Saturday, January 14, 2012

Where to Go in Laguna: San Pablo

Where: San Pablo City
What: tour, by myself
No not really all by myself (I'm not a solo traveler...yet); I was with a friend. However this was not a field trip, technically. But it was for our project in HUM 170 (Philippine Art), and so I roamed around in San Pablo, trying to capture its essence and culture and the sights and of course the food. Heh.What's more, I timed my visit with the week-long grand celebration of their Coconut Festival (it is their main product). I went on a Saturday; sadly I did not catch the popular, jovial, and colorful Street Dance competition which was held the day before (I had classes, boohoo).
San Pablo is the largest city in Laguna, and is also known as the City of Seven Lakes. For this particular visit I only got to see the Sampaloc Lake, which was the most popular, most accessible, and biggest lake of the seven. I had actually been to 5 of the 7; we went here for an Outbound Field Trip when I was in 2nd year high school. Most are quite far from the city proper, plus you have to trek quite a distance or hike; but it was worth it--the lakes are peaceful and serene.

From: Los Baños, we rode a jeepney with the sign 'San Pablo'. The fare is 30 pesos, and it was an hour ride, but the scenery that will greet you as you pass by is worth it :) think: green plains and fields and mountains, and there is the zigzag.
You can get off at the city plaza, with the cathedral near it.

Since it was the festival week, they had set up a Coco Trade Fair which features the best products of San Pablo City. Lucky me :P I even got to taste free samples.
Oooohhh the tarts 
The 'STAR' of the show.
This was my first time to try these: Buko Pie Tarts. Equally delicious with its original pie counterpart.
Speaking of buko pie, the well-known Colette's Buko Pie originated in this city. It has over 80 branches now nationwide.
More coconut products, take note: for export.

The next one I visited was the municipal hall, a short distance from the city plaza.
Apparently, they have a 'new' and 'old' building. This is the new one.

This is the old one. Now it was turned into a museum and one of the popular landmarks in the city.

Just beside the municipal buildings is the Dona Leoñ
ila Park, a small and elevated park. At that time, we chanced upon children playing and even a dance group practicing on the mini-stage.

Doña Leonila? This park was apparently named after Doña Leonila, the wife of former president Carlos Garcia of the Philippines.

I can liken it to somewhat a school's garden and playground.

A little walk from Doña Leonila is a an aerial view of the Sampaloc Lake.  Bad thing though, the trees are blocking a magnificent view. You can go down from the park to the lake.

You can rent bikes for 20 pesos only! This place is popular for joggers and bikers.
Sari-sari stores located beside the lake.

The Sampaloc Lake

Did you know? San Pablo City also holds an annual Tilapia Festival. Sampaloc Lake thrives of tilapia fish!

Found this on a wall across the lake; too bad for vandalism.
The stairs to trudge up towards Doña Leonila Park.

Clydenjosh Restaurant
When I asked a local what is the must-visit restaurant in this area, he pointed out this place. It is just across the lake. They serve seafoods and Filipino cuisine.
You can eat downstairs or upstairs. There's even a third floor. This restaurant is huge.

Inside the resto: all native. It is an open area so the wind blows freely and you can actually sing on a karaoke!
Hito, blue marlin, and kuhol (snail) sa gata.
My first time to try this! It was a bit difficult to squeeze them out of their shell, though (I used toothpicks).
A view of the Sampaloc Lake.

 After eating, we went back to the city plaza. It looked different at night. Bright lights and hundreds of stalls came into view. Apparently, every night of the festival they close down a long road (very long actually) and turn it into the 'Inuman sa Kalye'. Stalls and stores opened up, tables and chairs are lined up, bands here and there, and lots of food and beer. Wew! That's some festivity! Bad luck though, it rained that night. It was so wet and muddy. Poor shoes.

I didn't get to experience the Inuman sa Kalye because we have to go home. Maybe next time. Haha.
I want a buko pie... Teehee.

TIME OF MY LIFE. <3 <3 <3
Location: San Pablo City, Philippines


  1. hay..salamat sa ideya! i was planning to go there all by myself..sana di ako mawala sa laguna :)

    1. Hi! Thanks for dropping by :) Goodluck with your trip. As for being lost, don't worry, best friend natin si Google Map :DDD

  2. Any suggestion about cheap accommodations in San Pablo City please?