Visiting Batangas City has never been easier, faster and more accessible than ever before. With the extension of the Star Tollways from the former exit point in Lipa City all the way to Balagtas in Batangas City, the trip from Sto. Tomas to Batangas City now takes under an hour to traverse.
Last Monday, we motored to RK Village, Kumintang Ibaba, Batangas City to accompany my balikbayan brother, SAM and his British friend, Nigel (now living in the Philippines for the past 6 years) to meet Sam’s friend and fellow balikbayan, Mariza De Guia who was also on vacation here. In tow with Mariza is her British boyfriend, Wayne, who the week before joined a contest in the popular noontime TV show, “Wowowee” and almost won in the “Hep-Hep Hooray” contest segment. Sam, Mariza and Wayne are housemates living in the same flat they’re renting in London and all three came home just days apart during the first week of this month.
Mariza invited us to sample food prepared by her mom and brother-in-law, the Batangueno way. Specially delightful was the hot “LAING”, the classic bicolano dish with gabi (taro leaves) cooked in gata (coconut milk) with some sprinkling of pork skin and shrimps and Beef Caldereta (stew) with its thick liver sauce giving added bite to the taste. While we also feasted on Pork Barbecue, Grilled Tahong (Mussels) and Tilapia, it was the Caldereta that took centerstage among us guests.
Right after lunch, i went out for a walk to check out the village and its environs and immediately liked what i saw: Long, empty roads will tall trees standing on both sides providing shade and a dirt trail that lead to a river with more trails passing along its banks! For the running addict that i was, this came as “BLING!…another place to run!” The river is picturesque, called the “Calumpang River” which lies in the heart of Batangas City. It’s wider than the Marikina River but a little bit polluted, as i observed. After checking this out, i headed back to the house and decided to do a run on its banks later in the afternoon when the sun would not be so hot.
It was a bit cloudy at about 3:30pm so i thought it was best to set out at this time for my run. My nephew Kevin wanted to tag along so he did. We tried to borrow a digicam from Mariza to record the events but she didn’t have one but we settled for the next best thing she offered us, a top of the line N-Series cellphone with a powerful camera. So off we went with Kevin running along me with his havaianas and did well recording my run.
Kevin was trailing me throughout the run taking some pictures. Pretty good runner with only slippers on. Way to go, Kevin!
Posing too at the riverbanks
We finished our run at about 5pm and when we reached Mariza’s house a few minutes later, our group were waiting for us ready for our trip back to Manila. It was a great experience running part of Batangas City and we thank Mariza and her family for their hospitality and generosity. Thanks Mariza for the pabaon of Laing and Caldereta! We hope to be back again next year!