Laguna is a thriving province in the Philippines just south of the capital of Manila, rich with coconuts and other natural resources. Due to its proximity near the city, Laguna is popular with the weekend crowd who wish to escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Many towns benefit from the amenities of modern life plus the laid-back tranquility of small-town living. Thereâ€™s plenty to enjoy here for visitors, from the resorts and hotels to the natural, historical and modern attractions that abound.
Here are some things to do in Laguna:
Trek up mystical Mt. Makiling. An inactive volcano with a height of 1,109 meters, Mt. Makiling is said to be the abode of a fairy who protects the residents around her. The mountain itself is great for nature hikes and is a favorite among mountaineers. The University of the Philippines, Los Banos, a satellite institution of the premier state university, is located at the foot of Mt. Makiling.
Pay tribute to the Rizal Shrine. A two-story, Spanish vintage reconstruction of the original house where the national hero was born, this repository exhibits all kinds of Rizal memorabilia, from images to sculptures. The shrine is packed with diverse items that reflect the polyglot nature of Jose Rizal himself, including his most famous poem Mi Ultimo Adios (My last farewell), written during his final hours before being executed by Spanish soldiers in Fort Santiago.
Find the Hidden Valley. Hidden Valley springs is situated in a 300-foot deep crater near the town of Alaminos. This private resort contains a virgin forest, a body of hidden falls, several pools and springs, and a horseback riding area. One particular area, the well-concealed Loverâ€™s Pool, is a welcome spot for honeymooners.
Bring the kids to Enchanted Kingdom. A great theme park in the town of Santa Rosa, Enchanted Kingdom features a back-and-forth roller coaster, 4D movie theater, river-rafting ride and kart racing. A shuttle bus ferries visitors between a pick-up point in Makati and Enchanted Kingdom at designated intervals.
Ride the rough waters to Pagsanjan Falls. This magnificent waterfall can only be reached by hiring a boat and two boatmen and travel upriver. Once you reach the falls, you can ride on a bamboo raft right under the thundering waters, or walk inside the Devil’s Cave behind the falls. A Bangkero Festival is celebrated every first week of April to honor the skilled boatmen who shoot the rapids on a daily basis, and features water activities, choral competitions and trade fairs.
Buy authentic Paete woodcarvings. This town is famous for its wood carving and paper mache craftsmen, whose skills have been passed down from the time of the Spanish occupation. The religious figures and furniture that come from Paete are so widely known that the town has been declared the â€œCarving Capital of the Philippines.â€
Savor some buko pie. A local specialty, this delicious pastry has layers of coconut meat slices topped with a crusty shell. Buko pie is sold in street side bakeries near popular attractions. You can also try the lanzones, a seasonal olive-sized fruit with a sweet-sour taste that grows in bunches and sold along main avenues.
To get to Laguna from Manila, simply drive along South Superhighway for one to two hours. The best time to visit is during the summer season from November to May.