Road Trip to San Pablo

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Lanai, lounging area

by Buddy Nievera |

What an excuse to get away.

The Friendster Team went on a team-building activity in Casa San Pablo, San Pablo City in Laguna. Having teen-aged kids, I took my sweetie along for the trip. Well, I needed help in case the kids (the Friendster team, that is) went rowdy and needed a mom…haha.

Living in the south has its privileges. We didn’t need to wake up so early since San Pablo City was only an hour-and-half’s drive from my place. We met the rest of the team at Seattle’s Best in Caltex, just before the Sta. Rosa exit of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

There are actually two ways going to San Pablo City from the Calamba exit. One is through Calauan via Pansol in Los Banos, Laguna. The other, which me Sweetie took, was via Sto. Tomas in Batangas. Coming from Sto. Tomas, Casa San Pablo is at the right side of the street where the main Puregold entrance is located.

Trellis entrance
Our cozy old-world-styled room

Casa San Pablo was formerly called “Kay Inay”(Mother’s). “Inay” was the endearing term for the grandmother of Boots Alcantara, Casa San Pablo’s owner and resident manager. The place is almost unnoticeable from the main street except for its old steel gate with a security guard. Casa San Pablo covers a huge tract of land in the city. The Alcantara family used to own that one-hectare property before selling it to Puregold recently.

Upon entry, the security guard shall guide you to the parking lot. Walking through a path,  the swimming pool is the first refreshing site you see. Crossing a small footbridge over a creek, you’re guided to the main reception area which is like your old grandparents’ lanai where old furniture abound.

The rooms are strategically spread out in almost cabana style. Boots said that the rooms were originally designed by popular potter Ugu Bigyan of Tiaong, Quezon, who’s a an old friend. “That was before Ugu decided to concentrate on doing pottery,” Boots confided with a smile.

Since Casa San Pablo is part of the Viaje Del Sol chain of suggested tourist places to go in the south, there are a number of spots to visit, and use Casa San Pablo as your home for a few days. Nearby is Sampaloc Lake, Sulyap Restaurant and Ugu Bigyan’s House.

In all, Casa San Pablo was worth the trip. We went there to re-charge. And re-charge we did.

A fisherman does his stuff at nearby Sampaloc Lake
Sweetie (my wifey) meets the place’s owner
An old iron marks our room’s entrance
More rooms
Dining area at Sulyap Restaurant
Author, working on his story