The past few weeks have been tough – I’ve been loaded with a lot of work and my to-do list seemed to grow two more items every time I scratch off one.  But hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m loving what I do but you know what they say, all work and no play would make you a dull person (I’m trying to be politically correct here).
A weekend trip out of town sounded nice, and more so when you have hot springs and a food trip in your itinerary! But this trip wasn’t going to be just about relaxation – it’s also a Birthday celebration! One of my food trip buddies was celebrating his 24thbirthday, and since his birthday gift for himself was a brand new car, a road trip made perfect sense. The out of town destination? Laguna!
Everyone, meet “Martha”
We booked an overnight stay at Sol Y Viento Hotels and Resort in Laguna. The place just opened last year so it’s quite new. It was still on is soft opening, but it looked decent and nice enough on its website so we went ahead and reserved a room. The check-in though was still at 2PM, so we had more than enough time to kill. 
The impromptu first stop was the Botanical Gardens at UP Los Banos.
You need to get a ticket to get inside which costs only Php 20.00 each. It was a rich biodiversity, showcasing a variety of trees, plants, and shrubs that are labelled for identification. There are also picnic areas strategically located all over the place although they don’t look like they have been used for an actual picnic for a long time. This one was a quick trip because the sun was hot and yeah, we were getting hungry.

It was nearing lunchtime but unfortunately, since it was a Saturday, not a lot of food establishments within the campus were open. We did a little bit of research and learned about Dalcielo, which was said to be one of the must-visit restaurants in UP Los Banos. Located at the SEARCA Residence Hotel at Duhat Street within UP Los Banos,  it reminded me a little bit of Chocolate Kiss at UP Diliman. Luckily, it was open on a Saturday. Check out my full review of Dalcielo here.

Lengua. I was apprehensive at first but whatever. YOLO I guess

Crispy Pata prepared just for us.

Pane budino a la mode

Right after we left Dalcielo, we were greeted by a lady who worked at a massage parlour called “Living Life Well” just outside the restaurant. This wasn’t a part of the itinerary but a massage felt so tempting after the short “hike” that we did at the Botanical Gardens. It was even more tempting because they were offering  a 15-minute massage for only Php 80.00! We ended up extending for an additional 15 minutes because it was so gooood.

Told you it felt so good.
For dessert, we visited a small hole-in-the-wall ice cream shop along F.A. Santos Street just outside the campus gates. It used to be nameless but now it’s called Mini Moo, and is slowly getting popular among the students because of their really good but affordable ice cream (Php 30,00 – 35.00 per order).  They offer a variety of premium flavours to choose from like Green Tea, Pistachio, and Salted Caramel. I heard their supplier is also the one who supplies the ice cream in popular restaurants in Metro Manila.

When it was finally check-in time,  we eagerly hurried to Sol Y Viento for some swimming! It was easy to spot along the road because of its huge billboard. The place itself was also huge BUT as I have mentioned, it was still on its soft opening so most of the place was not yet in its best shape.
I’m going to leave you hanging for now (I’m sorry!) and tell you about our overnight stay at Sol Y Viento on a separate post. How about you? Which places would you recommend to visit in Laguna?

You can read the second part of this post here

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Geoffrey Ledesma

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