The Walks of Kulot


CASA SAN PABLO, Laguna

*This blog entry is a re-post from my multiply site which I wrote two years ago (February 23, 2009). This was written before the conception of the Walks of Kulot and my first attempt at travel writing. Thought of sharing it with everyone, Enjoy!

A Laidback weekend at Casa San Pablo

It was approximately 87 kilometers and an hour and a half trip from Manila and we’re off south. It was love at first sight. From the moment I stepped into its lush greens, smelled the musky scent of pine in the air and saw the magnificent rustic view of the pavilion’s facade I suddenly realized that I was indeed welcome in this place. Casa San Pablo is definitely a weekend haven for those seeking tranquility with a local country feel. Situated in the quaint town of San Pablo, Laguna (formerly known as Sampalok before the colonization of the Spaniards) Casa San Pablo is a perfect getaway most especially to those who are fascinated with art, culture and nature. This country-inn is run and owned by Boots Alcantara, an art enthusiast whose roots are from San Pablo, Laguna. The place is an artwork in its own form, everything is mismatched into perfection from old wooden furnitures to colorful art pieces and paper mache horses from the nearby town of Paete to its fourteen uniquely designed rooms peculiar yet charming in its own right. If you’re a keen observer you will find unique vintage pieces such as bottle openers, old letter boxes, and a barber’s chair that’s situated at the most unusual places but complements the place where it was installed. Upon arrival, a sumptuous buffet Lunch was served. I learned that our meal was prepared by Jaina, Casa San Pablo’s master chef as I may say for she has been around in the Casa for almost 20 years preparing authentic Laguna dishes to the Alacantara’s – indeed a master in her own right. During nighttime, votive candles were carefully arranged in the lawn giving a yellow-orange glow to the pavilion. Hammocks were also situated outside under the tall, aged Baguio-like pine trees, perfect for star-gazing and just pure relaxation under the star-studded sky, and if you’re lucky enough you might even see a shooting star. The next morning, breakfast was served and it made our palates crave for more daing and adobo – a guilty pleasure to those who love to eat and match that with a hot cup of cocoa. A walk past the lawn made our feet wet because of the morning dew, scent of pine mixes with the air as the sun gently scatters its glow. At a distance, trees dispel their hue of green a wonderful contrast to the vivid blue sky as birds chirp their way from one branch to another. The casas were alive with its bright colors of yellow, red, green and blue and the staff are all smiles when we walked past them. It was 8.30 AM, when I heard the sound of a church bell from afar. It was Sunday and I couldn’t think of a better way to end our San Pablo trip than to attend mass at the nearby church of San Roque.

Casa San Pablo is the perfect place to seek inspiration, in all its corners poetry is heard and stories are formed. It’s a place with no apprehensions, where anything goes and one can be a kid again and run barefoot through its wide greens. Its Pinoy and local Laguna flair makes you fall in love with your heritage and its “lutong-bahay” meals allow you to eat without the guilt. The rustic charm of the casa combined with nature’s beauty, Casa San Pablo is simply the place to be.

The façade of the Casa.

Rainbow colored plates ready for picking.

Our lutong-bahay lunch prepared by Jaina.

A paper mâché horse serves as a table centerpiece.

Vintage pieces such as this red fire alarm can be found in the most unusual places. (Rustic pieces can be seen all around Casa San Pablo. Most of them are antique collections of the owner, Mr. Boots Alcantara. They are atworks in their own form)

A vintage flat iron as an accent piece outside the room where we stayed.

A Coca-Cola can opener installed in one of the door posts.

A paper mâché figure of a Filipina

An amputated ballerina - a bit creepy but still charming.

It's uncommon to see a barber's chair in the garden but it adds to Casa San Pablo's charm. Things are mismatched into perfection.

A personified sun.

A mini grotto just meters away from the main casa.

Veranda

Carved wooden candelabras are used as accent pieces.

Nature shot: Orange droppings

During nighttime, votive candles inside old bottles are lit up and placed on the lawn.

San Pablo, Laguna is formerly known as Sampalok, but later converted to San Pablo after the Augustinian missionary Fray Mateo Mendoza began converting the locals into Christianity. As a Catholic town, churches are built aound San Pablo and nearby areas like the The San Roque Church as pictured above. It's just a five-minute walk from Casa San Pablo. According to Mr. Boots Alcantara, traditional rituals like the "prusisyon" and "pasyon" are still being observed by the locals during Holy Week.

For more information about Casa San Pablo, visit their website: http://www.casasanpablo.com

* San Pablo, Laguna is also known as the City of Seven Lakes. If you want to know more about this quaint town and places you can visit, click on this link.



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