A quiet little place for a peaceful picnic and a fun swimming and fishing.
A tour to Laguna will be a good break from the noise and bustle of Manila. The drive through the countryside and smaller towns gave a different perspective on the country. The boat ride up to and back had the beauty of the nature that you wouldn’t expect – it is mind blowing.
Definitely Laguna is generally decent, cozy and beautiful place to spend your vacations.
Laguna, officially known as the Province of Laguna is a province of the Philippines found in the CALABARZON region in Luzon. Its capital is Santa Cruz and the province is located southeast of Metro Manila, south of the province of Rizal, west of Quezon, north of Batangas and east of Cavite. Laguna hugs the southern shores of Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the country. The city with the highest population (based on 2010 census) is Calamba, while the least populated is the Municipality of Famy.
Laguna was initially named La Laguna after the lake Laguna de Bay. In 1571, it was conquered for Spain by Captain Juan de Salcedo.
The town of Bay was its first capital. Next was Pagsanjan, and eventually Santa Cruz since 1858 to the present.
Laguna has always stood for freedom. During the 16th-20th century interval, it rejected the Spaniards, British, Americans and Japanese. Today, it is a bustling agro-industrial provincial powerhouse.
Laguna has 4 cities… Biñan; Sta. Rosa; San Pablo and Calamba.
It has 26 towns… San Pedro; Cabuyao; Calamba; Los Baños; Bay; Caluan; Victoria; Alaminos; Rizal; Nagcarlan; Pila; Sta. Cruz; Magdalena; Liliw; Majayjay; Luisiana; Cavinti; Pagsanjan; Lumban; Kalayaan; Paete; Pakil; Pangil; Mabitac; Siniloan; Famy; and, Sta. Maria.
Today, Laguna is a thriving province. Its fertile lands produce millions of pesos worth of coconuts, rice, sugar, citrus fruits, lanzones, and other agricultural products. Its tourist spots also attract a multitude of both foreign and domestic tourists.
Laguna lies on the southern shores of Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the country. On the southern border of the province are Mt. Makiling and Mt. Banáhaw, both are long dormant volcanoes, but still sources of geothermal energy. Mt. Makiling is popular for the numerous hot spring resorts that are found on its slopes. Pagsanjan Falls, is a popular waterfall that tumbles down a deep gorge in the hills.
The eastern portion of Laguna straddles the southernmost portions of the Sierra Madre mountain range.
The province is relatively dry from November to April and wet during the rest of the year for a small portion near the southern boundary. The other parts, west of Santa Cruz municipality, experience a dry season from November to April and rainy season during the rest of the year. The eastern and southern most portions do not have distinct season, with rainfall more evenly distributed throughout the year.
Most of Laguna people are Roman Catholic followed by a large majority of the population at 87.4% (San Pablo (Diocese) [Catholic-Hierarchy], 2010). Several Christian groups are also present such as Baptists, Iglesia Ni Cristo, Methodists, Aglipayans, Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Presbyterians and other Mainline Protestants. Non Christians are usually Muslims.
Interestingly, Lake Caliraya in Laguna is a man-made lake situated in three towns – Lumban, Cavinti and Kalayaan. The cool mountain breeze of the Sierra Madre mountain and the deep waters of the lake combine to make Caliraya an excellent place for various water activities such as boating, fishing, jetskiing, water skiing, and windsurfing.
The Japanese Garden, located along Lake Caliraya in Cavinti, Laguna, is a memorial park built by the Japanese government in the 1970s in order to commemorate the Japanese soldiers who died during the Second World War. Tourists and guests can take leisurely strolls among its gardens and appreciate the amazing scenery of Lake Caliraya and the Sierra Madre mountain range.
The Jose Rizal Shrine in Calamba, Laguna, the birthplace of the Philippines’ national hero, is one of the most frequented historical and tourist sites in Laguna. An average of 270,000 tourists visit this shrine annually. According to the National Historical Institute (NHI), “It was in that house that the boy (Jose Rizal) was shaped and molded and who would become the finest expression of his race.”
Splash Island in Biñan, Laguna is the largest water park in the Philippines. It has large water slides and rides for everybody’s fun and amusement. Be prepared for an exciting day as you explore the park’s various slides in various sizes and angles.
Enchanted Kingdom (EK) in Santa Rosa, Laguna is the country’s first and only world-class theme park. Enchanted Kingdom was recently cited by the government of Laguna for generating the biggest tourist arrivals in 2008. That’s no wonder since kids and adults alike are especially thrilled to ride the various attractions that the park and recreation center has to offer.
Mount Makiling in Laguna is a legendary mountain named after its mystical dweller and protector – Maria Makiling. In fact, Mount Makiling is an inactive volcano. The mountain is ideal for hiking, camping, trekking, mountain biking, and bird watching.
Makiling Botanical Garden
The Makiling Botanical Garden in Los Baños, Laguna was established primarily to “support professional instruction and research related to forestry and plant sciences” of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB)-College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR). It was also designated as a tourist destination and as educational and recreational facility for the general public since 1965.
National Arts Center
The National Arts Center (NAC) situated in Mt. Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna is a center for aspiring young artists. The Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA), a boarding school for artistically gifted Filipino secondary school students, is located here. For tourists, the NAC serves as the lookout point to Laguna de Bay, Talim Island, Crocodile Lake, and the surrounding towns of Laguna.
Pila Heritage Site
In Pila, Laguna, rows of old houses (Spanish era houses and houses built in the early 1900s) and ancient trees dot the town center or plaza, where the grand church San Antonio de Padua (built in the 1800s) is also located. Pila, Laguna was declared by the National Historical Institute as a national historical landmark and the Pila Heritage Site is preserved and protected by the NHI.
Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery
The Nagcarlan Undergroun Cemetery in Laguna is a burial site located inside, or more accurately, beneath a church. It is the only one of its kind in the Philippines. The cemetery is considered a national historical landmark because its underground crypt was used as a secret meeting place in 1896 by Filipino revolutionaries or Katipuneros.
Pagsanjan Falls is probably the most famous natural attraction in Laguna. Pagsanjan, Laguna is the jump-off point to Pagsanjan Falls. You may rent a banca or small boat to take you to the falls or “shoot the rapids.” Skilled and accredited boatmen will take you on a scenic boat ride at Magdapio River in order to reach the main falls.
Center for Philippine Raptors
The Center for Philippine Raptors in Laguna was previously located inside the Makiling Botanic Gardens (MBG) at Forestry, University of the Philippines Los Baños. It featured Philippine birds of prey such as the majestic Philippine Eagle, hawk eagle, Philippine kestrel, serpent eagle, etc. However, the center has been closed since September 2009.