Sunday, May 29, 2016

Where to eat and stay in Lucban, Quezon

Two weeks ago, I, with my family, went to Lucban town in Quezon province for the second time but it was our first time to witness and join the celebration of Pahiyas Festival. These two opportunities proved to me that a visit to Lucban is such an enriching experience and could make one's sight, tummy and heart full. There's just so many good things to see 
and experience as well as eat! 
If you're planning to go here to visit Kamay ni Jesus, or have an outing in one of the local resorts, or for the Pahiyas Festival that is held every year on the 15th of May, you may want to know what places you could go to to spend the night and eat. Well, I could give some suggestions based on my family's experience and those that we saw while going around the town center.
For the "eats", I'm sharing about three restaurants where we ate during our stay in time for the Pahiyas - Mustiola's, Loop's Pizza and Chito's. Of these, the latter is our 
top favorite and you'll know why.
When we arrived in Lucban that Saturday afternoon, the first restaurant we saw was Mustiola's. It's actually an old house turned into a restaurant and is now one of the most popular in Lucban for the delicious food offered at very affordable prices. What we loved here? The Pancit Lucban (also known as "habhab") and cheesy pizza, not to mention the very affordable prices of the food. Here, we only spent around P600 for all our 
orders that satisfied the six of us. 
Our orders:

Pancit Lucban
I've eaten this kind of pancit several times in the past and I could truthfully say that Mustiola's version is the best I've had. It's a little oily, yes, but it's packed with flavor and has lots of "sahog"  - both meat and veggies. Drizzle with some vinegar as the locals do when they eat this noodle dish and you up the pancit habhab enjoyment a step higher. This is 
definitely a must try at Mustiola's.
This is just a solo order but because it's thick, one is already good for two persons specially since we also had pancit. We had 3 orders of this and we weren't left wanting. I mean the pancit and pizza (also some fries) made us full and very satisfied. Mustiola's pizza is delicious and that's an honest verdict. 
Just look at all those cheese!
French fries
Well, nothing extraordinary about this but the kids always want to have fries.
Mustiola's is on San Luis St. cor Regidor St., Lucban, Quezon
For breakfast on Pahiyas day, we ate at Loop's Pizza where the Lucban longganisa silog and buffalo wings stood out among our orders. 
Our brekky:

Fried chicken with rice
Chicken buffalo wings
Blue lemonade
Inside Loop's Pizza
Longganisang Lucban silog
All our orders at Loop's was good and satisfying but as I said, it was the buffalo wings and the Lucban longganisa that we liked best. For dinner that Sunday, we went back to Loop's and bought pizza which we took "home" to our rented room but there wasn't much to say about it except that it was "okay". But their prices were low just like in Mustiola's, and we only spent around P600 for our breakfast (or P100/person including drinks). The two boxes of pizza, on the other hand, cost less than P500.
For late lunch/afternoon snacks on Sunday, we went to Chito's - where a beautiful display of multi-colored umbrellas gave us great photo ops. Haha! 

 Chito's on Plaridel St., Lucban, Quezon
Inside Chito's

But those umbrellas weren't really the main star here but the food! We enjoyed the food so much that we ate here twice. The second time was really not by choice but it 

turned out to be a "blessing in disguise". 
Our orders on our first visit:
Pancit Chami sa toyo (there's another variety which is "sa ketchup")
Spaghetti with cheeseburger 

Longganisang Lucban silog
Black gulaman
Blue lemonade 
For breakfast just before we left Lucban on Monday, May 16, we went first to Abcede's Restaurant but it was still closed. We then went to Dealo Koffee Klatch. It was open but it seemed they were "half-closed" because only two items on the menu were available yet. We walked around the town center but couldn't find any other place to eat so we tried Chito's which, fortunately, was open and already having quite a lot of customers. I said this was a "blessing in disguise" because I found a foodie gem in their "hardinera", which is a meatloaf dish that originated from Quezon. I can say that it's comparable to the embutido, only it's not tubular in shape like the latter, but more like a leche flan as it is 
also molded in a "llanera". 
Also, the meat comes in chunks and not ground.
Anyway, here were our orders 
for breakfast:
Hardinera with rice
Pancit Chami sa toyo
Longganisang Lucban silog
Mojo potatoes 
Blue lemonade 
By the way, there are two Chito's stores in Lucban but the one that's on Quezon Ave. does not have the umbrella"roof". As for prices of the food, Chito's won't make you feel "robbed" as everything is very affordable. Hardinera with rice, for instance, is P70. Prepare a budget of P100/person, including drinks.
Well, there's some other restaurants that we saw in Lucban and only two are franchises - Dunkin Donuts and Famous Belgian Waffles. As I've mentioned, there's also Abcede's and Dealo Koffee Klatch, the latter being a popular one as it can also be found in others places in Quezon province and even in Legazpi and Baguio cities. It also has a branch inside the SM Mall in Lucena City. 

Dealo Koffee Klatch at #72 Quezon Ave., La Dona Ana BuildingLucban

Of course, there is Buddy's which is the most well-known restaurant here in Lucban, so much so that it has "invaded" Metro Manila as well, with three branches in the metropolis that I know of - in Pasig City, Tomas Morato in Quezon City and at the Fisher Mall also in QC. Our family ate at the Pasig branch four years ago and at SM-Lucena two years ago, the reason we didn't patronize Buddy's in Lucban anymore. I wanted to try what other restaurants here had to offer.

Buddy's at #99 Avenida Rizal, Lucban
By the way, just a few steps away from Chito's on Plaridel St. is Shank & Slurry Mami House which is in the same establishment as Famous Belgian Waffles.

Tables and chairs outside Shank & Slurry

Meanwhile,  as mentioned in my previous post, we stayed 
at Oreña's Inn Hotel & Resort.
Oreña's Inn at Sitio Kalbaryo, Barangay Tinamnan, Lucban, Quezon
Our room was good for four persons and priced at P2,800. The price is lower by P1,000 if you're not visiting during Pahiyas. Extra bed or mattress would be charged P200. Not much can be expected from Orena's Inn as it is quite old but our room was clean enough, had a private bathroom with hot and cold shower and we were provided with 4 hygiene kits that each contained tissue, soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and shampoo. The inn also has an adult swimming pool and a kiddie pool. - plus points! If you're interested with Oreña's Inn, you may visit their Facebook page and send them a message. They do respond, thankfully. You may also text/call them thru 
the numbers 09088157928.  
Oreña's Inn, is, however, outside the town proper and you would need to walk about 15-20 minutes going to the church and other destinations in the center of Lucban. Well, you can ride a tricycle but not on the very day of Pahiyas Festival when this (tricycle) and all other vehicles are not allowed entry to the town center.
Anyway, other establishments where you may want to stay are:  

Patio Rizal Hotel & Restaurant at #77 Quezon Ave., St., Lucban, Quezon

Kalesa Inn on Racelis St., Lucban
For room rates and other information on these two establishments, 
please visit their website or Facebook page.

Well, I hope this post is of some help to future visitors to Lucban, which is a beautiful town in Quezon province that's situated near the mystic Mt. Banahaw.
Have a happy stay and a bleesed life!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon

I hail from the province of Quezon and my parents have lived and earned their living from copra here ever since I started schooling in the 1970s. I regularly come here for vacation and to visit my folks and in fact I am now here, writing this post. Despite being a true-blue Quezonian, I had never witnessed the famous Pahiyas Festival in the town of Lucban, till this year. 
Pahiyas is a harvest festival held yearly on the 15th of May to honor San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. My family traveled to Lucban from Manila last Saturday, May 14, in time for the festivities on Sunday. 
We left Manila on an AB Liner bus bound for Guinayangan, Quezon 
at 9 a.m. We were supposed to arrive in Lucena at 12:30 but because there was heavy traffic in San Pablo City, we reached the Grand Terminal in the capital city of Quezon at 1:30 p.m. We had a nice lunch of beef bulalo in one of the eateries at the terminal and afterwards boarded a jeepney bound for Lucban. We left at 3 p.m. and reached our destination exactly an hour later. After alighting from the jeepney, we boarded a tricycle that brought us to 
Oreña's Inn Hotel and Resort where I had reserved 
for a room a month before.

Oreña's Inn
Orena's Inn looks quite old already but our room was freshly painted and in fact still smelled like it. I hate smelling all kinds of chemical but there was nothing I could do but fret. Ugh! What's more annoying was that I had told the owner a month ago that we would need one or two extra beds or mattresses because the only room left available then was good for 4 persons and we were 6 in all. But I was told when we arrived that there was no more extra mattress nor bed. Good thing each of the two beds in our room was huge enough for 3 persons. One thing the kids liked about Orena's Inn, though, was that there were two swimming pools, one for children and the other for adults. So we were able to enjoy  cooling down in between trips to the "bayan"  or town center
for the Pahiyas and to have our meals.
After we had placed our bags in the room, we went out and rode a tricycle going to "bayan" to look around and have some snacks. All of us fit in one tricycle and 
I paid a P10-fare for each of us.

Going around town, we saw that the folks were still decorating their houses for the next day's Pahiyas. There was a "tiyangge" or flea market around the old church, where all kinds of stuff from clothes and shoes to food items and housewares could be bought.

The famous yema cake could be be found anywhere.
Various 'pasalubong' items like broas, peanut candies, barquillos, etc.  
for sale in may stalls

We then saw Mustiola's, one of the popular restaurants in Lucban that I had read about, and we stopped by (*Note: I'll be writing a separate post for the Lucban restaurants where we'd eaten).  It's an old house converted into a restaurant. There's even a place that seemed like a tunnel and we decided to get a table there. We felt like being transported to Intramuros! There, we ordered Pancit Lucban (popularly called here as "habhab"), pizza, French fries and a pitcher of blue lemonade. The food was good, especially the pancit Lucban. Also, Mustiola's prices are easy on the pocket. I only paid less than P600 for all our food! We were all full and still had some leftover that we took "home" to the Inn.  After walking around the town a little more and buying some food that we could have for dinner, we went back to Orena's and a little 
later called it a night.
The next morning, Pahiyas day itself, I was so excited to finally 
witness the festivities. We got up early and after prepping up started to walk going to the "bayan". Yup, we walked as all types of vehicles except for single motorcycles were allowed entry to the town center that day. We did some 15-20 minutes of walking under the heat of the summer sun. No complaining, though. Haha! Once at the town center, brekky first at Loop's Pizza, where we had Longganisang Lucban, fried egg and fried rice. Afterwards, it was time to go around and take pictures of the houses that participated in the Pahiyas Festival. We learned that the local government awarded the best-decorated house with a whooping P150,000! No wonder the residents obviously took pains beautifying their homes.

Kiping are those edible colored leaves that are made from rice and used by the locals to decorate their homes for the Pahiyas Festival.
Walking all around, buying stuff, and posing and taking pictures could be tiring and made us hungry. No worries, though, 'coz food was everywhere. 
Here are some street food we enjoyed:

Pancit Habhab, P10 per order
Pilipit, P7. each.
This sweet treat is not so sinful, after all. It's made from squash!

 Kiping, P10. each order.

Pipino Ice, P35. per cup.
This is cucumber-flavored shaved ice. Sweet and refreshing. Healthy, too!

After around an hour-and-a-half of walking around, we went back to the Inn to take a rest and take a dip at the pool. We went back to the town center  around 4 p.m. to  eat and resume making a round of the rows of decorated houses. We saw Chito's, which is a charming restaurant made so attractive by its display of multi-colored umbrellas on the street that shielded the tables put out in front from the sun. Not only was this eatery lovely, the food was so good, too, 
at very reasonable prices.

After Chito's, we walked around the plaza again and took more pictures of houses. Some of them, I've already snapped at earlier but they looked lovelier under multi-colored lights so I took shots of them again.

Afterwards, we went back to Loop's where we had breakfast, and ordered 
pizza that we ate for dinner at the Inn.

I think we waited for 45 minutes before we got our orders ready.
 The kids went swimming at the pool after dinner and then it was time for bed. The next day, we rose early to have breakfast and buy some stuff to bring home to Manila. We went to Abcede's Restaurant but it was still closed. We went to Koffee Klatch but there wasn't much food available so we went again to Chito's. No regrets, though. The food here is really good! After breakfast, we went around the plaza to buy "pasalubong". At stores selling Longganisang 
Lucban, the lines were long! 

Lucban Longganisa making

Shopping for souvenir items near the church
After completing our food and souvenir shopping, we headed back to the Inn, packed our things and checked out at 12 p.m. We boarded a van bound for Lucena City and arrived at the terminal in front of the SM Mall less than an hour later. We had lunch at SM and afterwards boarded another van going to our hometown in San Francisco (also known as Aurora), 
and arrived at exactly 6 p.m. 
 Pahiyas Festival - what an experience! I hope to be back in the future to again eat those delicious food and see the wonderful sights.