Hijos Tours welcomes back travelers for first in-person tour in 2022

Posted on March 29, 2022

With the help of the Forest Wood Garden owner Mr. Joel Frago, making pansit kalabuko became more convenient and memorable for Nanay Maximina Aima and Nanay Marissa, both CARD MRI clients.

Despite the many challenges that the tourism industry faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, many tourism-related enterprises are getting back on its feet beginning March of 2022. As Alert Levels have gone down, local travel requirements also eased. The Department of Tourism (DOT) became more optimistic about this progress because this will bring back opportunities for tourism and will gradually help the industry to recover.

CARD MRI Hijos Tours, a tour operator based in San Pablo City, Laguna, and a member of CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions, is one of the many tourism companies welcoming back travelers to its in-person tours in response to the simultaneous lowering of alert levels in our country.

On March 19, 2022, Hijos Tours catered to a group of travelers during their very first in-person Cocina de San Pablenos Tour for the year. This tour program is a combination of their heritage tour dubbed as Hijos de Siete Lagos and a culinary tour highlighting the unique dishes in San Pablo City, Laguna.

The tour started with a suman demo that emphasizes the importance of recreating an old handed-down recipe. The travelers also visited Sampaloc Lake where the pre-Hispanic way of life of the San Pableños was explored. They also stopped by the St. Paul the First Hermit Cathedral, a city landmark in San Pablo. Churches are often linked to community celebrations like fiestas, communions, and weddings.

After that, they visited the Forest Wood Garden, where they enjoyed some of the restaurant’s signature dishes such as the Pancit Kalabuko, a stirred fried noodle that only used organic vegetables and the Plantsado lamang lupa, a root crop dessert relative to cassava with its special way of cooking.

“One of the things I will never forget is making Pansit Kalabuko, where it not only taught me how to do it, but it even entices me to appreciate what nature has to offer us, just like growing organic vegetables. Not only is it nutritious, but it also helps our ecosystem,” shared Maxima Aima Veridiano, one of the tour participants.

Hijos Tours in the new normal

For other interested travelers, Cocina De San Pablenos is available in three packages. First is the Salig Tour, a half-day tour that can be availed for only PhP2,949 per pax minimum of five. This guided tour package includes a private van transfer and travel insurance. During the Salig Tour, travelers will experience the cultural and culinary heritage of San Pablo, Laguna. A cooking demo of a San Pableña suman will be one of their fun activities. In addition, travelers will also explore Sampaloc Lake then a quick visit to San Pablo Cathedral. Their lunch will be at Pandin Lake, which is the most exciting part since travelers will cook their own food by catching and grilling tilapia from the lake and prepare their own ensaladang pako (fern salad). Salig is a Cebuano word that means trust.

Meanwhile, the second tour package is named after another Cebuano word, “Padayon,” which means to move forward and never give up. This package is a half-day tour, which can be availed at PhP2,999 per pax for a minimum of five travelers. This tour also includes a tour guide, private van transfer, and travel insurance. The Padayon Tour will also have a San Pableña suman cooking demo and a heritage tour to Sampaloc Lake and San Pablo Cathedral. The thrilling part of the Padayon Tour is the farm tour and lunch at the Forest Wood Garden. The travelers of this tour package will cook few signature dishes of Forest Wood Garden such as Pancit Kalabuko and Plantsadong Lamang Lupa where they pick needed ingredients of the dishes right inside the farm.

Last is the Paglaum Tour, a full day tour which can be availed at PhP4,499 per pax minimum of five people. The tour is a combination of the full experience of both Salig and Padayon Tours. Paglaum is a Cebuano word that stands for hope.

Although Hijos Tours is now accepting in-person tours, they will still accommodate virtual tours for travelers who still want to experience Food tours and Pilgrimage tours that feature various churches in Laguna at the comfort of their homes.

Hijos Tours President and Chairperson Ms. Marilyn M. Manila is optimistic for the good outcome of this new era of tourism, “At Hijos Tours, we are hoping that through our tour programs, we will be able to help our community and the tourism industry to recover from the effects of pandemic. Local communities and their stories are always at the heart of what we do.” She concluded that Hijos Tours’ will soon accept travelers who are interested in their customizable heritage tours in Samar-Leyte, Baguio City, Iloilo City, Davao City, and Legazpi City.

For more details about their tour programs, visit the Facebook official page @HijosToursOfficial