Liliw, Laguna: Arabela Restaurant & An On-Foot Side Trip To The “Tsinelas Capital”
Slabs of meat on a sky high price, pastas having fancy Italian names, small slices of cake sitting on a large white plate, and all other extravagant dishes on a fine dining restaurant’s menu are, most of the time, not found on a cheap person’s food budget list who would rather prefer to eat on a roadside turo turo carinderias. But in the country’s “Tsinelas Capital” (slippers) is a restaurant who made both end meets. Indulging on steaks, pizza and pasta, sweet treats, etc. have never been this cheap in Liliw, Laguna’s Arabela Camello’s Bakehaus & Coffee Shop.
On the way back to Los Baños from an overnight camping trip in Real, our journey deviated from the National Highway towards the quaint town of Liliw which is situated at the foot of Mount Banahaw. Our big-bodied van crawls its way through Liliw’s narrow streets to have dinner in Arabela.
Basement restaurant Arabela, named after Camello’s daughters Ara and Bela.
Facade of St. John The Baptist Church of Liliw made of red bricks.
Liliw Church’s belfry.
Tables were filled with visitors, mass-goers, and locals of Liliw, fortunately, we were on top of the waiting list. While waiting, Tracy and I wandered around town. Passing by old houses and old houses turned into footwear shops, we reached one of my favorite church’s among the number of old religious structures in Laguna, the St. John The Baptist Church. This baroque-inspired architecture made from red bricks gives a distinct characteristic to the church.
Backtracking to Arabela we passed by the Gat Tayaw Street, named after the town’s founder, where a number of shops and stores go “toe to toe” in the footwear selling business. Hence, the town’s primary trade is celebrated through the annual Gat Tayaw Tsinelas Festival.
Footwear stores all over town sell different designs of slippers, shoes, and sandals that would definitely suit each ones diversity in style. In addition, shops have various types of footwear fit for all kinds of occasions. Prices start from as low as P40.00 or “3 for P100.00” and up depending on the footwear style and type.
Sandals showcased by a store in Gat Tayaw Street.
Large sandal made from original materials.
Footwear shops along Gat Tayaw Street.
A popular footwear factory and merchandiser in Liliw.
Bobby and Tonet Camello’s brainchild Arabela is a full service restaurant offering a variety of delightful dishes that will please food lovers. Among the multi-course meals on the menu, Arabela is known for its pizzas and pastas so we had thin-crusted Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza and a cheesy Baked Macaroni for pasta (I was suppose to get a Lasagna, unfortunately, it was not available). I love steaks therefore a mouthwatering T-Bone Steak served with Mashed Potatoes and Buttered Vegetables would be for the main course since good quality steaks have never been so cheap. After a short while, every dish were served and I’m about to grub on palatable dishes.
Aside from pizza, pasta and steaks, Arabela also takes pride in its best seller, Bread Pudding, and cakes that will tickle the taste buds of a sweet tooth. I was suppose to get a cheesecake, unfortunately, it was reserved (I was planning to order it after my meals but I think I should’ve ordered earlier and get it after my main course).
Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza (P295.00 good for 4 persons)
Baked Macaroni (P90.00)
T-Bone Steak with Mashed Potato and Mixed Vegetables (P270.00)
The three story house at the corner of Rizal Street.
At the corner of Rizal Street in Liliw’s town proper is Arabela which is an old three-story ancestral house. The basement is turned into a low-ceiling restaurant painted in earth colors with beautiful paintings hanging by the wall and stained glass lamps illuminate your table. The dining experience is made better with the accompaniment of relaxing lounge music.
It was my second time in Arabela and it never failed to delight me with their food. I’d love to come back and try new dishes among the many in their menu list of house specialties, soups, salad, tacos, more steaks, cakes, and coffee. So if you happen to drop by Liliw, take a dining detour in Arabela. Don’t forget to visit their Spanish colonial era church. Support the local industry by purchasing a footwear from the many shops in town.
Now, here are some fast facts that may help you on the trip:
1. Commuting to Liliw, Laguna from Manila: Take Sta. Cruz, Laguna bound buses like DLTBCo., HM Transport, or JAM Transit and get off at Pagsawitan in Sta. Cruz or ask the conductor to drop you off where you can take a jeep to Liliw.
2. Driving To Liliw, Laguna: If you’re coming from the western part of NCR, take the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to Calamba, Los Baños, Calauan, San Pablo City, Nagcarlan, and finally Liliw. On the other hand, if you’re coming from the Rizal and Marikina area, the Manila East Road connecting Rizal and Laguna is the best route.
3. Arabela is CLOSED ON MONDAYS EXCEPT HOLIDAYS. The restaurant gets quite filled most of the time so it would be advisable to make a reservation. Here are Arabela’s contact numbers and address:
503 Rizal Street, Liliw, Laguna.
(049) 563 24 95
(049) 573 06 92
0917 204 14 47
0928 339 67 87
4. If you’re commuting to Arabela, ask the tricycle and jeepney drivers to drop you off at the restaurant.
5. Just to give you a rough estimate, I paid P550.00 for a 4-slice share with the Bacon Cheeseburger, Baked Ziti, Baked Macaroni, and a T-Bone Steak. All of this for 2 people. Our entire group paid P2,300.00 for the meal of 6 persons.
6. To my knowledge, footwear cost from as low as P40.00 or 3 pairs for P100.00.
7. Like BIYAHERONG BARAT on Facebook.
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10. Enjoy and be safe on your trip.