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Laguna: Home of the Philippines' National Hero

Laguna is a province of the Philippines found in the CALABARZON region in Luzon. Its capital is Santa Cruz and the province is located Southeast of Metro Manila, south of the province of Rizal, west of Quezon, north of Batangas and east of Cavite.

by Jhaypee Guia on August 02, 2012
Laguna: Home of the Philippines

The Plaza Calamba


Laguna  is a province of the Philippines found in the CALABARZON region in Luzon. Its capital is Santa Cruz and the province is located Southeast of Metro Manila, south of the province of Rizal, west of Quezon, north of Batangas and east of Cavite. Laguna almost completely surrounds Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the country.

The province acquired its name from the Spanish word “Lago”, which means lake or lagoon. The city with the highest population (based on 2010 census) is Calamba, while the least population is the Municipality of Famy.

Laguna is notable for being the birthplace of Jose Rizal, the country's national hero. Laguna is also famous among tourists for the Pagsanjan Falls, the University of the Philippines campus and the hot spring resorts in Los Baños and Calamba, on the slopes of Mount Makiling, Pila Town Plaza, Taytay Falls, Majayjay, the wood carvings and papier-mâché created by the people of Paeté, the fragrant Sampaguita and annual Sampaguita Festival of San Pedro, Laguna, the turumba of Pakil, The Tsinelas footwears in Liliw, the Pandan Festival of Luisiana, the Seven Lakes of San Pablo (San Pablo is the first city in the province) and Hidden Valley Springs in Calauan.


The province of Laguna was named after Laguna de Bay, the body of water that forms the province's boundaries. Laguna de Bay was named after the town of Bay, which was the first provincial capital during the Spanish period. The Laguna de bay is the biggest fresh water lake in the country.

Laguna, along with its surrounding areas, was conquered for Spain by Captain Juan de Salcedo in 1571, after which, the Franciscan friars started the Christianization of the province.

The province became a bloody battleground during the Chinese revolts in 1603 and 1693.The succeeding centuries brought rapid progress in agriculture, education, commerce and cultural pursuits. The province bred a large number of intellectuals, businessmen and landowners who benefited from access to education and liberal ideas led by the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Fanned by his execution in 1896, thousands joined the revolution against Spain.

Laguna was one of the first eight provinces to rise in revolt against the Spanish rule. The ill-equipped Filipino forces, led by General Paciano Rizal of Calamba, General Severino Taino of Pagsanjan, General Agueda Kahabagan of Calauan, among others, fought the Spanish authorities and 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 for the First Philippine Republic that was proclaimed in Malolos, Bulacan. Two citizens of Pagsanjan, Don Higino Benitez and Don Graciano Cordero, represented the province during the historic event.

The eruption of the Filipino-American hostilities 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 first Filipino Governor of Laguna.

After the hostilities, Laguna progressed rapidly. More schools and colleges were established, agricultural production was strengthened, core areas of trade and commerce were established, various public services were instituted and roads were built to link the towns to each other and with the country’s capital in Manila. In 1917, the Manila Railroad Company extended its line to Laguna to as far as Pagsanjan. The abundance of its natural resources, the high literacy rate of its people and the presence of numerous ventures in agriculture, entrepreneurship became the determinant of its eminent position as one of the countries’s most developed provinces at the beginning of the 20th century.

Today, Laguna is a bustling province which hosts major export processing zones, light and medium industries and educational institutions. Its fertile lands produce millions of pesos worth of agricultural products. Its tourism assets that dot the province have attracted a multitude of foreign and domestic tourists.

Prime Attractions

Ahunan sa Mt. Pinag-As (Pakil)

This is the site of the big white cross which stands at the topmost of Mt. Ping-as (500meters above sea level). The trek to this mountain does not only gratify one physically but spiritually as well. The 14 Stations of the Cross can be found on the way to its peak. A Holy Mass is offered every last Saturday of May. Moreover, Pakil boasts one of the most scenic view of Laguna de Bay.

Ambon-ambon Falls/Buntot Palos Falls (Pangil)

Both waterfalls are nestled in the heart of Sierra Madre Mountain Ambon-Ambon Falls can be reached by trekking and swimming for about 45 minutes while Buntot Palos Falls on the other hand, is only 1 1/2 hours trek from Sitio San Isidro, Barangay Balian of Pangil. The wild growth on the deep ravines, the still blue waters of the lagoon and the thousand and one boulders make-up a panorama of the untouched beauty of nature.

Bunga Twin Falls (Nagcarlan)

One of the natural spectacles that abound in this municipality, the Bunga Twin Falls is a relaxing & refreshing picnic ground city life.

Coldsprings (3rd and 4th Districts of Laguna)

Deep into the refreshingly cold spring water to take away the summer heat found mostly in the mountainous 3rd and 4th Districts of Laguna.

Dan Dallena Art Gallery (Pakil)

The Dan Dalena Art Gallery in Barangay Burgos, Pakil is an ideal place to visit for those who are into art appreciation. It houses different artworks and paintings by Dan Dalena and his children.

Diocesan Shrine of San Antonio de Padua (Pila)

Reverend Juan de Plasencia O.F.M was the first priest to minister to this town in 1578. The first church and the first convent were completed in 1618. The town was transferred from Pagalangan to the present site, in 1800 to avoid frequent floods, the present church was built at the beginning of the 19th century and the convent was completed in 1849, both having been seriously damaged by the earthquake 1880. A resthouse for old and sick Franciscan Missionaries was maintained in this town from 1618 to 1763.

El Pueblo El San Salvador Nature's Park and Picnic Grove (Cavinti)

The Municipality of Cavinti has recently launched the new Ecotourism Park called El Pueblo El Salvador del Mundo (The Town of El Salvador), named after the venerable patron of Cavinti ? El Salvador del Mundo. The El Pueblo will provide an alternative access to the Magdapio Falls through one of the country?s most spectacular and accessible trails. The alternative trail will enable tourists to access alternative falls, swimming areas, bat caves and rapids. The development of the circumferential road leading down to the Nakulo Falls Picnic Area, Tibatib Nature Trail with erection of the Metal Ladders going up the Bayakan Falls and Cavinti Falls and the preservation of the Bayakan and Cavinti Fruit Bat Caves are the components of this very worthwhile Eco-tourism Park.

Heritage Town (Pila)

The town of Pila successfully preserved its Spanish colonial heritage, the town center is a living example of Spanish colonial town planning and development; its church-plaza-municipal hall complex forms the heart of the Noble de Pila. The structures of Pila reflect a rich and varied architectural history, which remains relatively intact in its town center, from the Philippines-Baroque church of the Spanish period to the charming chalets of the American period. The town of Pila is a living monument and testimony to the residents of Pila who were the builders, craftsmen, artist and artisans of such elegant, historic structures. The Pila Museum situated near the church houses the collections of important artifacts from Pila dating to Spanish time. Displayed also are clay pots which were discovered in an excavations made at Pinagbayanan in 1967.

Hot Springs (Calamba City and Los Baños)

Hot springs have a healing / curative power in Pansol, Calamba City and Los Baños area, where numerous resorts abound.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church (Los Baños)

The church was built 1613. Also on this year the town of Maynit was named ?Los Baños?. Big building of concrete structures was built on 1671 in honor of ?Nuestra Señora de Immaculada Concepcion? but was burned down on 1727. A church was built again on 1790 by Father Domingo Mateo. According to history, the Virgin of Immaculate Concepcion was said to be miraculous as witnessed and felt the healing power of the Virgin by people of Los Baños, Europe and India.

Japanese Memorial Graden (Cavinti)

Located in Caliraya, Lumban, Laguna, the shrine was built 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 local folks, the remains of Yamashita are enshrined in the marble ?altar? located in the elevated area of the garden. The Japanese Garden sprawls on several hectares of slightly rugged and rolling land.

Lake Caliraya (Lumban and Cavinti)

One of the most prominent man-made attractions in the province stretching from Lumban to Cavinti, Lake Caliraya 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 2 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. Lake Caliraya is an ideal place for aqua sports such as boating, wind surfing and water skiing. It is also excellent for sailing and game fishing. A boat trip around the lake takes approximately 4 hours.

Lolo Uweng Shrine (Brgy. Landayan, San Pedro)

An Image of the dead Jesus was found in the lakeshore of Landayan, San Pedro, Laguna. Since it was believed that the image is miraculous, the people of Landayan kept and encased it in a camarin which was placed inside the visita for veneration. The event gave way to the devotion of Jesus in the Holy Sepulcher accompanied by stories regarding the miraculous icon as testified by both the local parishioners and devotes from nearby provinces.

Mt. Makiling (Los Baños)

An extinct volcano, 1,109 meters above sea level; watershed of Laguna and Batangas; center for biodiversity conservation. This mountain park offers ecotourism activities including mountaineering, orienteering, nature walk, biology classes, hiking, camping, mountain biking, bird watching, etc. It contains large tracts of natural forest and plantations of endemic and exotic trees and geologic wonders like mudsprings, caves and peaks. The reserve harbors endemic and endangered flora and fauna. Some wild animals: Philippine deer, monkey, wild boar, palm civet, cloud rat, monitor lizards, bats, fruit doves, parrots eagles, kingfishers.

Mudspring in Mt. Makiling (Los Baños)

Widely accepted albeit erroneously as the volcanic center of Mt. Makiling.

National Arts Center (Los Baños )

The National Arts Center is the show window of cultural development and performing arts education of the country. It is an ideal vantage point for a panoramic view of Laguna de Bay, Talim Island, Crocodile Lake, and the International Rice Research Institute. Managed by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the National Arts Center has 62 cottages, an auditorium, and seminar and convention facilities. Reservations can be coursed through the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Main Office on Roxas Boulevard, Manila. Also found within its premises is a Ballet Studio and the Rilda O?Brien Cliburn Library for the Humanities, which was established in 1981 as part of the overall logistical support to the operations of the Philippine High School for the Arts.

Our Lady of Candelaria Parish (Mabitac)

The Mabitac Church stands mighty high atop its 126 stone steps. Its façade is definitely an old Spanish style but the interior is quite modern. Like most old churches, has a belfry connected to the main church. The Patroness of this church is Our Lady of Candelaria.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish (Pagsanjan)

Founded 1687. Father Agustin De la Magdalena, first curate, original chapel of bamboo and nipa. Reconstructed, 1690 under the direction or Miguel Guan-co and Alguacil Mayor Alonzo Garcia. Improved 1853 by Fr. Joaquin De Coria. Transept added, 1872 by Fr. Serafin Linares and Fr. Cipriano Bac. Damaged during World War II.

Our Lady of Nativity Parish (Pangil)

The church of Nativity of Our Blessed Mother, was first constructed of light materials such as bamboo and nipa leaves. It was only in 1611 that the said church was converted into a thick masonry building and by 1711, all the church?s wooden parts were replaced and the high altar was transformed into a beautiful vaulted arch.

Pandin Lake (San Pablo City)

Situated in Brgy. Santo Angel, Lake Pandin is about 20.5 hectares in area, maximum depth of 63 meters. It is also teeming with tilapia, hito, dalag, carp, shrimp, dulong, bituo and kuhol. Lake Pandin, as the legend tells it, is the other-half of Lake Yambo.

Pangil River Eco-Park (Pangil)

A nature-based tourism located in Pangil, Laguna. Facilities of the eco-park include multi-purpose pavilion camping ground, picnic huts and infinity pool. A guided walk shall be offered up to Pangil Ambon-Ambon Falls where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature along the way. Trailways shall be constructed to facilitate the said guided walk.

Parish of St. James the Apostle, Paete

Paete church was built during the early Spanish period. But the novelty of this church lies in the fact that all the religious images found here were carved and/or painted by the residents of Paete long ago. The intricate baroque altar is a monument to their wood carving industry and the walls of the church boast of large murals done by Jose Dans (19th C.), a true son of Paete who used color pigments mixed with pulverized volcanic ash and brushes fashioned from cat?s hair. Although the church has been recently renovated, and the construction materials are not like the original, the designs remain mainly the same.

Rizal Shrine (Calamba City)

This two-storey, red-tiled roof, Spanish-vintage house is maintained by the national government as a national shrine. It is a museum of memorabilia dedicated to National Hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal. It houses Dr. Rizal?s childhood, ranging from pictures of the late hero, early sculptures by Rizal, to laminated excerpts of some of his best written works. Museum hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., everyday, except Monday.

Sampaloc Lake (San Pablo City)

The city?s biggest and premier lake, with an area of 104.0 hectares, a maximum depth of 27.0 meters approximately 85% of its volume below 10 meters and 15% below 24 meters. Nearly ½ of the lake uniform depth. Sunk in a shallow depression revealing its volcanic origin. Dotted with floating restaurants along its shoreline that serve delectable Filipino and Chinese cuisines. Abounds with tilapia, bangus, carp and several species of shrimps.

San Sebastian Parish (Lumban)

In 1586, Father Pedro Bautista, who was the Parish Priest, secured permission from the Governor General to build in stone the church and the convent of Lumban, the first to be built in Laguna. By 1600, the church was completed after long years of hard labor and tragedy. It was the first Franciscan building made of stone built in a town outside Manila credited to Father Bautista who is now San Pedro Bautista. It was also in this edifice where the first school of music in the Philippines was established.

Santa Rosa de Lima (Santa Rosa City)

The church took 16 years to be completed. Construction began in 1796 and was finally blessed on August 4, 1812. The first mass with a homily held August 30, in honor of its new patron saint, Santa Rosa de Lima. One of its major features is the belfry. It has eight big bells carrying each the name of a saint and engraved with the patron?s name. It also held the biggest clock, measuring one and a half meters in diameter, which would sound the time every quarter of an hour, but it was destroyed during a dogfight between the American and Japanese forces.

Shooting Rapids at Pagsanjan Falls (Pagsanjan)

Actually, the name of the falls is Magdapio Falls, located the next town, Cavinti. However, the falls has been popularly known as Pagsanjan Falls because the trip to the falls, referred to as ?shooting the rapids?? starts from Pagsanjan. The trip to Pagsanjan Falls is an experience of a lifetime --- another of nature?s treats. This is an exhilarating two-hour boatride from Pagsanjan River to the Falls and back. Two se¬asoned boatmen expertly maneuver the multi-colored native canoe against strong currents through 16 rapids. Moreover, one can imagine being lost in the wilderness when the boatmen paddle and lift their canoe at least five times going up through the gorges and in between the long 300-feet high cliffs of the clear river. However, there is less during the rainy season as the water level is high. During this time when the current is very swift and the falls gushes heavily through the river, the boat are cut avoid of the danger posed by the high water.

Spa Salon (Calamba City, Los Baños, Bay and San Pablo City)

A sanctuary for rejuvenation, offering a fun-tastic environment of high-caliber pampering?the ultimate stresscape from your everyday life.

Cavinti Church

Situated in Cavinti, Laguna. In 1619 the ecclesiatical ministration of Cavinti belonged to Lumbang. The first stone church and convent were built about 1621, but were seriously damaged during the Chinese uprising of 1639. The church was rebuilt in 1851, though was again destroyed by the earthquakes of 1880 and 1937.

St. Augustine Church (Bay)

A church in the Lakeshore of Bay dedicated to the Great Doctor of the church, St. Augustine, was made of bamboo and nipa when it was received from the Augustinian on 1571. In 1804, the church was transferred to its present site at the ?poblacion? where it was constructed of stone under the supervision of Fray Geronimo Hervas, who also built the convent.

St. Bartholome Parish (Nagcarlan)

The first Catholic Church was constructed of light materials in 1563 under the supervision of Rev. Tomas de Miranda, O.F.M. then replaced by brick and stone in1752, by Rev. Father Cristobal Torres utilizing force labor from the natives.

St. Gregory the Great Parish

Reputedly one of the oldest churches in the Philippines built in 1575 using forced labor. Antique relief statues of saints, which were brought by the Spaniards, are preserved in this church. Its belfry houses four smaller bells and one big bell which is probably the oldest in the country. The rooftop of the church offers an obstructed by nonetheless, breathtaking view of Mt. Banahaw and Laguna de Bay.

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church (Calamba City)

The original church was built near Laguna de Bay by the Franciscan in Tabuko (now known as Cabuyao). Calamba was declared as a separate town by Gov. Gen. Gaspar dela Torre on August 28, 1742 but still under the parochial of Tabuko. Because Tabuko was a large town, people began to build a chapel near their place. On January 29, 1759, a Jesuit Priest bought Calamba from a Spaniard; Don Manuel de Jaurie called ?Hacienda de San Juan Bautista? that a chapel was built. It was in 1779, when the parochial church of Calamba became independent and was known as St. John de Baptist Church.

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church (Liliw)

The 400 years old St. John the Baptist Church was built made of wood at the slope of Mt. Banahaw on October, 1620. Fr. Mariano Detolitano started to construct a concrete church made of adobe and tisa. It was finished in 1646 under FR. Francisco Casara de Madre de Dios. In 1880, an earthquake destroyed the church but was restored in 1885 by Fr. Saturnino Gomez Miguel, the last Spanish priest of Liliw.

St. Mary Magdalene Church (Magdalena)

The church St. Magdalene was built 1851-1871 and it is located at the center of the Municipal Plaza and the playground where the cluster of Ananias Luico Memorial Elementary School, Municipal building and the church is located.

St. Peter of Alcantara Parish Church (Pakil)

The church was completed in 1767 after 35 years of construction, the architectural design of the church is reminiscent of the Corinthian and Ionic styles. In 1788, the Virgin of Turumba was enshrined in this church. Its religious images were carved from best chosen woods by experts. This town is also known for its papier-mâché products. The townsfolk are proud too of its Dalena Museum, home of Danilo Dalena, a National Artist. His collection of paintings and other artistic works faithfully captured the temper and thoughts, experiences and expressions of the Filipino masses in their everyday realities.

Tatlong Krus (Paete)

Paete’s Tatlong Krus is located at the summit of the Sierra Madre Mountains. The site where the Tatlong Krus is situated was developed into a sightseers? mark where visitors and guests commemorate the Lenten Season. There are more or less 685 steps leading to Tatlong Krus. The pilgrimage starts on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. The site is accessible either by motor vehicles or by foot.

Taytay Falls (Majayjay)

This 10-15 meters high waterfalls is located along the Dalitiwan River in Brgy. Taytay, Majayjay, Laguna. It has clear and cool water that falls in 1,000 sq. m. river channel area. Its surrounding is vegetated with various wild plants and trees. A natural Falls with irrigation on its 2km. pathway and cliff on the right portion. Cold spring water flows freely from Mt. Banahaw. The site, which is about 8.0 kms. Away from the Majayjay town proper, could be reached via motor vehicles and through hiking about a few hundred meters by way of a nature trail.

Underground Cemetery (Nagcarlan)

Built in the 18th Century by the Franciscan Missionaries, located in Nagcarlan. The Underground Cemetery is a circular wall structure. The intricately designed wrought iron-gate to the red-tiled walk crosses the grounds leading straight to the opposite side, where an altar-like structure is located. The tombstones are embedded in the brick walls of the cemetery. At the crypt of the cemetery, according to history, is where the Katipuneros plotted against Spanish rule.


Pagsanjan Falls

 Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery

Church of Liliw

The Plaza Calamba

Rizal House

Calamba City Lake

Taytay Falls (Majayjay)

Bunga Twin Falls (Nagcarlan)

Lake Caliraya

Sampaloc Lake

List of Accommodations

  • El Cielito Inn Laguna - Santa Rosa, National Highway, Bo. Pulong Sta. Cruz
  • Hidden Valley Hotel Laguna - Laguna, Philippines
  • La Corona de Pagsanjan Resort Hotel - Pinagsanghan, Pagsanjan, Laguna, Philippines
  • Lagos Del Sol Resort Laguna Philippines - Laguna, Philippines
  • Rockpoint Hotel and Conference Center  - Maria Makiling Village, Pansol, Calamba, Laguna
  • Villa Escudero Laguna Philippines - San Pablo City, Philippines
  • Caliraya Re-creation Center Laguna - Brgy. Lewin, Lumban, Laguna, Philippines
  • Jonel Spring Resort Laguna - Bagong Kalsada National Hi-way, Calamba
  • Splash Mountain Resort Hotel - Km 58. Barangay Lalakay, Los Baños
  • Splash Oasis Hotel - KM 58 Brgy. Lalakay, Los Baños, Laguna
  • Rockpoint Hotsprings Resort - Hotel & Spa - Purok Uno, Pansol, Calamba City
  • Villafranca Resort Laguna - Calamba, Laguna, Philippines


  • Southern route- South Expressway is the main artery , with exits at San Pedro, Binan, Sta Rosa, Cabuyao and Calamba;
  • Eastern route- Ortigas Avenue through the towns of Rizal and onward to the eastern towns of Laguna through the Laguna de Bay road network;
  • CALABARZON (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) route- The highway system and well-developed road network of this region links the neighboring provinces with ease and convenience for tourism, trade and commerce.
  • Major bus companies ply the well developed roads to and from Metro Manila and within the CALABARZON on a regular basis. Bus terminals are located at Buendia and Taft Avenue and EDSA in Pasay City.
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