Quezon Province, Philippines · 3 hotels available
The capital city of Quezon Province, Philippines, Lucena is for culture and festival junkies. If you are excited over famous historical and religious landmarks, Lucena won’t disappoint.
Lucena is a highly urbanized city that houses various governmental agencies, businesses, and factories, like any urban city. It is home to numerous religious landmarks, the old Capitol which tells the history of Quezon Province, and some heritage buildings and houses in Allarey and Zamora Streets. For relaxation, there are eco parks, farms, and beach resorts in Lucena which are also popular to tourists.
Although there are no commercial flights to Lucena, there exists the Lucena Airport which light aircrafts can use.
The most usual way to Lucena is by land because it is also in the island of Luzon where Manila is situated. You can take a bus or ride a car on a road trip and enjoy the sights on the way to Lucena for more or less four hours. There are terminals in EDSA-Kamuning, Cubao, Buendia-Taft, and Pasay which will take you to Quezon Province.
As typical in most Philippine provinces, it is best to ride tricycles for short travels within Lucena City. Yet, there are plenty of bus and jeepney terminals around should you need transportation for longer travels.
The most famous attractions are the century-old St. Ferdinand Cathedral and the old Quezon Provincial Capitol or “Kapitolyo.” St. Ferdinand Cathedral, which was built in 1881, is now a common meetup place of locals. Meanwhile, the Kapitolyo was built in 1908 that looks pristine with the stretch of pond lying in front of it. This structure of neoclassical art-deco style was declared as a National Historical Landmark in 2011.
Beach buddies need not fret because Dalahican and Talao-Talao beach resorts are waiting for them. Gardens, farms, and parks, on the other hand, are the go-to places for the fauna-loving vacationer and those looking forward to a relaxing nature walk.
Take a stroll at Perez Park. It is one of the biggest parks in the country (second to Rizal Park in Manila) with playground, food stalls, rock monuments, and a multicolored jet fountain. The park is adjacent to the Quezon Museum and the Manuel L. Quezon Shrine, which should be your next stop. These are just beside the old Quezon Provincial Capitol. Other nice places to while away the time and take Instagram-worthy pictures include the Botanical Garden & Arboretum and the Orchids Country Farm.
Shop for pasalubong (food and other items to bring home to loved ones). Kalamay rice cakes, cassava cakes, pastillas, boat tarts, longganisang lucban, buli weaved materials are the top items to purchase. Pasalubong stores can be found in most major roads in Lucena.
If you can schedule your trip to Lucena on either May 15 or May 27 to 29, do so! May 15 is the Feast of San Isidro Labrador, a colorful festivity held when houses are decorated with candies, food crops, fruits, and lots of colorful “Kiping” which is a thin, leaf-shaped wafer made of rice dough. May 27 to 29 are dates for the annual Pasayahan sa Lucena which you should also look forward to if street party and merry-making ala Mardi Gras Festival in Rio de Janeiro is your kind of thing.
If you are craving for authentic local food, and you should because a vacation is complete only when you experience eating native dishes, please don’t leave Quezon Province without eating Pancit Lucban. This noodle dish stew was first served somewhere else in Quezon, in Buddy’s Pancit Lucban at the municipality of Lucban, in particular, but there is now a Buddy’s branch at Pacific Mall, Lucena City.
Another must-eat is the chami, another type of noodle dish but with fatter noodles, which you can get at the famous Catalino’s Restaurant located at Gulang-Gulang, Lucena City. They also serve bulanglang buko sa ulang (giant freshwater prawn cooked with coconut strips) and laing (taro leaves in coconut milk), among others. Catalino’s is famous not only for the good food they serve but also for the fantastic view one can have while dining there. The restaurant is overlooking Mt. Banahaw and Alitaoo River.
Other recommendable dining options are Café Antigua, Bubbles Crispy Pata, Peking, Koon Lin Seafood Restaurant, and the seafood eateries at Dalahican Fish Port.
Offering the best entertainment from local musicians, bands, and disc jockeys is Central Park Garden Café and Restaurant in Brgy. Ilayang Dupay. The place is where the locals flock to for some stress relief after a tiring work week or simply for some fun night just because. You can party there daily from 6:00pm to 2:00am.
Villa Javierto is a popular place to stay at because of it offers fantastic views of Mt. Banahaw and Alitaoo River. Wait, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It’s because we have said the same thing earlier for Catalino’s Restaurant! Well, Catalino’s Restaurant is actually located in Villa Javierto, that’s why. Lucena is not short of hotels and lodging places. Premier places are the Diamond Resort and Hotel and Queen Margarette Hotel. There are also many hostels and lodges in Lucena for budget-conscious travelers.
The best time to visit is May because of the festivals held during such month plus the weather is calm that time.
Casual and light, comfortable clothing is best. Use of insect repellant is also advisable especially when going for nature walks to prevent possible insect bites.
Take time to visit as well tourist spots outside Lucena to maximize your stay in Quezon province.