This photo essay won MovePH's #SharePH 2017 summer contest. This originally appeared on X, Rappler's self-publishing platform.
MANILA, Philippines – The squad had been itching to go on a roadtrip for some time now and we finally had time on a Monday when none of us had classes. Thus our roadtrip to Liliw began!
GOING TO LILIW. This is one of the views that will welcome you on the way to Liliw.
On the way to Liliw, we decided to stop over first at San Pablo to see Sampaloc Lake. It took us about an hour to get there.
VIEW. Tourists may drop by San Pablo, Laguna on the road to Liliw to catch a glimpse of the Sampaloc Lake.
Sampaloc Lake is a quiet and serene place, perfect for people who just want to take a breather from their stressful lives and enjoy the simple beauty of nature.
If you're looking to dine along the peaceful harbor, there's a lot of lakeside restaurants for you to try.
ROADTRIP. On the way is a view of Sampaloc Lake and the Giant Tilapia statue.
After taking in the beautiful views, we went back to the car and went on with our trip to Liliw.
GOING TO LILIW. There is a long and winding road to Liliw.
After an hour of travel, we finally arrived at our main destination: Liliw!
LILIW. Here's a view of the St John the Baptist Church, one of the first things that will greet tourists in Liliw.
Like most of the churches in Laguna, Liliw's very own St John the Baptist church is a sight to behold with its red bricks and 19th century Spanish colonial architecture. After appreciating the beauty of the church and taking some pictures here and there, we went on to explore more of what Liliw has to offer.
FESTIVE. This is how Liliw celebrates its town fiesta.
It turned out that Liliw was celebrating its fiesta on April 26, and we were lucky enough to have seen pretty fiesta decorations before it started.
At this point, we were getting hungry too, so I suggested that we go to what I think is one of the best restaurants in Laguna: Arabela!
HIDDEN GEM. The Arabela restaurant used to be a horse stable.
Arabela is truly a hidden gem in the quiet and humble province. The restaurant has this uniquely quaint feel, thanks to its vintage-inspired interior, and the fact that the restaurant used to be a horse stable – which explains why its ceiling is so low.
They serve tasty Italian dishes that are worth the price.
ITALIAN. The Arabela restaurant serves Italian dishes that are worth the price.
SUMPTUOUS. Arabela's T-bone steak is so good, it could keep you full for the whole afternoon.
If you plan on dining here, you'll have to eat on their off-peak days (weekdays), or else prepare to wait for a good table because their seats are quite few.
DESSERT. The tasty blueberry cheesecake from Arabela is a must-try!
Satisfied with our fancy lunch, we went back to the streets to roam around some more.
STREET FOOD. In Liliw, kuhol and crablets are being sold on the street.
Of course, Liliw is not itself without the shoes – they even hold an annual festival to celebrate their shoemaking industry which rivals that of Marikina's.
FOOTWEAR. Badong's Footwear Factory is one of the oldest and most popular shoe stores in Liliw.
Pictured above is Badong's Footwear Factory, which is one of the oldest and most popular shoe stores in Liliw. We went inside to look at their products.
MARIKINA'S RIVAL Liliw's shoes are known to be affordable with uncompromised quality.
Almost all of the shoes sold in Liliw cost less that P500 each, so if you're looking for some affordable additions to your closet, Liliw is the place to go.
SNACK TIME. Aling Vivian sells crunchy empanadas with a hearty filling.
We also had a little snack outside, munching on Aling Vivian's delicious empanadas.
The sun was setting and it was time to go back home. Here's one last picture of the church before we left:
LAST LOOK. A photo of the St John the Baptist Church before the sun set.