Laguna, Philippines · 13 hotels available
Get away from the bustle and hustle of city living anytime you want. Just two hours away from Manila is the city of San Pablo, Laguna, a must-visit if you are a nature lover.
One of the oldest cities in the Philippines, the city of San Pablo is located in the southern part of the province of Laguna. It is also called the City of Seven Lakes, referring to the following lakes located in San Pablo: Lake Bunot, Lake Calibato, Lake Muhikap, Lake Sampaloc (or Sampalok), Lake Palakpakin, and Lakes Pandin and Yambo.
It is nestled at the foot of Mount Banahaw, Mount Makiling and the Sierra Madre Mountains, making San Pablo a favorite stop for mountaineers. The mountainous range keeps the climate clean and cool in San Pablo, making it an excellent destination for tourists looking to go on a retreat in the countryside.
You can either proceed to the bus terminals at Alabang, EDSA-Pasay, EDSA-Kamuning/Kamias, EDSA-New York, EDSA-Pasay, Pureza, Lawton, Buendia and Cubao and board a bus going to Lucena. Ask the conductor on board to drop you off at San Pablo Medical, and then board a tricycle to your destination.
Ride a tricycle to go to any point in San Pablo City. There are jeepneys that service San Pablo’s major thoroughfares starting at Php25 per head.
San Pablo Cathedral (St Paul the First Hermit Cathedral), is a 17th-century Romanesque church and the see (area of jurisdiction) of the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Pablo. It is located just the opposite of the city plaza and Rizal Shrine.
The Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery is an underground burial site under a church. The cemetery was considered as a national historical landmark because it was then used as a secret meeting place by the Katipuneros (revolutionaries) during the 1896 Filipino revolution against Spanish rule. There’s no entrance fee, but the caretakers highly discourage flash photography when visiting the place.
You should also schedule a trip to Villa Escudero, an 800-hectare working coconut plantation and hacienda owned by a political family. You can enjoy the resort’s amenities (including a lunch buffet) for Php1,250/P1,400. Some of these amenities include the resort’s famous Waterfalls Restaurant, a man-made river where you can go raft paddling with a friend or fish for live tilapia and bangus, swimming pool, and the AERA Memorial Museum, a replica of a former church in Intramuros that houses intricately-carved images dating from the Spanish colonial era, and a unique collection of ceramics, costumes, gold, silver, ivory, ethnographic dioramas, and weaponry from all over the world.
Schedule a day tour and picnic at any of San Pablo’s lakes. Tourists flock to Pandin Lake, the most pristine (and popular) of the seven lakes in the city. It is a twin of Yambo Lake, and are only separated by a narrow strip of land. You can fish, kayak, paddle, or swim at the lake.
You can also bike around Sampaloc Lake, the biggest of all lakes in San Pablo. Locals flock around Sampaloc Lake for jogging, biking, and dining out at any of the restaurants in the area. A bike with an open sidecar starts at Php30 for rent.
Try to visit the red brick church and shoe center at the neighboring town of Liliw. The red brick church, or Saint John the Baptist church, offers a unique vantage point to the rows and rows of shoe shops lining the main street.
If you have your fill of street food alongside Sampalok Lake, head to Cafe Lago just past the food stalls for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, head to Si Christina, a cafe located along Colago Avenue and is near San Pablo Church.
Before heading home, buy a box (or two) of buko pie at Collette’s. This traditional Filipino pastry is Laguna’s signature “pasalubong”, and you should never go home without bringing a box home to your loved ones.
Nightlife at San Pablo is either happening at Colago Avenue, where a string of coffee/dessert cafes have since set up shop, and Sampaloc Lake, which is growing to be a local leisure hub. Circle Cafe along Colago Avenue is also a popular haunt for locals who wish to unwind with coffee. Aside from the usual brewed and blended varieties, the cafe offers their own blend of coffee, assorted breads and pastries. Meanwhile, G Spot Bar at Tahanan ni Aling Meding, is a restaurant bar that offers live band music and cheap beer overlooking Sampaloc Lake. People flock to this joint every Friday and Saturday.
Sulyap Bed & Breakfast is a quaint inn with an outdoor pool, in-house restaurant, and an antique museum. The rooms are actually reconstructed homes that were salvaged from destruction from Bulacan, Batangas, and Quezon Province. Casa San Pablo offers stand-alone, uniquely-designed rooms that would cater to single travelers, couples, to big groups.
But if you like a more luxurious place to stay, check in at Sanctuario San Pablo, a Bali-inspired hotel in Barangay San Francisco. Guests can avail the hotel’s spacious rooms, spa amenities, large outdoor pool, and an in-house restaurant.