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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Navigating Laguna Loop: A Journey to the North

It was Day 3 of my travel in the Laguna Loop where I decided to go on the places in the northern part of the province. The day started with a cloudy weather while travelling from Cavite to Sta. Cruz for almost five hours. I also took my lunch break in a fastfood chain in Santa Cruz and rode a jeepney to Siniloan in order to prepare for a long travel. Then when the travel started to go up from Pagsanjan, I didn't expect to have a rainy weather (maybe because I was late to be informed about the typhoon hits the country). The rain falls down while passing the lake shore towns in Laguna and you can feel the cold air and fog because they are also belong to the highland towns of Sierra Madre mountain range. 

From Siniloan, I took a five-minute tricycle ride to Mabitac. It is located in northern part of Laguna along with neighboring towns of Siniloan, Famy and Santa Maria. Mabitac is named after the Tagalog word "mabitag" meaning a place with many traps. The place is also known for  Nuestra Senora de Candelaria, a church which has 126 steps and the Labanan sa Mabitac (Battle of Mabitac) where Filipinos won the victory over the Japanese in 1942. First, I went to an exhausting climb to the hilltop church of Nuestra Senora de Candelaria which was founded in the 16th century. Then from the church, I went down to the memorial area of Battle of Mabitac which serves as a tribute for Filipinos and Americans who won the battle in 1942 against the Japanese in the town.
The view from the hilltop church where you can see the town proper of Mabitac as well  with the rice fields and the Sierra Madre mountain range. The town of Mabitac is a highland rural town where people live a simple life.
Nuestra Senora de Candelaria Church in Mabitac, Laguna.
The one hundred twenty-six steps to the church.

The Battle of Mabitac.
After Mabitac, I went to the town of Siniloan where the town is known for its waterfalls as well with the progress into urban town. I saw different establishments in the town proper until I rode a jeep going back to my next destination. But I decided to stop on the Pangil - Siniloan border where there are changes in the rice fields surrounding the highway and the view of the bay during sunny days. Because of the rain and the water from the dam released, the rice fields were turned into a body of water were ducks can be found anywhere. After that, I rode a jeepney again going to the next destination. While passing the road, I felt the strong and cold wind because of the rainy weather and the fact that the road is near to the bay plus the rice fields were turned into a huge body of water.
The welcome arch of Siniloan, Laguna.
The highway from Siniloan to Pangil which is a road in the middle of the rice fields.
Rice fields were flooded because the dam in that area released its water and ducks were gathering on that field.

A man riding on a boat while herding the ducks.
Right after Siniloan, I passed the town of Pangil which is known for its devotion to the Virgin Mary through the Virgin dela O, the Virgin pregnant with the Child Jesus who is called Sto. Nino dela O. The statues of both Mother and Child are gifts from King Carlos III from Spain. In addition, Pangil is known for its river and the Ambon-ambon Falls.

After less than ten minutes, I went to the town of Pakil where I visited the St. Peter Alcantara Church, which is one of the Spanish Baroque Churches in Laguna Loop. It was built in the 17th century. In addition, Pakil is known as the Turumba Capital where they held the Turumba Festival seven times a year in honor of Virgin of Sorrows. The Turumba Festival is one of the longest festivals in the Philippines.Pakil is also known for its delicate form of woodcarving where wood ornaments are designed in a more creative way.

Saint Peter of Alcantara Church of Pakil, Laguna.
The creative woodwork from Pakil, Laguna.
After Pakil, I visited the town of Paete to take a look on the woodcarvings and paper maches plus the popular stores and woodcarvers in the town. After Paete, we went to the lakeshore towns of Kalayaan and Lumban where it is located in the foothills of Sierra Madre. Kalayaan is known for its exotic food restaurant while Lumban is famous for its embroidery business of barong tagalog and saya. While passing the towns of Kalayaan and Paete, you can see the panoramic view of Laguna de Bay from the mountain highway of Laguna. 

Before I go back to Santa Cruz, we passed the Tourist Capital of Laguna, Pagsanjan. We passed the Pagsanjan Arch which was created from 1876 to 1880. It was truly a landmark in Laguna. After passing the arch, you can see the old houses preserved from the Spanish period in Puerto Real and in Calle Rizal. You can also visit the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and experience the rapids via bancas or canoes paddled by expert boatmen which leads you to the major tourist attraction in this town, the enchanting Pagsanjan Falls. Its booming and flashing water cascade on a 300-foot high rocky cliff which makes it as the number one tourist attraction in Pagsanjan. It is actually located within the boundaries of Cavinti, Laguna. I wanted to visit Pagsanjan Falls someday if I come back to experience the unique journey within the streaming rapids in the river.

The Pagsanjan Arch as it welcomes you to the northern part of Laguna.
I want to discover more about the northern part of Laguna especially about its culture. Definitely this part of Laguna is rustic, rural and truly, an idyllic nature hideaway. 

1 comment:

tjshy28 said...

Wow, i want to visit this place someday^^. This blog is great!!

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