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Published: April 24th 2013
I got the text message an hour too late. My group was leaving the following day and I was already on the bus to Lucban. But it turned out to be a blessing because I got to sleep that night unlike them who left at 1AM.
I travelled for five hours to get to Lucban. The streets were narrow and the traffic was slow. I did eventually get there and I was picked up at 7/11 by Kenneth. A church mate/school mate whom I havent seen since 2002. 11 long years. He's a professional artist so I did expect it to be awkward not just because I havent seen him in 11 years. But because He is socially awkward like most artists that I know. He is cool though. I love artistic people. He paints, sings, plays piano and accordion, writes poetry and dabbled in theater acting. We have a lot in common so we were up till midnight talking.
I was rudely awakened at 5AM by the cockerels behind their house. Went to their rooftop after breakfast and discovered why those chickens were so loud. There were more than 50 of them! And it was like a 30
minute singing contest from 5AM to 5:30 so I couldn't go back to sleep.
My group eventually arrived at 7AM and we left for church at 8:30 for our concert. Breakfast was served and it was their local delicacy Pancit Habhab. Usually served on a banana leaf. I think that was rice noodles. You'd see people eating this everywhere. I thought it was only the tourists who eat pancit habhab because the locals would have been fed up with it already. But I was wrong. It was ubiquitous. I was told that people eat it for breakfast and merienda (afternoon snack). I'm glad they served us vegetarian pancit habhab in church. I thought I would never get to try it. They served us tons of food. And they were all vegetarian! Yey for me!
After church Kenneth took us to the grotto. It's a Catholic park full of images of saints. What's amazing about the place is that their main grotto is up on a hill and there must have been more than fifty huge sculptures of saints on that grotto. Jesus being the biggest. There was also a building that's supposed to be Noah's ark.
They left that night but I decided to stay behind to do some sight seeing the next day. Early the next morning Kenneth took me to the Catholic church called Church of Saint Louis, Bishop of Toulouse. It was originally constructed in 1593, destroyed and reconstructed several times, and it was last reconstructed in 1966. Next we went to an old church by the cemetery that wasnt reconstructed. T'was an eerie place. It looked like a scene from a horror movie. Last stop was the river to cool down after walking. You can't swim in the river as it was too shallow but washing and lying down there was refreshing. We had to walk through rice paddies to get there. I love how rural the place is. Most of the people we passed by on the river knew Kenneth. They were washing their clothes by the river and water buffaloes were working on the rice paddies. Just how I imagined farm life would be.
Went back to Kenneth's house for lunch and after that we went to his studio where I helped him paint illustrations for childrens story telling in church. I'ts been a while since I last
held a paint brush and I realized how much I miss it. I've been wanting to go somewhere beautiful where I can just sit back, relax, paint or play my violin. But I'm usually too busy when I'm on vacation. There's something about that place that inspires you to do art. No wonder Lucban is home to several artists.
I learned that Lake Caliraya was just an hour away to I decided to pass by on my way home. And I'm glad I did. It was just as beautiful as I remember it to be.
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