Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Viaje del Sol

Viaje del Sol has been an enigma to us for sometime since we read it years back. South of Manila is a cornucopia of culture, tradition, and anything in between.

So it is year 2011 and we finally got the chance to hop on the bus and check out what Viaje del Sol and all its press releases have to offer.

Villa Escudero

We have been to Villa Escudero in Tiaong, Quezon in 2001 with our cousins Jericho, Miko, and Jessica from the United States and ate with gusto under the man made waterfalls, paddled over the lake-dam on bamboo rafts, swam without care wearing our only clothes, and drove all the way back to Manila dripping wet after passing by Divisoria and CCP. So much for reminiscing.

Our recent Villa Escudero experience with Andres (Ponso and Paco left behind at Lolo and Lola's place) was a Museum trip with interesting odds and ends inside the museum in a pink church structure. 17th century religious icons from the collection of the Escudero family stood side-by-side with antiques from different parts of the world. Some Quiapo stuff was also in there making me wonder how it became part of their collection. Andres freaked out seeing a shrunken head from South America. It was a blitzkrieg tour of sort and the lunch time television show tone of the tour guide is something to reckon with if it could actually do good in the whole shit.

Ugo Bigyan Pottery

We hop on the bus and proceeded to Ugo Bigyan’s crib, a 15 minute drive from the Escudero hacienda. Ugo is a famous potter, like Harry Potter maybe, and saw his pottery. It is made of clay and it does have good designs. The buffet was just spectacular. It’s the Kulawo, a vegetarian preparation that made my heart skip a beat. It tastes like meat! They even showed us how they do it. They put charcoal over coconut and mix magic ingredients. Their spare ribs were so juicy and the fish fillet was gorgeous. Vegetables were real fresh and everything was prepared to satisfy not just the appetite but the senses.

Then we saw a real potter in action doing his craft. What somehow saddened me was that after chatting with the veteran potter, we could compare him to a line chef in a restaurant, I learned that he only earns P250 a day considering that he can make more than 20 mugs that can be sold for P350 each after Mr. Bigyan stamps his imprimatur at the end of the production line. It made me think of the rate of exploitation on the workers. Anyway, so much for Das Kapital and the emancipation of workers from exploitation of man by man, I am just plain stuffed after lunch and chose to be like Bulletin Today trying my shitty best to act neutral and unaffected in this not so neutral world.

Casa San Pablo

With Mr. Potter and the exploitation issue in suspended animation, we went to Baguio, or so it seemed due to the Pine trees that abound in the area after a few minutes walk from a busy San Pablo City road. Casa San Pablo is enchanting. The place has that shabby chic feel and there are interesting corners with interesting bits and pieces that can make one smile and just sit and smile and smile and wonder if leprechauns stay in the woods and not just your ordinary Nuno sa Punso or the occasional Tiyanaks. The snack is not to die for though but the ambiance of the place more than made up for the Pansit Bihon, Fried Bananas, and flowing commercial Iced Tea. You can stay there overnight with their cool rooms if you have the time and plenty of extra money. Room rates are not for Mr. P250 a day Potter.

At the end of the day, we arrived in Manila with good ole Luna lounging in the night sky lulling us to sleep and dream of better days ahead.

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