Editorial assistant Bianca Ma. Guerrero and her family take a year-end trip and re-discover the developing shopping and dining destination in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Every New Year's Day, my family wakes up early (well, early for a non-working day) and heads off to Tagaytay to start the year right with a special breakfast. We've been doing this for several years now, and though we don't always go to the same place each year, we usually eat at Breakfast at Antonio's. But Tagaytay seems to have gotten more crowded during the holidays, so this year, we decided to do something different.
Instead of waking early on New Year's morning for our Tagaytay breakfast, we set off for the South after breakfast on the morning of New Year's Eve for a year-ender lunch. We also didn't go all the way to Tagaytay this time--instead, we stopped and shopped at Sta. Rosa. It was something we did every year, too, except that we'd visit Paseo de Sta. Rosa after the usual New Year's breakfast at Tagaytay. This time, Sta. Rosa was our main destination.
My parents took us to Solenad in Nuvali first, since none of us had ever been there before. Nuvali is a project of Ayala Land and the Yulo family: the goal is to create a modern and eco-friendly city, which is why the Solenad, the community's shopping and dining complex, is located beside the Nuvali lake.
When we arrived, we found that there was a small bazaar and an inflatable slide installed as attractions that day, aside from the boat rides and koi fish. I wanted to ride the boat (P30 per head) to take photos and look around, but since the ride was a short one that just went around the compound, I figured it would be the same if I took my shots from solid ground. Nuvali also has bike rentals for P60 a head (another eco-friendly initiative), but none of us were dressed for anything too athletic. We did feed the koi fish, though, which cost us P15 for the plastic bag of feed. We fed the fish for a good ten to fifteen minutes-longer than I expected, since my three younger siblings and both my parents were all taking handfuls of feed and scattering them over the water for the koi.
After feeding the koi, we walked around Solenad, taking note of the restaurants in the area in case we found ourselves there again. Most of the places were familiar, such as Yellow Cab Pizza and Italianni's, but we also discovered restaurants like Pig Out! and Kanin Get It. The other food joints included Crisostomo, David's Tea House, Conti's, and Starbucks.
There were a few stalls scattered around the area, though it didn't take long for us to look around, and at around lunch time, more people started arriving. That was our cue to go off for our special lunch. We headed back towards Paseo, which we passed on the way to Nuvali.
Paseo (more commonly known by its older and longer name, Paseo de Santa Rosa) is a complex of establishments in Greenfield City, many of which are outlet stores and restaurants. Since we had planned to go shopping here in the afternoon, my parents treated us to lunch at Kanin Club, one of the restaurants in Paseo. We ordered tinapa rice, patola in olive oil, seafood kare-kare, beef sinigang, and crispy dinuguan. The food was great, and I liked the house iced tea, but my favorite by far was the seafood kare-kare. Needless to say, once we were done we were stuffed, so we started going around to shop.
Every time we venture down south and pass by Paseo, we always find good deals, especially since we tend to visit during sale season. There are branded stores, like Nike, Speedo, Havaianas, and Levi's, as well as smaller local stores with cute and affordable buys. Marks and Spencer and Debenham's have stores here as well. This year, we found a few good deals--I actually found a cute polka-dotted dress for New Year's in one of the smaller shops. The shops are scattered all over a complex with several buildings, streets, and gardens. The buildings at the back were quite new--many shops weren't open yet.
After a couple of hours of shopping, it was time to head back to Manila. But no out-of-town trip is complete without pasalubong. We left Paseo de Sta. Rosa and took off in the direction of Tagaytay. There are several stalls along the way selling fruits, corn, and furniture. We were nearly in Tagaytay when we stopped at a couple of fruit stalls to buy pineapples and coconuts for ourselves and for our relatives at home. Then we took a u-turn and drove back towards Sta. Rosa. But then we spotted a Loumar's by the road, so we stopped there to get buko pie. This Loumar's branch was very homey. They also served coffee and snacks, aside from the usual pies, tarts, and pasalubong items. But we had to get back home in time to prepare for our New Year's Eve dinner, so we settled for just the buko pie.
Our old van was full to bursting with fruits and our last bargain buys for 2010 as we headed home. Our Santa Rosa food and shopping trip was definitely a good way to end the year.
My dad shows my brothers how to scatter the fish food into the water.