Good Morning Lakbay! Traveling from Manila to Lucban
Well, I guess I was excited back then. It was my first time going to Lucban for Pahiyas Festival. The feast that I could only see on telly or on books. I’ve seen Sinulog, Dinagyang and Masskara for countless times already but this crowning jewel of Quezon Province’s feasts is something that I would look forward into. Such colourful and attractive feast has made me like a bee, attracted to the colour of the kipings and revelry. It was my first time going there and I’ll be commuting. May 15 is a notorious date to any commuter or motorist going south, as horrific stories of traffic jams linger. But I dared!
Which is which?
I called in the Quezon Provincial Tourism Office and sought advise on what’s the best route going to Lucban. My friends from Quezon and the tourism people have a unanimous answer: Go Laguna-Pagsanjan instead!
- We all know that Lucban is in Quezon Province and the main route is through Maharlika Highway which passes through San Pablo City in Laguna and towns of Tiaong, Sariyaya, Candelaria and of course Lucena City, the kabisera. Well, they’ve warned me of the infamous traffic that said to have spanned all the way to Laguna (San Pablo). Reason: Tiaong and Sariyaya have their own version of Pahiyas fiesta. Expect traffic that may last for hours for the whole day. Commuters and motorists are advised to avoid the Maharlika Highway route unless visiting the affected towns or necessary. Much better if mapa-aga na lang kayo pumunta ng Bicol o Lucena.
- The Laguna Route, which passes by Santa Cruz and Pagsanjan, is the easiest and fastest way to go to Lucban. Besides that there are no feasts in this side, the distance to Manila is much closer. It only takes an hour or less to travel by jeepney from Santa Cruz to Pagsanjan.
So obviously we went on the easier one.
A long and winding road to Pahiyas
- 15 May 2010 | 02:30AM – My friend and I arrived at the Green Star bus terminal at Taft Avenue corner Buendia in Pasay City. It was too early. The guard told us that the first trip leaves the terminal by 3:30AM. So we went to KFC and have our late midnight snack/early breakfast.
- Note: There are several bus companies that serve Manila-Santa Cruz route: Green Star (Pasay City terminal/Aircon bus), HM Transport (Cubao Bus Terminal/Aircon bus) and Calamba Megatrans (Alabang Bus Terminal/Ordinary/Non-Air Conditioned bus).
- 15 May 2010 | 03:00AM – The bus is parked and calling in for passengers. Good! We sat comfortably.
- 15 May 2010 | 03:15AM – Whoa! Was there a group booking. A bunch of excursionists went into the bus…At this rate, we’ll be leaving early! The bus is almost full…5 minutes later, the last seat was occupied.
- 15 May 2010 | 03:30AM – We left Pasay and bound for Santa Cruz
- 15 May 2010 | 03:45AM – We have encountered traffic somewhere between Bicutan and Sucat. Skyway construction on-going. We were stuck in the traffic for 30 minutes…ang aga naman ng trapik sa SLEX!
- 15 May 2010 | 04:20AM – We finally made it out of the traffic but saw this huge fire engulfing some houses in Muntinlupa. Only later to find out that it was one of the worst fire disasters in Muntinlupa City.
- 15 May 2010 | 05:00AM – Finally, we reached Calamba City. Ang aga ng trapik dito! The narrow roads and on-going developments (there is a SM mall being constructed near the public market. Good luck for the traffic though).
- 15 May 2010 | 05:30AM – We were in College, Laguna (UPLB junction)
- 15 May 2010 | 05:45AM – We passed by the town of Pila. For the first time, I saw the old houses and heritage buildings in this town. I’m planning to go back here sometime soon.
- 15 May 2010 | 06:15AM – Finally, we reached Santa Cruz. We have to take a ride through a jeepney (a big one) to Lucban. At pila ng bigas ang scenario! The bus stops over at the junction where Lucban-bound jeepneys are parked. Just tell the conductor to advise you to bring you to the jeepney terminal. Most likely, the bus conductor would mention it anyway.
- 15 May 2010 | 06:20AM – We left Santa Cruz and passed by Pagsanjan. Off we go up in the mountains between Laguna and Quezon Provinces.
- >> Note: Nakakatakot ang daanan! The jeepney was full to the brim, and we have people on the rooftop! The curves were sharp and ravine is just beyond the road gutter!Yet, fear was replaced with appreciation of nature and the sun rising in the east. The air was cool and crisp. May nagpa-andar ba ng aircon? The cool air would remain all the way to Lucban for the rest of the day! Sarap naman! Refreshing!
- 15 May 2010 | 06:40AM – Passed by the town of Cavinti in Laguna
- 15 May 2010 | 06:50AM – Passed by the town of Luisiana in Laguna (take note of the pronunciation: “Luwisyana”…you might thought its the State of Louisiana in US).
- 15 May 2010 | 07:00AM – Crossed the border of Quezon and Laguna! Yehey! And Mount Banahaw welcomes us!
- 15 May 2010 | 07:15AM – Junction Lucban. Jeepneys are not allowed to enter the town proper. Nagsisimula na! So we rode a tricycle that brought us all the way to San Luis Obispo Parish Church (or Lucban Church). We were just in time for the first activity of the day: The religious procession!
Its just the start of my Pahiyas de Lucban experience…something that I wouldn’t forget! Mga wala kaming tulog pero nagsisimula pa lang ang araw namin.
Okay, for those budget-conscious or just plain cheap, here are the fares:
- Pasay City to Santa Cruz, Laguna (Air-conditioned bus) – PhP149.00 (US$3.00)
- Santa Cruz, Laguna to Lucban, Quezon (jeepney) – PhP45.00 (US$1.00)
More photos here: