I was born in Quezon City in Metro Manila and grew up there until I migrated to Aussie land in my late teens. But I’ve always wondered about this Province that is also named after President Manuel Quezon of the Commonwealth of the Philippines.
So I was really excited to visit Quezon Province in July 2019 as part of our 3-week road trip through the regions of Calabarzon, Bicol and Eastern Visayas. I was with my wife Yvnil, my daughter Hannah and my good friend Romwell who shared the driving duties with me.
About 300 metres south of the border arch between the provinces of Laguna and Quezon is the entrance to the ancestral hacienda of the Escudero family.
We drove into this beautiful estate to visit the prime tourist destination known as Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort.
We were greeted with a welcome drink by their very friendly staff as we were directed to this pink church that now serves as the Escudero Private Museum. We saw a large collection of historical church, cultural and government artefacts.
And next to this museum was another pink building, which is an actual residence of one of the Escudero descendants.
We were also amazed to see the words of the Philippine National Anthem written on three separate plaques in the three different languages that it has been sung sometime in the nation’s history.
They were displayed at the base of the flag pole where the Philippine flag is flown with pride.
We then went on a carabao-drawn carriage ride through the plantation grounds. Each carabao had a name and we were thrilled to have a healthy carabao named ‘Sexy’.
I asked the ‘kutsero’ about any issues with animal cruelty and I was pleased to learn that these carabaos were well fed and well looked after and were given regular days off just like human workers.
And when we reached the main resort area, we knew we were in for a lot more adventures for the rest of the day.
First up was the famous Waterfall Restaurant where we got to have lunch with our feet immeresed in shallow running waters at the base of a waterfall.
We could not help but devour our favourite Filipino delicacies in this festive outdoor setting and atmosphere…
…and to take lots of photos right next to the waterfall.
It is actually an artificial waterfall known as Labasin Falls. The water comes from Labasin Dam, which is built as part of the first hydroelectric power plant in the Philippines.
And after lunch, I had so much pride as we watched the cultural show. My daughter Hannah who grew up in Aussie land loved the music and dances.
We were also able to enjoy Bamboo Rafting on the Bulakin River after the cultural show. Bulakin River is where the water down the Labasin Falls comes from.
From Villa Escudero, we went straight to the capital City of Lucena for an overnight stay at Citilink Hotel just across SM City Lucena. Great location and I highly recommend it for its cleanliness, friendly staff and value for money.
The next morning, we went to Quezon Provincial Capitol which still has the original name of the Province written on the Capitol building. The Province was originally named after its former capital, Tayabas City, before it was renamed Quezon Province in 1946.
It has a very spacious front lawn called Perez Park which is named after Governor Filemon Perez who donated this huge block of land for the Capitol and the Park in 1908.
More than a hundred years old, I was pleased to see that the Capitol is under renovation. There was no entry but I snuck in to take these photos inside the Capitol.
And here are some of the plaques in and around the Capitol that I was able to take photos of.
Here is a breathtaking image of the zigzag road and the huge and spectacular signage taken from our drone operated by my amazing daughter Hannah.
And here is a side view of the signage clearly acknowledging President Ferdinand Marcos and Governor Anacleto Alcala of Quezon Province in 1969.
Hannah also bravely went down a steep set of stairs to take this close-up photo of the spectacular signage of Quezon National Forest Park.
And here we are just above the huge signage of Bitukang Manok. The sharp bends of the zigzag road are clearly visible in this photo taken by my friend Romwell.
It was an extra bonus to have Romwell with us as he is very familiar with the important pit stops through the Province. He took us to Lita’s Seafood House, for example, which is a popular lunch stop in Gumaca on the eastern section of Quezon Province.
The food was so good I was melting away in sweat whilst Romwell was fading in the background as we fed our hunger after a long morning driving from Lucena and through the zigzag roads of Bitukang Manok.
And aside from the great food, Lita’s Seafood House also had interesting furniture which Yvnil and Hannah enjoyed using for more photo ops.
And the view across the road from this famous lunch stop is the stunning waters of Lopez Bay with Alabat Island in the background.
We left at exactly 2.17 pm for a couple more hours of driving as we crossed the border into the Province of Camarines Norte to begin our Bicol Region adventure.
Quezon Province was literally a huge surprise for us. There are so many other attractions to visit such as the remote towns of Infanta and Real, the mountains of Banahaw and Pinagbanderahan as well as the islands of Polillo, Pagbilao and Alabat.