Monday, December 26, 2016


Laguna has been a good destination due to its hot springs, cold springs, lakes, rich culture, varied delicacies and historical landmarks. This post specifically summarizes a 2-day trip to the City of San Pablo and its neighboring towns, Nagcarlan and Liliw. In my early posts, I have chronicled individual posts for these destinations. There are twelve things you can do in these destinations, maximizing your time in a well-planned and highly organized trip.

1. Take a leisurely walk and capture the scenic spots of Sampaloc Lake

Sampaloc Lake in the heart of San Pablo City (photo credit: John Madrigal blog)

Your tour starts when you lift the bus at SM San Pablo. Take a public utility motorcab and ask him to bring you there at Sampaloc Lake which is situated in the very heart of San Pablo City. You can even hire the motorcab to have a circumferential drive around to have a complete glimpse of the lake. Sampaloc is the biggest of the seven lakes of San Pablo City.

2. Climb Mount Mabilog to capture the overlooking scenery of the seven lakes of San Pablo City

The majestic scenery overlooking the lakes from Mount Mabilog (photo credit: Francis Balgos' Blog site Pala-Lagaw)

While it is too early for a swim in the twin lakes of Pandin and Yambu, take it an alternative to climb Mount Mabilog instead. It will take 2 to 3 hours to ascend and an hour to descend the mountain. Its jump off point is also the point where parking space for the Lake Pandin is located. You need a guide? Contact Kuya Nick Catapang for a dayhike guide fee of P700. Ring or text him in his mobile numbers at 09772818967 or 09108557305.

Mount Mabilog has an elevation of 441 Meters Above Sea Level (MASL) with specs of a minor climb with Difficulty of 2/9 and has trail of class 1-3. It has a major jump point in Purok 3 (Sandig), Brgy. Sta. Catalina, San Pablo and two alternative jump off points, namely: Brgy. Sulsuguin, Nagcarlan and Lake Pandin, Brgy. Sto. Angel, San Pablo. (Source: Pinoy Mountaineer Website)

3. Cruise, swim, had a playful swing and opportunity for self-love photography at Lake Pandin

Capturing other groups in lake cruise rafting

Lake Pandin unexpectedly came up to be one of the best in this trip as I chronicled it in a separate post at AFFORDABLE TOUR PACKAGE OF PANDIN LAKE (SAN PABLO) FOR AS LOW AS P674. It is a two-hour cruise package of fun-filled activity.

A cruise date for lovers (Models: Terence Lagman and Shiela Belen)

A less than narcissistic opportunity for photography . . . just kidding (Model: Jessie Gines)

An endless swim at the fresh-water lake

A leisurely swing while the raft is docked

Tarzanification on the vines of the trees

4. Dine for a sumptuous lunch while on board in a lake cruise

A seafood lunch while on a lake cruise

Just after scaling Mount Mabilog, it would be at 11:00 A.M. already. By this time, the lake water is warmer and the best time to have a swim. Remember to book your tour package earlier as there are only 12 rafts operating. Those who had reservations are the the priority to be accommodated by the rafts. The community operator is not after the money they earned from this sustainable income generating community tourism project. How to book, contact Ms. Cristina "Tina" Abrego at +639079952983. If you opt to stay overnight, just coordinate with Tina and she will book for you an accommodation. Part of the 2-hour Pandin Lake package tour of P360 is this palatable meal which is more than enough for one person serving. Though, if the guests opt not to have this kind of meal, they can request upon reservation of what cuisine they want to be served but with an additional charge depending upon the cost of the meal.

Siesta time after lunch while still on cruise

The bamboo raft while on cruise is safely hooked to a stable rope which is connected to the other end of the lake where the raft will be docked for a swim or other water-fun activities. Life vests are provided as part of the tour package so that guests can safely swim in this lake with an average depth of 63 meters or 206.69 feet. Read more about its details on the separate blog post at AFFORDABLE TOUR PACKAGE OF PANDIN LAKE (SAN PABLO) FOR AS LOW AS P674.

5. Trek to the other side and feast on the majestic view of Yambu Lake with Mount Mabilog on the backdrop

While the raft is docked, there is another exciting activity that awaits the curious guests. This is just less than 5-minute trek to the other side to see the totality of Yambu Lake.

Our group still docked at Lake Pandin ready for a 5-minute assault to Yambu Lake

The uphill trek is manageable. What matters is that something that will unfold to your eyes as you reached the top. You will be bewildered with another majestic lake of Yambu. Other guests do try for another cruise in this lake but with different tour operators. At this point, Mount Mabilog is at a closer range.

Just a teaser view of Yambu Lake

The rewarding view of Yambu Lake is just another treat to your feasting eyes. You can do as much as swimming, fishing, rafting and cruise and any other water fun activities available as per the tour operator package.

I can't resist of giving you some of the pictures I took while I was at Yambu Lake. Remember, that this is still a part of the 2-hour Lake Pandin tour package of P360 which you should maximize. Time extension is not allowed as some other booked groups are in queue for their turn.

A docked raft at Yambu Lake

Boarding shortly at the raft

Having a short chat with the guides

Last glimpse of the Yambu Lake

You can read more about Yambu Lake here in a separate post at AFFORDABLE TOUR PACKAGE OF PANDIN LAKE (SAN PABLO) FOR AS LOW AS P674

6. Shop in Liliw town center like there is no tomorrow

The twin Lake tour package of Pandin and Yambu can be done before 3:00 P.M. and there is still ample time to have an hour travel to Liliw for shopping of affordable and cheaper footwears with high quality.

Inside Entrada shoe store

Entrada Shoe Store and Badong Footwear Factory are among the famous stores in Liliw. In my first visit here, I happened to buy leather sandals and shoes in these outlets and true enough, they are durable.

Pure leather sandals at Badong Footwear Factory

Of course, there are a number of footwear stores in Liliw and almost the long stretch of Gat Tayaw Street is dotted with these footwear stores giving attractive and affordable prices especially if you buy by the dozen for slippers as pasalubong or Christmas gifts.

Souvenir items are also available in selected outlets

Souvenir items also abound in some store outlets like t-shirts, mugs, handy fans, kid's apparels, women's accessories, kitchen wares and the like. And the best thing is some food vendors are selling delicacies like pancit hab-hab and cassava special cakes. Fruits are cheaper and the ferns vegetable or the commonly called "pako", they are all available. Read more about this in a separate post DINE AND SHOP TILL YOU DROP IN LILIW (LAGUNA)

7. Attend a late afternoon mass at Liliw Church

Be a pilgrim to this 396-year old Baroque red-brick Church --- a structural design introduced by the Spanish conquerors and be succumbed to its basilica-like ambiance.

Liliw Church or Saint John the Baptist Parish Church

For the Catholic believers, it won't be bad if you started your shopping at 3:00 P.M. and temporarily stop it to attend the holy mass at Liliw Church which is at 5:15 P.M. during weekdays and 5:00 P.M. during weekends. This is the only mass in the afternoon. You may want to know more about the history of the church, visit its separate post at SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH CHURCH OF LILIW

8. Dine at the White House Pavilion

As you go out from the church, it is too early for dinner. You can checked in at Liliw Resort which is accessible through a public utility motorcab to unload yourselves with your bags and the countless purchases of footwears, souvenir items, vegetables, fruits and other stuff. It is just timely to refresh yourself with a shower.

The White House Pavilion

Coming from an exhausting day of endless physical activities from trekking, lake cruise, shopping,land transfers and attending mass, it is now high time to treat yourself with a grand dinner at the White House Pavilion. See a related and more detailed post at DINE AND SHOP TILL YOU DROP IN LILIW (LAGUNA)

Just one of the set meals at White House

With us were the couple owner with the husband as the chef

9. Alternatively, dine in at Arabela for their special cakes, pastries and uniquely aromatic coffee

Arabela Cake and Coffee Shop is just at the back of White House Bistro. Since this closes at 7:00 P.M. there might be no time anymore if you have your dinner at the White House Bistro. If you want to try it, catch it as it opens at 11:15 A.M. the following day.

White to eat and buy at Arabela (Photo Credit: Half White Boy Blog)

Arabela from all the blogs I've read and knew offers an array of delicious cakes and pastries where you can even buy as pasalubong when you go back to Manila. Unfortunately, due to our hectic schedule, our group was not even able to taste any of its luscious and appetizing cakes and pastries. When I go back again to Liliw, this will be my first destination.

Arabela's dining interior design (Photo credit: Half White Boy Blog)

10. Have a soundly overnight sleep at the Liliw Resort

Liliw is also evolving to have its own share of night life activities but not too much since there are only few bars there that one can visit and enjoy for a night life. Generally speaking, the town sleeps early. So, going to Liliw Resort for your accommodation at 9:00 P.M. boarding a public utility motor cab might be late already. Remember, heading to this place leads you to a rough gradually descending dark road. Dogs which felt that you are a stranger will bark you in wreckless abandon.

The rich verdant Liliw Resort

The resort gives a cool temperature as it rests in a cascading cold spring coming from Banahaw. It would be good to have a swim in later time of the morning. I for one, woke up as early as 6:00 A.M. and had a refreshing walk falling in love with this seemingly rich forest paradise.

The ice-cold cascading spring

Staying for another two hours in the resort is just practical to regain the energy you've spent the other day where you've got yourself in a multi-physical activities. It is now time to rest and take a dip in the cold spring. Then, group bonding may also be good and communing with nature as well. See its detailed post at LILIW RESORT: A COMPLETELY LUSH FOREST PARADISE

11. Find time to visit the 333-year old Nagcarlan Church

Nagcarlan Church or known as Saint Bartholomew the Apostle Parish Church is just along the way heading back to San Pablo City and just a 5-minute drive from its neighboring town of Liliw. Read its detailed post at SAINT BARTHOLOMEW THE APOSTLE CHURCH OF NAGCARLAN

The interior of Nagcarlan Church

12. Finally, have a taste of the colonial past by visiting the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery

Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery

Don't ever miss it!!! Another important museum is just along the highway heading for San Pablo City. Just another 5 minutes drive from Nagcarlan Church. Read its detailed post at NAGCARLAN UNDERGROUND CEMETERY

After this Underground Cemetery, you can now take a public utility jeepney for an hour drive to San Pablo City and from San Pablo City, you can take a bus going to Manila.

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