San Pedro, Laguna – My beloved hometown…
I’ve written quite a lot on many different places, topics on gastronomical adventures and the like. I recently noticed, I haven’t written anything about my hometown. I hailed from San Pedro, Laguna. The first provincial town outside of Manila in Central Luzon. Literally, we are in the middle of the 7, 107 islands comprising the Philippines. It is neither the end nor the last of these islands.
I’ve been here since I was 10 years old. I remember my college friends calling me Ms. San Pedro, Laguna. I traveled by bus, everyday for four years just to finish college.
I basically grew up here. Physically, mentally and spiritually. Unlike other towns who were famous with something or have been identified with something. I was alarmed that I can’t think of any, out of guilt, the sight of Sampaguitas danced in my mind and realized that the little white flowers known as our national flower were known to grow here in our town, which industry is slowly dying. I still see them being sold outside of churches, used as embellishments to adorn Saints during May being the flower month. As I go around preparing myself to complete this blog, It brought me to several discoveries that my hometown has also its’ own uniqueness and landmarks too. This is my pride as well. I have to enumerate them to my heart’s content:
Maciang is a quaint restaurant small enough you won’t see tables around, they have their customers sited on a few stools fronting their kitchen where they serve the famous pancit bijon with catsup. Yees, their pancit comes with catsup! sounds weird right!? The challenging part here is that I have no way of describing it as I haven’t tried it to think that I have been living here for more than 2 decades already, But to so many, and by looking at their customers, they seem to enjoy it. Some friends I’ve known, told me that it’s good!
Just beside the counter, are 2 billiard tables where most players either eat before playing or after. Some orders were taken away too. So when you heard of the pancit with catsup, its only here in San Pedro..
In our town, like the rest of the towns in Laguna, there are highlands and lowlands. The former were being developed as residential areas lately though normally, they were occupied by manufacturers or companies that requires huge warehouses and manufacturing plants, they go here. One of which is Tabaquierade Filipinas. They manufacture the expensive tobaccos sold at special shops, and were shipped around the world. I’d like to visit it sometime.
3. Big Cha
Big Cha is a Grill restaurant ala Gerry’s grill or Leslie’s. It was put up by some brothers whose fond of eating brought them to come up with this restaurant that’s ideal to spending Friday nights for some rhythm and booze.
It was good enough they were able to come up with 2 more branches that caters up to the wee hours making it conducive to those who go home late from work and would want to unwind before hitting their beds. We normally frequent the pilot branch as it is just in front of my favorite spa which owner happens to be one of the brothers who owns Big Cha. So there’ll be times that after having a good massage, we can go straight to their place for a late dinner or vise versa. I always come back for their pork sisig. =)
The other branch is in the highway of San Pedro, Laguna. It boasts the original recipes, the place is bigger, has more room for vehicles and has a stage for live bands performing.
You will often see Charlie himself helping the staff in the kitchen. I was lucky enough to have dined there and find out that he himself prepared our orders. =)
You’ll have to pass the long road from chrysanthemum village to reach toll exit of Southwoods, this long road is long enough to enjoy its beauty, I am often reminded of Bae. Tagged to be the most beautiful town in Laguna. The trees on both sides of the road are big enough that their branches are already meeting each other. Sometime, they cut them and I was so affected I had to inquire why did they cut d branches. Lately,they were there again. It is lush and it provides a natural shade created by the leaves from the tree branches. What makes this road special are the establishments that were lined up fr both sides. I have established a specific favorite spot from them. A small country resto that serves some of my favorite Filipino dishes, a bake shop where I got my supply of the best cream puffs I’ve ever tasted and home-made blueberry cheesecake during occasion and another theme restaurant that features the owners collection of miniature cars.
5. Pitstop Cafe
Each stop at Pitstop Cafe is mesmerizing.
Their specialty is Filipino food.
Ironically, its a fusion between American (cafe like theme with miniature cars and life size figurines)
offering coffee in mugs with car images and viands of famous Filipino staple dishes.
So if you happen to be in San Pedro, try dropping by and you might be able to find someplace to dine in here which I think you will like.
You will never run of options.
6. Pacita cmplex
I thought of including this subdivision as it became synonymous with San Pedro. If you say San Pedro, they’d think of Pacita complex right away. It was actually the biggest subdivision in the world according to Guinness book of world record. It was also in this place where I was able to collect endless memories as a child and as a teenager too.I remember myself as a child spending days of biking d whole day and I was like a hungry wolf until I got the whole of it.like I was trying to solve a giant maze.
7. Landayan Black Nazarene
As a Catholic.the black Nazarene is a pastoral church in landayan. It was known to be miraculous and you’ll see a long queue of believers just to be able to pay respect and adore the lying replica of Jesus Christ.. Normally the queue will reach as far as the outside of the streets. During its feast day, I experienced the jam-packed crowd and was caught up in d middle of it, it was hot during a cold cold night,but I can’t feel d air, I almost fainted. I avoided that specific time. I do my visits on ordinary days. The peak is every Fridays. In front of d church are stalls of native delicacies. Normally, you’ll see varying kinds, most of the time, you will see this: kalamay, suman in yellow wraps, casuy or cashew nuts. I have personally tested my faith here,as there is this favor that I asked which is almost impossible, following d novena n visits, my prayers are answered. The church was acknowledged by the govt and it is now a heritage site. They even put up an arch indicating the entrance to the church.it is always included in the list of Visita Iglesias during holy week season.
9. Asian spa
There are a number of spas in San Pedro. Though there’s this one I have been very comfy with. Asian spa is manned by its friendly owner.d staff are very friendly too, accommodating. The interiors were done like a prof Interior designer would do so. I later found out, it was done by the husband, no he’s not an arch, not an Interior designer, its just an innate talent, creativity and cud be his exposure to different cultures. Because as a couple they are travelers at heart.the balm that I can’t do without is from Thailand. They horded it during a trip. They charge minimally, unlike those spas which you can consider luxurious and very exorbitant. After your massage, they’d even serve you a soothing tea n hot towel. Their place is clean, there’s a gentle scent in d air and there’s a piped in music playing old hits of the 70s, either that or a whole cd of the different sounds of nature: splashing waves, chirping birds, the sound of a soft rain falling, ripples of water,etc. The sliding door leading to the cubicles was made of wood and they utilized Polycarbonate sheets instead of glass as panels. As you open it, it slides so smoothly, you won’t be hearing any squeak as you open n close it. I really loved it and they even volunteered to do one for my house because I expressed that I would really loved to have one at home.
The blow of synthetic air isn’t that cold and isn’t that hot too. It’s just right to the feel. There’s a sauna room, 2 comfort rooms, the other one utilized for guests who wants to take a shower (your choice: hot or cold) before indulging in their massage session. The bathroom comes with a liquid soap too.
From the many strokes I’ve had. Theirs isn’t the best, I could not forget the one I had from Tacloban (Kapalua) and Gensan ( ). Though I enjoyed it just the same, all the staff knew me well, my special demands, they don’t seem to forget them. I do not like them using thumbs on my back, I do not like them pulling my toes and I want it haaaard. Ahahaha! I mean the strokes. I like it hard. They will actually ask if you want it moderate, hard or harder. And when they started pressing your back, they will thoughtfully ask if the pressure was fine with you. During their first months. Their beds didn’t have those holes fit for the face when your lying on your chest, so I requested for it. After a few weeks. They had it already done. There was a time, the attendant was a bit heavy, upon pressing my back, the bed’s leg broke down and it was funny(and thank God), we weren’t hurt from that small accident. I can’t keep myself from laughing! You see, these are just some of the reasons why I felt so at home here and even if there are new spas turning out like mushrooms in San Pedro. I am not tempted to try a new one, I am already happy with Asian spa. Besides, they knew how to take care of their guests. And me.
From the list I’ve come up with, I realized, San Pedro, my beloved hometown, is special too. (–,)