Laguna, officially known as the Province of Laguna, is a province of the Philippinesfound in the CALABARZON region in Luzon. Its capital is Santa Cruz and the province is located southeast of Metro Manila, south of the province of Rizal, west of Quezon, north of Batangas and east of Cavite. Laguna hugs the southern shores of Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the country. The city with the highest population (based on 2010 census) is Calamba, while the least populated is the Municipality of Famy.
Laguna is notable as the birthplace of Jose Rizal, the country's national hero. It is also famous for attractions like Pagsanjan Falls, the University of the Philippines Los Baños campus, the hot spring resorts of Los Baños andCalamba on the slopes of Mount Makiling, Pila historic town plaza, Taytay Falls in Majayjay, the wood carvings and papier-mâché created by the people of Paeté, the annual Sampaguita Festival in San Pedro, the turumbaof Pakil, the tsinelas footwears from Liliw, the Pandan Festival of Luisiana, the Seven Lakes of San Pablo (the first city in the province), and the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery in Nagcarlan
The Province of Laguna, which was formerly called La Laguna and La Provincia de la Laguna de Bay, was named after Laguna de Bay, the body of water that forms its northern boundary. Laguna de Bay, in turn, was named after the town of Bay (Laguna de Bay is Spanish which means "Lake of Bay"), the first provincial capital. Captain Juan de Salcedo with a band of one hundred Spanish-Mexican soldiers and many Bisayan allies conquered the province and its surrounding regions for Spainin 1571. Seven years later, two Franciscan friars started the work of Christianization.
In 1577, the Franciscan missionaries arrived in Manila, and in 1578 they started evangelizing Laguna, Morong (now Rizal), Tayabas (now Quezon) and the Bicol Peninsula. Juan de Plasencia and Diego de Oropesa were the earliest Franciscans sent to these places. From 1580, the towns of Bay, Caliraya, Majayjay, Nagcarlan, Liliw, Pila, Santa Cruz, Lumban, Pangil andSiniloan were founded. In 1678, Fray Hernando Cabrera founded San Pablo de los Montes (now San Pablo City) and built a wooden church and convent considered as the best and finest in the province.
In 1670, delimitation of borders were made between Lucban, Majayjay and Cavite. The populous town at that time was Bay, the capital of the province until 1688, when the seat of the provincial government was moved to Pagsanján, and later in 1858, to Santa Cruz. In 1754, the Province of Laguna and Tayabas were divided, with the Malinao River separating the towns of Majayjay and Lucban.
Laguna lies on the southern shores of Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the country. On the southern border of the province are Mt. Makiling and Mt. Banáhaw, both are long dormant volcanoes, but still sources of geothermal energy. Mt. Makiling is popular for the numerous hot spring resorts that are found on its slopes. Pagsanjan Falls, is a popular waterfall that tumbles down a deep gorge in the hills.
The eastern portion of Laguna straddles the southernmost portions of the Sierra Madre mountain range.
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, Laguna produces millions of pesos worth of coconuts, rice, sugar, citrus fruits, lanzones and other products. Tourists flock to its beauty spots, especially Pagsanjan Falls, Calamba and Los Baños hot springs, Mount Makiling, Caliraya Lake and many others. Levels of development vary. The towns near Metro Manila have become industrialized whereas the inner towns continue to engage in agricultural production or pursue agri-based industries and cottage and small-scale industries.
There are about forty rivers in Laguna with a total area of almost 0.5 square kilometres. The Laguna de Bayhas an approximate area of 3800 km² broken down into 2900 km² of land and 900 km² of lake proper with 220 km shoreline.
Laguna has an estimated 300 million US gallons (1,100,000 m³) of underground water. At least seven principal water basins in the province with a total of 5,773 km² drainage area and 1,316 km² level area provide an estimated 9.238 km³ total run-off annually.
Laguna is a major contributor to the development of arts in the Philippines. Paintings and sculptures from Paete, which is the Woodcarving Capital of the Philippines, won national and international awards. Famous artists include Manuel Baldemor, Fred Baldemor, Felix "Kid" Baldemor and Dominic Rubio.
|Church Paintings in Paete|