Getting to know the Philippines is not just about going to the beaches and mountains! For some who might want to visit other historic place near Manila, San Pedro, Laguna is a must-see destination. Named after its patron saint, Peter the Apostle, San Pedro is a city between the boundary of Laguna and Manila. It is the sampaguita (colloquial name for jasmine) capital of the Philippines and just approximately 10-15 minutes away from Metro Manila.
WELCOME TO SAN PEDRO CITY
Have you ever seen an arc with two big Rooster statues? If you happen to see one, you might be entering already the City of San Pedro or also known as “Laguna’s gateway to Metro Manila”. It’s maybe very new to you to hear ‘San Pedro’ city since it is not much talked about, not usually seen in Facebook and no viral pictures but this place has so many things to be proud of. This city has a lot more to offer.
You do not have to injure your budget just to have a memorable travel experience. This place is absolutely affordable and you will leave the place with lots of new friends on your list and unforgettable experience.
HOW TO GET TO SAN PEDRO
The easiest way to travel going to San Pedro is via SLEX (South Luzon Express Way). By private vehicle, take the SLEX/ACTEX and exit at San Pedro, Susana Heights or Southwoods. By public transport, ride a bus from EDSA or Alabang to Pacita. The city is abundant in local transport and hopping on and off to its neighboring cities is fairly easy.
HISTORY OF SAN PEDRO
On March 2013, San Pedro was converted to City from municipality through the approval of President Aquino. Since then, a lot of improvements was seen in the community. San Pedro is one of the oldest cities in Laguna which makes its religion have a deep rooted history. San Pedro Apostol Parish church is the main religious home in this place. It has a big dome of altar with blue vibrant highlight color. Its ceilings have amazing works of arts which show the unity of different saints. One can walk around their garden and just feel the solemnity of the place. In front of this church is their busy Plaza which holds most of major events in the city.
PLACES TO EAT IN SAN PEDRO, LAGUNA
* Bhonnette’s Gotohan – One of my favorite is their ultimately flavorful special goto. A Goto is one of the many variants of Filipino congee or as colloquially known, lugaw. For
just 70 pesos you can already taste the San pedro’s most famous special goto with its main ingredients pork intestines, egg and chicharon plus a lot of garlic toppings!
* Aling Maciang’s Pancitan –They started the business in 1950’s and up to now their famous pancit bihon is still people’s choice. In fact, they have been featured already in many television shows. This iconic dish is pancit bihon with a twist. Pancit bihon is a Filipino noodle stir-fry popular for everyday meals as well as for special occasions. They serve it with sunny side up egg, gizzard and banana ketchup instead of the usual ‘kalamansi’ to make it sour. Best partnered with a bun. For just 43 pesos you will taste the Aling Maciang’s special Pancit.
* Mang Alex’s mamihan – This is another town’s favorite. They offer mami, pares and gotong batangas all together for only 60 pesos! That is their house specialty. This will surely satisfy your cravings when it comes to delicious soup and meat combination.
* CITY PLAZA’s Puto bumbong and bibingka – If you go here at night during November and December, you might think that there is a street party but actually people are just eating puto bumbong on the streets! Puto bumbong is a type of Filipino delicacy that is traditionally served during the Christmas season, a rice cake made of steamed black glutinous rice (puto) called “pirurutong” cooked in bamboo (bumbong) then served with margarine, grated coconut and palm sugar granules. They have street long of sellers. The Puto bumbong are authentic and served with hot tea. The bibingka is very soft and cooked to burning charcoals. This is the perfect place to make friends and watch performances at stage while enjoying the cold breeze at night and sipping your hot tea.
THINGS TO DO IN THE CITY OF SAN PEDRO, LAGUNA
* Sampaguita Festival – This is a week-long celebration every second week of February. This is loaded with different activities such as street dances, grand parades, exhibits, group contests, games, cultural shows and the most anticipated coronation of “Hiyas ng San Pedro”. This is an event to support the Sampaguita industry in this city and to promote tourism.
* Visit Lolo Uweng – Another must visit place is the miraculous Lolo Uweng “Bringer of Salvation” which was found in the 19th century. It is a Life size wooden image which is at the Shrine of Jesus Christ in the Holy Sepulchre church, Landayan Laguna. According to
the experiences of different people, with great devotion and faith, by touching Lolo uweng’s cloak, it can do miracles and be able to heal the sick. Just be prepared to fall in line for hours because this place is usually full with devotees specially every Friday. This place is also one of the most visited churches every Holy week.
* Splash Island – This is one of the first water parks in the Philippines. It is located at the Eco centrum, Southwoods city. It has huge adventure slides perfect if you want to have real heart pumping activity like their very high spiral slide which will definitely give you the best summer experience ever. They also have a wave pool attraction which has a beach like vibes and sands to give a more realistic feels. Kids will surely enjoy the mini slides that have just enough height perfect for them to ride. Do not forget to bring extra money just in case you get hungry, there are a lot of restaurants inside that you can choose.