From the resort, I requested our trike driver to drop us off at the Sariaya Municipal Hall (P 10 each). From here, we started our photo-walk, briefly pausing at times to chat for a bit of history with my companions.
I have been to several provinces, but the grandeur of Sariaya’s architecture charmed me in a special way that had me very curious. I had to see them with my own eyes in order to relish what really transpired in the old days.
Several houses here showcase the kind of life the local elite had then. Fueled by the prosperous Coconut industry, they were able to display their wealth through the grand and exquisite 1930s Art Deco fashion which was in trend that time. A chat with a local, kuya Gary, he said that the houses were designed by familiar names like Juan Arellano, Juan Nakpil and others. History buffs would know who these lads were and what they represent.
As I have expected, numerous pre-war homes still dot the main and adjacent roads of the town proper. I had a hard time concentrating on each as the sun was quickly setting and I wanted to take shots of all of them. Being the host for this travel, I was amused and proud at the same time since I get to share Philippine history to my two travel buddies (my mom and cousin-in-law). Ironically, they also have that rare, proud appreciation of old Philippine architecture.
|Natalio Enriquez Ancestral House
Owned by one of Tayabas’ (now Quezon) Provincial Governor,
this old house looks like a miniature castle which is
located beside the church
|Catalino and Luisa Rodriguez Ancestral House also known as Villa Sariaya
One of the houses declared in Sariaya
as a national treasure by NHCP
While roaming around the vicinity, the church’s imposing structure did not leave my peripheral vision. We took a short break from our old-house tour and visited the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi.
|St. Francis of Assisi Church | Church of Sariaya|
Just like every old Filipino town, the building of a Catholic Church marks the foundation or the birth of the town itself. The first church was built in 1599. However, due to human activities and natural calamities, the original structure was destroyed, transferred and rebuilt numerous times. The church that we see today was built in 1748.
Municipio and Town Plaza
The town’s municipio is as unique as the old houses themselves. Appearing like a huge stone mansion complete with an elevated central tower. Quoting the Traveler on Foot: ‘ The focal point of Sariaya’s Municipio is the central towering projection topped by a receding lantern. Flanking all sides are busts of Grecian women. Decorative enhancements like the zigzag and wave like moldings plastered all throughout the building were the typical Art Deco motif seen worldwide while the banana leaf gives the structure a local flavor.’
|Sariaya Town Hall|
Fronting the municipio is the town plaza. We rested for a few minutes here and observed the provincial life the young generation living in the cities are surely missing. Bands and majorettes were practicing for what could be for an upcoming town performance. Curious children happily playing in the plaza grounds and church-goers marching on to attend the last mass of the day.
|Sariaya town plaza|
After feeding our eyes and minds, it was time to feed our growling stomachs. While on the bus on our way to town, I caught a glimpse of a local pizzeria along the road which was called La Barrida Pizza Haus, complete with the neon signs and all. I unconsciously told my two tag-alongs that we will have our snack there. I was right in trying out local restaurants and vie away from the usual eateries. For only Php 290, we were served a family-sized pizza which was good for four persons. This is the house special which they call La Barrida Pizza.
|La Barrida Pizza Haus along national highway|
|La Barrida Pizza Haus Special at Php 290|
|Pizza house interior|
The pizza tastes delicious. A chat with the cashier confirmed my thoughts that they also have branches in nearby towns which are in Lucena City and Candelaria. The pizzeria is located along the highway. However, travelers would sure notice this more if the signs are larger and colorful, making them more eye-catching. The restaurant interior should be repainted and refurbished. I actually find their seats yummy too since it was built in the shape of a pizza pie slice.
Tummy, eyes and minds now full, we found our way towards Balai Sadyaya again. The night was young and we trio enjoyed the pool all to ourselves before the night swimmers joined us. Surely, having that trip down town made me richer in experience. Sariaya, though unknown to many, is a town worth your visit. How I still wish that I have my own Lumang Bahay na Bato. Will my dream come true? I hope so but only the future knows.