Located in the middle of a terrain where the famous Filipino place Mt. Mariang Makiling lies, is Calamba. As it sits at the foot of the grand sight, nature has provided it with life’s most precious element, water. Calamba’s natives have been honed to deal with life’s difficult toils, struggling with health concerning issues, as they live in lands that need to be toiled by hand. However, the natural flow that runs has blessed this place with the gift of springs and a life that provided the previous generations with everything they have now. Its present establishments, good food and rich cultural and historical background will bring you a trip you’ll always look back on.
Calamba, as it is known to most Filipinos, is quite a famous place in the Philippine history. This is the town where the famous national hero was born and originally resided, Dr. Jose Rizal. It can be reached within 1-2 hours by bus. Rides are made available within the metro at three different points: Cubao, in front of Alimall; Kamias, Quezon City near Cubao; Buendia, on the corner of Taft Avenue, Manila.
You can also drive your own vehicle and traverse through the South Luzon Express Way and you’ll be there within the estimated time depending on the traffic. But if you don’t want to be bothered by the hassles of going through the busy streets, then just take the air-conditioned bus. The area is actually 54 kilometers (34 miles) south of Manila. Interesting sites await you, so come and see the fascinating past of the country in the Resorts Capital of the Philippines!
1. Get to know one of the men behind the Philippine Independence: Rizal Shrine
Most Philippine heroes come from the grassroots, but this man whose dreams surpassed his height, has driven many other Filipinos to think and respond to the call to stand for freedom. He lived a comfortable life where he could acquire what he wanted, travel to wherever he wanted and even go to school outside of the country. Why did a well-off lad like him choose to die for his country and for the many?
A visit to his hometown and seeing the place where he grew up will give you a glimpse of the place where he had been groomed to become one of the Philippines’s greatest men of all time. Rizal Shrine showcases a two-story, Spanish-Colonial style house in Calamba, Laguna which was reproduced in 1950. Antique items and memories of his childhood, depicted in pictures that are displayed, are just a few things to see which remain to be relished. So get to know the man at his home in this little town in Calamba.
Address: Francisco Mercado St., cor. Jose P. Rizal St., Brgy. 5, Poblacion
Website: Rizal Shrine
2. A cairn to behold: Calambanga
A tale as old as time, this very large clay pot known to be the largest in the world is a mark that immortalizes the folk tale on how the place got its name. With the city’s barangays inscribed in its structure and embedded in the city’s official seal, Calambanga is one attraction you shouldn’t miss visiting.
3. The seat of the town's faith
Values set and virtues practiced are important things that catholicism has always emphasized in each Filipino family, hence, each place has always been highlighted with houses of worship that partake in the embodiment of the Filipino culture. Just adjacent to the Rizal Shrine is the oldest church in the city, St. John the Baptist Church, where Jose Rizal is believed to have been christened.
St. John the Baptist Church
Address: Jose P. Rizal St., Calamba, Laguna 4027
Website: St. John the Baptist Church
4. Visit World War II's fallen generals in the theater of combat in Los Banos
After 4 years of struggle against the Japanese invasion, the University of the Philippines, Los Banos, is now the site of the tragic ending of the 2 notorious war generals, whose shrines nestle within the institution. The shrines are dedicated to General Tomoyuki Yamashita, and General Masaharu Homma.
General Tomoyuki Yamashita had escaped after the war and was trialled and then transferred from one province to another, while accumulating treasures. General Masaharu Homma was demoted, then underwent trial. Both men were hanged and shot in the places where the shrines are located. These two Japanese generals’ shrines are marks of victories claimed by the Filipinos.
Address: campus of the University of Philippines, Los Baños, Laguna
Website: Homma-Yamashita Shrine
5. Get some fresh air at the Japanese Garden and enjoy the placid view of Lake Caliraya
Lake Caliraya is an embankment dam that was constructed in 1939. This artificial lake atop a plateau is an area which provides a large water reservoir for generating hydroelectric power for Southern Luzon. Various water sport activities, and other outdoor activities including fishing are common indulgences here. Beside it is the 11 hectare (110,000 m2) memorial park of the Japanese soldiers who died in World War II. If you come and visit this place, the one hundred steps within the garden will take you to the breathtaking view of Lake Caliraya. So don’t miss it!
Lake Caliraya - Japanese Garden
Address: Rizal Park, Toowoomba, Caliraya, Laguna
Website: Japanese Garden
6. See the resting place and museum in the Nagcarlan Catacombs
Built together with the construction of the expanded St. Bartholomew Parish Church and rectory, the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery was built exclusively for Spanish friars, prominent town citizens and members of elite Catholic families. Away from the town center, Fr. Velloc designed it differently from all the other cemeteries, making it the one and only in the country. It’s a fascinating locations you should see.
Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery
Address: Barangay Bambang, Nagcarlan, Laguna
Website: Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery
Be surprised by the riches in Calamba
There are so many fascinating ways to spend a weekend far away from the cities, and the experience of having it all in one place at a competitive cost is something that you should take grasp of. Visit Calamba!
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