Good day tourists! I’m ziel your tour guide for today and now where going to explore and see the beauty of the “resort province of the Philippines” welcome to LAGUNA!!! The Province of Laguna, which was formerly called La Laguna, was named after Laguna de Bay, the body of water that forms its northern boundary. Laguna de Bay, in turn, was named after the town of Bay (Laguna de Bay is Spanish which means “Lake of Bay”), the first provincial capital. Laguna (Tagalog: Lalawigan ng Laguna), is a province of the Philippines found in the CALABARZON region in Luzon. Its capital is Santa Cruz . Laguna hugs the southern shores of Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the country. Laguna is notable as the birthplace of Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero. There’s a lot of famous attractions like , the hot spring resorts of Los Baños and Calamba on the slopes of Mount Makiling, Pila historic town plaza, Taytay Falls in Majayjay, the Hidden Valley Springs in Calauan and of course the most famous waterfalls in the philiphines PAGSANJAN FALLS!!
The main falls is actually located within the boundaries of Cavinti, Laguna but access by boat originates from the town of Pagsanjan. A move by the ruling body of the town of Cavinti was submitted to the Sangguniang Bayan. Pagsanjan Falls is probably the most famous natural attraction in Laguna. However, it is actually located in Cavinti, an adjacent town to Pagsanjan, and the falls’ indigenous name is Magdapio Falls. Pagsanjan, Laguna is the jump-off point to Pagsanjan Falls. You may rent a banca or small boat to take you to the falls or “shoot the rapids.” The standard rate is about PhP 800-1000 pesos per person which includes the round-trip boat ride, entrance fees, and use of life vests.
Be prepared to shell out extra for tips to boatmen; although there is a standard rate for the boat ride, you are expected to give extra tip to the boatmen, about PhP 200 per person (according to tourists who already went there). Skilled and accredited boatmen will take you on a scenic boat ride at Magdapio River in order to reach the main falls, the famous Pagsanjan Falls. They used to be wooden bancas, but nowadays, the boats are made of fiberglass. On the way, you will be treated to the sight of other minor falls (approximately 20 of them), lush vegetation, and natural rock formations. Some say that monkeys occassionally appear and they throw branches or rocks to people, so you better wear a helmet just in case.
Once you reach the main falls, you can take a raft ride through the falls and get a natural “back massage.” You can also explore the Devil’s Cave behind the falls, famous for its reverberating echoes. For the raft ride, you have to pay an extra PhP 90 and tip the boatmen. The highlight of this trip is the rapid descent downstream or what is known as “shooting the rapids'”. Be prepared for the thrill of a lifetime as the expert boatmen manuever the boat skillfully through turbulent waters. It is interesting to know that a boatman is required to undergo a rigid six-month training in order to acquire a license/accreditation for guiding tourists on the ride to the falls.
Bangkero is a Tagalog term given to those whose job provides a means of transportation on the river using a “bangka” (boat). The “Pagsanjan Bangkero Festival” is held every first week of March and it features exciting events on water and land like the “palarong bangkero” (fluvial parade and exhibitions), street dancing, drum and lyre band competition, chorale fest, cultural night, trade fair, sports events among others. The ‘Pagsanjan Bangkero Festival’ is inspired by and dedicated to all the bangkeros (boatmen) in Pagsanjan.. These boatmen impress one with his skill and dexterity in maneuvering his boat upstream “against wild rapids and amids a pristine panorama of lush, virgin forest.” Aside from its amazing tourist’s destinations, Laguna is also known for its delicacies and appetizing food products. Almost every town has its own particular product with its distinct taste that is mainly raised in the town. Here is a list of the delicacies to look for when you happen to pass by or visit Laguna.
Buko pie is a famous delicacy of Los Baños town in Laguna province. Mer-Nel’s chocolate cake is the favorite cake in Los Baños, Laguna. The cake is moist and light, while the icing is sweet chocolate with a hint of milk. Kesong puti or white cheese is widely produced in Santa Cruz, Laguna, and the town of its origin. Monay is widely available in local bakeries but the monay in Bay, Laguna is deliciously different. Espasol (rice pudding) is a native Filipino sweet treat made from rice flour and coconut strips cooked in coconut milk. The cooked pudding is shaped into cylinders and then rolled into toasted rice flour. It is believed that espasol originated from Laguna, Philippines. Uraro or arrowroot cookies are popular in Laguna province.
These cookies are delicate and powdery, and feel dry on the mouth like puto seko (although puto seko is much drier). Usually, uraro is shaped into flowers and wrapped in a thin paper called “papel de hapon.” Bibingka. There are are many versions of bibingka in the Philippines but when you are in Laguna, the bibingka of Pagsanjan is the must-try delicacy. Just like the adobo which has many versions, there are many variants of bibingka (or rice cake) in the Philippines. But when you are in Laguna, the bibingka of Pagsanjan is the must-try delicacy.
The typical ingredients of bibingka are rice flour, coconut milk and eggs usually topped with grated coconut, salted egg or white cheese. But Pagsanjan’s bibingka does not have any of these toppings at all; it may look simple but it really tastes delicious as it is. The traditional way of cooking bibingka is rather interesting. Instead of the typical gas or electric oven, a clay pot is used; banana leaves are used to line the clay pot and hot coals are put below and on top of the clay pot in order to cook the bibingka batter. So what are you waiting for? Visit Laguna and try these delicious and mouth-watering foods that you’ll surely love.