I'm telling you now: Round up a group of friends as fast as you can and call Tina. This charming lady from Sariaya can arrange a day-long Philippine culinary adventure through Quezon and Laguna provinces like you've never done before. When I joined her tour, I watched locals make Lucban Longganiza (pork and oregano sausage) and Kiping (traditional rice buntings); feasted on Filipino food while floating on a fishpond; enjoyed a show of traditional dancing and singing and sipped coconut rice wine inside the gorgeous Juan Nakpil designed Rodriguez-Arguelles mansion in Sariaya (a site worthy of the journey itself). Make sure to try the pastillas (custard candies) at the Rodriguez Mansion, the pandan scented coffee at Kusina Salud, and stop by some of the churches and a house or two along the way. This woman knows every place, everyone and anything thats going on inbetween. Ask her for a list of places and things that can be done and pick and choose the activities and food which most interests you (some choose to forego the sausage making and instead do things like shop for pottery or plants). It's definitely a great activity for family reunions, office team-building and company outings. You could even stay at the Casa San Pablo (and relax amidst their fabulous collection of contemporary Philippine art) or at famed pottery designer Ugu Bigyan's Kay Inay Resort if you want to go slow. Bring an appetite and a sense of adventure and you'll discover why Quezon is the Philippines' best kept tourism secret.
Inset: Photo of pandanggo awit ritual singers who greet you at the door of the Rodriguez Mansion. More photos of my Quezon adventure here.