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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Going Where the Sun Shines

Living and working east of Manila certainly has its rewards.  It afforded me the opportunity to get to see many other sides of the country that I would not have seen or discovered if I lived in Metro Manila. 

For example, the year I started blogging (2009), my husband and I traveled to Laguna plying the east Manila road and ended up in San Pablo where we sought out this little café called Sulyap Gallery Café.  At that time, it was a challenge to look for it since it was inside a compound known thereabouts as the former Cocoland and it has just opened a couple of months.  We had the most sumptuously simple San Pabloesque dinner there with the silent provincial skyline, and condensed air that sparkled with fireflies with a promise of a gentle shower. (Curious?  Read more on it here.)

At that time, there was only the café and the museum, where we got to appreciate the collection of antique furniture and knick-knacks of old Philippines.  The attendant did say that a bed and breakfast was being conceptualized.  Four years later, we were coming from Lucena and on our way home when we decided to drop by for a quick merienda fix from that long stretch of road.  Now, you can ask any tricycle driver on the road and they will happily direct you to where you can find the place.

Behold, the café and museum are now collectively known as Sulyap Bed and Breakfast with the addition of two structures that house de luxe and family rooms for visitors to the town known for its seven lakes.  Family and barkada rooms are located in this newly constructed structure right beside the café.  Outside, it would look like its your own guest house made of mixed materials - nipa roofing, concrete walls and window shutters made of colorful capiz shells, old-world charm included.  Interiors are generous with big king-size and day beds, and the bathrooms that would make you stay there the whole day instead of outdoors.  (Check out their website for yourself as earmarked here, and find out about their room rates and café menu).

The smaller rooms are located in the authentic 19th century bahay na bato, every nut, bolt, nook and cranny transported intact from Quezon - much like the one that houses the café.  The bedrooms have the same old-world Filipino furnishings as the other house, but on a smaller scale, and the beds themselves are delightful to sink into.  With creature comforts such as this, it would be indeed preferable to stay indoors and bask in history.

And part of basking in such history is to snack the old-fashioned way: Pancit Bihon that is savory, has enough vegetable, shrimp and pork toppings and accompanied by perfectly toasted "tasty" bread.

We drank the simple elegance of the whole compound and it certainly has a way of lifting one's spirits.  It's a wonder to know that such a small charming place exists in this part of the world. 

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