Tuesday, February 8

Bon Appetit at Kinabuhayan Cafe

From a relaxing Lake Pandin cruise, we rode on a jeep bound to San Pablo city proper. Little did we know that then was the town’s fiesta so we were greeted by side by side traffics and flea markets on the streets. Few streets from the church are the jeeps bound to Candelaria Quezon, the trip that will pass by Tiaong Quezon. From Tiaong is another ride going to our destination, Dolores Quezon.

We failed to catch the last trip from Tiaong New Market to Dolores thus our last option of a special tric ride for P150 (plus P50 tip). Landmark of Kinabuhayan Café is Dolores Central School, few walks along Dejarme St and you’ll find the quaint café.

To be honest, we were not impressed with the place at first. On the center of the restaurant is a billiard table, on both corners are two tables (one of which I think is the only one being used—the one we actually used in our 2 days stay). Dry cat’s coating was hanging on the wall, candelabras with melted candles, pictures of an ermitanyo looking man on the old big mirror.

Then the same person appeared from the kitchen who welcomed us with his unbelievable perfect English accent. He was Jay Herrera--the person of character, the owner and the chef. Don’t get me wrong, I already saw him on some videos and blogs, but meeting him in person is something. But since we were too tired from commuting, we asked for our ‘room’ first for some rest. Good thing we never expected too much on this trip…and glad to be surprised all along…

sneak peak of our humble 'room' for the night

the open first floor
Gil chillaxing at the hammock

An hour later, we were called by Ralph-Jay’s assistant informing us that the dinner’s ready. Ralph was already lighting the candles when we came in. Soon, they came out from the kitchen and prepared our table. Few minutes later and the foods came in...

Tadaaa…Jay’s specialty: Risotto al Fungi along with those mouthwatering inventions.

mushroom risotto in the middle, breaded eggplant (brilliant!), lamb stew...
..and the garden salad with edible flowers (remind us of Bohol Bee Farm)
dessert of brazo de mercedes and icecream (so much of the presentation)
...and a pitcher of kapeng barako to cap the meal

We already started the dinner when the anticipated airing of Jessica Soho’s feature of Kinabuhayan Café started. It was something like blogger Anton Diaz’ most recommended foods. Just imagine our ‘wow’ and hiyawan as Jay appeared and showcased how he makes his Risotto al Fungi. We’re glad we were able to watch the feature and taste the goodness of it in one sitting. The risotto was undoubtedly heaven! It was after we had that dinner and tasted the risotto that everything became pleasing to our eyes…it was such a romantic place pala!

We retired for the night after few hours and had one of the best nights of our lives in our humble open-air-hut. We asked for an electric fan pa pero di rin nmin nagamit kz super lamig pala pag madaling araw aside from malakas ang hangin that night we thought bumabagyo na.


The following day, we were able to capture the beauty of the place. I on my old Canon Ixy and Gil on his Canon Kiss. (I should have posted Jay's pets as well namely Chongki and Muning--the dogs and the famous Onion--the porky pet, but I'm having some prob with Picasa Web storage.Will just try to update this post the soonest).


We stayed on this two-storey open-air-nipa hut. First floor is an open area with hammock, bamboo sala set, books on the wooden bookshelves where the stairs are attached going to the second floor which is basically an open area for the mattress on the bamboo floor and the huge ‘kulambo’.

The CR is located right at the back of the wall, an open space for the usual toilet amenities. High walls surround the place though (but we’re not at all comfortable thus we manage to use one of the blankets as cover. Hehe!)

Staying at Kinabuhayan Café has no time limit. We were instructed to take our time as they don’t have check-in and out thus we had our breakfast at around 10am, ansarap kayang matulog! Hehe! 


Breakfast was a special tosilog (tocino, herbed sinangag and vegetable pancake). Dessert was a wonderful kiwi in cream dressing plus another pitcher of kapeng barako. A great way indeed to start the day!

food conversation with Jay  ^_^
its normal that he will sit with you during meal time. Our pleasure! ^^


We requested for a Kubli Spring visit to swim and for the supposedly lunch but we decided to just have the lunch back at the café. Kuya Arnold, our driver cum tour guide arrived as we’re having the breakfast. So as soon as we finished the meal, we packed our things up and head on the trek to find the once hidden Kubli Spring.

Kubli Spring is an ideal picnic location for families. As we arrived, there was already a group in the spring, some were preparing to grill fish while others are cooking on pots above the rocks. Good thing we were told by Kuya Arnold to walk ahead for a more private spot of the spring. There we felt like having the entire place all by ourselves as we’re enjoying the cool water fresh from Mt. Banahaw.

Current was strong on some parts that we needed to be extra careful. It’s not that we’re not really good swimmers, but big rocks were all over the place we’re afraid to hit one on some careless steps. We enjoyed swimming and listening to Kuya Arnold’s stories that we stayed for around 3hours.


Kuya Arnold suggested if we wanted to see Lake Gunaw. Since it’s along the way, we decided to pay a visit. Along the way, we passed by a dalandan tree where we took some fruits, fresh from the tree. I suddenly miss the times na pupunta kmi sa lolo ko sa Bicol, ang daming bunga ng mga puno. Buhay probinsya…nakakamiss…

Overlooking Lake Gunaw is this breathtaking view:


Few minutes more and we’re on our way already back to the café, still wet and cold. We just dressed up and packed our things up and head on to the restaurant where our late lunch was waiting.  We’re actually anticipating for a wonderful meal but we were surprised to have all these served to us:

paella ala pobre
bestest vegetable lasagna
lasagna up close
chicken cordon bleu
 Baba Ghanoush (with a slight kick of spiciness)
...and sweet suman as dessert showered with cinnamon bits and cream

After the meal, we went inside Jay’s kitchen for a souvenir photo with him and were amazed how organized and neat his place was. Then I understand the meaning of passion…

This trip is definitely one of the best trips we’ve had. We never set high expectations for this trip but we ended up satisfied as we anticipate for our next trip back. We had the relaxations we’ve been longing in the first place and the place is very near Manila area as commuting is very well manageable.  We’re able to breathe fresh air as we commune with nature and have found great people along the way. Above all, the bonding Gil and I had is beyond compare. It’s just so nice waking up in the morning with your dearest beside you as he stares in your eyes saying ‘Pakasal na tayo?’

Talk about happiness! ;-)

Updated rate for Kinabuhayan Café B&B is Php750/meal per person. Overnight stay in their open-air-hut is FREE if you availed 3 meals.

For reservations, you may visit Kinabuhayan Café FB site  or contact Jay Herrera at 0916.221.5791. Enjoy! ;-)


Nitchel said...

kambal.. super like it!!!! sna mkapag gnyan din kmi ni pj..wala kcng khilig hilig un eh..

but the place is so nice and cool!!! sarap jan lamig lamig noh. ahemmm.. ahhaha

love u kambal!!!!

kg said...

"Staying at Kinabuhayan Café has no time limit. We were instructed to take our time as they don’t have check-in and out"--panalo ito!

the food looks so delicious! plus the place is one of a kind! it's a whole new experience! ganda! :)

PS. may wedding date na ba? he he!

Chyng said...

will go there for the food, grabe picture palang, feast in the eye na!!
mahirap puntahan yan? pwede daytour?

mishi said...

kambal...weeehh! 1st time to comment ha!haha! :) ikaw kz mag-organize then just inform him of the plan. Tapos ulit-ulitin mo sa knya kung gano kaganda dun sa pupuntahan nyo, then later ask for the budget hehe! Thanks sa pagdalaw! And hey, hapi 3Y din senyo! love u too! *Huggs!

@kg, panalo tlga kg! 3-4pm na ata ung lunch nmin eh. If u haven't been here yet,I suggest you try it especially the risotto.The best!

PS: wala pa. :)

@chyng, yep, u have to try this chyng! Really one of the best we've tasted! Dali lng puntahan, and yes pwede daytour. You can even asked Jay for a picnic sa Kubli,dun nila iserve ung foods. Just inform him ahead of time so he could prepare. :)

kayni said...

ang ganda. i'll add this to my places to go when i come home. i love your photos. nakakamiss talaga ang probinsiya.

Arvin U. de la Peña said...

mukhang maganda diyan..

Maruhya said...

hello first time to comment :) nice pictures! i fell in love with the place ang ganda! would be nice to try jay's risotto too and wishing to visit there soon! more powers and goodluck to your life's journey :)

SimpleMomRizza said...

gosh! Mishi that was one of a kind adventure for you and Gil... i'm happy for both of you... we've been wanting to go there sana last year kaso we ended up in casa san pablo... maybe next year, i hope :)

marxtermind said...

This is on my list to try. Parang nabasa ko toh kay Anton!

Vlado&Toni said...

Wow! Just got in through Grace's blog by chance.. thanks for posting about this place.. i will definitely check this out one day when I get a chance to go to the Philippines.. thanks and will definitely check your other posts as well in the future

Nicely said...

Mukhang masarap matulog dyan sa cottage ah. Maaliwalas.


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