Laguna is a gem. Not only is it blessed with natural resources and beautiful sceneries, but it’s also rich in folklore and historic landmarks. The province which has 24 towns and 6 cities is just a few hours drive from Manila and is accessible from the provinces of Rizal, Quezon, Batangas, and Cavite.

The hobbit has been back and forth this province, oftentimes in Sta Rosa where the celebrated theme park Enchanted Kingdom is located. Once, he also visited Caliraya Lake. This time around, three more destinations were visited: 1) Lake Pandin in San Pablo City—Have a sumptuous lunch at the lake, dip in the glistening green water, and take a nap on the raft. 2) Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan—Marvel at the landscape of this historical landmark and see the underground tombs. 3) The town of Liliw—Walk around the quiet town and shop for slippers, kesong puti, and pasalubong. Take photos of the 17th century brick church at the center of the plaza.

Getting There
There are many buses in Cubao, Buendia, and Pasay that take daily trips to Sta Cruz, Calamba, and San Pablo in Laguna. The popular ones are DLTB, JAM Liner, JAC Liner, and Greenstar. Buses bound to Lucena City in Quezon also pass by San Pablo.

If you’re driving from Manila, make sure to leave early to avoid getting caught in heavy traffic on the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). Gas up for approximately 31 kilometers one-way south bound to the nearest town. But, in case you failed to, worry not because there are several gas stations along the way.

To San Pablo City
When going to San Pablo City, ask the driver to drop you off at San Pablo Medical (or 7-Eleven on San Pablo Highway). Travel time is between 2 to 2.5 hours depending on traffic. The fare is less than P150 (when I went in March, it cost me P102). From San Pablo Medical you walk to San Pablo City proper or take a jeepney for P8.

To Pandin Lake
Beside the 7-Eleven store near the San Pablo church, there are jeepneys bound to Ilog. These jeepneys can drop you off the highway and from there, you can take a 10-15 minute walk to Pandin Lake. The fare is P12.

To Nagcarlan and Liliw
Nagcarlan is about 45 minutes from San Pablo. You can take a jeepney, which would cost P25. The neighboring town of Liliw is also just a short ride from Nagcarlan. Going back to Manila, you can take a jeepney from Liliw to Sta Cruz or you can head back to San Pablo.

Photos taken with Cherry Mobile Flare


ArisMape is a travel insider at ABS-CBN's Choose Philippines. He loves orange, halo-halo, and PowerPoint, and hates beef, slow internet, and long taxi lines. His pastime is watching people watch other people. He swears on the power of smartphone. His half-life? Thirty.