395.00 per person, with an array of choices that span the entire Philippine archipelago (and is sometimes sprinkled, successfully so, with Pan Asian influences)? Kusina Salud, which has seen countless proposals, weddings and parties within its happy Buddha-walls, also has an aviary and various knick-knacks – both ornamental and artistic – on the premises, making it a sensational feast for both the stomach and the senses. Click here for Kusina Salud’s contact information.
The chance to have an afternoon chat with capricious co-owner and groundskeeper Jay Herrera is reason enough to head over to Kinabuhayan Café. With his wild hair, flailing and expressive gestures, and his penchant for storytelling, not an afternoon goes by that will make you stifle a yawn when he’s around. Sure, you don’t exactly have a choice in what he’ll serve for your meals. But don’t worry, whatever he puts in front of you and your party will delight your tastebuds as Jay has proven that he’s got skills in the kitchen, time and again. Meals are P500 per head, including the main course, with salad, dessert, and bottomless Pandan coffee and tea. If you decide to spend the night in one of the café’s huts (no walls here, accommodates roughly 2 to 6 people), be prepared to drop P500.00 per person. If you just want to stay for the day and go on a guided tour through waterfalls, mountain vistas and caves, call ahead to schedule (prices range from P300-P500/person) the tour. For more information on rates, huts and tours,
for the contact information of Kinabuhayan Café.
Jon and Tessy Pettyjohn go about their days working away at their potter’s studio, located within their home in Bucal, Laguna. Their workshop is home to both gas and wood-fired kilns, and if you call in advance they’d be more than happy to show you around. However, if you’re interested in purchasing some of their work, it’s best to tell them ahead of time so that they can prepare the price list as it may not always be available for all items within their on-site shop (remember that their goal is to make ceramic art, not to sell millions). Tessy Pettyjohn (flanked by her canine underlings) will even walk you through the entire potter’s process. Come at the right time and she’ll serve you some warm whole wheat bread with kesong puti – the perfect way to end a sojourner’s afternoon. Click here for Pettyjohn’s contact information.
Permission to include the Viaje del Sol map in this piece was given by the collective. ClickTheCity would also like to thank Inkwell Publishing Co. for the digital copy of the map. Upon visiting any Viaje spot, please ask the establishment for hard copies of the map as they are not for sale.