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Southern Tagalog Kulinarya Caravan Day 4
I woke up early for the fourth day of the Southern Tagalog Kulinarya Caravan. I had so much fun (and so much food, too!) during the first 3 days, that I just couldn’t wait for the last day! And surely enough, the fourth day was just as fun as the first 3 days of the caravan.
Lucban Longanisa Breakfast
We started the caravan with a Longganisang Lucban breakfast in our overnight place, Patio Rizal Hotel in Lucban Quezon. After that, we proceeded to the town’s famous religious shrine, Kamay ni Hesus.
Ontop of Kamay Ni Hesus Hill
View from Kamay ni Hesus Hill
It was certainly not my first time visiting the place, so I decided to stay outside while the others climbed the topmost part of the pathway, past the 13 life-sized murals depicting the 14 Stations of the Cross and the Biblical events.
Casa Comunidad de Tayabas
After Lucban, the caravan proceeded to the City of Tayabas, where we went to Casa Comunidad de Tayabas for our passport stamping. We were welcomed by a group of cultural performers who danced Tagalog folk songs, which were customarily performed during important ceremonies in the city of Tayabas.
Southern Luzon Kulinarya Caravan Participants in Casa Comunidad de Tayabas
As we toured, Roselle Villaverde (the City tourism officer) explained that Casa Comunidad de Tayabas is a historical landmark which, constructed in 1831. During then, it served as a prison and a tribunal to the city. After the building got destroyed by a large fire in the early 1880s, it was reconstructed during the American Occupation (World War II) in the Philippines, and it became a public school.
Tayabas City Library
In 1945 (Japanese Occupation, World War II), Casa Comunidad de Tayabas got destroyed again by a bombing. It was then reconstructed once again in the 2000s, and now serves as the local museum and library. It’s interesting how that building was able to serve the city of Tayabas for such a long period of time, and how it showcases the resilient nature of the Filipinos!
Mi Casa en Tayabas was the caravan’s next stop. We were served refreshments, courtesy of Tayabas City Tourism Office. We were also able to taste Tayabas City’s version of the Pancit Habhab, Yema Cake and the locally-made cassava cake, which they call Budin. Yum yum!
After snack time we went to Basilica Minore de St. Michael the Archangel, the largest Roman Catholic basilica in the whole province of Quezon. The key-shaped church is also called Ang Susi ng Tayabas. Basilica Minore of St. Michael the Archangel is also believed to be one of the most beautiful churches in the country.
We went to our next stop, Calle Budin. This street is perhaps the place where one can get the best Budin in the City. We also visited the Rodillas Commissary in Barangay Wakas, where we were shown a cooking demonstration of cakes and yema frosting. With a little twist, the yema frosting was applied to the cake, which produced the famous Rodillas Yema Cake. The aroma of the newly baked yema cakes made our mouths water. Yema cake—that’s two of my favorite sweets in one plate!
Malagonlong Bridge in Tayabas City
We said goodbye to the pastries and rolled off to Malagonlong Bridge, a seven-span stone bridge that has stood since the Spanish Era in 17th century Philippines. Malagonlong Bridge is a declared historical site by the National Historical Institute, and is one of the oldest bridges in Quezon. The stone bridge is 136 meters long, and crosses Dumacaa River.
Baklasan in Sariaya
From there, the caravan went straight ahead to Sariaya, Quezon. The traffic was heavy but we were able to pass by smoothly, thanks to the police escort. We were guided to the municipal hall, where we were greeted with a “Lambanog Welcome Ceremony”, and surprised by a re-enactment of the Baklasan – A San Isidro Festival tradition. Baskets of vegetables were given to the participants.
Next off was the Don Catalino Rodriguez Mansion, an ancestral home also known as Villa Sariaya. According to the tour guide, the luxurious mansion was declared by the National Historical Institute as one of the three Heritage Homes in Sariaya. The mansion was owned by former Mayor Catalino Rodriguez, who was the Town Presidente during the American Occupation in the country.
Window Selfie – Villa Sariaya
The mansion was transformed into a museum, and is now a tourist spot in Sariaya where visitors can get themselves souvenirs, and wear Filipiniana costumes for photoshoots.
The caravan continued to Verdana Farm and we were showed a cooking demonstration of an Obreros Lunch. We participants were showed the large array of Pantapik Sa Kanin condiments. Then and there, I was able to see how rich the Southern Tagalog Kulinarya is.
We were served Enkargado Lunch – A Kulinarya Tagala lunch prepared by Tina Decal. They served us several locally-made dishes which mostly used coconut as its key ingredient. Each finely made dish, and the garnishes from locally-sourced ingredients were perhaps one the highlights of the caravan.
I learned that the Enkargado Lunch traces its history back in the colonial period in the Philippines. This type of lunch was that which middle-class people had, as they, the “enkargados” or the “katiwala” were the people who looked after the plantations during then. They were thus able to produce and afford to buy spices and more quality meat.
Tinindag na Baboy
We had Tinindag na Baboy. Tinindag is a Tagalog term for “skewered”. The skewer that the locals used were thick bamboo sticks, perhaps to avoid burning during the pork meat’s slow grilling. The meat was grilled with the fire of guava branches, and the meat was very flavorful, and smoky.
Ubod ng Niyog na may Ginataang Tahore
We were also served Ubod ng Niyog na may Ginataang Tahore, the most coconutty meal I’ve had this trip so far. The ubod, the growing bud of coconut trees, was simmered with gata (coconut cream) and mixed with the tahore (a salty fermented tofu).
Ginataang Labong na may Apta
Another heirloom dish we had was the Ginataang Labong na may Apta. The labong or young bamboo shoots cooked with gata went well together with the apta or shrimps from the river.
Sinaing na Tambakol
The Escabeche, a fried fish was good, but I think one of the best dish was the Sinaing na Tambakol, which I learned takes a lot of preparation and cooking time. They said dish it is cooked specifically in a clay pot. The tambakol (yellow-fin tuna) is cooked in the pot with the sour dried kalamyas, and some black pepper.
Sweets Potato Fritters
After lunchtime, we headed to San Juan Batangas using a newly-finished highway. We went to Sitio Centro for yet another demonstration of how to make karitan and lambanog (coconut wine). We were served Nilupak, Camote Cue and Turon before we participated in the Nilupak (a locally-made cassava cake) challenge. We were then entertained by the happily singing tangeros, while we were served some lambanog.
Pottery in San Juan (Batangas)
We were also able to shortly visit a pottery village there, where we were shown a backyard industry producing reddish-brown ornamental terracotta jars and pots. It was almost dark when we left.
The last stop for the caravan was Laiya, a coastal and very peaceful region of San Juan. We checked in at Laiya Cocogrove for our overnight stay, and for the closing ceremonies.
Dinner at Laiya Coco Grove Resort
In the evening, the Department of Tourism served dinner and hosted the closing program for the caravan. We were all thanked for participating in the Southern Tagalog Kulinarya Caravan, and each participant was awarded a certificate.
I was happy for having made it that far, and I know that a certificate won’t be able to express how much lucky I am for being able to be part of the Southern Tagalog Kulinarya Caravan.
The Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA), Inc. is a non-stock and non-profit organization of DoT accredited tour operators and allied members actively involved in the advocacy of responsible tourism. For inquiries about upcoming Island Philippines Fun Caravan schedules please contact Tel. Nos.: (02) 812 4513; (02) 822 6964 | Fax No.: (02) 817 4608 | Email: [email protected]; [email protected] Website: www.philtoa.com.
Discover the flavours of Southern Tagalog in the upcoming Philippine Travel Mart 2015 on September 4-6!