As we ended our Laguna Lake Loop tour, we reached the rustic yet remarkable town of Nagcarlan. Much busier than Liliw perhaps, because it was 5PM and people are flocking the church for the afternoon mass. The air was cool and we had some sprinkles of mountain drizzle while the sun sets. The town of Nagcarlan is about 30 minutes away from San Pablo City in Laguna, the famed “City of Seven Lakes.” We visit two of its famed sites, the church and its underground cemetery.
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.
I would like to go to Laguna, the off-beaten track. Palagi na lang kasi sa highway kaya di masyadong maka-pasyal! I was thinking of going to Majayjay with its massive church…however it is very off the way and the sun is setting in few hours time. We’ve finally decided, from Pagsanjan all the way to Nagcarlan via Magdalena and Liliw then San Pablo then head home. We went far interior, into the foothils of the Holy Banahaw.
By the time we reached Magdalena, I was surprised by several billboards claiming its title: “Hollywood of the Philippines.” Really now? How come it became “Hollywood” in the middle of the coconut plantations? I was really clueless.
Yet upon arriving at the town’s church plaza and the municipal hall, I gasped and said, “Ah! Dito pala ang pinagshootingan nung mga pelikula ni FPJ at iba pa!” Indeed, it was a familiar sight and delight. No wonder this rustic town got its own exposure to stardom. At di na nya kinailangang pumasok sa “Bahay ni Kuya” o magpa-audition sa “Starstruck!” True enough, there’s a facility nearby that was donated by FPJ himself!
One of Philippine cinema’s favorite towns indeed!
My camera’s dead…malfunctioning upon the time of our arrival at Pagsanjan, Laguna. It was disheartening for my aim was to take the photos of all the towns we pass by during our road trip. Alas, felt with heavy heart. But it’s a good thing my barkada would let me borrow their cameras and photos.
Okay, enough of sentiments. Lets not spoil our trip. Hehe!
Pagsanjan is in eastern Laguna. For the heritage buff, it’s Laguna’s answer to Taal, Batangas and Vigan, Ilocos Sur. For the majority of the Filipinos, it is where that famed Pagsanjan Falls are located (yet technically, like Angono Petroglyphs, its on another town). We had our short stop and parked just in front of the church. While my companions went around the town center and plaza taking pictures of the old heritage structures, I was left at the car, pondering on my malfunctioning camera…but luckily, my companions lend me their cameras for this. …continue reading
Caliraya Lake in Laguna Province is a man-made reservoir or lake perched 1,200 feet above sea level in the Sierra Madre. Built to provide electricity to Manila and the surrounding areas during the American Colonial Era (1930′s) by US Army Engineer Major General Hugh J. Casey, it has become one of the most popular resort lakes near Metro Manila. Having a benign and cool climate, its a popular alternative to an already overcrowded summer getaways such as Tagaytay and Baguio. On the way up here gives a breathtaking panorama of the eastern fork of Laguna de Bai and Sierra Madre. …continue reading
Paete in Laguna is just a short 5-minute drive (or even a jeepney ride) from Pakil. Still within the local narrow winding road below the cliff. It’s somehow more bustling than Pakil on a high afternoon. Cool breeze still blows from the lake but the heat under the sun has somehow made it quite unbearable.
Paete is known to be the “Wood Carving Capital of the Philippines.” The tradition of pag-ukit dates back since time immemorial. Even the national hero, Jose Rizal, mentioned its works in one of his novels. The exquisite talent of the Paeteños have reached overseas with some of their works reportedly displayed and used in some countries such as the Vatican and United States. Even the name itself of the town, Paete, is believed to have come from the Tagalog word “paet” meaning chisel…obviously tool used for woodcarving of course, hehe! …continue reading
It was an a hour drive crossing the verdant foothills of Sierra Madre from Pililia, Rizal to the first stop over in eastern Laguna, Pakil. We passed by the junction where the road leads to the Pacific shores of Quezon province, Mabitac, Siniloan and Pangil.
We turned left towards an old and narrow winding road towards Pakil.
I love the place and topography so much. This is the Laguna barely known or touched by tourists and mainstream urbanity. This is rustic Laguna. Peculiar though is the topography, green hills cascade steeply towards the shore of Laguna de Bai. And later we found out, we are at the pilgrimage center of Laguna, just past 12:30 in high noon.