Viaje del Sol

Carlito’s Workshop 3 — Carlito’s Coffee

Superb Barako Coffee, Sweet Lansones, and Delicious Puto :)

This is the highlight of the trip —a cup of Barako Coffee and delicious Puto at Carlito’s workshop. Our only regret was we did not call in advance because he could have served us Rice Coffee and would be a unique experience. Since we are just walk-ins (hehe) we were entertained as guests still and Carlito was very hospitable. His art and books collection are intimidating but it was actually cool spending merienda in his workshop. BTW, he also serves sweet lansones that we cannot help but eat and be addicted to it (much better than rambutan hehehe).

There are interesting art pieces all around and my friend, Maong was fascinated with the swinging wooden chair in a steel frame (middle photoo). Carlito showed us how he is doing his steel/ brass masterpieces that could costs P40,000 at a minimum. The ambiance is very Filipino and alot of art talk pieces. We simply had a fun time in this place (this could change if there is already alot of people visiting here). We’ll let the photos do the talking here 🙂

Of course, I had to take the obligatory family picture photo (top right photo) 🙂

Here are the contact information:

Carlito Ortega Cellphone # 0919-837 7755 or (049) 5620351
Open on Saturdays. For the rest of the week, please call to give prior notice.

Just a word of advise, there are no signs from the maharlika highway going to Carlito’s workshop. If you are coming from Manila, after passing the left turn going to kusina salud, you will make a right turn to Brgy. Sta. Ana. The only landmark is a direction going to 3j foods corp. It’s a big road with alot of tricycles in that corner.


Viaje del Sol

Carlito’s Workshop 2 –Photogenic House with an Outstanding Garden :)

Photogenic House with an outstanding garden!

When we went to Carlito’s, we were hesitant to go in because we are literally walk-ins because we did not call in advance for reservations but the brochure said it is open on Saturdays. When we arrived, the place looks quiet with only one red pickup car parked in front of the house. Now, the main reason we went here is to have coffee and this is right after the rambutan festival in Tiaong.
The picture above shows the facade of the main house and the back of this nice house.

It was really intimidating because the house is very beautiful. The leftmost picture is the view of the well manicured lawn from the main door of the house. Upon entering the house, you are greeted by the picture in the middle where there is a fountain statue behind a glass encarving. We were invited to the living room where there are alot of art pieces as well including a patis tesoro doll (see right most photo above). At this point, Carlito met us and we felt right at home and we felt like a guest of a long time friend.

At the back of the main house is a small structure that has dining tables featuring Carlito’s work. At this point, Carlito was explaining to us what he is doing, his work, and the story behind Carlito’s workshop. Apparently, he is a very good friend of Patis Tesoro and she asked him to open up his very nice house for people visiting San Pablo. Viaje del Sol, was a very nice concept where the insight was people who would love to eat at Kusina Salud needed to have other site seeing places in the area. Thus, Carlito was convinced, and he opened up his nice home.

Having said this, Carlito’s workshop is still not a full pledge coffee house (yet) since viaje del sol is just 6 months old. I actually like going to these places when they are young when there are not alot of people. In this particular case when we visited, we were the ONLY people and we were entertained very well 🙂 Carlito lives with his wife and daughter but they were out in San Pablo city when we arrived. After looking at the magnificent (first time we’ve seen such) steel brass artwork, we finally tasted the coffee that we came for and much more in his workshop place.

The structure above is his workshop where he creates his masterpieces. This is where we spent our afternoon coffee time — Carlito’s Workshop ala Starbucks with a Filipino touch.

to be continued… 2/3


Viaje del Sol

Carlito’s Workshop 1– Intimidating House with Surprisingly Hospitable Host!

Excellent artist place and perfect for afternoon coffee and chit chat :)

This is another Viaje del Sol posts. We vowed to complete and visit all the Viaje del Sol locations and blog about them. In the viaje del sol map, we saw this Carlitos Workshop area which is very intriguing just along the maharlika hi-way in between Villa Escudero and Kusina Salud. In the brochure, here is Carlito’s Workshop description:

” Carlito Ortega is a sculptor who works in welded steel and brass, as well as with old hard wood. He creates figurative works in both intimate and monumental scale inspired by Laguna folk art and lore. An avid art collector, he has a striking collection of contemporary art.

He is also a land artist whose garden is his masterpiece. Come and visit his artist workshop and garden. Inspired by the American Southern-style plantation homes, his house sits on a 1.5 hectare property. His garden boasts of a collection of plam trees and rare plants. “

The above photos are just some of Carlito’s awesome welded steel/brass art. His place is intimidating at first because of the big steel gates and grand driveway to his house. According to Carlito, a lot of people get intimated to the point of turning away once seeing the gate and the driveway.

to be continued… 1/3


Viaje del Sol

Rambutan Festival 3: Harvesting 10kg of Rambutan

This is the best picking experience we ever had :)

Coming into this rambutan festival, all of us where wishing that it should have been lansones. We did not realize that the rambutan variety that they have is imported which means it is really sweet. Also, one thing I hate about rambutan is that the coat of the seed which is hard part sometimes stick to the soft part of the fruit when you eat it. ( now I had a hard time explaining this ) But, lo and behold, their rambutan variety is extremely good that totally changed the way I looked at rambutan. I’m glad we bought 3.3kgs each @ P100 only — wow what a bargain 🙂

We hiked for half a kilometer to the rambutan trees. We were really expecting that we picked 10kg of rambutan but fortunately there are folks who were willing to assists us. So we commissioned a guy to get the rambutans for us while we snap these shots and enjoyed eating rambutan while we wait. Of course, we wouldn’t miss the fun and experience so we tried picking some rambutan ourselves.

This was really fun and the weather was just perfect. Since we are under the rambutan trees, it is very cool. Unfortunately, we decided that this might not be a place for Aidan to go to so he was left with his mom in the main house.

This is the end of the rambutan festival series. By this time, it is just about 2pm so we decided to visit the other viaje del sol places. You need to check this out really really great places — Carlito’s Workshop and Casa San Pablo.


Viaje del Sol

Rambutan Festival 2: Agri Seminary & Adobo Packed Lunch

Farm Style Lunch & Seminar ala Fresco :)

When we arrive, we are really not expecting anything because we have not read the newspaper article or seen any pictures. This is simply a leap of faith hoping that the entire experience would be great and not a waste of our time. We arrived in a jeep to the main house where the seminar is already going on. Now, we just listened for a while and cannot relate to the farming methods. Although, Di, Maong and I are already entertaining the idea of buying a farm lot and starting our own farm in San Pablo. My dad would have loved to visit here and listen to the farming tips — maybe next year.

The packed lunch included in the P150 is a adobong manok / baboy rice topping wrapped in banana leaves. It was delicious and you have to use your hands because no plastic utensils provided ( we don’t mind this). Although, one of the difficult part was finding a table because there are only a few like 4-5 so people just look for a spot, sit, and eat lunch. Fortunately we were able to secure a spot at the back of the house where we met and chatted with Atty. Lazatin and guess what, mr. Imbestigator himself — Mike Enriquez.

I leave you with a picture of a farm tractor.

to be continued…. 2 of 3


Viaje del Sol

Rambutan Festival 1: The best Rambutan I ever picked & tasted :)

Picking the sweetest Rambutan fresh from the CLSU-Dizon Farm!

After our Tina Decal’s Quezon tour, we went back to Tiaong last Saturday because we learned from my friend Diwat got raving reviews from her officemate about the Rambutan Festival in Tiaong, Quezon. Now, this gets me immediately interested since I’m starting to fell in love with Tiaong and San Pablo. I’m glad that we went and I wanted to share with my blog readers about this wonderful experience. Now, this only happens once a year during the first weekends of September and this was the second and last weekend already.

We are a small group this time because we are not sure what the rambutan festival is about. It costs P150/head which already includes the entrance to the farm, a packed adobo lunch, free eating of rambutan within the farm, and 1kg of rambutan as take home. It really looks like a great deal already so we decided to go. It is located along Maharlika (national road) hi-way just right after the Tiaong Market and even before reaching Ugu Bigyan’s Potter’s Garden. The signs are small and we actually missed it, so I posted a picture here so that you know the facade of the farm that you are looking for. You have to park your car outside the farm, along the highway. In the entrance, we were picked up by either a yellow jeep or a jeepney to go to the main house.

Some more information:
11 hectares farm owned by Atty. Victor P. Lazatin
The farm does not have a phone number but you can email the owner [email protected]
It only accomodates 200 people/day so it is best to go during the daytime

to be continued…. 1 of 3


Viaje del Sol

Tina Decal’s Awesome Culinary Tour of Quezon

Highly Recommended!!!

This is a link summary of Tina Decal’s Awesome Culinary Tour of Quezon. Call Tina @ 0927-5630989.

Quezon Culinary Series 1: The Beginning
Quezon Culinary Series 2: Enroute to Quezon
Quezon Culinary Series 3: Lucban Longganisa Breakfast!
Quezon Culinary Series 4: The secrets of Kiping & Longganisa Luban
Quezon Culinary Series 5: Kamay ni Hesus better than Field of Faith?
Quezon Culinary Series 6: Quezon Sidetrips
Quezon Culinary Series 7: Super Delicious Lunch @ Kamay Palaisdaan
Quezon Culinary Series 8: Sariaya’s Ancestral Houses
Quezon Culinary Series 9: Tagayan & Sariaya Pasalubong
Quezon Culinary Series 10: Ugu’s Secret Pottery Garden
Quezon Culinary Night Cap @ Kusina Salud

This is for those who missed my Quezon Culinary Series and for those who are interested to venture into the same culinary experience with Tina Decal. BTW, all of this happened in one day 🙂


Viaje del Sol

Viaje del Sol: Follow the sun to San Pablo and Tiaong Delights

Now this is a new alternative to Tagaytay! It’s also about time that we have a new alternative other than hidden valley in alaminos or Villa Escudero in San Pablo. There are alot of places to visit in San Pablo, Laguna and Tiaong Quezon. I’m glad that they decided to market the place together and not really compete with each other. Ugu and the daughter of Patis Tesoro along with others started to create a brochure and marketing for these destinations called Viaje del Sol. There is a trend now where artist are starting to venture in secret dining places which was started by Sonya’s secret garden. I realized that the culinary tour is just a start for me to explore the wonderful places in Laguna/Quezon area.

My next target places are kinabuhayan cafe, Patio Verde and Carlito’s workshop. There are alot of information in the brochure that I did not scan anymore. Let me know if you need more information or tips around this places. Email me at [email protected] Till our next adventure 🙂


Viaje del Sol

Quezon Culinary Night Cap @ Kusina Salud

cool bohemian ambiance.

This is not part of the culinary tour anymore but since this is on the way back to Manila, we decided to check this place out. Kusina Salud is an enchanting country home of renowned fashion designer, Patis Tesoro with menu by Chef Paul Poblador of Salud! Bistro in Baguio. It is located in Brgy. Sta. Cruz, San Pablo, Laguna. You won’t miss this on the way to Villa Escudero because there are big signs special on the road going to this place.

Now, at this point, we are all still full and we just decided to drink tea, coffee and eat deserts. Yes, we tried the avocado ice cream and it is a clear winner! It tastes like real frozen avocado in ice cream form. The coffee and tea is also good 🙂 Eating in Kusina Salud at night, does not do justice to the beauty of this place. For sure we’ll go back here specially during Sunday lunch where they have a nice buffet for P500 net.

Till we meet again, Kusina Salud!

Contact #s:
Mobile: 0921-7726985
San Pablo: 049-2466878
Manila: 726-5058/ 59
email: [email protected]


Viaje del Sol

Quezon Culinary Series 10: Ugu Bigyan’s Secret Pottery Garden

Great Food, Great Shopping, Great Ambiance, Great Culinary Demo!

This one is off the charts! Ok, I might be exaggerating here but all of us in the tour really raves about this place and some does not even want me to blog about this. I think I haven’t seen alot of news about this place and one of the secret hidden treasures in Manila, indeed 🙂 Ugu’s pottery garden makes Sonya’s Garden an ordinary salad and pasta place. The only catch here is that this place is in Tiaong, Quezon which is about 2 hours outside manila, just past Villa Escudero in San Pablo, Laguna. This is the last and final stop of Tina’s culinary tour.

What makes this place special is that all the architecture and the entire place was built by the owner, Ugu himself. They are a family of artists so some of the family members created native products and jewelry sold in a small nice shop. They are of course expensive but they are nice 🙂 Ugu is well known for his pottery and his products are being used by hotels, etc. There is a pottery gallery where we can buy his works. Although I would suggest that you buy during special sale sessions. There are three sale sessions: first, is the pahiyas sale on May 15 (this would be too crowded); second, on his even birthdays August 14 discounted depending on his age (42% this year); and lastly during the first Sunday of October (Oct. 2 this year).

The food is mind blowingly good even just for merienda. We ate suman with moscovado sugar, sweet ginataan, and fresh buko juice. Although Tina said the sago gulaman would have been the best but was not available. Also, you get to use Ugu’s own pottery plates and glasses set on a weave (banig). Even the cracker’s served was really great and its origin remains to be a secret.

The tour culminates with a culinary demo of “Kulawo” which is banana heart. Now, this is a banana heart that tastes like inihaw na baboy but with a texture of tuna. We can’t believe it either that banana heart can taste this good. At least for this, we know what the secret is which is in cooking the coconut shreds with carcoal as shown in the above left photo. You gotta witness it and taste it to believe it. This demo would exceed your expectations. BTW, I have the recipe for those interested, just email me at [email protected]

Ok, now maybe I raised your expectation already but that was not my intent. My intent is really to share with you that Philippines is sooo beautiful that you just need to explore it. BTW, if you plan to go here, there are no signs along the national highway because Ugu wants it to be a secret. I made a mental note of landmarks along the national highway in Tiaong which is the Ebreo Castillo Agri Poulty Supply, Lusaca highschool, and old Petron Station.

Here is the contact number:
Ugu Bigyan
Telefax: (042) 545-9144
Mla. #: 250-8416

The secret is out 🙂 Enjoy!!


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