Laguna de Bay Trip: Provincial Charm, History and Art

A breathtaking view of La Laguna

A breathtaking view of La Laguna

Whew! It has been a while. Lately, I’ve been focusing my blogging time on Cuchara Tenedor, my new food blog.

Well, going back, this post will be about my family’s two trips around Laguna. We haven’t really completed the so-called “Viaje del Sol” and neither did we conform to the tour’s package but we tried our very best to retrace the different notable towns found around the once-majestic Laguna de Bay.

In our two trips, we visited Morong (Rizal), Calamba, San Pablo, Pililia (Rizal), Pakil and Paete. The most memorable, of course, were none other than Paete and Pakil.

What we saw there were things we haven’t seen in years: the genteel provincial life where the church, plaza and market were the main hubs of commerce, encounter and culture.

The churches of Pakil and Paete were remarkable. Rich in artistic history, we marveled in the two churches flamboyant wood carvings and interesting, old paintings.

I am unsure if the towns in Laguna de Bay utilize their respective cultural heritage to their fullest potential. They don’t seem to as compared to towns like Vigan and Taal. Sayang.

I did enjoy this stop in San Pablo though called Sulyap. There were two houses in the compound and a large, rather, imposing modern structure which houses a museum. It’s a very interesting, charming place. The museum is full of knick knacks and the place is teeming with Torres wine barrels because apparently the owners were the former importers of Torres wines in the country.

Kulawo na puso ng saging. Their best seller

Kulawo na puso ng saging. Their best seller

Pako salad with vinegar and red eggs

Pako salad with vinegar and red eggs

They also served good and reasonably-priced food. My favorite was the kulawo na puso ng saging. Really, really good: smoky and flavorful. Their pako salad was what I expected and liked: refreshing, light and salty.

I won’t write as much because the photos will speak louder. :) Enjoy your summer with a quick overnight tour of Laguna de Bay!

It starts here: San Geronimo Church, Morong Rizal. From the church's doorsteps, you have what could have been a majestic view of the lake.

It starts here: San Geronimo Church, Morong Rizal. From the church’s doorsteps, you have what could have been a majestic view of the lake.

The road to Laguna from Rizal

The road to Laguna from Rizal

We ate at this palaisdaan type of restaurant (abundant in this area) in Pililia, Rizal

We ate at this palaisdaan type of restaurant (abundant in this area) in Pililia, Rizal

Now this is Tagalog: Pancit Habhab

Now this is Tagalog: Pancit Habhab

Pakil Church

Pakil Church

The main retablo of the San Pedro de Alcantara (Pakil Church) enshrines the miraculous image of Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Turumba

The main retablo of the San Pedro de Alcantara (Pakil Church) enshrines the miraculous image of Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Turumba

Venerating the Holy Cross of Pakil

Venerating the Holy Cross of Pakil

High Philippine Baroque expressed splendidly in these wood carvings of a side retablo of the Sagrado Corazon

High Philippine Baroque expressed splendidly in these wood carvings of a side retablo of the Sagrado Corazon

Side altar for Our Lady

Side altar for Our Lady

Some commenters say that the church displays Philippine "rococo style". However, in reality, we never really achieved Rococo here

Some commenters say that the church displays Philippine “rococo style”. However, in reality, we never really achieved Rococo here

José Luciano Dans' Judicum Finale over the confessional. What a good reminder!

José Luciano Dans’ Judicum Finale over the confessional. What a good reminder!

Pakil Church used to be visita of nearby Paete. Franciscan Fray Pedro Bautista (who is now actually a canonized saint), designated the location of the church and convento.

Pakil Church used to be visita of nearby Paete. Franciscan Fray Pedro Bautista (who is now actually a canonized saint), designated the location of the church and convento.

Idylic view: the church of Paete, a town of artists, sitting at the foot of mountains

Idylic view: the church of Paete, a town of artists, sitting at the foot of mountains

Santiago Apostol Matamoros guards the facade of this church while numerous artworks of proud sons of Paete adorn the church

Santiago Apostol Matamoros guards the facade of this church while numerous artworks of proud sons of Paete adorn the church

José Luciano Dans, a son of Paete, painted this iconic native San Cristobal at the church narthex

José Luciano Dans, a son of Paete, painted this iconic native San Cristobal at the church narthex

Cielo, Tierra y Infierno by Dans

Cielo, Tierra y Infierno by Dans

Stone bas relief adorn the exterior of Paete Church

Stone bas relief adorn the exterior of Paete Church

The charm of Solomonic pillars carved on stone

The charm of Solomonic pillars carved on stone

Fooling around with my peeps hahaha

Fooling around with my peeps hahaha

The Paete santero and his work

The Paete santero and his work

An elderly woman making TAKA, those ubiquitous red (apparently multi-colored) papier mache horses from Paete

An elderly woman making TAKA, those ubiquitous red (apparently multi-colored) papier mache horses from Paete

My predilection for santos finds solace in Paete

My predilection for santos finds solace in Paete

Sadly, poor zoning have obstructed vistas of the lake

Sadly, poor zoning have obstructed vistas of the lake

Passing through Pagsanghan's welcome arch

Passing through Pagsanghan’s welcome arch

My beautiful Mama at Ugu Bigyan's home and work space

My beautiful Mama at Ugu Bigyan’s home and work space

Some of Ugu Bigyan's pottery artworks

Some of Ugu Bigyan’s pottery artworks

Sulyap Gallery Cafe and Restaurant's 1907 Restaurant and Casa Obando

Sulyap Gallery Cafe and Restaurant’s 1907 Restaurant and Casa Obando

An altar of antique santos and vessels in the restaurant

An altar of antique santos and vessels in the restaurant

View of ventanas upstairs

View of ventanas upstairs

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About hechoayer

Things made yesterday still influence us until today. Things made today will influence us tomorrow. Things of the essence such as faith, culture, food, music and values should never disappear nor eroded by the times. Instead, these must be recorded, lived and shared. Such are things hecho ayer - made yesterday.
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2 Responses to Laguna de Bay Trip: Provincial Charm, History and Art

  1. jose says:

    Estoy maravillado, no podía sospechar que pudiese haber tanta belleza. Realmente Paete y Pakil merecen ser más conocidas y visitadas.
    Me ha llamado la atención el “Stone bas relief (that) adorns the exterior of Paete Church”. Es un diseño chino copiado de un plato de porcelana importada de China.
    Los bajo relieves filipinos son ciertamente especiales. Tienen su orígen en los trabajos de talla en madera y, al ser replicados en la piedra, resultan en algo nuevo, especial y diferente de otro tipo de talla y de diseño.
    Todo muy filipino: los pintores, el estilo colonial, su adaptación al clima y a los terremotos, los bajorrelieves y los adornos chinos. Me pregunto si en Macao ha habido algo igual. Creo que no.
    Desde luego Filipinas es única.

  2. arlene says:

    I always love traveling the Eastern loop passing by some Rizal towns and ending up in Laguna. It is the scenic route going there. St. Jerome church in Morong is one of my favorites. We have visited most of the churches you mentioned here twice during our Visita Iglesia. The ones in Famy and Mabitac are also lovely.

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