Are you one of those people who has visited far away tourist destinations but never been to tourist spots near you? Guilty on my part if you’re talking about Batangas which is one or just a few rides away from my home town in Quezon or Manila where I mostly stayed now. Yes, I’ve been to Taal, Sto. Tomas and San Juan but I never realize that there’s more to Batangas and how it was your nearest perfection destination.
With travel as a way of life for many Filipinos nowadays, looking for great place to visit is quite easy especially if there’s an ally of transportation companies which can easily take you to places with no hassle at all.
Last June 19, 2018, we were invited to take part in “Batangas: Your Nearest Perfect Destination”, which was held with the cooperation of these core brands: FastCat, Jam Liner and in partnership with Philtranco.
This event focused on the newly launched vessel of FastCat in Batangas. Batangas is the industrial port city of Calabarzon, and a thriving tourist destination replete with open beaches and sheltered coves, subterranean caves and deep harbors, a preserved heritage and brave men in history. As we toured the vessel, we marvelled at the state-of-the-art catamaran and how easy it to transport people and cargos from port to port. It is now super-fast to visit Batangas thru FastCat.
CHOW DOWN BATANGAS FAMOUS LOMI AT LIAM'S (LIPA)
Lomi is distinctly a Batangas food. You’ve never really been to Batangas if you haven’t eaten their famous Lomi. In Lipa City, there’s only one place to go to for Lomi and it’s at Liam’s Lomi.
The place was quite packed when we arrived. It was still almost 2 hours before lunch but the most delicious smell coming from the kitchen made our stomach grumbled for food. We placed our order and mine was Lechon Lomi. We only waited for a few minutes and some of us were quite surprised at the hefty bowls of Lomi placed in our table. Seriously?! I think the bowl is good for 2-3 person. But the aroma of deliciousness beckoned us to eat.
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The tasty thick sauce and the chunky toppings of Lechon Kawali makes it one of the best Lomi I’ve tasted.
GET TO KNOW JOSE P. RIZAL’S FIRST LOVE SEGUNDA KATIGBAK AT LUZ/KATIGBAK ANCESTRAL HOUSE (LIPA)
A history-buff all my life, I am fascinated with old houses and old story especially if its told thru photos, old things or narrated by a descendant of a famous figures.
Along J.P. Rizal St., Lipa, Batangas stood an ancestral/heritage house that has stood for 200 years. Seeing the old wooden gate with Casa de Segunda engraved above, you would think it’s just one of the old houses lining the street of Lipa but the historical marker placed in its façade will tell you its no ordinary old house.
If you’ve taken the course Rizal in college, you would know that beside being a hero, the romantic side of Rizal is told colourfully. Everyone has their first love and for Rizal, its Segunda Katigbak, a lovely lass from Batangas and a very dear friend of his sister.
According to the great, great granddaughter of Segunda Katigbak, Ms. Manuella Luz, Dr. Rizal would find ways to see Segunda during the old times when the later was still studying in Manila but she was already promised to Don Manuel Luz and was sent home to Batangas and got married at an early age. And that’s how Rizal first love story ended.
The Luz/Katigbak House was the place where Segunda and Mariano lived with all their children. After so many years, it has become a private museum solely dedicated to Segunda.
Filled with photos, mementos, old furnitures, old clothes, old things, and old books among many others, a day wouldn’t be enough to spend your time here if you want to know more of the family history.
A trivia among many other trivia on the house - Dr. Rizal visited this place when he was soliciting for funds for his La Liga Filipina and even tied his horse in the big tree near the gate.
Well, Dr. Rizal may never get his first love but somewhere, he must be glad that Casa de Segunda is located along J.P. Rizal Street. At least in that, the two were together.
EXPLORE PADRE PIO SHRINE AND GROW CLOSER TO GOD (STO.TOMAS)
So much has changed since the last time I visited Padre Pio Shrine two years ago. The place looks more serene now and I didn’t realize how quite big the place is.
In preparation for the centenary of the appearance of the widely venerated stigmata of Padre Pio this September, the Shrine is getting a spruce up. But devotees can still visit and attend mass being offered the whole day. You can also visit the Chapel of the Holy Door of Mercy, Mary Mother of Mercy Belfry where you can see the images and relics of Saint Padre Pio, the Chapel of the Holy and Living Water (make sure to bring a bottle if you want to take home Holy water), the Sanctuary of the Wood of the Most Sacred Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Fountain of Hope.
You can offer prayers at the candle area (candles are sold in the nearby store where you get to choose the color of the candle based on your specific petition). There’s also a place dedicated for prayer locks.
Overall, the National Shrine of Padre Pio is a place where you can get closer to God and bring your whole family or friends.
FILL UP YOUR TUMMY WITH BATANGAS FAMOUS SLOW COOK FOODS AT CASA RAP (SAN JOSE)
Only the hungry can find Casa Rap, I said to myself. Confused why we’re going rounds in circle, it seems Casa Rap is a hard place to look for but finally we’re in front of it and we happily walked the garden path that will lead us to our tables.
Casa Rap or Cafe Casa Rap looks like one big garden or a greenhouse you might say or a big patio and this is where we had our lunch. The long center table was laden with foods such as the Fried Chicken with Sesame Seeds, Crispy Suaje, Fried Tawilis, Sinigang na Gindara, Crispy Pata, and their famous Kalderetang Baka. Already in our able is the Casa Rap Salad.
Specializing in slow cook food, we learned that you had to call your order earlier to try their famous dishes. After tasting their Kalderetang Baka, we now know why you have to do that. It is the tenderest, melt-in-the-mouth, delicious and the best Kaldereta I have ever tasted! There is so much flavour with the beef! My next favorite is their Fried Chicken with Sesame Seeds and of course, the Crispy Pata. We paired our lunch with the most refreshing Pandan Juice and we all agreed that it was the best lunch we’ve had.
Since we’re pressed for time, we didn’t get to taste their famous Halo-Halo but there’s always a next time.
A CUP OF KAPENG BARAKO AT KATY'S FARM (LIPA)
When we toured Casa de Segunda, part of the talk was how Batangas became the coffee center and how it boomed in the later part of the 1800s. Becoming famous for its Kapeng barako, Batangas offer one of the best coffee in the world.
At Katy's Farm we were able to see how the coffee grows, from the seed up to seeing its fruits. After the presentation, we sipped fresh Kapeng Barako paired with Biko.
It was such a great day and it was filled with culture, adventure, and excitement. We get around Batangas aboard JAM Liner and it was such a comfortable travel. Having been a satisfied customer of JAM for more than two decades, I am used to the very comfortable and safe travel with JAM.
JAM Liner has been serving passengers for 50 years with over 300 buses. Proven to be trusted by the public for their daily commute to and from work, school and business, JAM liner continues to advocate help via means of transportation. It serves the route of Laguna, Quezon and one of its major destination is Batangas.
Currently, their new fleet of buses comes with GPS and entertainment system They also recently purchased EURO 4 buses that are more modern and environment friendly. JAM liners major terminals in Cubao and Buendia were also upgraded with convenience stores, ATMs, and other facilities for a more comfortable travel.
With this alliance of FastCat and JAM Liner, we get to experience seamless travel in Batangas, the nearest perfect destination.
To know more about FastCat and JAM Liner, visit its website at www.fastcat.com.ph or its FB page www.facebook.com/FastCatOfficial