Friday, June 12, 2009


The first time is always the best and this is so true for so many things.

My first taste of Pansol in Calamba, Laguna was a left turn from the highway going to Los Banos in December of ’94. Mama Butch, our Ina ng Laging Saklolo, led us there: me, a kabagis who was nursing a shattered heart, and my brother the boxer.

The hot spring resort featured a large pool surrounded by newly built apartments for rent which I presume is the business class for patrons who can pay. We stayed in the pavilion, the economy class if you may, which allowed us a free table and chairs. I recalled those in the pool as mostly senior citizens and I thought most of them were either going to be afflicted, already afflicted, and have been afflicted of the diseases of the heart that come with old age. They converge on the spot where one can actually feel the hot spring water seeping from the rock. It smelled of sulfur and from time to time, the bathers would catch the water with bottles and drink it like a magic potion.

Somewhere, the hot water meet a stream of cold spring water creating a perfect lukewarm temperature who younger people like me seemed to prefer having clustered on that part of the pool. Near where the water spills out, a busy line of masseuses were giving a good rub to some of the bathers, including us, for P100 an hour. The familiar smell of Safeguard soap hanged in the air.

Beside the resort is a restaurant of the turo-turo and carinderia type. Nothing fancy except for the displayed photos of showbiz stars who supposedly ate there, the most prominent of which is Bembol Roco. The specialty of the house is kanduling sinigang sa miso. I can still hear the angels sing whenever I recall the perfect sourness of that heavenly soup thick with the yellow grits of miso and the red juice of ripe tomatoes wrapped with a certain tanginess of the half-cooked mustasa leaf garnish and kanduli so fresh they were almost alive.

I was never able to find that place and food again. There are just too many left turns today, too many resorts, and too many ahentes hawking private pools that even stopping to pee in Pansol has become a challenge. It rained all day the last time I was there. The hot water was piped into the pool from somewhere and there were no masseuse. I comforted myself with a plate of pansit bihon and imagined the cascading rain as that glorious broth of kanduling sinigang sa miso from long ago…

Profile: Church of Sta. Rosa, Laguna

Finally, THAT church of Sta. Rosa de Lima. Three years ago, I stumbled into a cake-pink church in the middle of busy shopping district that I later learned to be the Pacita Complex. I thought it was the colonial church I read in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. I posted photos of it in flickr and was told I got the wrong church. So I came back determined not to miss this one as that lost Pansol resort and kanduling sinigang sa miso.

Sta. Rosa was established by the Dominicans as an independent parish in 1792. It took 16 years to build the church from 1796 until 1812. The image of the patron saint enthroned in the church was a gift from the ambassador of Peru to the Philippines who brought the image in 1999. The church had been renovated several times.


Edwin said...

A place worth checking out!
3 Angels Private Hotspring Resort
It is a place near nature and is Overlooking Laguna Lake and situated at the Foothill of Mt. Makiling.

For bookings and reservations contact Carmela at (049) 8350312 / 0923-2351539 (Sun)/ 09084261623 (Smart) / 09156850182 (Globe) or email us at

J. Protacio said...


Jay Mendoza po.. from :: #34 Olongapo F&AM...

pwede ba tayo mag reciprocal link ng blog site natin?

eto nro yung sa akin:


salamat kuyang...

where there is link... there is peace...

ZeroGravity said...

Hayup naman ang description mo shubert. parang andun ako. kaya lang sa state ko ngayon na wlang time for rest and recreation, nakaka-frustrate ang kuwento mo, kakainggit.

babaguhin ko nga ang aking vision board, at mag-iincorporate ako ng artificial spring sa loob ng aking retirement house.