Mang Kulas Pabili nga ng Tsinelas sa Liliw | Laguna

After our crypt incursion in Nagcarlan, we proceeded to the "Tsinelas" town of Liliw, Laguna. The town's main street is lined with stores selling the preferred weapon against cockroaches and other bugs. Kidding. I'm referring to casual footwear. Shopaholics like my friend Cathy will have a great time selecting from thousands of pairs of shoes and slippers. "I'll end up buying three pairs a day here," she said. At that rate, she'll be the next Imelda Marcos in three years.

Catherine Marzo

We were hungry when we arrived around 10:00 a.m., so we went straight to Arabela, a low-ceiling, family-owned restaurant run by Mr. and Mrs. Camello, who named their establishment after their daughters, Ara and Bela. It's famous for its sweet and savory cakes, tongue-lashing (in a good way) pastas, mind-boggling pizzas, and other chicken and steak dishes. When we arrived, it was still closed, so we decided to visit nearby Saint John the Baptist Church, which is distinguished by its red brick facade.

We walked down the main street, which was lined with shoe stores on both sides. The majority of the houses were well-designed, with some retaining their heritage appearance. There's footwear everywhere you look, and Yano's song "tsinelas" keeps playing in my head. I'm curious if Mang Kulas got the tsinelas he sold to Dong Abay, when we was still a young and yet-to-be rock God, here.

The sky was still cloudy, and I assumed that the rains from Nagcarlan had chased us to Liliw. We don't mind; we just keep walking, occasionally trudging from one shoe stall to another as Cathy can't decide which shoe to buy from the millions of options staring back at her. She finally decided on two, or was it three, or four pairs of shoes and a pair of slippers.

We entered Saint John the Baptist Church and discovered it to be darker inside, in stark contrast to its bright red facade. The sunlight filtering through its windows provides just enough rays to create a holy atmosphere within. The church was built in 1606 when Liliw was still known as "Lilio" and was still a part of Nagcarlan. It, like all churches of the time, was not immune to the wrath of nature, as the majority of it was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1880.

Laguna Visita Iglesia

The church is located atop a small hill, reminding me of a similar hilltop church, the Our Lady of the Gate Parish Church in Daraga, Albay. Inside, one can see the pulpit in still good condition. I always check out the pulpito in each Spanish era Churches I visit. I always imagine - during the old days when the priest would use it to announce a very pressing matter to the towns folk or make a special sermon. The facade was really magnificent, the red bricks with small lichens in between creates an old hollowed appearance. 

Again, we were starving already so as we made our way back to Arabela and I try to steer Cathy away from checking out some of the stalls again for the thousand time. We finally made it just as Arabela was starting to open. A number of diners were already outside itching to go inside and see if the buzz surrounding this place is legit.

Where to eat in Laguna

We wasted no time finding it out for ourselves as Cathy did the honor of ordering our food, since I sucked at life changing decisions such as ordering food. We had T-bone steak, a certain kind of pasta, chicken vegetable salad and pudding for dessert. 

Catherine Marzo

So Minnie Driver and Gambit (Wolverine to some) finally had their first meal of the day and it was everything but simple. We gorged on our plate like it was our last meal heading out of death row. It was a good way of capping our Laguna weekend which started in San Pablo the day prior. What makes traveling even on a weekend great? new places, food, strange towns that becomes familiar, the un-bloggable stuff :)) and everything in between. I plan to explore the rest of Laguna province more in the coming weekends.