Long Live Laguna

by • February 25, 2013 • DestinationsComments (1)10555

Laguna province, named after Laguna de Bay, lies on the fringes of this great body of water which is the country’s largest lake.  Endowed with the bounty of nature such as numerous mineral hot and cold springs, majestic waterfalls and protected forest areas teeming with a great diversity of flora and fauna, the province is an important cluster of destinations for eco-tourism, wellness visits, leisure activities and special interest.

Parts of Laguna were settlement sited during the pre-colonial years as validated by historical records and archaeological finds of household items, porcelain ware from the Ming period and ancient written records that were found in the towns of Bay, Pila and Victoria.  The succeeding centuries of Spanish colonial presence created a unique legacy of churches, convents, residences and religious icons that are still found all over the province.  Laguna is steeped in history and cultural heritage.  Its age-old traditions in embroidery, wood-carving, footwear-making and visual arts make it one of the most attractive destinations for aficionados of history and culture.  Today, Laguna is a bustling province that hosts the country’s leading schools, industries and export zones.  The extraordinary gifts of nature have contributed much to the development of resorts, parks and golf courses that have made Laguna one of the most desired visitors’ destinations in the Philippines.

Magdapio Falls

Magdapio Falls by springles4 (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Laguna is a favored destination for majestic waterfalls, hot springs and lush mountains, historic edifices, delicious fruits and delicacies.  These are just few of what Laguna has to offer, a closer look would reveal it for what it really is; a treasure-trove of culture, adventure and nature.

Laguna de Bay

Laguna de Bay by jojo nicdao (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

The province’s proximity to Manila attracts foreign and local holiday-seekers, including conference planners and organizers.  Resorts offer accommodations and amenities for pleasure and conferences.  It is a destination to unwind, a haven to relax and even a place to learn.  Expand your taste to the myriad flavors of Laguna’s fruits and native delicacies.  Revisit the past and marvel at the centuries-old architecture of churches.  Understand nature by hiking along trails or discover and enjoy natural hot springs for alternative health remedies.  Admire traditional skills that have evolved into a unique art.

This diversity of delights awaits you in the province of Laguna.

Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan

Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan ~MVI~ (running away from parties) (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Laguna is undeniably steeped in heritage and the sceneries and attractions mirror the Philippines’ rich past.

The province played a significant role in history.  In the early years of Spanish colonization, the Christianization and administration of Laguna province were rapidly accomplished.  Fanned by the spread of liberal ideas, some of the sectors of the local citizenry challenged the status quo with their desire for political and social reforms.  Dr. Jose Rizal, who was born in Calamba on June 19, 1861, experienced the growing ferment of the era.  His patriotic ideals and core values of courage and pride in his race brilliantly guided the generations of Filipinos in the ardent pursuit of freedom and nationhood.

Rizal Shrine

Rizal Shrine by ~MVI~ (running away from parties) (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

There are several places of interest in Laguna that provide insights to the heritage and history of the province.  The rich flora, fauna and wildlife species are showcased in the Museum of Natural History in the University of the Philippines at Los Banos.  The Escudero private museum in San Pablo City offers an eclectic experience, from the vast collection of artifacts and religious art to the ethnic lifestyle, period costumes and furniture.

Pagsanjan Falls is just one of Laguna’s Refreshing Gifts of Nature

Pagsanjan Falls with tourists

Pagsanjan Falls with tourists by Long Live the Fighters (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

The varied forms of rest and recreation in Laguna center around the bounties of nature.  Lakes, valleys and mountains cater to all tasted and preferences of a nature enthusiast.

Mounts Makiling, Famy and Banahaw offer highly suitable peaks for hiking.  Seasoned trekkers can opt to establish new trails in other mountains spread around the province.  Should one wish to indulge in more than just a de-stressing dip in the curative hot springs of Calamba and Los Banos, go to Alaminos where a valley of natural springs secluded by pristine forests offers an oasis of peace and utmost relaxation.

Aside from Laguna Lake, there are other lakes of prominence located in two areas.  San Pablo is known as the City of Seven Lakes, the biggest of these is Sampaloc Lake which can be viewed from the city proper.  Caliraya’s man-made lake is a great location  when considering water sports as an activity. In Pagsanjan and Cavinti, seasoned boatmen navigates through rapids leading to the thundering falls.  More waterfalls can be enjoyed in the towns of Kalayaan, Pangil, Majayjay and Pakil.

Enchanted Kingdom’s Thrills

Enchanted Kingdom

Enchanted Kingdom by upto6only.com (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

In Laguna, there always seems to be somewhere left to go, and something else to do, a sense of things untried that more often than not inspires an open, enthusiastic attitude which only grows as the day’s destinations draws nearer.

If the variety of attractions and activities determines the value of a destination, then Laguna steps up to every expectation.  The entire province is a shining example of resource management where light industrial parks complement leisure and recreation sites.  Every town has a certain theme, a certain flavor;  Sta. Rosa’s Enchanted Kingdom theme park is an outstanding venue for family amusement; Calamba’s hot springs; Los Banos’ Mt. Makiling; Pagsanjan’s rapids and falls; the specialty cottage industries of Lumban, Liliw, Luisiana and Paete; churches and museums and so many more.  These allow Laguna to retain its appeal even after many visits.

Despite its proximity to Manila and the heavy demand for so many commodities derived from nature, it has managed to remain clean, green and inviting.  It is this proximity, in fact, and the people’s excellent stewardship and warm hospitality that give Laguna the edge as a business and leisure destination.

Exotic Blooms of Los Banos

Bulaklak

Bulaklak by wallygrom/Creative Commons

The people of Laguna are highly skilled in horticulture production, woodcarving, footwear making, embroidery and paper mache.  The inspired skill and artistry create immense value which continues to make Laguna famous for tourists and visitors.

The ornamental plant industry thrives in the towns of Los Banos, Calamba and Bay.  From a variety of exotic plants and trees to landscaping services, expert green thumbs produce lush, colorful varieties that serve as fitting tributes to man’s ability and nature’s splendor.

Plant fibers such as those from pineapple and banana are transformed into formal wear in Lumban.  These plant fibers are hand woven to create elegant fabrics that stand proud next to contemporary garments designed elsewhere.  The value these artisans interpret on embroidered patterns can be seen  in the flawless work on exquisite Filipiniana wear that are considered heirlooms among collectors of Philippine crafts.

Handcrafted Footwear of Liliw

Well Worn Liliw Slippers

Well Worn Liliw Slippers by sankarshan (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Another example of Filipino quality craftsmanship in footwear-making is seen and felt in every pair bought in Liliw.  A “Tsinelas” (Sandals) Festival called Liliw Gat Tayaw highlights the unique expertise of the Liliw residents in making footwear.  The main road fronting the Municipal Hall is lined by retail shops selling shoes, sandals and fashion accessories made from local raw materials.

Lilok Paete (Paete Woodcarves)

Lilok Paete (Paete Woodcarves) by ~MVI~ (running away from parties) (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

The town of Paete is famous for woodcarving and making paper mache, known locally as taka.  Centuries of experience passed from generation to generation have become an icon of folk art from Laguna.  The town of Luisiana, on the otherr hand, is famous for pandan weaving.  The finely woven palm fronds used as handbags, decorative mats and home accessories display the quality and excellent craftsmanship that the town is noted for.

Laguna Offers Enticing Flavors

Buko Pie

Buko Pie by ~MVI~ (running away from parties) (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Visitors to Laguna take delight in nature’s gifts from the abundance of fruits and native delicacies.  These delicious specialties can be purchased at pasalubong (gift) shops or stalls along the national highway.

Lakeshore thatch-roof  restaurants on stills complete the dining experience of grilled freshwater catch.  Top this hearty meal with indigenous fruits, such as Lanzones and Rambutan which came in season during the latter part of the year.

Sample Laguna’s sweet treats, the most famous of which is the Buko-pie – young coconut baked with sugar and milk.  Espasol is made of sweet rice flour with milk and toasted coconuts.  Another coconut-based delicacy is Macapuno.  Having softer flesh than regular coconuts.  Macapuno is commonly turned into soft candies flavored with milk and cane sugar.

Kesong Puti or White Cheese, comes from processed carabao milk, salt and vinegar.  Also a specialty is Puto Binan, a traditional fluffy glutinous rice cake garnished with cheese.

Feasting with Nature in Villa Escudero

Villa Escudero

Villa Escudero by bob|P-&-S (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Celebrate life in Laguna with a feast of good native food, warm hospitality and rich culture.

All over the province’s municipalities and cities, festivals run year-round.  The Coconut is the center of festivities in San Pablo every January and somber yet awesome processions are also held there on Good Friday.  In Calauan, the Pineapple Festival is held in May.  Pagsanjan honors the boatmen during the month of March with its Bangkero River Festival.  Products also become the focus of celebrations such as Paete’s Paetaka Festival and Liliw’s “Tsinelas” Festival.  Los Banos hosts the Banamos Festival in September to celebrate its status as a “Nature and Science City.”  Typical of Filipino celebrations, Laguna’s fiestas are always filled with merriment, pageantry and gastronomic delights.

For smaller and private celebrations, natural gardens offer excellent picnic grounds.  In Los Banos, the top picnic site are the Makiling Botanic Gardens and the Boy Scouts Jamboree grounds.

Colorful People and Culture Await Your Visit

Folk Dancers, San Pablo Laguna

Folk Dancers, San Pablo Laguna ~MVI~ (running away from parties) (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Laguna is a favored destination for majestic waterfalls, hot springs and lush mountains, historic edifices, delicious fruits and delicacies.  These are just few of what Laguna has to offer, a closer look would reveal it for what it really is: a treasure-trove of culture, adventure and nature.

Dance with Flames, San Pedro Laguna

Dance with Flames, San Pedro Laguna by the real brute (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

The province’s proximity to Manila attracts foreign and local holiday-seekers, including conference planners and organizers.  Resorts offer accommodations and amenities for pleasure and conferences.  It is a destination to unwind, a haven to relax and even a place to learn.  Expand your taste to the myriad flavors of Laguna’s fruits and native delicacies.  Revisit the past and marvel at the centuries-old architecture of churches.  Understand nature by hiking along trails or discover and enjoy natural hot springs for alternative health remedies.  Admire traditional skills that have evolved into a unique art.

This diversity of delights await you in the province of Laguna.

With its nearest municipality only 31 kms. south of Manila, Laguna is bound on the north by Rizal province, on the east by Sierra Madre mountain range, on the south by Quezon province, and on the west by the provinces of Cavite and Batangas.

Places of Interests

Technopark

Technopark by Ville.fi (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Laguna Technopark     Alongside booming residential development, Sta. Rosa hosts world-class industrial facilities.

Enchanted Kingdom

Enchanted Kingdom by smerc01 (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Enchanted Kingdom     Over 23 world class rides and attractions enjoyed by over 10 million visitors and counting.

UP Los Banos

UP Los Banos by julesnene (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

University of the Philippines (Los Banos)     The premier agriculture-based school in the country.  It is a noted center for academic excellence.

Jose Rizal's Ancestral House

Jose Rizal’s Ancestral House by benjieordonez (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Rizal Shrine     A replica of the Spanish style house where the national hero lived, now a museum displaying his memorabilia.

Makiling Botanic Gardens     Serene natural garden occupying 300 hectares of forest area.

Miracle Rice

IRRI Rice Crop by IRRI Images (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)     It is a facility dedicated to improving rice crops.  It features a museum called Rice-world.

Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden by footprints of a wanderlust (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Museum of Natural History     Houses over 200,000 specimens of local plants, wildlife and insects.

Puto Binan

Puto Binan by Roberto Verzo

Binan     The education center of Laguna’s first district supposedly derived its name from “binyagan” meaning baptismal.  The Puto Binan is its delicacy.

Pagsanjan Falls

Pagsanjan Falls by jojo nicdao (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Pagsanjan     Shoot the rapids in Pagsanjan!  Expert boatmen navigate your boat through 16 rapids.  The three-hour ride ends at Pagsanjan Falls. also called Magdapio Falls.

Lumban     It is popular for the beauty and quality of its native garments.

Heritage Town in Pila, Laguna

Heritage Town in Pila, Laguna by puresolitude (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Pila     This heritage town is mentioned twice in the oldest Philippine document, the Laguna Copperplate Inscription which dates back to 900 AD.

An Old Photo of the Actual Execution of Rizal

An Old Photo of the Actual Execution of Rizal

Calamba City     Deriving it’s name from the clay stove-earthen jar, it is famous for being the birthplace of Dr. Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero.

Laguna Hot Spring

Laguna Hot Spring by chaosandcreations (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Los Banos     Translated as “The Bath” because of its hot springs, it is located at the foot of Mt. Makiling, an extinct volcano home to over 2,000 species of flora and fauna.

Alaminos, Laguna

Alaminos, Laguna by ~MVI~ (running away from parties) (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Alaminos     Once called Trenchera because of the long trenches.  Previously part of Batangas, it was ceded to Laguna in 1902.

Sampaloc Lake

Sampaloc Lake by MVI (running away from parties) (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Sampaloc Lake     The biggest of San Pablo’s 7 lakes, can be viewed from a park beside City Hall.

Sta. Cruz, Laguna

Sta. Cruz, Laguna by ~MVI~ (running away from parties) (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Sta. Cruz     As the provincial capital, it is the center for administration of Laguna and serves as the transport hub connecting travelers to Manila.

Nagcarlan     Site of the Underground Cemetery, it also takes pride in the Bunga Falls and its views of eight different mountains.

Underground Cemetery

Underground Cemetery by benjieordonez (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Lake

Lake by Andrew Subiela (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

San Pablo City     The city of seven lakes.

Woodcarver

Woodcarver by jojo nicdao (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Paete     Named after the the Tagalog word for chisel, it the country’s carving capital because of intricate wood carvings, paper mache, and wooden shoes or “bakya.”

Twin Falls

Twin Falls by jojo nicdao (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Kalayaan     Home to the Twin Falls.  Like Paete, it offers exquisite woodcarvings sold in shops along the road.

Caliraya

Caliraya by martiniszone (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Caliraya Lake     A man made reservoir popular for aqua sports, such as boating, wind surfing, water skiing and game fishing.

Luisiana, Laguna

Luisiana, Laguna by MVI (running away from parties) (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Luisiana     Once called Nasunog de Majayjay, it was renamed in honor of Don Luis Bernardo and his wife Dona Ana.  This town is famous for its Pandan products.

Mt. Mahayhay Falls

Mt. Mahayhay Falls

Majayjay     Founded in 1571, its name came from “ma” which means very, plus, the exertion needed to reach the place would you to sigh “hay hay.”  It is home to the beautiful Taytay falls.

Liliw Laguna

Liliw Laguna by MVI (running away from parties) (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Liliw     Known as the footwear capital of Laguna, this town on a hilly plain offers a cooler climate compared to neighboring towns.  Prior to 1965, it was called Lilio, after the ilio-ilio bird.

Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan

Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan ~MVI~ (running away from parties) (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Underground Cemetery     The only kind in the country, this 18th century walled cemetery has a tiled walkway leading to an underground crypt.

Carabao in Villa Escudero

Carabao in Villa Escudero by bob|P-&-S (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Villa Escudero Coconut Plantation & Resort     Unique rural life experience complete with a carabao drawn cart, local cuisine beside a waterfall, Escudero museum and riverside cottages.

 Distance from Manila in (kms.)

Mt. Makiling

Mt. Makiling by Jun Acullador (fr Flickr) under CC BY 2.0

Alaminos 78 Bay 69
Binan 35 Cabuyao 43
Calamba City 53 Calauan 74
Cavinti 110 Famy 84
Kalayaan 109 Liliw 105
Los Banos 62 Luisiana 120
Lumban 104 Mabitac 123
Magdalena 113 Majayjay 120
Nagcarlan 105 Paete 112
Pagsanjan 101 Pakil 114
Pangil 117 Pila 87
Rizal 97 San Pablo City 87
San Pedro 31 Santa Cruz (Capital) 96
Santa Maria 128 Sta. Rosa City 38
Siniloan 121 Victoria 87
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One Response to Long Live Laguna

  1. […] One could linger to the hot springs of Los Banos and Calamba, trek the summit of Mt. Makiling and fell in love with the wonder of the rapids and cascading falls of Magdapio falls together with the entire family. More about Laguna. […]