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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 24, 2012

A Walk in the Small Town of Woodcrafts

In a lakeshore town located in the foothills of Sierra Madre, there is a place popular for its artistic and embellished woodcrafts and colorful papier maches and it is considered as the "Art Capital of Laguna" and "The Woodcarving Capital of the Philippines." The town that I referring to is Paete, which is one of the lakeshore towns in Laguna de Bay surrounded by the towns of Pakil and Kalayaan.
The lush and verdant mountains of Sierra Madre in Paete. It also covered most of the
neighboring towns in Eastern Laguna.
The clean turquoise waters of Laguna de Bay with old wooden boats near the shore.
The busy scenario in the small town of Paete.
I made a visit in Paete just to complete the journey in the Laguna Loop and to have a glimpse of culture in this town. I had a twenty to thirty minute travel from Santa Cruz to this small town passing the busy streets and ascending slopes that offer a panoramic view of Laguna de Bay from the foothills of Sierra Madre. Then, when I came to the town proper, there are lots of woodcarving shops and woodcrafts stores everywhere. The town is also surrounded with the verdant and stunning mountains of Sierra Madre and the clear and aquamarine waters of Laguna de Bay. Therefore, Paete is a town where you can enjoy the art and nature.
Paete is the home of skilled woodcarvers. It is already part of their culture since the pre-Hispanic times.
The ornamented and artistic woodcrafts of Paete.
Paete came from the Tagalog word "paet" meaning chisel, a tool used for woodcarving. The town is also the home of skilled craftsmen and woodcarvers and it is the town where you can see plenty of artworks such as wooden statues, papier maches, pulpits, murals and bas reliefs. Most of these artworks were used in churches and cathedrals in different parts of the world such as the Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. In 2005, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared Paete as "The Woodcarving Capital of the Philippines."
Mariano Madrinan, the town hero of Paete because he brought honor to the country with his masterpiece.
Paete is also unique because of its town hero. In some places, the hero is a soldier or diplomat but here in Paete, the town's hero is a woodcarver named Mariano Madrinan. He created the masterpiece "Mater Dolorosa" who honored the King of Spain and won a major award in an exposition in Amsterdam in 1882.
An unfinished woodcarving but it is beautiful.
Religious images made of wood.
The colorful papier maches of Paete.
St. James the Apostle Church, Paete
Colorful paintings and murals are also popular in Paete which can be found in Islaw Art Gallery.
Today, the town is still famous for its ornamented woodcarvings and colorful papier maches, murals and paintings. There are many tourists who visited this town because they want to buy woodcarvings and witness the commemoration of Holy Week in this town. Paete is also known for its Spanish era Baroque church called St. James the Apostle Church.

Therefore, my experience in Paete is such a worthwhile visit because I appreciate the gifted talent in sculpture and painting of the natives as well with the fact that this is the town where you can appreciate the Filipino art and the observance of religious tradition during Holy Week in our country.

Activities: You can buy woodcarvings, paintings and papier maches in stores within the town proper. In addition, you can witness the Holy Week in this town and visit the Three Crosses in the top of Sierra Madre mountains.

How to Get There: From Santa Cruz, Laguna, you can ride a jeepney or drive through National Highway passing the towns of Pagsanjan, Lumban and Kalayaan. Then, turn right to J.P. Rizal Street in order to make it to the town proper of Paete.

Date of Travel: November 5, 2011 and December 18, 2011

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