Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Holy Road Trip

(The following episode has a lot of photos, so my apologies to those on dial-up.)

Several years ago we the McVie siblings took a trip around Laguna Lake during Black Saturday. Now on our third year we’ve transformed the road trip into a kind of food trip. We started in Antipolo where we bought cashew nuts (plain and adobo) and corn. Then we passed through Morong, Rizal then to the different Laguna towns around the lake.

We stopped at Exotik Restaurant in Paete for lunch.
It boasts of being the “cleanest and best landscaped restaurant in Paete” but we didn’t see any other competition so let’s just give them the prize.

They also have chandeliers crafted by the Paete artists.

They have exotic animals all over the place. Below is I think a hornbill.
And is the one below a hawk?

The exotic animals are not just in cages. They’re also in the menu; they also serve bayawak, frogs, shark (I wonder where they get their supply). We of course never bothered to order any of those; we may be adventurous on the road, but not on the table.
We had excellent fried pla-pla (freshly caught and served hot), juicy inihaw na baboy (grilled pork), broccoli with chicken strips, green mango salad (with bagoong) and corn soup. All that at cheap—yes, cheap!—prices.

We spotted an old church tower just a few meters away from the restaurant so we decided to check it out.
It’s sad that the St. John the Baptist church is being renovated instead of restored. They’ve managed to retain the façade and the belfry but the sides and the roof look woefully inappropriate. Inside the clash is more evident at the altar…
…and at the back of the church.
But given that Paete already has a church in the town proper, I guess it’s a good thing that they decided to keep this church instead of destroying it and turning it into some commercial building.

We proceeded to “the land of Seven Lakes and lambanog, San Pablo City!” There we took a peek at Casa San Pablo, a bed-and-breakfast place run by Boots Alcantara. But I’m more familiar with his wife, An Mercado-Alcantara, whom I met when I was still in Basic Advertising. Neither were there, but Boots’ mother, a feisty, funny woman, greeted and entertained us.
Casa San Pablo is a great place to get away from the stress of the metro. The rooms are designed in shabby chic style, there’s an inviting pool, and many, many areas where one can just sit back, read a book, or meditate. Or just stare out into space; at night they bring out mats on the lawn so guests can just gaze at the heavens. Memo to us: Must. Go. Back. And. Stay. Overnight. Or. Two.

Then we bought fresh milk and white cheese in UP Los Baños. We were going to have afternoon snacks at Joe’s, an Italian restaurant with a very American moniker and a very Irish pub interior located just outside the campus. Their pasta is excellent given the very friendly prices—friendly to the richer students, teachers and foreigners assigned to the nearby International Rice Research Institute. Unfortunately it was closed this particular Holy Week; two years ago it was open on the same date. Whether the owners went on vacation or found religion, we have no idea.

We left Los Baños disappointed. But still we hankered for some Italian food. So where did we end up eating?
Sigh. And at a Shell Select along South Super traffic, er, highway. Still, for a food trip we were quite full by the end of the day.

3 comments:

Nelson said...

I tried the fried garlic snake when I went to Exotik once... Tastes like chicken. ;-)

takoman said...

I love the Philippines the one time I visited. More photos of the land please.

joelmcvie said...

TAKOMAN: If you go to "The McView Show in McMultiply" (see the McLinks), you will see a lot of photos there of Bohol, a most wonderful island province in the Philippines. Enjoy. :-)