Last weekend, I went to Laguna with my best friend, his mom, his sister Tricia and his sister’s friend, Lui.
He picked me up at around 3am last Saturday and we went to their house in Baras where we chatted with his family for a while before we finally retired to bed. The next morning, Luigi arrived and we started to prep up.
We departed at around 10am and stopped by the Hypermarket in Tanay to gather supplies and well, while we’re at it Tricia decided that we grab some Palabok first. Shortly after, we’re back on the road and soon we stopped by a quaint restaurant where we ate a sumptuous bowl of Lomi topped with pork cracklings. Yum!
Afterwards, we drove to Lumban to buy some very special and all-time favorite local delicacies: espasol and white cheese. The espasol is like no other. It isn’t the kind that is wrapped in a long strip of paper but covered in too much powder and is just actually just a quarter of the size of the wrapper.
No. It’s wrapped in a strip of paper that is about 3.5 inches long, not covered in too much powder and is actually 3.5 inches long! And yes, it’s very delicious–it’s addicting and did I mention that they’re really cheap, too? Oh yes.
The white cheese wasn’t the typical kind as well. For one, it’s extremely fresh (the one on the picture was fresh from the stove top) and it’s practically oozing from its packaging. It’s flavor was just right, not too strong like the ones we can usually buy from the market or from the city streets. Bottom line, it’s really good!
Soon after, we headed for Panguil Eco Park to get the real deal started. We arrived quite late in the afternoon but just in time to enjoy the place with the sun still up. They showed me around a bit and then we hiked for nearly an hour, crossed the river in so many ways several times to get to the end (or beginning?) of the river where a majestic waterfall awaited us. The current was a bit strong and we all got bruises (well, at least I did) but I guess, that’s the beauty of it. To be honest, it wasn’t the easiest trail to follow, a bit exhausting but at the same time, exhilarating.
It was at that moment that I realized what I truly want to do all over again, which is to go to other places like this and discover the beauty that nature has to offer in every aspect no matter how hard it is to get there. Also, sharing this experience with my companions made it really meaningful and special, which made me look forward for more mini-adventure trips like this in the future.
Going back, after we basked in the beauty (and pain) of the waterfall, we headed back down. Halfway through, we stopped and waited for our turn in the water tube post and while waiting we tried to play against the river current a bit and chatted. Soon after, we were lying comfortably on our backs as we watertubed down the mountain.
The fun didn’t actually stop there; though we all felt tired and sleepy we went down to the lower part of the dam and played around the water a bit more. I guess this is one of the most memorable parts of our time there. First is the waterfall and how I literally sighed in relief and awe once my best friend took my hand in his and looked at it and bathed in it together.
The next one was this part in the dam where the four of us tried to charge against strong current but my best friend ended up trying to pull his pants back up because the water was too strong that it almost stripped him off. LOL! At the same time, we tried to do it again several more times, but the I always get carried away by the strong current that my best friend and the other had to get a hold of me and save me from drowning for about three more times. LOL!
It was crazy but it’s the happiest I’ve been in months. I have never felt so alive, so relieved of all emotional and physical pain. For that weekend alone, I feel like I’ve started anew. Later that evening, we tried our best to dry off ourselves and went to have dinner at a local eatery, which was Manay’s.
We were shivering from the cold but we barely mind for soon after dinner, we checked in at a warm spring resort and practically inhabited the pool.
We stayed in the pool for hours trying to fight off the cold gusts of wind but were not successful until about 10pm. LOL. Believe me, getting off that pool is the hardest decision we had to make that day but we had to do it. After showering, we stayed up a bit more to have a drink but we went to bed eventually and slept till late in the morning.
We had a very sumptuous breakfast; one that I’ve never had in a very long time and one that, until then, I never thought I missed having. After breakfast, we roamed around the resort a bit and decided to finally go back on the road. We headed for Liliw to buy some shoes and slippers. We decided to look around and go from shop to shop before finally buying what we really like as to compare prices, quality and design. We did that practically all afternoon; we stopped by at a small eatery to have lunch. We had a really great Pansit Palabok/Malabon for lunch, one that is incomparable to the ones we previously had. We also took chances with the local rice cakes they were selling on the street, just to know how they taste like.
We honestly ate so much that afternoon that we ended up waddling around the place. We roamed around just a bit more before we hopped back on the van and went to a stream where local townswomen were doing their laundry earlier that day. The water was really cool and clear and what’s best was that we found a hidden Station of the Cross statues scattered around deeper in the forest area.
After that, we stopped by at a local park where we played around like children at the Marvel statues and Land Before Time statues. Juvenile as it may seem, rarely do we get the chance to act as such and sometimes, it’s not as bad as it may seem. Even when little children looked at us in total wonder.
But like any other story, our day and our trip has to come to its end. Not too long after that, we got back on the road and headed back to Baras, only stopping by at another branch of Manay’s later that evening to have dinner. But though the weekend has come to its end, the memory of all the experiences and genuine happiness will always remain with me… I cannot stress enough how thankful I am to have these people in my life. May we have more weekend adventures ahead of us.