For the longest time, I felt like a part of me had been missing. Whenever I come home to my hometown, I’m appalled by how much the place has changed. Even our house is completely unrecognizable. The trees that I grew up climbing, the grass covering our backyard, they are gone. Long gone. What’s there now are pavements. Concrete floors with nothing but dust. Yes, dust is what’s left of my early years.

Last month my friends and I decided to spend a weekend at Casa San Pablo for a brainstorming. “Great,” I thought, “finally, a place to think that’s so different from the concrete box we work in.” So we packed our bags, drove to San Pablo City, Laguna and checked in to Casa San Pablo. We weren’t blown away. No, not blown away. What was there was a whisper, a gentle breath reminding me of the things I had lost.

I went there for an inspiration. It was there. But there was something else. I found my childhood at Casa San Pablo.

When we were young, we had a wider, more sensitive perception. We noticed everything that was new, that was strange, that was curious.

But as we grow up, as the world becomes more familiar, we tend to ignore the small things that captured our attention when we were kids. The novelty wears out. The strangeness fades away. The curiosity now has the potential to kill the cat. These small things are exactly what makes Casa San Pablo special. It is not just a place to stay or eat or have fun. It is an ocean. Everywhere you look, your eyes get flooded with memories of your juvenile years and your heart, ah, your heart drowns.

The restaurant is not just a restaurant. It is a time machine. The ambiance takes you on a ride to the moment when you hang at the kitchen while your mother was cooking. And the food makes you remember why you love food in the first place.

And as you walk around the place, you remember the days when a small paper animal was your bestfriend…

And the rain was a welcome playmate, not a buzzkill…

And the sun used to smile not burn…

The days when we first noticed that symmetry is easily broken…

Yet there’s symmetry in things you don’t expect. You just have to look for it.

The days when you could still see oddness in beauty…

And beauty in oddness…

The days when you could spot what made you happy. No matter how far…

No matter how hidden…

No matter how small…

Everything contained a possibility of happiness, of life…

The days when we would dance even when no one was looking…

Especially when no one was looking…

When the only thing that mattered was that your mother was there…

And the illusion that your dad would never break. Or leave. Ever…

And the ignorance that all homes were never broken…

And the lie that you will never, ever be alone.

How I missed those days.


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Yoshke Dimen
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Anonymous

This is so beautifully written and the photos are wonderful! Ive been there myself and i loved that it felt like home. The food was delicious and the owners of the place were very warm. I would love to visit Casa San Pablo again :)

Salv's Salvador Gomez

opo natry na ng office namin ang Casa San Pablo, actually twice…it was a wonderful experience…i never thought na may ganung place sa San Pablo…when you’re inside parang nasa ibang place ka…

Rosanne Esguerra

Love the place will never forget special memories ! Dec. 2010

Emmanuel Espiritu

My wife and I will probably visit Casa San Pablo the next time we go on vacation to the Philippines. I enjoyed reading The Poor Traveler essay.

Am sure we’ll enjoy being “tourists in our own country.”

Espadrilles de Cebu

I definitely agree… I think it’s a hidden treasure of Laguna..

Joy Majo Tanwangco

The best ang food!! :)

Eyaf Rivera-Flores

yup! me and my hubby spent my birthday there last feb. =) try also lake pandin! heres the link to casa san pablo: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/fbx/?set=a.10150092751501878.280738.677786877 and to lake pandin: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/fbx/?set=a.10150095239946878.282148.677786877

Winnielyn Valenzuela

.,pan0 poh pgpunta d0n nd h0w much entrance.,h0pe someb0dy reply..tnx

nina

Such a beautiful entry to match a beautiful place. Your entry made me miss Casa San Pablo so much!

Cheryl Casey

Oh that is so lovely!!!!

Lemuel Ballesteros

beautiful…

Shamina Albano

Great blog!

Dennis Orila Pama

the pictures and the words tells so much. i like the interaction between the person and the place, the way it gives life to the little things that make the casa unique. i sure will find this place the next time i come to san pablo.

Des Inabangan

Bravo!!! Very well written…’Love to visit San Pablo one of this days!

Des Inabangan

Bravo!!! Very well written…’Love to visit CASA San Pablo one of this days!

Naomi Olay

Is this the old “Kay Inay” Resort?

Rosaflor B. Dy

count me a follower of -the poor traveler- it brings out the adventure side of me=reading about places and experiences=and looking forward that i too would be part of that “walking traveler”…

Ruzz

you’re pix are amazing..you have a way with words too. :) i’m a fan!

Nilda Pille

This is really sweet. It really remind me my childhood. How the things was simple and beautiful.

kara santos

This is wonderfully written and the photos are a work of art. You captured the beauty of the place and really took me back to my childhood. Your fifth photo made me smile and feel sad at the same time. The expression on the straw pig’s face is heart-wrenching. Thank you for this.

Sophie

I wish I could visit this place. Very nice photos.

The Poor Traveler

Thanks, Sophie. :)

garfy

super like! weeee

Patrick

Very well-written and wonderful photos and labels :-)

dulce cordova

hi! me and my husband together with my son (10y.o) had a plan to take a vacation probably white sand beach destination.. can u suggest me a nice place where we can go? we want a peaceful destination.. not a crowded one. where we can stay 3days there.. luzon area could do :) thanx!

thepinaysolobackpacker

nostalgic! you have a way with words and photos. naluha ako. thanks for sharing.

Ferdi

superb photos!

lavender

you are one good writer!
thanks for the infos about your travels. this will surely help me for my future journeys!

Jhade

i’ve read some of your blogs which are informative and helpful but this one prompted me to drop a comment. It was written from the heart, really nice and wonderful.

Catherine San Buenaventura Sampayo

Really? Im really like to go there… S gate pa lang sobrang ganda n… Hay… How i wish….

Evangeline Juco

Where exactly is Casa San Pablo ? Have you heard of SULYAP in San Pablo? Google it and you ‘ll be amazed !

Kristine Buensuceso-Ang

well written! love it! and the photos…just perfect!

Peeka Boo

I got teary-eyed while reading your blog and looking at those pictures… i’m a fan already!

Mimi

I so love all the photos that you’ve been taken and my heart really touched by your words… It brings back my childhood memories too. Very well said. I am also a poor traveler…poor in experience and wanted to explore the world if possible maybe one day, who knows.

Césare Fortún

This made me feel
melancholic but is so beautiful l thought l should share. Reminds me of my beautiful childhood vacation destination places of the old in Mindanao which are now lost
forever. Thank you for sharing.

Dianna Pie

I loooove it! So beautifully written, made me ‘feel’ all of my childhood moments, and the photos…wow! Allow me to share this, thank you.❤

Lola Lacy

This has been the best piece so far ever written here! Are the articles in the poor traveler written by different authors? If they’ve been written by the same one, then I believe Casa San Pablo has given the writer his muse! Well written, well done!

Jacqui Pastoral-Conclara

Short, simple – but very beautiful words.

Nancy Castillo

bravo!!!!

Lhie Grande Patriarca

Is this place is different with villa escudero in san pablo??

The Poor Traveler

Nope, it’s different. :) Villa Escudero is near the Quezon border.:)

Janice Celino

@ms lhie grande, yes the place– Casa San Pablo is different from Villa Escudero. Casa San Pablo is situated in the heart of San Pablo while Villa Escudero is in the boundary of Tiaong Quezon and San Pablo Laguna.

Lhie Grande Patriarca

Yeah alright! Thank u 4 the info, I’ve been in villa escudero last 2008 but I didn’t go roam around the place that’s why…. Thank you.. :)

Aileen Malacad

nice piece of work! kudos to you poor traveler

The Poor Traveler

Thank you, Aileen! :)

Geremy Austria

I enjoyed reading your blog, thankful that I found this! Just so happen na nghahanap ako ng blog about padre burgos in quezon. Nabookmarked ko na to together with my favorite travel blogs! I am amazed how you took pictures and detailing your getaway! Nagbrowse ako ng mga common na napuntahan and happy na maalala ung mga un! Whahaha!

Sametime Status:

I’d rather have misadventures than have “missed adventures.” – Poor Traveler ^_^

The Poor Traveler

Glad to be of help, Geremy! Enjoy your trips!!! :D And please visit this site again if you have time. :)

Geremy Austria

I would love to, can I ask anu gamit mong camera? ngbbalak pa lang kc ako bumili ng SLR eh, and nakita ko na maganda quality ng pictures na nakukuha mu! hehehe

The Poor Traveler

Hi geremy! I use Canon EOS 550 D :)

Geremy Austria

isa pa sir? anung mga lens? para may idea ako sa mga must have! astig kc talaga mga kuha mo eh!! idol! apir!

maria theresa chavez

So inspiring and it really brings back the memories when i was still in my childhood years.

The Poor Traveler

Pretty happy memories, I hope.

Ryan Mach

This is beautifully written. Reminded me so much of my childhood days.

Island Hopper

Loved the photo captions in telling your story … none of the objects in Casa San Pablo reminded me of my childhood, I was surrounded by much different elements, and yet it also did bring me to a more innocent time nevertheless as it did you. Wonderfully written and shot.

Kendrick Salting

This post is beautiful and true.

The Poor Traveler

Thanks, Kendrick!

JB & Renee

Many people write well, but not everyone can write with so much soul. The way you express yourself, relating back to your own experiences, your thoughtfulness, your powers of observation, your ability to find meaning in the smallest, seemingly most insignificant of things, is truly an inspiration. Love this post.

Elaine Joyce Borejon

Nostalgia. This was the most beautifully written posts of all the travel blog posts I’ve read.

Nonette Lib

Wow, such a beautifully crafted blog. If I have to be sexy about it, I could have reached intellectual ejaculation. Surprised? Well, I don’t have orgasm just ejack haha….Oh, my Freudian slip…congrats Yoskie/Vins for this inspiring piece of literature.

Lloyd Carag

actually sir Rae Mond home town ng father ko yan. visit lng kmi every summer nung bata p ako then jan n din ako nag college at nag asawa. maganda nga daw jan sa casa san pablo. . . =) visit ka pg nauwi ka. . . sama mo ko. =)

Paula

Suddenly, fell in love with your blog!! Kudos to you bro!! :)