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Laguna’s Delicious Food is Reason Enough to Visit the Province

by Bianca Vinoya

Most of my friends tend to associate Laguna with the gifts of nature: springs and lakes, falls and caves, and mountains and forests (and the urban legends that come with them).

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Recently, however, a lot of them look to Laguna for a quick getaway from Manila. It’s easier to reach, and it’s just a few minutes away from Tagaytay City. But there's one other thing worth stumbling upon in the province: the amazing cuisine. Going on a food-slash-road trip around Laguna is an adventure worth taking, especially with the delicious eats its local spots are ready to offer.

Getting to Laguna

From Manila, the most convenient way to go to Laguna is by bus. Terminals can be found by EDSA and Pasay City (Buendia). Look for any bus that’s bound for Sta. Cruz, and you’re on your way to Laguna. If you’re going to Laguna by car, we recommend that you pass through the Southern Luzon Expressway (SLEX). If you’re coming from Cavite (Tagaytay), you can also traverse the Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Road to get to Santa Rosa, Laguna.

Your Food Trip Stops

These restaurants were recommended to me by my friends who grew up or studied in Laguna—tried, tested, and certified worth a visit! You can choose around five of these for a full adventure (breakfast, merienda, lunch, merienda part 2, and dinner) when you do make the drive, or all of them, if you’re feeling hungry and powerful.

1. Rose and Grace

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Located along the Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Road, Rose and Grace is a Filipino restaurant not to be missed in Laguna. Their specialty is the bulalo at ₱460 that is served steaming hot with vegetables, and you can ask for more soup if you wish (you’ll want to, I swear). Their tawilis (₱95), the fish native to the Taal Lake, is pretty good too, especially for its price.

Rose and Grace
Santa Rosa Estate, Santa-Rosa Tagaytay Road
Don Jose, Santa Rosa
(049) 541 1073
Open daily, 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM

2. LZM

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This restaurant has multiple branches all over Laguna, but one of the easiest branches to visit is the one at Solenad at Nuvali, Santa Rosa. Their Filipino specialties like Boneless Bangus (₱430), Bulalo (₱520), and Chicharon Bulaklak (₱320) are worth the extra calories. Their bangus servings are huge—you can split it with your friends, which allows you to save money and space in your stomach for even more food later. Win-win!

LZM
Solenad 2 Nuvali, Brgy. Sto. Domingo, Sta. Rosa
(049) 302 0051 / (0917) 816 6860
Open daily, 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM

3. Dalcielo

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Dalcielo comes highly recommended by University of the Philippines Los Baños students, and for good reason. It’s the perfect place to slow down while eating great food and enjoying good conversation with close friends and family. We recommend their pako (fern) salad (₱225) and their crispy dinuguan (₱195). A personal highlight for me was their Pinoy Cheesecake (₱195). I’m a self-proclaimed cheesecake connoisseur, and their cheesecake, made with local goat's milk cheese, did not disappoint. While Dalcielo’s prices are a bit higher compared to other local restaurants in Laguna, the price is definitely worth the comfort their food can give you.

Dalcielo
Los Baños
(049) 501 2842
Open daily, 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM

4. The Original Buko Pie

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A Laguna trip for me always entails visiting the main branch of the very famous The Original Buko Pie (because there are buko pies, then there’s The Original Buko Pie). You just can’t compare: The Original Buko Pie (₱200 per whole pie) doesn't hold back on the coconut meat, making it dense and juicy and bursting with flavor. Even Laguna residents themselves wait in queues just to get their slice of the pie. Other recommended eats from the store are the Tropical Pie (buko pie with pineapple filling—sounds weird but tastes great!) and Espasol.

The Original Buko Pie
National Highway, Anos, Los Baños
(049) 536 3783

5. Arabela

INSTAGRAM: gayleseno

My Laguna friends tell me that Arabela used to be their ‘best kept secret’ in the province, but more and more tourists have discovered this quaint restaurant in the town of Liliw. Their ceilings are very low, so tall people might have to duck their heads a bit entering the restaurant, but that’s part of the whole charm of the place! Don't leave without trying their bestselling kesong puti pizza (₱300), and for dessert, aside from their ₱120 blueberry cheesecake, dig into their fudge walnut (₱55 per piece), which has a strong chocolate flavor without being too cloyingly sweet.

Arabela
503 Rizal St., Liliw
(049) 563 2495
Open daily, 11:15 AM - 7:00 PM

6. Aling Taleng’s

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Aling Taleng’s in Pagsanjan, Laguna serves the perfect merienda, an excellent break during a whole day of road tripping and traveling from town to town. My Caviteño grandparents would probably frown upon me for saying there's a better halo-halo than the ones in Bacoor, Cavite, but Aling Taleng’s halo-halo (₱120) might just take the #1 spot. Their version has generous servings of ube, candied kundol, and macapuno, with the sweetness coming from the natural ingredients and not overpowered by sugar. Another item to sink your teeth into is the puto bumbong topped with muscovado sugar (₱35), a classic, comforting dessert or snack.

Aling Taleng’s
169 General Luna St., Pagsanjan
(0917) 899 8484
Open daily, 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM

Laguna residents have always used the natural resources available to them, evident in their local arts and crafts (see the woodcarving mastery of the people of Paete) and oral tradition inspired by the nature that surrounds them (legends like Maria Makiling). Visit the province and you’ll discover that more proof of Laguna locals’ resourcefulness and creativity actually lies in their cuisine. Whether you're chowing down on a bowl of crispy dinuguan or savoring slow bites of a warm slice of buko pie, a taste of Laguna is something you'll remember—and something you'll keep coming back to.

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About Bianca
Bianca is a part-time development researcher, part-time writer, and full-time Arctic Monkeys fan. A self-confessed lover of carbs and traveling, she's determined to try every pandesal of every bakery in the Philippines.

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