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I love to travel just to explore new things in life from breathtaking natural wonders, interesting historical sites, delicious food, friendly people and colorful culture. I treasure every moment in traveling by writing in my journal, taking photos and publish it in my travel blog.
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Saturday, November 10, 2012

From the Colorful Ducks to the Heritage Plaza: Discovering the Lakeshore Towns of Victoria and Pila

When I am going to travel in the Laguna Loop, I always made a stopover to Calamba in order to ride a jeepeny, passing the towns of Los Banos and Bay via National Highway to Sta. Cruz. While the jeepney is passing in the National Highway, it offers the stunning view of the legendary Mount Makiling in the highways of Calamba and Los Banos up to the golden rice fields as well with the verdant trees and lush ornamental plants and trees in the corners of the street in Bay and Calauan. In addition, you can see the mountains of San Cristobal and Banahaw as you drive in the National Highway to Santa Cruz. It is always a route for me to pass the first two towns in the loop which is popular in ducks and poultry as well with the century-old houses and the heritage plaza in the town proper. 
The Duck Junction in Victoria-Calauan Highway.
As you enter the loop, the first thing that welcomes you is the monumental and colorful duck statues in the town of Victoria. It is one of the lakeshore towns in Laguna de Bay and  bordered by the towns of Bay in the west, Pila in the northeast, Calauan in the southwest, and Nagcarlan in the southeast. The town was formerly a barangay of Pila and it became a town in 1949 as the youngest municipality in the province. 



The colorful and huge duck statues in the Victoria-Calauan Highway.
As you enter the town, the huge and colorful duck statues in the junction of Victoria-Calauan road called the Duck Junction welcomes the travelers. This landmark symbolizes the richness of poultry industry through numerous duck farms and poultry products such as balut (boiled fertilized duck egg), itlog na maalat (salted duck egg) and kinulob na itik (deep-fried duck). In addition, the town is also popular because it is the location of the Detour task in the fifth season of U.S. reality show "The Amazing Race" where the teams accomplished flocking ducks to the cages and plowing the rice fields with the use of carabao.
The golden rice fields of Victoria in harvest.
When I visited the town, I noticed the golden green rice fields of Victoria that teemed up with the view of the mountains of San Cristobal and Banahaw from faraway. The people were friendly as well with the fact that every corner you can see duck farms and duck products store. Therefore, Victoria is a town which can competed with the Pateros in terms of the progressing duck industry in the town and you can enjoy the visit to this simple town because of the friendly people and the rural ambiance.
The view of the Shrine of Saint Anthony of Padua from the municipal hall.
Five to ten minutes away from the town of Victoria, you can reach the town proper of Pila where you can see the heritage houses which was built from the Spanish era. In addition, the plaza is very extensive and the church and the town hall were adjacent to each other which reminds me of the society during the Spanish period. Therefore, the houses located in the plaza represent the families who belong to the elite society.
Shrine of Saint Anthony of Padua or simply called as Pila Church.
Pila Municipal Hall which was built in 1939.
Before the Spaniards arrive in the Philippines, Pila and other lake shore towns in the Laguna de Bay are the oldest settlements in the area where archaeologists gathered artifacts which was dated during the Tang Dynasty. Then, the Franciscan friars evangelized the people of Pila in 1578 and they built a church dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua. In addition, the Philippines' oldest dictionary was published in this town in 1613. At the beginning of the 19th century, the church was transferred from Pagalangan to its present site because of frequent flooding in the area. Recently, the National Historical Institute declared the town plaza and the surrounding ancestral houses as a National Historical Landmark. In 2002, the Diocese of San Pablo, proclaimed the parish church of San Antonio de Padua de Pila declared as the Diocesan Shrine of Saint Anthony of Padua.
The heritage houses along with the progress and urbanization of the town.
The century-old houses in the town plaza.

As I walked in the town plaza, I noticed the old houses which was built in the Spanish era was still standing and also, I had a chance to visit the Pila Museum where I saw artifacts from the pre-historic era as well with the town pictures from the Spanish period. According to Filipino historian Luciano Santiago, it is the only town in the Philippines formally recognized as a historical site by both the church and the state. [1] Therefore, my visit here in Pila is all worth it because I feel the historical time travel by looking on the plaza which reminds me of the elite society in the Spanish period. After Pila, you can proceed to the neighboring town, the provincial capital of Santa Cruz.

How To Get There: From Calamba, you can take the National Highway passing the towns of Los Banos, Bay and Calauan which lead you to the town of Victoria and Pila.

Date of Travel: October 29, 2011

2 comments:

  1. wow.. sana mapuntahan ko rin po 'to lahat..
    I like adventure..

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! I'm soo in love with heritage houses right now, since we got to visit Las Casas de Filipinas Acuzar...will visit Pila soon. Do you happen to know any festival, that would happen soon?

    ReplyDelete

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