Unknown to many, Laguna is a place that is taken for granted. A city that is too provincial to be part of the city, and too close to the city to be considered a paradise. What people do not know is that there are so many hidden treasures within this 1,917 square kilometer land. Aside from a being popular for being the birth town of the country’s national hero, the place boasts of communities rich in culture, progress and natural beauty such as cold and hot springs, falls and the tens of rivers surrounding the whole area, and of course the famous Laguna Lake or Laguna De Bay.
Laguna is divided into six (6) districts: Binan, Cabuyao, Calamba, San Pablo, San Pedro and Santa Rosa. Each district has its own gem that it can be proud of; each district has its own fascinating history as well. The best example would be Calamba, which is the hometown of national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal. The district commemorated this by building monuments, infrastructure and preserving places that are closely associated with Rizal.
Laguna is also home to some of the country’s oldest churches. Two of the oldest are St. James the Apostle Parish Church and St. Gregory the Great Parish Church, which were both erected in the 15th century.
Aside from being visited for its historical religious landmarks, Laguna is also known to be a district that is highly active in agricultural production and the cottage industry. Having 60,624 hectares of agricultural land, Laguna is known for producing and supplying rice, corn, coconuts, and fruits that are usually exported such as bananas and mangoes.
Being rich in land and natural resources, tourism follows. With its proximity close to the metro, a lot of locals drive down to Laguna for their weekend getaways or overnight retreats.
Not only is Laguna known for agriculture, it is also houses twenty-one (21) economic zones, the biggest one being the Laguna Technopark. This 337.215 hectares of land in Sta. Rosa and Binan is where the plants of automotive industry giants such as Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda and Nissan are located.
The business process outsourcing eventually followed suit as the industry giants namely IBM and Convergys have already set-up shop in the area. Needless to say that Laguna is a self-sustaining district and has a life of its own. From the cottage industry, to the industrial economy to the corporate scene – Laguna is a mix of city and rural living where people can easily access places of relaxation once they feel the stress of the city life.
What are these extremely accessible leisure spots in Laguna? With all six districts having something special to offer, every direction you take within Laguna is a welcome adventure.
If you have a knack for history, there is the option of Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery – a historical landmark that was built in 1845. This area is open to the public to see where the friars were buried during the Spanish era.
There is, of course, the Rizal Shrine of Calamba, this is a replica of the original stone house of Jose Rizal. At no entrance fee, visitors can see Rizal memorabilia including his popular works like Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo and of course his last poem, Mi Ultimo Adios (My Last Farewell).
For those who want the best woodcraft the Philippines has to offer, one can go to Paete. There artisans have been plying their trade for more than a century. Predominantly famous for religious artifacts, you can also buy great furniture and set pieces there.
Aside from the huge Laguna De Bay, there are other lakes that can be visited in the area. One of which is the Seven Lakes in San Pablo. Experience dining on a bamboo raft in Lake Pandin for less than P500.00, you get this great experience and satisfy your hunger!
Caliraya Lake on the other hand is a man-made lake resort. Visitors can find various water sports activities. Visitors can actually do some recreational fishing there as well. In the Caliraya area, you can find a beautifully constructed Japanese garden that will take you to a peaceful zen state.
Lakes are not the only bodies of water you can visit in the area. Beautiful and pristine falls can be found in many corners of Laguna. Instagram worthy Bunga falls is just the perfect backdrop for a nice family picnic. Visitors can actually climb the falls, but be careful as the way up is slippery. There are also the Majayjay Falls and the Hulugan Falls which add to the bevy of natural wonders that Laguna has to offer.