Liliw Laguna: Tsinelas Republic
Who would have thought that in the middle of vast coconut forest at the foothills of Mount Banahaw could you find a town full of people! Magdalena was laid back but the next town came into our surprise…it was busy and there are people everywhere. May pa-liga pa nga sa covered court nila nang dumating kami!
But anyway, this town is famed for being the footwear capital of Laguna, and perhaps can pose a challenge to Marikina’s shoe industry. However, it is the bakya and the tsinelas that made it very famous.
Liliw, like Magdalena, sits at the foothils of the ever holy Mount Banahaw. 17 kilometers from the cabisera of Laguna province which is Santa Cruz. It’s surprisingly cooler here though, thanks to the mountain. And like Magdalena, it is surrounded by verdant coconut trees and lush vegetation.
Now, what’s with Liliw? Again, the main attraction here may be the cold springs and that red church on the top of the hill, but you can buy bargain shoes and flip flops far affordable than those in the shopping centers of Metro Manila…and mind you, their quality is good as far as reviews that I’ve heard.
San Juan de Bautista is their patron saint and the church was constructed starting 1605 when it was still under Nagcarlang (today’s Nagcarlan). It has been a survivor of an earthquake and fire in its history. Today, this imposing yet majestic structure guarding the tsinelas republic township is one of Laguna’s best preserved churches.
The footwear industry made Liliw famous and tourists and shoppers come in droves just to have a piece of this Laguna product. The Liliweños even celebrate their industry through “Liliw Gat Tayaw Festival.” Named after Gat Tayaw, believed to be the founder of the said town.
Now, drive into their main street and you’ll see rows of shoes and slippers for sale. Now, that’s the main attraction. From the immortal tsinelas, to the classical bakya and to the useful sapatos…name it, and it’s there. Of course, if I have money by that time, I could’ve bought one for my mom.
Anyway, the clouds are covering the sun which is nearing twilight. Got one last visita iglesia for the Laguna de Bai loop…and it gave us a very dramatic vista for ending our trip…Nagcarlan Laguna.
For now Liliw, paalam! Nawa’y bumalik kami muli sa iyong bayan at makabili na ng tsinelas.
More photos of Laguna here:
By Christian Bederico:
By Raphael Dorilag: