Laguna is notable as the birthplace of Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero
Laguna officially known as the Province of Laguna, is a province in the Philippines, located in the Calabarzon region in Luzon. Its capital is Santa Cruz and the province is situated 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. It is also currently the seventh richest province in the country. Laguna is notable as the birthplace of Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero. It is also famous for attractions like Pagsanjan Falls, the University of the Philippines Los Baños campus, the hot spring resorts of Los Baños and Calamba on the slopes of Mount Makiling, Pila historic town plaza, Taytay Falls in Majayjay, the wood carvings and papier-mâché created by the people of Paeté, the annual Sampaguita Festival in San Pedro, the turumba of Pakil, the tsinelas footwears from Liliw, the Pandan Festival of Luisiana, the Seven Lakes of San Pablo, and the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan.
Laguna is a veritable treasure trove of cultural, historical and natural gems. It almost completely surrounds the Laguna de Bay (Laguna Lake), one of Southeast Asia’s largest lakes, thus, its name derived from the Spanish word “Lago” which meant LakeLaguna also has its share of its historical contributions, such as the Laguna Copperplate Inscription dated back to 700 CE and the birthplace of Philippines’ national hero, Jose Rizal. Most of the settlements in Laguna dates back to the Spanish era, and provides a glance on its colonial past. Laguna is also another frequented tourist destination not far from Metro Manila. Los Baños is abundant on hot spring resorts, and Calamba is another important location as Jose Rizal’s hometown and also has its share of resorts. Pagsanjan, just east of the provincial capital in Santa Cruz, is home to the frequented Pagsanjan Falls. The economy of Laguna is centered on the Laguna de Bay (also called Laguna Lake) and its rice paddies, but there have been shifts to an industrial and commercial economy. Biñan and Santa Rosa have become important industrial centers, but they remain bedroom communities near Metro Manila. With a number of motor vehicle factories, Laguna is nicknamed the “Detroit of the Philippines”. The rest of the province relies on agriculture and tourism. The local climate is generally characterized by frequent rain showers throughout the year, except for the northwestern corner, where there are dry and wet seasons. It is important to take account the frequent changes in the weather when visiting most of Laguna. How to get there? Laguna is accessible by the South Luzon Expressway. There are many exits that connect to the various cities of Laguna, including the Santa Rosa or Calamba Exit. Travel around the cities and towns using the jeepneys. Fares are cheap, but they can be very crowded. In inland areas, service can be scarce. Bus service is limited to the major locations. In rural areas, use the tricycle, but it’s sometimes tight, especially for foreigners. Beware of deceptive tricycle drivers who charge above the official or agreed fare. Bringing a car can be another way to explore Laguna and avoiding hassles with local transport, but expect traffic jams, dangerous road conditions, and aggressive drivers. While Laguna has wide highways like the South Luzon Expressway and two major national roads, expect two-lane roads frequented by tricycles, motorcycles and pedestrians elsewhere. Where to stay in Laguna? Laguna is a developed tourist destination with many accommodations across the budget spectrum. San Pablo City is the place to stay in if you want to be near the lakes. Here you’ll find a beautiful old church and several hotels and guesthouses within your budget. You can find a place to stay near Pagsanjan Falls, too, if you don’t want the hassle of hurrying to leave to catch public transportation back to Manila. There are also a number of hot springs resorts and farm resorts in the province. Sta. Rosa and Calamba are also possible destinations to look for accommodations in. Both have budget to mid-priced hotels and guesthouses.
Things To See And Do In Laguna? 1st activity. Visit Enchanted Kingdom, this is one of the most recognizable attractions in Sta. Rosa, Laguna because it has shared its magic to visitors for more than two decades. Enjoy the rides such as Anchor’s Away, Rialto, Space Shuttle and others. Spend an entire day here reminiscing about your childhood or spending time with your family. The regular day pass costs 800 and 500 pesos for junior passes, senior citizens and PWDs. There are also regular song and dance performances, and zone shows you can enjoy during your stay. 2nd activity. Visit Rizal Shrine, Jose Rizals home province is Laguna. In Calamba, you’ll find a shrine dedicated to the country’s national hero. The museum contains exhibits of the man’s life, some artifacts, statues, and other items. This attraction is ideal for visitors who want to learn about history and Rizal. The fees are 80 to 160 pesos. 3rd activity. Visit Cavinti’s Underground River and Cave Complex in Cavinti is the place to go. This subterranean wonder has beautiful stalactites and stalagmites as you go deeper into the chambers. Your adventure begins even before you enter because you’ll need to ride a 4×4 jeep to reach the entrance. The bumpy yet exciting ride will get your adrenaline pumping. The entrance fee is around 500 pesos per person, 400 pesos for the guide, and 2500 pesos for the jeep which can accommodate up to 8 people. 4th activity. Visit Mount Makiling towers over the province. The mountain has inspired all sorts of stories about mystical beings and magic. The trail to the summit and back is no cake walk – you have to earn your keep. Dirt trails, streams, ascents, and descents will test your endurance and leg muscles. However, once you reach the summit, it will all be worth it. A DIY trip is possible, but there are also joiner tours from Manila. The expenses for going on your own may reach 500 pesos. 5th activity. Visit Pagsanjan Falls is one of the most famous attractions in the province. Located in Cavinti, this waterfall is an iconic landmark that many students study in school. You can see the waterfall from afar for free, but you have to pay extra to go nearer. You may avail a package that includes the rapids from the tourism office for around 1250 pesos. You also have the option to try exciting activities such as rappelling and cliff-jumping. 6th activity. Visit the City of Seven Lakes, is a noteworthy addition to your itinerary because of the stunning views. This is a refreshing destination for nature lovers and those looking to get away from the concrete jungle. Go swimming or rafting in one of the lakes during your visit. It’s possible to see all seven, but the most accessible are Lakes Bunot, Pandin, and Yambo. You can charter a tricycle with driver for approximately 500 pesos to take you around. 7th activity. Visit Hulugan Falls, this waterfall in Luisiana has steadily gained popularity over the years. This comes as no surprise because Hulugan will make you fall for it with its raw beauty. Tourism has transformed the area. There are now paved sections to reach the waterfall. It only takes half an hour or so to reach Hulugan. Go swimming, take photos or have a picnic (but make sure to leave no trace behind).
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