Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Food Tripping in Lucban Quezon

Right after we basked into the cold, clear and beautiful beach of Puting Buhangin in Pagbilao, Quezon, we rode a mini bus headed back to Lucena City. From there, we hopped into what I call a jumbo jeep (because it's higher and wider) going to Lucban Quezon where we stayed for the night. We paid Php50 each and the three of us were seated in front beside the driver who entertained us in a friendly chat. After several minutes, sleeplessness and tiredness consumed me and i started to close my eyes hoping to catch a nap. I felt the jeep moving swiftly in a dark zigzag road yet it still felt like forever before we reached Lucban. It should just be about a 40 minute ride.

I didn't realize Lucban is Baguio city cold or maybe it's just when we went there. The cold is almost uncomfortable even after I wore my jacket. There were rain showers and everywhere is damp. I then realized that’s maybe because the town lies near the foot of a majestic mountain, Mt. Banahaw. We then checked in in Summer Capital Inn, took a quick freezing shower and had dinner right in our room. It was really cold that we needed a hot drink to feel relieved.

Tablea Tsokolate of CAFE SAN LUIS
located along San Luis St.

So we walked around Rizal Plaza and found Cafe San Luis few blocks away. It is walking distance from our Inn which is located at the back of the church. It is a cafe built in a garden of an old house along San Luis St. Their fence looked like rock walls with some moss and plants growing in it. When we went there, I noticed that most of the tables were occupied by young patrons, maybe college students. It gave me a feeling that maybe this is a favorite hang-out of the locals at night, to sip a cup of coffee or relax with a bottle of beer.

Sitting in my chair waiting for my order, there's this rustic feel about the place. It is unpretentious yet cozy. The dim cafe is illuminated by the subtle lights radiating from the cute lamps just perfect to get you in the mood for a relaxing conversation.

I couldn't say much about their menu since we just dropped by for coffee but for what we ordered, (my sister's cinnamon tea, Nikko's milk tea and my tablea chocolate) we each give a thumbs up especially the tablea.

Pansit Habhab of MUSTIOLA'S
San Luis St. corner Regidor St.

The following morning, we woke up early and planned to attend the mass in Kamay ni Hesus. We retraced our fotsteps in the direction of Plaza Rizal where Buddy's is located (a restaurant famous for Pansit Habhab) to have breakfast but to our dismay, they don't open until nine in the morning. Pressed for time, we decided to look for another place to get a taste of pansit habhab and our feet brought us to Mustiola's.

It is a self service restaurant serving local food. It is located just across Cafe San Luis. This restaurant's ambiance is a winner, it definitely has a character. Both the facades and interiors are painted in bright yellow. When we got inside the restaurant, I was amazed at how they transformed the ground floor of this old house to a restaurant. Old is mixed with new, bricks made up a part of the wall yet modern tiles made up the other side of the floor. Wall decors consist of art crafts that looked like school projects. The place looked bright with natural light beaming from the wide open windows.

I also couldn't tell much about their food since all of us ordered the same thing, pansit habhab and coffee. Hearing one needs to pour a bit of vinegar in the sauted noodles before eating it, I never imagined I'd like the taste of Pansit Habhab. Since I'm in Lucban though, and this is one of the famous food there, I really wanted to try it.

Mustiola's version of this noodles just left me craving for more once I got back here in Manila. Up until now, I'd like to go back to Lucban just because of that food. I just spent Php35 for it.

Kalissa Almama of GROUND ZERO

Ground Zero has two stores in Lucban. One is just near Mustiola's and Cafe San Luis along Regidor St. It is also a famous hang out since it doubles as a bar. There's another one located in San Luis Street, just a block or two away from the first one. It is located along Quezon Ave, corner of San Luis St. where we had lunch before leaving Lucban. It is said that Ground Zero offers the best pizza in town and since we're all pizza addicts, we wouldn't say no in trying them out.

Ground Zero has a festive interior, I could almost imagine Pahiyas Festival with the colorful decorations hanging from the ceiling. Capiz lamps transmit yellow lights all over the place.

We were all ready to order pizza but noticed that all the tables have ordered an empanada looking dish. Out of curiosity, we all ended up ordering the same thing, lol! It turned out, it is a pizza folded in half so the toppings became the filling. Then the pizza sauce is poured on top of the dish. They called it Kalissa Almama available for only Php75.

My bf and sister really enjoyed it, I on the other hand felt sated just after I've eaten half of it.  As expected, we left Ground Zero with a full stomach.

Before going home, we shopped for pasalubong. Lucban is also famous for Longganisang Lucban (Lucban Sausage) which has a strong garlic taste. It is available in many stores surrounding the church. It typically comes in small sizes unless you ordered in advance and requested them to make it bigger for an additional cost. A dozen costs Php60 for the regular sized sausage.

Also right at the side of the church is a store that sells Budin that looks and tastes the same as a cassava cake, only what we bought is smaller, more chewy and not too sweet. While you're shopping, include broas (lady fingers) and merengue in your list, food products that Quezon is also known for.

Before you get carried away of buying too much to take home with you though, remember to bring an extra bag or a sturdy paper bag to keep everything you shopped. Lucban has an ordinance that doesn't allow the use of plastic - from restaurants, markets to stores - and it is strictly implemented. Everything you buy will be wrapped in a brown recycled paper, probably the reason why Lucban is one of the cleanest towns I've been here in the Philippines.

Lucban is a food haven, no wonder why whenever I hear about the town, I start to have cravings. The good thing is, once you're there, you don't really need to spend a fortune to be gatronomically satisfied. :)


  1. I had the privilege of meeting the owner of Café San Luis last night. He's name is Mr. Bingo Estrada, the son of Col. Rafaél Estrada whose sisters are the poetess Nina Estrada and former senator Eva Estrada-Kalaw. After dining with Mr. Estrada at the café, we went to his paradisiacal home at the outskirts of the town. He is also a philanthropist as he administers a hospice in Lucbán: http://www.sinagkalinga.com/

  2. I accidentally came across this blog. Interesting. But I find your description of the weather a bit confusing. You said 'I didn't realize Lucban is Baguio city cold or maybe it's just when we went there. The cold is almost uncomfortable even after I wore my jacket. There were rain showers and everywhere is humid.' Was it really cold or humid? That's very contrasting. :)

    1. Sorry for the confusion. I meant to say cold and damp. Thanks for calling it to my attention. :)

  3. Okay lang ba kung pupunta ng holy week? Of course, we want to eat in some resto and taste the food in Lucban. Summer Capital Inn ang reservation namin. Still asking how to get there via bus. All through out ba bukas ang kainan nila and pasalubong store.


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