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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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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Travel Guide | Ten Things to Accomplish Your DIY Tour in Laguna

Laguna is located southeast of Metro Manila and it is bounded by the provinces of Cavite, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon. The province hugs the southern shores of Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the country and the town is dotted by small lakes as source of freshwater fish and the cascading and towering waterfalls. In addition, the province is surrounded by the longest mountain range, Sierra Madre in the eastern part of the province and it is the home of the mystic Mount Banahaw and the legendary Mount Makiling. As you go around the province, you can appreciate their local crafts such as woodcarvings and papier maches of Paete, kitchenware of San Pablo City, hand-embroidered barong tagalog of Lumban, slippers of Liliw and handmade shoes of Pagsanjan. You can also feel the stylish ambiance of the province by visiting the Spanish-era Baroque churches, welcome arches and monuments, ancestral stone houses and historical landmarks. Also, you can enjoy the genteel lifestyle by visiting resorts, amusement parks and eco-parks.

Don't forget to accomplish these ten things while you are enjoying your do-it-yourself tour in Laguna:

1. Enjoy the excitement in world class amusement park in the heart of Southern Luzon
Enchanted Kingdom (Source: http://www.wikipedia.org)
Enchanted Kingdom is a world-class amusement park located in the Lion City of the South, Santa Rosa. Witness the magic and fun while enjoying the rides and the classy ambiance of the park. Enchanted Kingdom is one of the best venues in having an educational trip and gimmicks with family and friends. I've visited this place when I was in high school. I hope that I will visit this place again.

2. Experience the thrill in the rapids of cascading waterfalls
Pagsanjan Falls (Source: http://www.wikipedia.org)
Pagsanjan Falls is a popular tourist destination in Laguna which gave its town a moniker "The Tourist Capital of Laguna" because of foreign tourists who visited the falls. You can feel the intense excitement while sailing in a boat meeting the rapids and you can see the stunning view of the falls. Pagsanjan Falls is located in the borders of Pagsanjan and Cavinti.
Taytay Falls in Majayjay
Aside from Pagsanjan Falls, you can visit Taytay Falls located in the lush forests of Banahaw in Majayjay, the Twin Falls in Kalayaan, the Buruwisan Falls in Siniloan, and the Bunga Falls in Nagcarlan.

3. Experience the refreshing moments in numerous lakes and resorts in the province
Sampaloc Lake, San Pablo City
Laguna Lake, Paete
Laguna came from the Spanish word which means lake because the province was located beside the largest lake in the country, Laguna de Bay. In addition, the province is dotted with more than five lakes including the seven lakes such as Sampaloc Lake and Lake Pandin in San Pablo City and the Lake Caliraya, a manmade lake in the boundaries of Cavinti and Lucban. In addition, you can enjoy the hot springs in Calamba and Los Banos as well with numerous resorts and pools in every town including Binan (Splash Island), Calauan (Hidden Valley Springs), Splash Mountain (Los Banos), Pangil (Pangil River Ecopark), Liliw (Batis ng Liliw), Nagcarlan (RGO Resort) and Daliwitan Resort and River (Majayjay) to name a few.

4. Taking a glance of our colorful past in different historical landmarks
Rizal Shrine, Calamba
Laguna is a province which is rich in history and glorious past. In fact, it is one of the eight provinces who made a revolution against the Spaniards in 1896, as representation of eight rays of the sun in the Philippine flag. This province is also the birth place of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal where his ancestral house is located in Calamba.
Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery, Nagcarlan
Another distinct historical landmark is the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery. This is the secret meeting place of revolutionaries in the Philippine Revolution of 1896 in Laguna. The place is also the burial site of priests, cabeza de barangays and elite Filipinos who lived in Nagcarlan.
Battle of Mabitac Shrine, Mabitac
Other historical landmarks which can be found in Laguna including the house of Paciano Rizal in Los Banos, Battle of Mabitac Shrine in Mabitac, Bahay Laguna in Magdalena, Alberto House in Binan, Plaza Rizal in Calamba and Emilio Jacinto Shrine in Santa Cruz and Magdalena.

5. Visita Iglesia in the ancient Baroque churches in the Loop
St. Gregory the Great Church, Majayjay. It was built in 1571 and one of the National Cultural Treasures in our country.
If we are talking about the Laguna's colorful and glorious past, the province is also famous for its ancient Spanish churches. Different towns starting from Santa Rosa, Cabuyao, Calamba, Los Banos, Bay, Pila, San Pablo, Santa Cruz, Magdalena, Liliw, Majayjay, Cavinti, Pagsanjan, Lumban, Kalayaan, Paete, Pakil and Mabitac have its Baroque churches which was built centuries ago. Laguna is a perfect place for having Visita Iglesia because of its stunning architecture of the church and the solemn ambiance while you are reflecting.

6. Historical glance at heritage town plaza and ancestral houses
Pila Heritage Town
If we are talking about history and culture, there are some towns in Laguna which is famous for its heritage plazas and ancestral houses. During the Spanish era, the church and the town hall are adjacent to each other in the town plaza which represents the unity of Church and State. The houses living near the plaza represent the elite society during the Spanish period. Today, the heritage town of Pila is one of the National Historical Landmarks along with Vigan and Intramuros because of its ancestral houses preserved from Spanish era. You can also enjoy visiting the town plaza of Magdalena as a favorite venue of Philippine classic movies which gives its moniker as "The Little Hollywood of Laguna" as well with the century-old Pagsanjan Arch with its heriage houses surrounding the place.

7. Pinoy shopping in the town of slippers
You can enjoy shopping with our native products in Liliw. The town is famous for its colorful slippers and shoes with its very good quality at affordable price. You can experience the Pinoy marketplace scene in Liliw because you can see a lot of stalls everywhere and different products such as fruits, vegetables, bags, native sweets, baskets and other local products. You can enjoy eating in various fast food chains across the town center.

8. Appreciating the beauty of art in a woodcraft town

Paete is a town known for its wood crafts and its adept woodcarvers. Residents believed that the town has its skilled woodcarvers since the ancient times. When Spaniards discovered the town, they saw a paet (a Tagalog word for chisel), a tool used for woodcarving and they named the town Paete. Today, the town is famous for its woodcarvings and there are many customers are going to this town to buy wood ornaments from woodcarving of religious images, wood statues, papier maches and paintings.

9. Food trip, restaurant hopping and pasalubong shopping

Laguna is also a place where you can enjoy different mouth-watering native delicacies including the fluffy and smooth Puto Binan, the white and creamy kesong puti, the luscious espasol, the sweet and powdery uraro of Liliw, the roasted kinulob na itik and salty red eggs of Victoria, the savory  kaong and macapuno of Alaminos and Majayjay and the fresh carabao and goat milk. You can enjoy restaurant hopping in Laguna namely Kamayan sa Palaisdaan (Bay), Isdaan (Calauan), Cafe Arabela (Liliw), Exotik Restaurant (Kalayaan) and Dalampasigan (Los Banos) to complete your culinary travel experience. As mentioned earlier, you can enjoy shopping in the town of Liliw with their slippers and shoes and in Paete with their woodcrafts, you can do pasalubong shopping in various towns with their respective products. Some of these native products including tropical fruits and fresh vegetables of Magdalena and Majayjay, pandan bags or bayong of Luisiana, silver kitchenware of San Pablo, hand made embroidered barong Tagalog of Lumban, and handmade shoes of Pagsanjan.

10. Mountain hiking

Laguna is a province surrounded by mountains including the legendary Mount Makiling, the mystic Mount Banahaw and the longest mountain range Sierra Madre. You can discover the rich flora and fauna of the province as well with distinct geographical formations.

You can enjoy your stay in this province by accomplishing different activities where you can discover the beauty of nature, the colorful cultural heritage and the eminent history of the province   As a tourist, it is proven that "It's more fun in the Philippines" so let's visit the province in the heart of Southern Tagalog, Laguna.

You can also read my previous articles about my tour in Laguna:


You can visit the official website of the province of Laguna: http://www.laguna.gov.ph In addition you can try to visit this website, Laguna Travel Guide.

Lawton Stopover: A Walk From City Hall to the Post Office

Park n Ride Lawton: The famous stopover of public transportation vehicles going to Manila.
If you are going to Manila from Cavite or in Alabang, the Park & Ride Station or simply called as Lawton is the final stop for passengers. From Lawton, you can ride a jeepney or taxi if you are going to other places in Metro Manila. While waiting for the jeepney, you can see a lot of distinct landmarks such as prime universities, government offices and historical buildings around the area from Taft Avenue to Padre Burgos Street.
Manila City Hall
First, we have the Manila City Hall. It was established in 1939 and the city hall was designed and planned by Antonio Toledo. The trees around the city hall was planted by Mayor Ramon Bagatsing during his administration in the early seventies. The clock tower is the trademark for Manila and its city hall. The architecture is also striking because of its hexagonal tower with red-faced clock and the building floor plan is similar to the shield of the Knight's Templar. [1] Beside the City Hall, there is a road called Lagusnilad. You cannot pass on this tunnel because it was extremely flooded during the rainy season.
Bonifacio Memorial Shrine
Adjacent to the City Hall is the Bonifacio Memorial Shrine. It was designed by Eduardo Castrillo and the monument depicts the highlights of the 1896 Philippine Revolution. In addition, the flags of the Philippine Revolution was surrounded the monument. From the monument, I decided to walk to the hustling yet smooth streets of Lawton to another landmark which is an old theater.
Metropolitan Theater
The Metropolitan Theater is an old theater in Manila which was built in 1931 and closed in 1996. It has an Art Deco design and planned by Juan M. Arellano. It has a capacity of 1670 (846 in orchestra, 116 in loge, 708 in balcony). It was destroyed during the liberation in Manila in 1945 but restored in 1978. Aside from Metropolitan Theater, there are other theaters which was very popular during the Spanish and American period but it was closed as the years passed.[2] 
Manila Post Office facing the Liwasang Bonifacio.
From Metropolitan Theater, I walked to Liwasang Bonifacio to visit the iconic Manila Central Post Office Building. Built in 1926 and designed by architect Juan M. Arellano. It is one of the beautiful places in the area because of the wide space, the verdant trees and the gushing bliss of the fountain in front of the post office.

Therefore, these buildings reflect the colorful past of our country. Although the urbanization is growing fast, the historical landmarks in Manila will serve as an identity of being Filipinos in some aspects. After I visited these historical buildings in a walking tour along the streets of Lawton, I am ready to go to the next place, the Walled City of Intramuros.

You can read also A Walk in the Historical Fortress, a blog entry that tells about my visit in Fort Santiago.

Date of Travel: February 12, 2012

Footnote:
1, 2 - http://www.wikipedia.org
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