52-Hour Road Trip Around Laguna Lake In One Weekend
It was a lazy Friday afternoon when a friend texted to invite me on a road trip for the weekend. I said yes immediately because I haven’t tried spending a weekend around the largest lake in the archipelago, Laguna Lake aka Laguna de Bay. Ecstatic about the adventure ahead, I hurriedly packed my bags and met with my friends.
5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. START
From Makati City, armed with a rush-packed backpack, my three friends and I were ready for the road trip ahead.
6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. FIRST STOP: Nuvali Park
After an hour and half of driving, we reached our first stop, the Nuvali Park in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. This place is developed and maintained by Ayala Land, Inc., and it is a great spot for recreational activities so families flock here, too. You can go biking, boating, koi feeding, jogging, and wakeboarding. There are also hotels and malls all crammed in one site. You can go to the weekend events like fun runs and fairs.
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Drive to Tagaytay
Near Nuvali is a cool area that’s best for eating bulalo. It may be a bit far from Laguna Lake, but who wouldn’t go to Tagaytay to eat bulalo for dinner? So we drove to our second stop.
8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. SECOND STOP: Tagaytay for my first bowl of bulalo
We had dinner at Niezel’s Eatery, located at the famous Mahogany Market. We ate over PHP 1,000 worth of bulalo for the four of us.
In Mahogany Market, you can expect an unlimited supply of banana, pineapple, and coffee to go with your steaming bowl of bulalo.
9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Looking for a place to stay
We looked around for a homestay or a hostel in Tagaytay where we can spend the night. We found this place called Robles Rooms for Rent at Seiz de Junio Village, Sungay East, Tagaytay City. It was not that far from the city proper, and only cost us PHP 1,000 for the one-night stay.
10:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. Chilling and enjoying the Tagaytay weather
There are other places to visit in Tagaytay to kill time. Bag of Beans, Starbucks, and Filipino Cuisine Restaurant, all overlooking Taal Lake and Taal Volcano, are some of the happy places to chill in.
We spent the rest of the evening at the Filipino Cuisine Restaurant. We drank a couple of beers and sang to the beat of our guitarist friends while enjoying the gust of evening fog.
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Drive to Rizal House in Calamba, Laguna
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. THIRD STOP: Rizal House
We toured around the Rizal House, also known as the Calamba Rizal Shrine, and learned about the Philippine national hero’s story and the history of Calamba. Posters after posters of the prose and poems made by Jose Rizal are displayed on the walls of the Rizal House.
All are welcome at Rizal House. There is no entrance fee to view the house and the museum.
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Drive to Pandin Lake in San Pablo, Laguna
12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. FOURTH STOP: Pandin Lake + Yambo Lake
Pandin Lake is one of the Seven Lakes of San Pablo. We spent three hours riding a covered balsa while munching on freshly grilled tilapia, shrimps, camote tops salad, bananas.
Some of my friends swam in the Pandin Lake while the rest climbed over a ridge to reach Pandin Lake’s twin lake, Yambo Lake.
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Drive to Los Baños, Laguna
We started our journey to Los Baños. Along the road, we bought boxes of buko pie, one of the famous delicacies in Laguna and a must-buy for pasalubong.
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. FIFTH STOP: Los Baños, Laguna
Los Baños is the home of two UP campuses (UP Los Baños and UP Open University), and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). The vast rice field of IRRI coupled with the mighty forest of Mt. Makiling provides a beautiful and refreshing view.
While in Los Baños, we dropped by at Makiling Botanic Gardens for a nature- and academic-filled trip. We saw hundreds of species of flowers and trees with their corresponding scientific names.
We also enjoyed taking pictures of the two Oblations, and the nice scenery at IRRI and UP Los Baños grounds.
Aside from Laguna’s buko pie, you should also try the chocolate-flavored carabao milk. It’s delicious!
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Dinner at Isdaan Floating Restaurant
We had our dinner at Isdaan Floating Restaurant, which also has a recreation park. You can visit the park during day time wherein you will find big statues of animals, mermaids, Buddha, and much more.
After dinner, we stayed at a friend’s house for the night.
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Drive to Pagsanjan
We traveled from Los Baños to Pagsanjan. Along the way, we saw the vast rice fields of IRRI, and the prominent heights of Mt. Makiling and Mt. Banahaw.
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. SIXTH STOP: Pagsanjan
We wanted to have a nice hike to Pagsanjan Falls, so we filled ourselves up with an early lunch at Calle Arco Restaurant. We got ready, but the weather suddenly turned gloomy which cut our excitement short. There was a warning for a flash flood, so we were not permitted to go to Pagsanjan Falls.
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Drive to Caliraya Lake
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. SEVENTH STOP: Caliraya Lake
It was my first time in Caliraya Lake. I’ve heard so much about it and have watched videos of it just like the one above.
There was a nice restaurant by the lake where we stopped by for the view. We had snacks and a bit of jamming time while waiting for the rain to stop.
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Drive to Pililla Wind Farm in Rizal
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. EIGHT STOP: Pililla Wind Farm
The newest tourist attraction in Rizal, the Pililla Wind Farm of Alternergy Corp. has 27 windmills that were built on top of the hills of Pililla, Rizal. It offers a beautiful view for all the visitors. The Visitor’s Lounge is ideal for souvenir pictures, but another option is to drive up where the windmills are located.
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Drive to Antipolo City and my second bowl of bulalo
Along the road to Antipolo City, our ninth destination, are the very tempting bulalo restaurants. We couldn’t resist the temptation so we stopped by one of the restaurants and ate bulalo for the dinner, again.
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. NINTH STOP: Antipolo Church
If we arrived a little earlier, we could have driven to the famous spot in Antipolo City called Pinto Art Museum. But the museum was already closed by 7:00 p.m., so we just walked around Antipolo Church while munching on cashew nuts and rice cakes.