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The province of Quezon is well known for its Coconut Industry and during the Pre-War era, Sariaya is one of the major exporters of Copra. In this quaint picturesque town, most of the successful Copra traders were able to build huge “bahay na bato” houses similar to the ones we see in Intramuros, Negros and Vigan.
Grand Sala at Villa Sariaya
The “glorious years” of Sariaya was experienced in the years 1913 to 1934 when copra exportation is in its peak. It was during these years when the town center near the church and municipal building was surrounded by huge “bahay na bato” houses which are mostly owned by local Copra traders. A few of these “Bahay na Bato” structures remain and were declared as heritage houses by the National Historical Institute in 2008.
Villa Sariaya Heritage House
One of the heritage houses we visited is Rodriguez Mansion which is also popularly known as Villa Sariaya. Located at the corner of Quezon and Daliz Streets, this ancestral house was owned by Don Catalino Rodriguez – a copra trader and one of the wealthiest during his time. Today, his heirs decided to open the mansion for public viewing. Visitors can also rent and wear some of the Filipiniana costumes for souvenir photos which can be taken in one of their rooms with a beautiful backdrop.
Collection of Old Cola Bottles
Our short heritage tour was followed by a visit to Balai Sadyaya Resort where we had lunch and quick property tour. The resort is located at the foot of Mount Banahaw but the place is easily accessible from the town center. The resorts exterior and interior design are truly exquisite, it reminds everyone of Sariaya’s colorful past. The word Sadyaya is referring to a river in which the municipality was named after while the word Balai is a Visayan word which means house or bahay in Tagalog.
Philtoa FAM Trip participants (photo courtesy of Renz Abasolo of www.govisitphilippines.com)
The resort has a huge carpark and it has a coffee shop and restaurant that offers wide array of food and free WIFI access. For travelers who wants to stay overnight, the resort offers various types of accommodation that is complete with satellite/cable TV, shower, complimentary bottled water and a balcony that provides a pleasant view of the majestic mountain. Visitors can also use their swimming pool for utmost relaxation.
Swimming Pool at Balai Sadyaya
For huge gatherings, Balai Sadyaya has a grand hall that can host maximum of 300 people. They also have Silong ng Balai – a small gallery showcasing antique collections from their family and various sources.
Silong ng Balai
After Balai Sadyaya, we headed to Tina Decal’s Farm for a Culinary Demo. Tina Decal is a well known tour operator who specializes in Southern Tagalog Heritage and Culinary Tour packages.
Adobo for Lunch
Its a quarter past noon when we arrived at her farm and it was really humid but the beauty of the property and the view of Mount Banahaw was really worth the visit. For this culinary demo, Tina and her staff prepared some ingredients of Kalamay for us to cook “Bayanihan Style”.
Balai Sadyaya Resort
Kalamay is a local delicacy made from sticky rice or malagkit, cane sugar and coconut milk. More than just a delicacy, Kalamay is part of local tradition.
Sinulbot or Pasulbot
While waiting for the ingredients, we enjoyed sipping “Mura” local term for young coconut while listening to an authentic welcome song from local artists.
Mixing Kalamay (photo courtesy of www.theroguewriter.net)
They also demonstrated “Tagayan Ritual” – a drinking ritual which is famous in Tayabas and Sariaya wherein the lambanong in a small drinking glass is passed around. The tagayan usually finds males gathered around a table with a tanggero who makes sure that everyone is given their share of the lambanog.
Freshly cooked Kalamay
Philtoa Officiers, Travel Agents and Media (photo courtesy of www.theroguewriter.net)
Before Kalamay is cooked, a sticky round shaped rice dough (similar to bilo-bilo) is cooked in the mixture of cane sugar and coconut milk and once the rice dough is cooked, it is called Pasulbot or Sinulbot – another famous native delicacy in Quezon.
In the province of Quezon, Kalamay is usually served during special gatherings and it is being prepared “Bayanihan Style” which means, visitors are also helping in the preparation. Today this tradition is no longer a common practice but Im glad Tina Decal showcased it during our tour.