After receiving a copy of the charmingly packaged and printed Viaje del Sol road map, Traveler on Foot began traversing the highways of Laguna and Quezon to experience the unusual treats that awaited us. Since our journey was unplanned (as we always do), we only visited some of the places suggested in the Viaje del Sol itinerary which we felt would immediately satisfy our interest and those that are available without prior reservation necessary.
Our Viaje del Sol begins at Kusina Salud in San Pablo Laguna.
Kusina Salud has become a tourist stopover in San Pablo. Owned by the family of famous Filipino fashion designer Patis Tesoro, the restaurant is located in a half-hectare property of the Tesoros. In 2004, they decided to share their relaxing weekend experience to the public by converting the silong of their weekend home into a restaurant which they named after Patis’ mother-in-law Salud Tesoro.
The house is tucked away from the main road. This allowed us to go through a tropical garden, until we came upon an arch overgrown with vines. This arch frames a paved path leading to the main entrance.
Surrounded by what looks like an untamed garden, the weekend home of the Tesoros appeared to be an old bahay-na-bato. But upon a closer look, the house is actually a quirky collage of old pieces salvaged from old houses.
At Kusina Salud, capiz panels are reused not only for windows, but also as walls, doors or dividers. Old callado or tracery panels and ventanillas (window railings) create lace like walls. The callado create permeable walls that allow cross ventilation and relieve humidity. A steep gable roof allows the warm air to rise off the living spaces.
Most of the living areas don’t have any solid walls, making them open to lush natural environment, sunlight and fresh air.
The house is an eclectic mix of elements. The house feature geometric patterns that go along with curved vine like traceries. Wood panels are not uniformly varnished or painted. The result is a setting that feels organic, not landscaped much like its surrounding environment.
While the house was intended to blend from the outside, it was made to stand out from the inside. Warm colors accent the interiors, contrasting the vast green hues of the garden. Red cushions and carpets accent the rest of the wooden furniture.
The warm hospitable atmosphere radiates to the staff. Resident chef Paul Poblador provided us cooking demo before we enjoyed the seafood tinola, spicy chicken and a dessert of special turon. I’ve learned that they have a lunch buffet every Sundays. We’ll probably try it next time.
Kusina Salud features a truly Filipino out-of-town experience. From the tropical garden to the bohemian bahay-na-bato to the warm hospitality and mouth-watering food that they’ve served, Kusina Salud gave us a good start for our Viaje del Sol.