Laguna Tastes

On the road again: Viaje del Sol and the day I welcomed a new decade

When it came down to what I wanted to do the day I leave behind my twenties and welcome the new, exciting decade of my life, I knew only one thing: It had to happen on the road.

Because I was—still am—swimming in work-related matters, and my passport had to be renewed in time for next month’s trip to Myanmar, I found myself landlocked.

Just as I was about to resign myself to throwing a birthday party in the city (read: I would really rather spend the money on a plane ticket), my two favorite chefs M & D invited me and a bunch of our friends to check out their restaurant in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

Because I had been toying with the idea of doing Viaje del Sol and exploring more of Southern Luzon, I thought I might as well hit two birds with one stone.

And so it was that I found myself making the long drive all the way to the end of the South Luzon Expressway, my favorite girls in tow, the day I hit my dirty thirty. The original plan was to go to Pagsanjan Falls after partaking of deliriously good food at Ted’s (the aftermath of our uber-filling lunch, below).

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

But by the time we got to dessert—death by chocolate cake and D’s heirloom brazo de mercedes—we were all in agreement that a lazy day was in order. Instead of conquering river rapids leading to Pagsanjan Falls, we found ourselves coasting along the scenic towns of Laguna instead.

It was a blissful day that involved all my favorite things. Our itinerary included a drive across the town of Pila, known for its beautiful Filipino heritage houses, and Liliw, where there is an entire street devoted to *cry* shoes.

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

Check out what I got for a measly P1,000 bucks ($22):

Yesterday in retail therapy. I am officially ready for summer  #liliw #shoeaholicsanonymous #shoes #philippineproducts

We also made the 30-minute drive to breezy Caliraya—in Laguna, everything is 30 minutes away—where we were able to catch this gorgeous sunset:

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

Because I’ve never been to Caliraya before—and this trip was a quickie—I vow to come back and spend a weekend the next time around. The lake, though man-made, is gorgeous.

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

Because it was my birthday, M also took us on a mini Visita Iglesia tour to two lovely heritage Churches—St. Mary Magdalene Parish Church in Magdalena and St. John the Baptist Parish Church in Liliw. It’s been said that one should make a wish every time he/she visits a church for the first time, so yeah, I scored myself two wishes that day. Haha.

But, wish or no wish, I would definitely pay these two beauties a visit:

St. Mary Magdalene Parish Church

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

And St. John the Baptist Parish Church:

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

When I went inside the main hall, I was rendered speechless. The place was bathed in scotch-hued natural light.

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

Flirty Thirty road trip to Laguna

Definitely one of those rare moments wherein I felt the presence of a higher being. It was the perfect place to just sit still and utter a prayer of gratitude for the many blessings thrown my way the past two years. When I drove to Laguna earlier that day, I never expected I’d find myself in this place of calm and quiet—I thought I was going to spend my day outdoors. But I’m glad things did not go as planned, and that we gave in to the unexpected. It definitely added a touch of grace on my birthday—which is always a good thing—and it made me even more excited about the decade to come.

On to the next big adventure… :)

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