I was asked by my participants what Viaje del Sol meant. Even if it was my second time to go there, I still didn’t know its proper translation until after I googled it a few minutes ago. So, I said with reservations and simply translated it as “day trip”. I found out that it’s actually “Way of the Sun.” Well, nice try! Here are the highlights of what happened that day:
Ugu Bigyan | Tiaong, Quezon
Augusto “Ugu” Bigyan is a very famous ceramics artist. When we arrived at the pottery haven, we were told by his staff that he was still at the “bukid” (farm). So we just marveled at his creations and they were truly interesting. The place was teeming with artful but functional masterpieces – there were mugs with cartoony faces, woven curtains with ceramic fishes, terra-cotta tiles and ceramic wind chimes. I read that the food there was great there and I will try it some time. A few minutes later, he arrived and I was able to shake his hands. Not too long after that though, I was told by a participant that he overheard Ugu saying that his father had just died. It was an unfortunate moment but I hope his dad is in a better place now.
Sitio de Amor | San Pablo City, Laguna
The first time I went to this resort farm, I brought the first issue of Lonely Planet Philippines because Sitio de Amor was featured there as part of the Viaje del Sol article. I had it signed by the owners, Tito George and Tita Amor Bondad. Yes, we are that close! For my second time, after I stepped off the van, the first thing I asked Tito George was “Kilala nyo pa po ba ako?” (Do you still know me?). He answered, “Oo, di ba ikaw yung nagpa-autograph sa amin?” (Yes, weren’t you the one who asked for our autograph?). Wow! He remembered me. They are really very warm and accommodating. What I like about this place is that it has a very laid back appeal. Add to that, Tita Amor never fails to prepare a very sumptuous buffet lunch! And that sansrival, heaven!
Lake Pandin | San Pablo City, Laguna
This is one of the city’s seven lakes and to get there, you would have to hike for 10-15 minutes from the main road. Upon arriving, the awaiting bangkeras (lady rowers) will then take you to the other side of the lake via a bamboo raft. The bangkeras are very much into chismis (gossip). They remember well whether a famous person has treated them nicely or if she has been a snobby bitch. That time, we were told that Eat Bulaga host Julia Clarete was spending her birthday on the lake with environmentalist Illac Diaz, her rumored boyfriend. We confirmed that they were indeed there together (and I am sure about them being “together” as a couple too). Anyway, we sang “happy birthday” to Julia and they were gracious enough to transfer to our raft for a photo-op.
Other areas we visited in Laguna:
Lake Sampaloc and Sulyap Gallery Cafe | San Pablo City; Underground Cemetery | Nagcarlan; Tsinelas Street | Liliw