LAGUNA: Visit Calamba and Los Banos with Kids

May 20, 2013

LAGUNA: Visit Calamba and Los Banos with Kids

This is my itinerary for a day trip to Calamba to see the Rizal shrine followed by a trip to Los Banos to visit the University of the Philippines Los Banos campus.

This itinerary is best done on a Sunday because there's less traffic on a Sunday. The timing is important because it ensures you avoid traffic at Calamba exit and the SM Calamba intersersection.

This itinerary presumes you're using a private vehicle for this trip.

What you need to do prior to this trip:

1. Call the Rizal Shrine to book a guided tour with film showing.

Why call: The guided tour and film showing is not offered to walk-in visitors. The shrine do not employ regular tour guides. They request tour guides from the city hall who are actually students who are on-the-job training. So you need to request in advance for this service. 
To see the film, they also need a technician on hand to operate the equipment. They also turn on the air-con in the audio-visual room in advance if they know what time you're arriving. 
Contact Nos.: (+63)(049) 834 1599

2. Call Max Restaurant, Monte Vista Resort to reserve tables for lunch with your group.

Why make advance reservation: Since this restaurant is situated beside a resort, I presume it's always full on a Sunday. So to make sure you have a table when you arrive, make a table reservation. If you're going to be late in arriving, call to inform them that you're on the way so they continue to hold the reservation. 
Why this location: This restaurant is along the National Highway between Calamba and Los Banos. If you're going to Los Banos, this restaurant is near the boundary of Calamba and Los Banos, and therefore along the route of your destination from the Rizal Shrine, which is Los Banos.
Why this restaurant: This restaurant gave fast and very good service to our group of 19 people. After a tiring and warm stay at the Rizal shrine, we arrived with a private room already reserved for our group. Within 10 minutes of giving our order, the food was served to us. The quality of food was consistent with our expectations. Other amenities of this restaurant worth mentioning: cool air-conditioning  and very fast free WiFi. 

3. Call Lety's buko pie to reserve buko pies for your group.  

Why reserve buko pie: If you're going to Los Banos in the afternoon, the buko pie tends to run out. So to be safe, reserve buko pie in advance to ensure you have buko pies set aside for your group.
Contact Person at Lety's Lopez Avenue: Josephine Siapo (+63)(929-7255070)


7:30 AM:
Leave Quezon City area

My tip: By leaving early, you avoid traffic at the Calamba exit and the SM Calamba crossing, which is the intersection of JP Rizal Street and the National Highway

9:00 AM:
Arrival at Rizal Shrine

My tip: Make sure to go to the Rizal shrine in the morning to avoid heavy traffic in this area on Sunday afternoons. This is the tip I got from the museum personnel of the Rizal shrine.
Opening hours of the Rizal shrine: Tues - Sun: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Contact numbers: (+63)(049) 834 1599
Address: J.P Rizal corner Mercado Street 
How to go to the Rizal shrine: The entrance of the Rizal shrine is along JP Rizal street. The property is located at the corner of J.P. Rizal and Mercado Street. It's across the St. John the Baptist Church.
You need to go there through Burgos street and make a left turn at Mercado Street then a left turn at J.P. Rizal street because Burgos and J.P. Rizal streets are one-way.

Alternative Route if there's traffic at the Calamba exit and SM Calamba crossing: Make sure to turn right at the San Vicente Ferrer Road along Real Road after the Calamba exit.

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM:
Mass at St. John  the Baptist Church

Why see the Church: This is a century-old church where Jose Rizal was baptized.
For mass schedules:

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM:
Guided tour and film showing at Rizal shrine

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM: 
Lunch at Max Restaurant, Monte Vista Resort


2:30 PM - 4:00 PM:
Visit Lety's Buko Pie along Lopez Avenue, across 711

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM:
Travel from Los Banos to Manila

Where to pass to avoid traffic at the junction of Lopex Avenue and the National Highway: Take the Jamboree Road and go out the National Highway where the Los Banos municipal hall is located.

How much you should budget for this trip:

Gas: around 20-30 liters of gas, or P800 to P1200

Toll: from C5 to Calamba exit: P218 per way, or P436 roundtrip

Meals: P150-250 per person depending on what you will get at Max Restaurant

Pasalubong and souvenirs (optional): The price of Letty's buko pie is P160. We bought books, shirts and ref magnets that amounted to almost 1000 pesos.

Tips for guides (optional)

Tips for waiter (optional)

Donation to Rizal shrine (optional)

Map of the Itinerary

 A    Rizal shrine (birthplace and residence of Jose Rizal) 
 B    Max Restaurant, Monte Vista Resort 
 C    Lety's Buko Pie 
 D    UP Los Banos