First month of each year – January – is also my birth month. As it had been my custom for the past few years, I have rewarded myself with a solo trip. This time, to Lucban Quezon to visit Kamay ni Hesus.
Around 6:30, I was already in Gil Puyat, ready to take the bus. But first things, first. Claimed my free breakfast meal at McDonalds courtesy of my credit card spending. :) I took a JAC liner bus going to Lucena Grand Terminal. Fare is Php 209.50. Bus got off the terminal at 7:22 AM. When all the fares were paid, I was surprised when the bus conductor started asking if we wanted to order Jollibee meals. Weird! Turned out they have this contact in Jollibee and the orders are to be picked up when we stop at Turbina. We got there at around 8:25. It was a long trip!! I kept on looking at this picture that I took off the website of JAM liner so I would have an idea how much longer the trip is. We arrived at Lucena Grand Terminal at exactly 11:11 AM.
List of all places to pass thru (partial list, mind you..)
At around 10:13 AM, we were already in Candelaria. At exactly 11:11 AM, our bus stopped at the Lucena Grand Terminal. Lucena Grand Terminal is a transpo hub wherein you can get ride to different parts of Quezon. This is the same place where my sister and I took the bus going to Padre Burgos when we stayed at Tamarind Resort to visit Borawan. First thing I did when I got off the bus is to rush to the paid wash room. Good thing it is well maintained. No flush but at least you get some running water. After freshening up, I decided against having lunch. I really wanted to reach Batis Aramin which is the place where I would be checking in for the night. At Lucena Grand Terminal, I took a jeepney ride going to Lucban. Fare is Php 30.00. Good thing the driver did not wait for the jeepney to fill up. It was a long jeepney!
This might easily be a 20 seat (each side) jeepney
If you also plan to visit on a cold season like I did, better wear a long sleeved shirt or a jacket when you take the jeep. It was so cold! We had to put down the side shields of the jeepney (trapal) that is normally reserved when it rains. It was that cold.
The instructions I got from Batis Aramin where I had a reservation is that I should go to the town proper (Bayan) and then take a tricycle going to their resort. Around 45 minutes of travel, I think we have already reached the town proper. And then the jeep conductor (yes, there is one) said that they will already be going back to Lucena. I asked where they could drop me so I can get a tricycle ride to Batis Aramin. Turned out we already passed the place. He said I can just ride along and they will just drop me off. No extra fare. :)
After like 5 minutes, I was dropped off along a highway. On the side where I got off is Kamay ni Hesus and on the other side is the way to Batis Aramin Hotel. It was a minute walk going to the gates. At the gate, I just told the guards my name and I went to the reception area which is located a couple of meters away from the gate. The staff was accommodating. I paid the fee at once and got my room key. They accept credit card by the way. :) Here’s what the resort looks like.
This is where the reception area and restaurant is located.
I stayed in Pretty Paw room which is good for two person. Rate is Php 2,000 per night which already includes breakfast for two. You may ask for a twin bed or a queen sized bed. I of course requested for a queen size bed. This is Pretty Paw.
Pretty Paw. I had the downstairs room.
The room was clean and quite comfy. Best of all, the hot shower works! :)
My Bed for that Night. Quite Comfy.
Old School TV but with Cable. So all is good.
CLEAN Comfort room and a hot shower that works!
I immediately unpacked and called for room service. I was famished! I checked in at almost 2 PM! The thing is most of the items in the menu are good for 2 to 3 person. I had to settle with some crispy fried chicken which serves one. While waiting for my food, I roamed a bit and sent this picture to my colleagues who are at worked at that time. Rubbing it in. :)
This scenery on a Friday. :) Best!
This is just a few feet from my room. See the ripples in the water? That’s how windy it is at 2 PM. Finally, my chicken meal arrived with some ripe mango shake. Cost is only Php 220.
After the meal, I was actually torn between going to Kamay ni Hesus or to roam in the town proper. I decided to rest a bit and then decide what to do. Unfortunately, it started to rain. And since we are almost at the foot of Mount Banahaw, it also became foggy. So I just stayed at the room. At around 5:00 PM, the thought of having dinner inside my room made me decide that it is okay to get wet in the rain. So off I go to visit the bayan. See how rainy and foggy it was.
Even the guards were wearing raincoats.
Foggy and no soul in sight. Creepy. A bit.
I was only supposed to take a jeep going to bayan but none was passing thru. So I decided to cross the road and go to the tricycles lined outside Kamay ni Hesus. I asked one to bring me to Ground Zero where I plan to have my dinner. Manong said since I would be the only passenger, cost is Php 50. No problem with me. As long as I get out of the rain and get to my dinner.
Ground Zero Pizza place is well recommended in most of the blogs that I have visited. No wonder. Food was good and serving is quite big. Took a while though to get my food. Ordered at 5:40 PM and got served at 6:15 PM. I guess coz they prepared the food from scratch. I ordered Kalissa Almama (Php 108) and Ravioli (Php 120). When the order came out, I knew I won’t be able to eat all of it. I at once thought of the guards and just asked that the Kalissa be boxed so I can give it to them when I get back to the hotel. The ravioli, I demolished. Quite good!
Kalissa Almama. Ordered but not tasted. Next time. :)
Ravioli. Very Good! (And heavy)
I was actually eating a bit faster than normal cause when I looked out the window, the rain did stop but it was already dark. I got a bit anxious that I’d be passing the highway in a tricycle plus of course the fact that I am not familiar with the place. After gobbling my food, I hailed a tricycle and asked to be brought to Batis Aramin. I gave the Kalissa to Manong and Manang guards and went to my room. Took a hot shower and rested for the night.
Dark highway going back to the resort
The following morning, my first agenda was to tour the resort. See this pics. I’m sure it would be uber crowded in summer.
After touring the resort, I went to the restaurant to have my complimentary breakfast. What else? Lucban longganisa. :)
After breakfast, I just crossed the street and visited Kamay ni Hesus. Saturdays, the healing mass is scheduled at 9:3o AM. I got there at around 8:30 AM. I have enough time to go to the top. Along the way, there’s a lot of signs saying one must observe silence as it is a place for reflection. Unfortunately though, it was quite loud. I just busied myself appreciating how good the scenery is.
The Church as seen half way from the stairs.
After attending the mass, as I usually do when I visit a church for the first time, I light up candles for all my family and friends.
Each color represents a different intention.
A prayer when lighting the candles.
What each color means.
After this, I of course went pasalubong shopping. I was hoping to do this in Bayan but I really don’t have enough time. The mass finished at around 10:15 AM not including the healing activity. I just bought some items within the grounds of Kamay ni Hesus. Got some Budin ( a kind of cassava cake), merengue (better than the ones bought in groceries), broas (in the can so it don’t get crushed on my travel back to Manila), and of course some longganisang lucban. All in all I paid Php 800. :)
Hauling my purchases, I again crossed the highway to go back to Batis Aramin. It was already 11:15 and I know I won’t be able to check out at 12:00 noon which was the official check out time. What I did is talked to the reception and told them that I might have to leave on a later time. I was willing to pay if there is a need. Well, no need as per the receptionist. I’m sure it would be a different story when this happened in the summer. So off again I go to Bayan to have lunch at Mustiolas.
It really is just like a carenderia with a very clean and cute set up.
The Claim – Best Carinderia in Town!
Heavy lunch for the long ride back home. Only costs me Php 140!
Fish wrapped in mustasa leaves.
Some pork dish I really don’t what it is called. Good though. :)
Facade of Mustiola’s
Food was good! Only thing I noticed is the rice isn’t that good. It’s the same to what was served to me at the resort. Wonder if Quezon doesn’t have that good of a supply of rice?
After lunch, I went back to the resort to pack. As with most of my travel, packing my things plus the pasalubongs are always harder. Specially since I would only be commuting back to Manila. Anyways, one body bag, one re-usable bag and one (very) heavy backpack after, I was on my way out of the resort. Jeepneys going to Lucena Grand Terminal are lined up opposite Kamay ni Hesus. After an hour, we arrived at the terminal. Going back took longer than usual cause I noticed that the driver didn’t use much gas. We are on our way down and he just let gravity do its work and not try to go faster by stepping on the gas. :) From the terminal, there would be a lot of buses you can choose from to go back to Manila. Those going to Cubao, Alabang and my ride, going to LRT-TAFT.
That was the end of my first trip for the year. Really really hope to get more.
So we work, work, work so I can travel, travel, travel. :)