Before I go to Cagayan Valley to see Callao Caves and other sights that comes along the way, me and some friends decided to check Viaje del Sol (“the way of the sun”). This is a travel guide to sixteen (16) various destinations in Laguna, Quezon and Batangas. Because of limited time, me and my friends (Ajing, Benz and John and their daughter Kite) were able to visit only some of the places featured in the trip.
Even then, the experience was overwhelming because “it exceeded all our expectations” as Benz would put it. It rained but it did not spoil our trip. Viaje del sol made us feel the sun was out, all the time. Now, there are not only some that can be visited South of Manila, but there are already a lot because of “viaje del sol.” We have decided to continue with the travel sometime, and we will not mind going back the places places we’ve been to.
First stop:Kusina Salud
The place is owned by Patis Tesoro, located at Brgy. Sta. Cruz/Putol, San Pablo City. Known for her advocacy on local fabric, the resto is very Filipino with a touch of Balinese and Bohemia.
One of the oriental corners
The place has similarities to a typical Ilocano home. It has big capiz windows and the furnitures are antique wood. I noticed that the flooring on the second floor is made of bamboo strips, called “basar” – very Ilocano.That was the flooring of the house where I grew up (in the farm). I never thought that after 36 years, I can see it in a fine dining restaurant!
Staircase to the Second Floor
Window at the Dining Area
The place offers fine dining at an affordable price; buffet on Sundays; and serves budget meals for yayas and drivers (for they usually have shy souls to join the long table!) Their menu includes “pinakbet” and if you’re Ilocano, you may not help comparing it to the authentic Ilocano “pinakbet”.
Entrance to the Dining Area
Fountain at the Garden
Contacts: (02) 699-5035 (049) 246-6878Second Stop:Potter’s Garden by Ugu Bigyan
This is located in Tiaong, Quezon. Ugu is known for his pots, wood and ceramic pieces, and wall tiles. It is said that his creations can be seen in the interiors of Amanpulo Resort, Campo Travieza, Casa Patricia, El Nido and Villa Escudero – these are some of the top (and more expensive) resorts in the country. So if you go to Ugu, it would be nice if you can get a piece that suits your budget, just make sure you get the one with his authentic signature (I was informed that he signs all his pieces).
Being here, I immediately thought of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte and San Juan, Ilocos Sur, where people also make clay pots. If only they are introduced to Ugu’s art then maybe they will be inspired to imrpove and “overhaul” their products – knowing how creative Ilocanos are, they may do something better with their clay if they see Ugu. Alao, some of the structures around Ugu’s place are made of bricks which did not make me feel too far from Ilocos.
Main Entrance to Ugu’s House
Know more of Ugu Bigyan.
(Blogger’s Note: The feature on “viaje del sol” shall be continued in the next posting.)