Tuesday, October 14, 2014

An Afternoon Stroll through Lucban and Merienda at Casa San Luis

My husband hails from Quezon and one Saturday afternoon, he had to go all the way to Lucban for a family meeting.  It had been decades since I last visited so I joined him -- not to attend the meeting but to reacquaint myself with this place.

As in old towns in the Philippines, the catholic church occupies prime position right at the centre.  The patron saint of Lucban is San Luis Obispo, a bishop from Toulouse, France.  How he landed this gig in Lucban is a great mystery to me.    
The church is made of weathered stone and has quite an ornate facade.  
There are arched windows in the front and the curves are continued throughout the top and the sides of the facade.  The bellower stands  beside the main structure, lending an air of strength and solidity.
This church of San Luis Obispo was first built in 1595 but was destroyed in 1620.  
The second church was constructed shortly after but was again destroyed by fire in the 1700s.  
The current church was completed in 1738 but has since had some repairs after being damaged in World War II.

Lucban's church is big and the interiors are bright and quite spare --  a contrast from the rather elaborate exterior.  It's also very well maintained -- from top to bottom, it was neat, gleaming and spic and span.

This is how the church looks like from the side -- you can appreciate how massive and impressive it is.  The view is  marred by this incongruous fountain where an angel watches over a mermaid eternally splashing in the water.  What would San Luis Obispo have to say about that?

From the church, I take a stroll through the town.  Lucban is situated at the foothills of Mt. Banahaw so the climate is always cooler than the other towns of Quezon.   Very clean and cold water runs through the town's streets, coming straight from Mt. Banahaw.

It was a cloudy, dry and cool afternoon - perfect for strolling through Lucban's narrow and quiet streets.  It was good to see that quite a number of old houses were still standing and had not given way to newer structures.

I do wish though that the munisipio or town hall had been less of a generic modern building,  so that it could have enhanced the old-time feel of Lucban.  But perhaps, this is a symbol of  progress ...

Right across the munisipio was this small plaza, of course with the requisite statue of the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.  Unfortunately he stands watch over this garish orange eyesore,  the town's main hotel.  He does have his arm extended -- as if to ward off its unsightly presence.

This old house has been painted a bright yellow and a coffee shop occupies the ground floor.  Because it has retained the  traditional architecture, it has a certain quirky charm.

This well preserved bahay na bato (traditional Filipino house combining wood and stone) has yielded it's backyard to commercialism and progress.  Nestled underneath the towering  mango tree is a popular and recommended eatery -- Cafe San Luis.

There are a couple of large white tents that have been put up amidst the greenery of this old house's back yard.  It's a charming, breezy place and perfect for a solo snack on this lovely afternoon.

It may have been the middle of the afternoon but a cold bottle of beer seemed like the perfect thing to have.  I firmly believe that when it comes to having beer, there is no better time than now.

It was quite a surprise to see that most of the items of the menu revolved around pasta and sandwiches.  I had been looking forward to sampling the local delicacies -- perhaps native rice cakes or sweets?  
I ended up ordering the only Lucbanin specialty on the menu -- longganisang Lucban, served as the main ingredient in simple pasta dish.

After my merienda, it was time to shop!  Lucban is famous for its handicrafts such as woven hats, bags and baskets -- I had quite an armload of great pasalubong (presents) to take home.
All in all, it was a well spent afternoon in Lucban -- and now, I can't wait to go back.

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