Situated some 30 kilometers South of Manila, the province of Laguna curves embryo-like around the largest body of fresh water in the country – the Laguna de Bay. It is also nestled in the shadows of 2 famous mountains – Mt. Makiling and Mt. Banahaw – a nature's haven of diverse flora and fauna. But more than anything else, Laguna is best known as the "Resort Province of the Philippines" owing to the abundance of hot springs, lakes and waterfalls within the areas. In fact, Laguna has made tourism its major industry. It is the only province with ground water that produces 300 million gallons a day. Nowhere else in the country can you find close to 600 resorts located around Mount Makiling, offering that invigorating, de-stressing hot spring experience.
For the nature lovers, there are mountains to climb, forest reserves to explore and trails to discover. And if you love flowers, you’ll find yourself in paradise in the many cut flower farms of Calamba, Los Banos and Bay. Exotic blooms like cattleyas, dendrobiums, vandas and anthurium as well as ornamental plants and exotic trees are a common sight here. If you’re looking for greens – other type of greens, that is, there are three world class golf courses: Canlubang, Sta. Elena and San Pedro.
Laguna is also the birthplace of the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Protacio Rizal Born on June 19, 1861 in Calamba, Laguna, he is considered the greatest Calambeno that ever lived. In fact, he is also revered as the “pride of the Malay Race” --- being a novelist and prolific writer, a poet, a painter, a sculptor, a linguist conversant in 22 languages, a scientist, an historian, an eye doctor whose fame spread in two continents, a nationalist and a reformer. His colorful life as our country's national hero, a martyr who died for the love of this beloved Philippines.
Laguna is also a thriving community with most towns bustling with small and medium backyard industries. A trip to Laguna is not complete without the usual stop over in any of the countless souvenir or pasalubong shops selling local handmade products and delicacies, the most famous of which are the buco pies (young coconut pie) and espasol.
What To See in Laguna
Information from Lakbay.net, the first Filipino Online Travel Access
Laguna is also famous for its many churches, most of which are centuries old and have great architectural history. Because of this, tourism organizations offer tour packages to the following:
Legends of Maria Makiling
Many rich folklores and legends of Maria Makiling abound. People living within the towns under the shadow of the mountain describe the silhouette of the mountain peak as that of Maria lying down. Maria is a "diwata", Tagalog term for fairy or deity. She lives in the mountain and is considered a trickster forest spirit. She is both malevolent (to hunters) and helpful too.
One of the famous stories is about an enchanted woman who lived in the quiet woods at the foot of the volcano. People named her Maria Makiling because of where she lived. It is also possible they called her Maria Makiling because of the double meaning of the word “Makiling”. In the vernacular, “ma” means to be, and the root word “kiling” means to recline, thus it may mean Maria
“who is reclining”.
She is described as a young, beautiful woman. The beauty and serenity of the enchanted place where she lives complimented her rare qualities. She was kind and compassionate to the town people. She shared the full and rich abundance of her enchanted place – fishes in the lake, food and crops, fruits and trees. And all these bounty were for free. People borrowed from here whenever they need, whatever they wanted. Her richness was known far and wide.
One day, a hunter came by and wandered into her kingdom. When he saw her beauty, he instantly fell in love with her and she too, felt the same way for him. They met and talked everyday and promised to love each other forever. Until one day Maria waited for him but he did not return. Maria discovered that the man she fell in love with had found another mortal woman to marry. This made Maria very sad and frustrated. She felt deeply hurt and soon realized that mortals could not be trusted because they were different from her. She thought that the town people could not be trusted because they were only using her. Forgiving was very difficult. Her sadness and frustration turned into anger that she refused to give fruits to the trees. Animals and birds were no more. Fish no longer abound in the lakes. People seldom saw her because she suddenly became reclusive. It was only during pale moonlit nights that they sometimes see her.
Another story is about three suitors who intensely battled for the heart of Maria. One was a Spanish soldier, another a Spanish-Fiipino mestizo and the third, a Filipino farmer named Juan. In the end, Juan won the heart of Maria, which angered the two suitors. They plotted against Juan by setting fire to the garrison and blaming it on him. As punishment to his deed, Juan was executed by firing squad. Before he died, he shouted the name of Maria. Maria went down from the mountain and cursed the two soldiers as well as the other men who could not accept failure in love. She then went back to the mountains, never to be seen again. The Spanish soldier died during the revolution while the mestizo died of illness. It is believed that when somebody gets lost in the mountain, people attribute it to the cruse on Mt. Makiling.
The stories about Maria usually revolve around hunters getting lost in the woods and falling in love with her, and alternately being helpful at first, and then wrathful when promises to her are broken. There is always a theme of lost or forbidden love. And betrayal.
How to Get to Rockpoint
One of the reasons why people frequent Laguna (and Rockpoint, for that matter) is its close proximity to Metro Manila. It is very accessible either by private transport or by public commute. It's approximately 45 minutes drive from Alabang, or 1-1/2 hours from Makati City. In no time at all, you can enjoy the splendid beauty of Mother Nature and relax in the hot spring waters of Laguna.
Address: 119 Alamat Road, Maria Makiling Hot Springs Village, Pansol,
Calamba, Laguna, Philippines, 4027
By Private Vehicle
By Public Transport
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