“Rise High Laguna my dear”
“Going back to Laguna is always exciting for me considering its pretty much free from traffic and pollution unlike in most cities, but most all its where I grew up and also the place where most of my friends are so there’s always a thrill being home. To add to that, Laguna is arguably the best and one the most gifted and enjoyable provinces here in the Philippines. From amusing, enjoyable, interesting up to the one of the most historical places can be found in our dear province. And for our travel blog that requires featuring certain attractions in a particular province, I decided to pick the house of the infamous national hero of our country, which is the house of the Mercado’s or the family of Dr. Jose Rizal. Luckily the place is one tricycle ride away from our house so it’s quite easy to go or pass by that historical landmark and truth be told, its actually my first time going there despite the trouble-free transportation to get there, so the experience is really a first for me. Standing at the entrance of the house actually brought back childhood memories of admiring the house, aside from having the chills after remembering the heroics of those who lived there. What I felt after entering was a mixture of shock and surprise since I didn’t expect the place to be as good as it was. Though some renovations were made to cope with the age of the house you’ll still feel the feeling of actually being at the Mercado’s residence. After I finished exploring the whole place I felt a great amount of dismay for not going there sooner for I actually think that it’ll really benefit me at any subject which is related to Dr. Rizal. Aside from the regret, overall I had a great time visiting the place, for it did not only give me an educational wisdom of the place but it also gave me the fulfillment of finally visiting the place after a long time of wanting to be there.”
-Fernando “Bam Bam” Redondo
According to Bambam Redondo, the representative of the group, who went all his way to his hometown, Laguna, he had A LOT of fun. All of his experiences were great!
Even he grew up in Laguna, this is the first time he had the time to visit the one of the well-known houses in the whole world, the house of our National Hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.
Now why don’t we let Bambam take us and discover how great not just the house of Dr. Jose Rizal, but his whole experience in his travel?
Sounds interesting and fun right? What are we waiting for?
Let’s join him explore his hometown more!
The province of Laguna was named after Laguna de Bay, the body of water that forms the province’s northern boundary. In turn, Laguna de Bay was named after the town of bay which was the first provincial capital.
This province along with its surrounding regions were conquered for Spain by Capt. Juan de Salcedo in 1571 and seven years hence, the Franciscan friars started the Christianization of the province.
Laguna became a bloody battleground several times. The first instance was the Chinese revolt in 1603 and then again in 1639. The British invasion in 1762-1764, saw thousands of Filipinos fighting in defense of the province. This battle led by Captain Thomas Backhouse met resistance from the band of Filipino volunteers led by Francisco de San Juan of Pagsanjan.
The first Filipino uprising against the Spanish misrule was led by Hirmano Pule in 1840. Filipino resentment against the Spaniards was aggravated by the execution of Dr. Jose Rizal and thus, by 1896, thousands of patriotic inhabitants of the province had joined the revolutionary Katipunan.
Laguna was one of the first eight provinces to rise in revolt against the Spanish rule. The ill-equipped Filipino forces, led by Gen, Paciano Rizal of Calamba, Gen. Severino Taino of Pagsanjan, Gen, Aueda Kagabagan of Calauan, and Gen. Miguel Malvar of Batangas, fought the Spanish enemies until they won on August 31,1898 with the surrender of the last Spanish garrison in Sta, Cruz.
On January 23,1899, Laguna expressed its full support to the First Philippine Republic which was declared in Malolos, Bulacan. Two natives of Pagsanjan namely, Don Higino Benitez Abad, Don Graciano Cordero, were there to witness and participate in this historic event.
The eruption of the Filipino-American war in 1899-1901 saw Generals Juan Cailles and Paciano Rizal leading the defense of Laguna until surrender was inevitable. Under the American Flag, Cailles was named the Filipino Governor of Laguna.
After the war, Laguna progressed rapidly in peace. Schools were established, various public services were instituted and roads were built. In 1917, the Manila Railroad Company extended its line to Laguna as far as Pagsanjan.
With the onset of the Japanese occupation, Laguna was the center of resistance despite the presence of some “Makipili” traitors.
Today, Laguna is a thriving province. Its fertile lands produce millions of pesos worth of coconuts, rice, sugar, citrus fruits, lanzones, and other agricultural products. Its tourist spots also attract a multitude of both foreign and domestic tourists.
POPULATION AND MAJOR INDUSTRIES
At present-day, Laguna shows a thriving economy. With a population of 2,669,847 (2010 Census), and a total area of 1,760 km2 (680 sq mi) of land,
By and large, Laguna’s economy is still based on agriculture. However, in the recent years, agricultural development has been complemented by the proliferation of light to medium scale industries.
Before 1973, the processing of agricultural products and making light handicrafts were the major manufacturing activities in Laguna. Today, textile spinning, weaving and finishing, chemical, automotive parts, ceramics, wood and paper products industries have been established.
It is foreseen that more factories will be put up in Laguna in the near future.
HOW TO GET THERE
Via South Superhighway, Laguna is 1-2 hours from Manila.
St. John The Baptist Church
St. John The Baptist Parish Church or also known as ‘The Calamba Church’ is the oldest Roman Catholic church in Calamba, Laguna, Philippines under the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Pablo. It is situated adjacent to Rizal Shrine and is known as the christening site of Jose Rizal.
Jesuit Missionaries in 1757 purchased a big portion of land called Hacienda de San Juan for their missions but the parish was only established in 1779 by the Franciscan Friars upon gaining independence from the parochial church of Cabuyao (formerly known as Tabuco). The stone church was originally built in 1859 but destroyed on February 12, 1945 during the Second World War. The reconstruction of the church of Calamba was headed by Father Eliseo Dimaculangan. The original altar was burned in 1862 but immediately rebuilt by Father Leoncio Lopez. The first Filipino priest, Father Angel Villaruz, served the longest in this church for 43 years since 1901.
The church of Calamba is a stone church built under the Baroque style. It has several stained glasses, two of which are in the church entrance depicting St. Dominic and San Lorenzo Ruiz. Other stained windows depicts the seven holy sacraments of the Church such as baptism, reconciliation, confirmation and among others
Garden of Gethsemane
The Garden of Gethsemane, located at the right side facing the church entrance is a small garden designed for devotees who wants to meditate or pray. It contains life size sculpted images of the Stations of the Cross and a Well of Repentance or “Balon ng Pagbabalik Loob”.
RIZAL SHRINE (House of Dr. Jose Rizal)
The Jose Rizal Shrine in Calamba, Laguna, the birthplace of the Philippines’ national hero, is one of the most frequented historical and tourist sites in Laguna.
The present house/museum is just a replica of the original ancestral house of Rizal’s family; the old house was destroyed during World War II. It was President Quirino who ordered the reconstruction of the national hero’s home through the supervision of National Artist/architect Juan Nakpil and was inaugurated in 1950. According to the NHI, “Although its woodwork and masonry are new, it occupies the same area and is made of the same materials as the original house of the Mercados. Its ground floor of lime and stone, its upper story of the best hardwood.”
How to get to Rizal Shrine:
By commuting from Manila: Ride a bus in Buendia (near the LRT station) going to Sta. Cruz. Then, get off at Calamba City near Chowking where there is a tricycle terminal. Ride a tricycle and tell the driver to drop you off at Rizal Shrine.
There is no entrance fee but donations to the Rizal Shrine for its upkeep are accepted. Some reminders from NHI Curator Ma. Luisa Valeza: “…visitors are supposed to give due respect to the place. That touching and taking pictures of artworks, eating and drinking inside the premises, smoking and of course, littering are strictly prohibited.”