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ABOUT LAGUNA PROVINCE
Laguna Province, Philippines



 
Brief History | Major Industries | How to Get There | Historical Background | Cultural | Natural Attractions | Man-made Attractions | Special Interest | Festivals
 

CAPITAL: Sta Cruz
LAND AREA: 1,759, sq. km.
TEL. AREA CODE: 049
NO. OF TOWNS: 29
ZIP CODE: 4000

BRIEF HISTORY

The province of Laguna was named after Laguna de Bay, the body of water that forms the province’s northern boundary. In turn, Laguna de Bay was named after the town of bay which was the first provincial capital.

This province along with its surrounding regions were conquered for Spain by Capt. Juan de Salcedo in 1571 and seven years hence, the Franciscan friars started the Christianization of the province.

Laguna became a bloody battleground several times. The first instance was the Chinese revolt in 1603 and then again in 1639. The British invasion in 1762-1764, saw thousands of Filipinos fighting in defense of the province. This battle led by Captain Thomas Backhouse met resistance from the band of Filipino volunteers led by Francisco de San Juan of Pagsanjan.

The first Filipino uprising against the Spanish misrule was led by Hirmano Pule in 1840. Filipino resentment against the Spaniards was aggravated by the execution of Dr. Jose Rizal and thus, by 1896, thousands of patriotic inhabitants of the province had joined the revolutionary Katipunan.

Laguna was one of the first eight provinces to rise in revolt against the Spanish rule. The ill-equipped Filipino forces, led by Gen, Paciano Rizal of Calamba, Gen. Severino Taino of Pagsanjan, Gen, Aueda Kagabagan of Calauan, and Gen. Miguel Malvar of Batangas, fought the Spanish enemies until they won on August 31,1898 with the surrender of the last Spanish garrison in Sta, Cruz.

On January 23,1899, Laguna expressed its full support to the First Philippine Republic which was declared in Malolos, Bulacan. Two natives of Pagsanjan namely, Don Higino Benitez Abad, Don Graciano Cordero, were there to witness and participate in this historic event.

The eruption of the Filipino-American war in 1899-1901 saw Generals Juan Cailles and Paciano Rizal leading the defense of Laguna until surrender was inevitable. Under the American Flag, Cailles was named the Filipino Governor of Laguna.

After the war, Laguna progressed rapidly in peace. Schools were established, various public services were instituted and roads were built. In 1917, the Manila Railroad Company extended its line to Laguna as far as Pagsanjan.

With the onset of the Japanese occupation, Laguna was the center of resistance despite the presence of some "Makipili" traitors.

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.

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MAJOR INDUSTRIES

By and large, Laguna’s economy is still based on agriculture. However, in the recent years, agricultural development has been complemented by the proliferation of light to medium scale industries.

Before 1973, the processing of agricultural products and making light handicrafts were the major manufacturing activities in Laguna. Today, textile spinning, weaving and finishing, chemical, automotive parts, ceramics, wood and paper products industries have been established.

It is foreseen that more factories will be put up in Laguna in the near future.

HOW TO GET THERE

Via South Superhighway, Laguna is 1-2 hours drive from Manila.

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HISTORICAL

Rizal Shrine (Calamba)
This two-storey, red-tiled roof, Spanish vintage house is being maintained as a national shrine by the national government. It houses all kinds of Rizalian memorabilia ranging from pictures of the late hero and the women in his life, sculptures by Rizal, to laminated excerpts of some of his written works. The house is by no means an all-original. Except for the old will, which is now dry, everything is a reconstruction of the original house of Dr. Jose Rizal, the country's national hero. Even then, it has maintained much of its colonial appeal. The presence of Rizal still seems to linger in the house.

Underground Cemetery (Nagcarlan)
The underground cemetery is a circular wall structure. From the wrought iron gate a red tiled walk crosses the grounds leading straight to the opposite side, where an altar-like structure is located. The tombstones are embedded on the brick walls of the cemetery. At the crypt of the cemetery, according to history, is where the Katipuneros plotted against Spanish rule.

Japanese Garden (Caliraya, Lumban)
The Japanese Garden is a shrine created by the Japanese government in memory of the many Japanese soldiers who died during the bloody encounter between the Japanese troops and the Filipino-American troops at the close of World War II. According to the people of the locality, the remains of Yamashita are enshrined in the marble "altar" located in the elevated area of the garden. In this altar, Japanese visitors usually offer prayers and material things to the spirits of the Japanese soldiers who died during the war. The Japanese Garden sprawls on several hectares of slightly rugged and rolling land. The topography of the garden and the cool gentle breeze provide an excellent opportunity for a leisurely walk around the area. There are picnic huts on the lower level of the garden where visitors can sit and enjoy a snack.

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CULTURAL

University of the Philippines Los Baños
The University of the Philippines, the first and premier state institution for higher learning in the country, was constituted on June 18, 1908 by virtue of Act. No. 1870 or otherwise known as the University Charter. The University was founded to provide advance instruction in literature, philosophy, the sciences and the arts, and to give professional and technical teaching.

On November 20, 1972, the university set-up was recognized. As decreed by the President of the Republic and unanimously adopted by the U. P. Board of Regents, a New University of the Philippines System was established. And thus, the University of the Philippines in Los Baños was declared an autonomous member of the system.

UPLB has six degree-granting colleges. On the undergraduate level, it offers a certificate program, 21 major fields leading to Bachelor's degrees, and one other professional degree. On the graduate level, there are 34 fields leading to master's degrees and 18 fields leading to doctorate degrees. It also has one main and six unit libraries.

The university sprawls on a 5,000 hectare campus, 4,244 hectares of which is a forest reserve in Mt. Makiling.

Museum of the Wildlife Collection of Dr. Dioscoro Rabor
Located at the ground floor of the College of Forestry Bldg., U.P. Los Baños campus. The museum showcases the personal collection of mammal and bird species of Dr. Dioscoro Rabor in the course of his scientific study.

As a zoologist, Dr. Rabor has worked on various fields such as ichthyology, fisheries, mammalogy herpetology, ornithology and ecology. However, it is in ornithology and mammalogy where he has made many important contributions.

Entymology Museum
Located at the third floor of the Institute of Biological Science Bldg., College of Arts and Sciences, U.P. Los Baños campus. The entymology museum features the different species of the insect world from the smallest bug to the biggest moth.

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NATURAL ATTRACTIONS

Sampaguita Plantations
The sampaguita is the Philippines' national flower. It symbolizes the chaste and strong character of the Filipinos. Sampaguitas are grown practically all over the Laguna. However, it is said that a large percentage of the sampaguitas supplied in Manila come from San Pedro. Shrubs of this white fragrant flower are planted along the sides of the highway.

Mt. Makiling
According to old legends, the slopes of Mt. Makiling are shaped like that of a woman lying down. Some say that it is the profile of the sleeping Mariang Makiling who dwells in this mountain and protects it from harm. The mystical Mt. Makiling is an inactive volcano, rising to about 1,109 meters above sea level. The vegetation consists of approximately 2,048 different species of plants. The lower slope is a tall dipterocarp forest while the summit is a dwarf mossy forest. Mt. Makiling is ideal for all types of nature tripping- from trekking, to bird and butterfly watching, and even camping.

University of the Philippines Botanical Garden
The garden is like a dipterocarp forest. Its beauty and appeal lie mainly in its unpolluted and unsophisticated natural vegetation. The lay-out of the garden is adapted to the hilly terrain of Mt. Makiling thus, providing a pleasant opportunity for hiking and nature tripping. Another attraction of the Botanical Garden is the swimming pool, located on an elevated area in the garden.

Crocodile Lake
Located near the City of Springs Resort in Los Baños. The Crocodile Lake is of special interest because it is a lake within a lake. It is a small crater lake situated on the edge of Laguna de Bay.

Seven Lakes
Each of the seven lakes is nestled in a depression created long ago by volcanic activity. The seven lakes are Sampaloc, Mojicap, Palakpakin, Calibato, Pandin, Yambo and Bunot Lakes.

Sampaloc Lake (San Pablo City)
It is behind the city hall. Sampaloc Lake is the biggest of the seven lakes. It is dotted with fish pens where tilapia is bred.

Dalitiwan River (Botocan, Majayjay)
The terrain is rugged as mountain lands go, and the cool water of the river gush through the rocks and boulders along the watercourse in sweeping currents.

Pagsanjan Falls (or Magdapio Falls) / Shooting the Rapids
Pagsanjan is noted for its famous Pagsanjan Falls. Actually, the name of the falls is Magdapio Falls and is located at the next town which is Cavite. However, the falls has been known as Pagsanjan Falls because of the trip to the falls, referred to as shooting the rapids. This is an exhilarating three hour boat ride from the Magdapio River to the Magdapio Falls (more popularly known as Pagsanjan Falls). The boat is expertly maneuvered upstream by two seasoned boatmen. Going to the falls is the tricky part because it is going against the current. Going back is a smooth swift glide with the current. There are about 16 rapids along the watercourse. However, there are less during the rainy season as the water level is high. Also during the rainy season, when the current is very swift and the falls gush heavily through the river, the boat rides are cut short because of the danger posed by the high water.

Buruwisan Falls (Siniloan)
It is found in the part of the Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges that belong under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Siniloan. It is one of the five falls known to the local residents, the others being: Guiling-Guiling Falls, Lanzones Falls, Binaytuan Falls and Sebakon Falls. Most of these falls, however, are unexplored. Buruwisan Falls is the most popular among these falls because it is the most accessible. Some local residents claim that there are still a number of "undiscovered" falls in the area aside from the five mentioned.

There are two possible mountain trails to the site - via Puting Bato or via Pulang Lupa, the latter is a shorter route. It takes two hours of strenuous trekking over steep grassy hills, rocky streams and muddy river beds, and of wrestling against the overhanging branches of the wild vegetation that abounds in the area, to reach the site. But, the "discovery" of Buruwisan Falls makes the trip worthwhile.

Buruwisan Falls has a more or less 50-meter drop. The water is clear and cool. The area around Buruwisan Falls, being virtually unspoiled, is ideal for camping. As a matter of fact, different mountaineering groups from different schools have pinpointed this area as an excellent training ground for neophyte mountain climbers and thus, conduct "fun climbs" in this site. Across the Buriwisan Falls (at an approximately 35-degree angle) is the Lanzones Falls. The rivers of the Buruwisan and Lanzones Falls meet at a certain point and form a bigger fall which is the Binaytuan Falls. The Binaytuan Falls has a more or less 200-meter drop.

National Botanical Garden of the Philippines
It is located on the border of Laguna and Quezon Province. It is 19 km. away from Siniloan Laguna and 28 km. away from Real, Quezon.

The Garden was initiated in 1978 by the National Institute of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines and the National Research Council of the Philippines. Its principal aim is to conserve Philippine plants. The garden is a part of the U. P. Land Grant. The garden is situated in a beautiful valley. A secondary forest covers the area which is very peaceful. The garden is quite cool as it is at an elevation of about 300 meters. The average rainfall is about 3,500 mm a year.

There are plenty of wild orchids, ferns and trees as well as wildlife of all kinds in the valley including flying lizards, chameleons, monkeys and birds. The Lalawinan River cuts through the garden and also near this river is a natural swimming pool.

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MAN-MADE

Pook in Mariang Makiling (BSP Camp, Makiling U. P. Los Baños Campus)
This resort is under the jurisdiction of the National Parks Development Committee. Thus, all reservations are coursed directly through the main office in Manila. The resort sprawls on a 5.9 hectare land with gently sloping terrain and lush greenery. The resort is a picture of natural beauty and rural serenity. An Olympic-sized swimming pool, nestled at the center of the resort, is a swimming welcome for those who seek relaxation.

Hidden Valley
Hidden Valley springs us located at a secluded part of the town of Alaminos and discovering the way to the resort is already an adventure in itself. The narrow 4.5 km. road leading to the resort is rough and lined by towering coconut trees and lush vegetation. Some of the attractions of the resort are: the hidden falls, amlang tree, lover's pool, soda pools, the hanging bridge, and the lanzones trees. They also offer horseback riding occasionally.

Boy Scouts of the Philippines Camp (U.P. Los Baños Campus)
The BSP grounds are an ideal camping areas. The Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts of the Philippines usually conduct their jamborees and other activities here.

National Arts Center (U. P. Los Baños Campus)
The National Arts Center is the showcase of Laguna. It is an ideal vantage point for a panoramic view of the Laguna de Bay, Talim Island, Crocodile Lake and the International Rice Research Institute.

The National Arts Center is under the jurisdiction of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Reservations for seminars and conventions could be coursed through the CCP Main Office at Roxas Blvd. Manila, Tel. No. 832-1125 loc. 225/832-3703.

The National Arts Center has 62 cottages grouped into five clusters on different peaks. It also has an auditorium with a seating capacity of 2,500.

Also within the area is the Ballet Studio and Library. The Ballet Studio and the Rilda B. O'Brien Cliburn Library for the Humanities was established in 1981 as part of the overall logistical support to the operations of the Philippine High School for the Arts.

Valeso Haven (U. P. Los Baños Campus)
This half-hectare farm is abloom with cattleyas, dendrobiums, vandas, "waling-walings", anthuriums and other various species of colorful flowers in varying stages of growth. The owner, Mr. Carlos Lazaro, can lecture on orchid and anthurium propagation.

Wilfredo Mabuhos Farm (Consuelo Subdivision, San Pablo)
This 22-hectare farm is planted with fruit bearing trees such as rambutan, lanzones, citrus, banana, duhat and coconut. Lovely orchids and anthuriums are also grown in the greenhouse. Another attraction of this site is the seemingly unending rows of triangle shelters where colorful cocks of different breeds are housed. Activities in this farm include a tour of the cock farm, a cock fight demonstration, fruit-picking, and lectures on fruit tree propagation, grafting, and budding methods.

Provincial Office Demo Farm Complex (Bo. Callios, Sta. Cruz)
This demonstration farm complex, which sprawls on a seven-hectare land, was conceived as a government agricultural development program devoted to rice production, orchid propagation, fish growing and hog breeding.

It implements the scientific agricultural methods researched and undertaken by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). It also provides orchid seedlings to contract growers, who engage in cut-flower production, plus it also breeds in its 2.2-hectare fishpond, freshwater fish such as tilapia and big head carp.

Lake Caliraya (Lumban)
It is the result of an infrastructure project. It is actually a large reservoir built in 1943 to supply water to the Caliraya Hydroelectric Plant. As the dams were constructed, entrepreneurs with foresight created two adjacent communities, which were envisioned to be ecological communities, where one can enjoy the beauty and richness of unspoiled nature. The results were man-made mountain lakes complete with coves and sand bars - Lake Caliraya and Sierra Lakes.

The waters of Lake Caliraya are cool and measures about 50 meters at its deepest. The lake extends and roves over partly submerged hills, which form islands. The shores are of viscous red clay on some areas and pebbled on other areas.

The deep waters of the lake and the strong mountain breeze that blows from the Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges and the distant Mt. Banahaw, make Lake Caliraya an ideal place for aqua sports such as boating, wind surfing and water skiing. The lake is also excellent for game fishing as fairly large game fish swim here. However, commercial fishing is prohibited in the lake. A boat trip around the lake would take approximately four hours.

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SPECIAL INTEREST

Barong makers
The intricate art of barong embroidery has, indeed, made a name for skillful and artistic women of Lumban. In this rustic town, hand-embroidering barong is an art passed on from generation to generation.

Wood carving and papier mache (Paete)
There is a proliferation of wood carving and papier mache factories, ranging from small to large scale, in the town. Practically all the townsfolk are involved in the two businesses. It is either they work in these factories or they own it. The artistic ingenuity of this lakeshore town can be traced even before the Spanish period. However, it was during the Spanish era that the art flourished. During this era, the Paete artists created mostly religious articles. Today, Paete's artists carve not only religious figures but also genre masterpieces, furniture and just about anything imaginable. The hard work that each Paete artist devotes to his craft indeed puts meaning to the words "Made in Paete".

Wood Filigree (Pakil Woodcrafts)
Pakil produces a unique kind of woodcraft. It takes only a piece of white kaytana, amblang, or malasangkit wood, a few carving tools and very skillful hands to produce the delicate and intricate woodcrafts of Pakil. Within five to ten minutes a skillful carver can easily transform a prosaic piece of white wood into a tiny angel, a butterfly, or a bird in flight. The uniqueness of this craft lies in the material and design. A trademark characteristic of these woodcrafts is the fine wood shavings shaped into wings or feathers. Baskets are also made from this type of wood.

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FESTIVALS

Turumba Festival
Pakil is also known for the "Turumba", a festival held in honor of Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. This celebration dates back to 1640 when the statuette of our Lady of Sorrows was found by a fisherman floating in the Laguna Lake. Legends tell that the fisherman brought it to Pakil and left it in his boat while he sold his catch in town. Meanwhile, a housewife saw the image in the banca and thought that it was a miracle having found the image where it was. She notified the parish priest, and soon afterwards a crowd started to gather around the banca. A farmer carried the statuette to the church and on his way the people following him started to sing and dance. This was the first "Turumba" procession.

The word "Turumba" has no real Tagalog or Spanish meaning. Still according to the legend, "turumba" was the sound of the drumbeats during the procession. To this day, the Turumba is still celebrated. The image of virgin Mary is borne on the shoulders of the devotees and brought to the seashore and back to the Catholic church in a festive grand procession. The Turumba is the longest celebrated festival in the country covering seven months. The first celebration is held a week before (Holy week) the week before Easter Sunday, and then every ninth of the month, hence, for seven months.

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