Monday, February 28, 2011

Walking Around in Nagcarlan

Nagcarlan's City Hall and Central Market
by lakwatserong tatay

After our visit to Historical Underground Cemetery, we proceed to our next destination to Nagcarlan Cathedral Church known as St. Bartholomew Church. But as we walk along its highway and before getting to its town proper. There's a municipal hall that caught our eyes. It is kind a unique because of its design. Although it was really freaking hot that day and at the sametime we were really hungry, because it was lunch time already. We still have to take some photo opps around this Municipal Hall of Nagcarlan.
Nagcarlan Presidencia
Nagcarlan is a 3rd class municipality in the rovince of Laguna, Philippines. This province was headed by a valiant datu named Gat Lakilaw. Its conversion to Christianity began in 1578 through the efforts of Fr. Juan de Plasencia and Fr. Diego Oropesa, both Franciscan missionaries. The community formally became a pueblo in 1583 under Fr. Tomas de Miranda, who brought Nagcarlan the first seeds of wheat ever on Philippine soil. It was in this town that Fr. Plasencia wrote the first "Diccionario Hispano-Tagalog" in 1579. Ten years later, he wrote the manuscript of "Costumbrez de los Tagalog", which according to Franciscan documents, served as a guide for the Alcaldes Mayores for effective and righteous governance. In 1595, Don Juan Banol, then Alcalde Mayor of Laguna, visited Nagcarlan and appointed the town's first Gobernadorcillo in the person of Gaspar Cahupa, a native, who served until 1687.
Nagcarlan Presidencia is been Xplored
A short walk from city town proper would bring you to the charming town hall and waterworks fountain, one that they call "Nagcarlan Presidencia". The former seat of power was in Casa Real, found on the corner of Calle Diego and Calle San Rafael but was closed down at the coming of Americans. This present  town hall was built in 1941 which has a neo-classical look on it.
The Municipality of Nagcarlan is located 99 kilometers from Manila through San Pablo. It can also be reached via Sta. Cruz, the capital town of Laguna. It is bounded on the north by the municipalities of Victoria, Pila, and Liliw; on the east by municipality of Liliw; on the south are municipalities of rizal, Calauan, and San Pablo. Nagcarlan town proper or poblacion is accesible to all types of land vehicles from Sta. Cruz, Laguna and San Pablo City, and fairly accesible from Calauan and Lucban roads as well.
A mountain range view in front of Nagcarlan Municipal Hall
A Historical Marker for Ana Kalang Festival
Ana Kalang Festival

from ending rains in October always bring the townspeople of Nagcarlan in a huddle of excitement as it prepares them for a festive mood to celebrate Pestibal ni Ana Kalang, Nagcarlan's commemoration of bountiful harvest from their argo-industrial products.

Started in 1987, with the cultural and artistic inclination of then Mayor Demetrio T. Comendador and the Nagcarlan Community Development Council (NCDC), it continuously proliferate and became an integral part of the distinct culture of Nagcarlan.

From the first Wednesday of October each year, Nagcarlan town in Laguna becomes the first of merry-making as both young and old folks join in this five-day revelry starting off with the competitive and challenging construction of Agro-trade fair's booths and Giant Statues whose festival leitmotif showcasing unique folk art where different fruits and vegetable or any indigenous available material are used for its parts. The statues, usually ten feet high made by different schools, communities, establishments or private individuals competitively vie for a big prize given by the municipal government. A few years ago, some changes were made moving the start of the celebration from the first to the third Wednesday of October.

They are then exhibited in front of the Municipal Government's Building with the organizer's artists adding colorful concoction and supportive background that will magnify its general panorama. Giant statues are commonly called in Nagcarlan as "kalang-kalangs", from which the name of the festival (and the palace itself) is derived from. Ana Kalang according to a myth was known for her tremendous wealth, kindness, piety, and generosity. During her time, she was always around to help her townmates whenever in trouble that even among the Spaniards, her popularity is truly acknowledged.

Street dancing and colorful "kalang-kalang" are the major attraction during the grand parade which is held in the afternoon of the final day. Street dancers dressed in spectacular native costumes dance in the street side by side with the giant "kalang-kalangs" as people scramble merrily over several lechons offered for free to any bystander. The music of the drum and lyre corps from different schools fills the air, as beautiful minorettes in elegant uniforms dance to its rhythm.

Another special feature of the festival is the "Sunduan", meaning "to fetch". Sunduan is an old Filipino fiesta ritual that pays tribute to the Filipina's unique Asian beauty. This is participated in by the muses and escorts of the town's different communities. These muses are then fetched by their escorts with the town Mayor accompanying them from the farthest end of the town to the festival site. All garbed in native costumes, these muses then vie for the "Bb. Ana Kalang" title.

Straddling across the foot of Mt. Banahaw and Mt. Cristobal, Nagcarlan is considered the biggest of the upland towns of Laguna. Its approximately more than 43,000 inhabitants can always be deemed industrious, as seen in the abundance of rice, coconuts and lanzones (in fact the biggest supplier of sweet lanzones in the Metropolis).

Even during festival, Nagcarleno's skills in handicraft-- making and basket-weaving are duly recognized and appreciated as showcased in booths in the Agro-Trade exhibits. Secondary agricultural crops like fresh fruits and vegetables, coffee and root crops, which are grown the whole year-round, are also exhibited and are for sale both to local and foreign visitors and folks from neighboring towns.

The captivating smiles of fair maidens, good old stories from elder citizens, the crisp laughter of the children, fresh bountiful harvest everywhere add up to the genuine feeling of camaraderie and belongingness of the Nagcarlenos, evident in the hospitable and accommodating traits of the Filipinos as a people.

During the five-day festivities, competitions in the traditional Filipino games, "kundiman" singing, original native cooking, painting, drum and lyre presentations and folk-dancing takes place in the town's various public arenas and social hall. In the evening, cultural shows are presented, well prepared for and participated in mostly by the youth. Other highlights of the festival include tours in the town's historical and scenic spots, livelihood seminars, antique exhibit, garden show and ballroom dancing.
Nagcarlan Central Market
After giving some history backgrounds and festivity events of Province of Nagcarlan. We proceed to Pamilihang Bayan ng Nagcarlan where we had our lunch, on one of the Carinderia's inside the market. This market is open 7 days a week The busiest, of course, is weekend. Were just lucky that time because it is already lunch when we arrived on the market. Just across this market is one of our next destination the Nagcarlan Cathedral Church known as St. Bartholomew Church.

The Underground Cemetery of Nagcarlan

Brgy. Bambang, Nagcarlan, Laguna
by lakwatserong tatay

This is one of the most unique day trip travel plan in our Laguna Tour. This trip was plan actually later part of 2010. This place is not also plan to be visited but due to some curiosity and thanks to google.......we added some places from the Province of Nagcarlan, to be part of our sidetrip activities. We actually visited four places at Nagcarlan. This was the first one, next was walk tour along its highway, The Nagcarlan Presidencia, St. Batholomew Church and Bunga Falls.
Underground Cemetery
The Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery was built in 1851 by the Franciscan Missionaries. As far as i can remember, this is the only underground cemetery that has been built in the Philippines. During the Spanish Colonial period, this cemetery was used by the Katipuneros as a secret meeting place.
The Chapel of Underground Cemetery up ahead
The oldest niche in the cemetery had the date "1886". The interment was in 1982, before the cemetery was declared a National Historical Landmark. Most of those buried in the cemetery were townfolk who belonged to elite Catholic families.
History Marker
The cemetery facing the road that leads to the Poblacion, has an arched entrance of about 18 feet high and two iron-gate grills. Opposite the gate across the width of the grassy and gravely path both side of which is lined with cypress trees. Of about six feet is the cemetery chapel topped with a tower liked structure with a niche for statue and iron cross. The chapel is like a grand niche built into the cemetery so that its facade is aligned with the cemetary walls where the above ground niches numbering 240, 120 on each side are located and its body extends towards the outer lines of the periphery of walls.

The Depository Crypts around the Walls of the Cemetery
The chapel is used as the last station for the funeral rites before entombing the dead. Of Baroque style, it has windows on each side covered with wrought iron grills. The ceiling is wooden revealing singular seraphic and design characteristic of the religious order to which the builder, Father Vicente Velloc, belonged. The altar is intricately carved wood, is of the same style. The flooring is old red tiles with red and blue porcelain tiles that served as a foot high paneling around the inside lower portion of the walls. The chapel is without pews or furniture except a coffin stand. Right under the floor of the chapel is a crypt to which a passage located at, and towards the right side of its door.
The Chapel of the Underground Cemetery
The NHI Logbook of Underground Cemetery
The Chapel
The Chapel's Altar with the image of the Santo Entiero
Church signage
To this crypt, two flights of stairs, the first one of nine steps leads to a landing above which was a Spanish inscriptions now illegible, which a prominent member of the Nagcarlan Historical Commitee has previously recorded and translated. It reads:
View from the First Nine Steps
Go forth, Mortal Man, full of life Today, you visit happily this shelter
But after you have gone out,
Remember, you have a resting place here
Prepared for you.
The Illegible Spanish Inscriptions
View from the Last Six Steps
Going down the second flight of stairs of six steps leads to the crypt proper or the underground portion of the cemetery. This is lit by there small iron grilled windows that open towards the outside ground at the ground level. These are just below the ceiling of the crypt. Arrange into rows on the four walls are 36 niches where the dead of the town's privilege are buried.

FYI: Taking pictures under the crypt is allowed but please no camera flashes is allowed, this is the general rule of the cemetery.
An Altar under this Underground Cemetery

Pictures of the Depository Crypts of the Underground Cemetery
This is one of the pictures that we've taken under the underground cemetery that we both really agreed to be nice....hehehehe...It really looks like creepy and the feeling under the 36 tombs around you is such an experience...
One of our poses in Underground Cemetery
The Long Aisle view from the Underground Cemetery Church
On the main gate is a small board telling the visiting hours, the last our of which was supposed to be 4pm. But upon asking it closes sometimes up to 530-6pm, due to number of visitors specially when weekends.
This place is could be visited by this time....
The Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery is one of a priority destination to those people who are into cultural-historical-religious things. This place is not for picnics, but i could personally say that you will really love our past (i mean our culture) of our country.
This Cemetery is been Xplored

Lakwatserong Tatay was here!!!!!
 How to get to this Place:

Via Bus: Take Manila-Lucena Bus Line (Like Jam Transit). Get off to San Pablo City and from San Pablo you can ride a jeepney in the City Proper going to Nagcarlan.
Fare Breakdown: (Buendia to San Pablo: P127) and (SPC to Nagcarlan: P24)

Watch out for the last three places that we visited in the Town of Nagcarlan.
Our Last Look to Nagcarlan's Underground Cemetery

Monday, February 21, 2011

San Pablo's Seven Lakes: Sampaloc Lake

Poblocion, San Pablo City, Laguna
by lakwatserong tatay

The last of the seven lakes, "The Sampaloc Lake". This lake is one of the most common and commercialize lake among this seven lakes. It can be easily accessed by visitors like us. It has a nature park included for the locals and visitors to stay with. While viewing the majestic mountain of Mt. Banahaw. You could have also the chance to eat and experience lakeside foodtrip and buy some pasalubong items and native delicasies along its lakeside shops.
Sampaloc Lake
This is the city's biggest and premier lake that could be found within the city proper. It has an area of 104 hectares with a maximum depth of 27 meters. Approximately 85% of its volume is of uniform depth. Sampaloc Lake is sunk in a shallow depression, revealing its volcanic origin.

Sampaloc Lake is considered to be one of the prime tourist spots in San Pablo. This place is dotted with floating restaurants along its lakeside shorelines that serves delectable Filipino and Chinese cuisines. It abounds with tilapia, bangus, carp and several species of shrimps. Its also lined with fishpens and small cottages build on bamboo stilts.
Other side of Sampaloc Lake

A myth story about this lake:

Based from used to be an extensive fruit orchard lorder by a huge tamarind (sampalok) tree situated at the backyard of the land-owner, aselfish stingy old woman. One day a hungry-looking old man came and begged for a few tamarind fruit to serve as cure for his ailing grandson. But instead of yielding to his appeal for help, the stingy selfish old woman had him driven away from the fruit orchardby her ferocious dogs. The old man was badly hurt. Hardly an hour after the old man left, there was a thundering noise followed by cracking of the earth. The next instant the entire orchard sank into a colossal pit which was eventually fille with water. Henceforth, the villagers called it Lake Sampaloc.
The Biggest Tilapia i've ever seen...hehehehe...
At last, after few hours of walking, trekking and under the heat of the sun, we finished our task, to visit all of the Seven Lakes of San Pablo, including our sidetrip, the Town of Nagcarlan.
Lakwatserong Tatay @ Sampaloc Lake
Watch for the last 3 entries, about underground cemetery, nagcarlan church and bunga falls.......

San Pablo's Seven Lakes: Lake Mohicap

Brgy. Sta. Catalina, San Pablo City, Laguna
by lakwatserong tatay

Lake Mohicap, the sixth of the seven lakes that we visited in a day. This lake is not quite far from Lake Palakpakin. Upon seeing this lake i really don't recommend to swim on its lake. Because it was really crowded of big and small pens of the residents along this lake. Lake Mohicap also is not as big as other lakes of San Pablo.
Lake Mohicap
Located in Brgy. Sta. Catalina, Lake Mohicap is a 14.5 hectare lake. It is one of the main suppliers of water resources in the city. Its waters provide a generous source of tilapia for Metro Manila and suburbs.

The cemented stairs going down to Lake Mohicap
A myth story about this lake:

Based from story of Lake Mohicap is just the same as the Lake Pandin and Lake Yambo. It tells about the couple who had a very sickly daughter named Munica. The couple were both very religious and they kept praying to God for the good health of their only child. They made a promise to do anything if God would answer their prayer. God granted their prayer on condition that Munica must not set her foot on mother earth. One day, while Munica was sewing her dress, the ball of thread she was using fell to the ground. Her parents were not around that time to retrieve the fallen ball of thread, so what Munica did was to personally recover the said ball of thread. While doing so, she fainted and immediately fell into the ground. She suddenly sank with the entire neighborhood, and lagoon was formed. This body of water was later called Munikap in honor of the unfortunate but very industrious girl. The name of the lake was taken from Munika, the girl's name and Mahikap, means industrious.

Some of my shots around Lake Mohicap
This is 2nd to the last lake that we conquered in a day. It was really getting dark that day, so we got hurried to take some nice pics around Lake Sampaloc, but sad to say due to our transportation, we wasn't able to catch up for beautiful pictures along Sampaloc Lake....huhuhuhu....there will a next time for sure...hehehehe...

Xplorerboyz @ Lake Mohicap
At last, one more lake to go.....
Lakwatserong Tatay @ Lake Mohicap

San Pablo's Seven Lakes: Lake Palakpakin

Brgy. San Buenaventura, San Pablo City, Laguna
by lakwatserong tatay

This is the fifth of the seven lakes that we visited...Lake Palakpakin, This lake is not as usual as other lakes it is not really noticeable. Im not really sure if there are other ways to see this beautiful lake, aside from a small bridge that you car or tricycle could park and take a souvenir picture of this lake.
Lake Palakpakin
But upon asking from some of the locals around the area, this lake is also could be a picnic ground of your family, if you knew someone else around this lake that has a property infronting this lake. Im not really sure if you could swim on this lake but upon seeing it, i think people can swim on this lake, because it is not as crowded as Bunot Lake and Lake Mohicap, were they are many big and small pens/cages that cultured fishes like tilapia and silver carps.
Other side of Lake Palakpakin
Lake Palakpakin is can be found in Brgy. Buenaventura, this lake is similar to Sampaloc Lake, with an area of 43 hectares, and a maximum depth of 7.5 meters. Residents around the lake rely on income from their fishpens and fishcages that grow cultured tilapia and silver carps.
A landscape view of Mt. Banahaw
A myth story about this lake:

Based from few kilometers north of the city proper was a village which had become known then for its ancient tree which had a hollow trunk. The villagers had it that on moonlight nights, they could see a beautiful, red-haired lady washing her long hair with they hallow trunk serving as her wash basin. The tree was called Palakpak, there was also a river nearby where a big fish appeared each night that the beautifu lady was around. The villagers woud not dare to catch it, believing that it must be her pet. One day a stranger came to the village. He tried to solve the mystery about the red-haired lady and the big fish, and so one moonlight night he waited for her appearance. Seeing the lady in her pristine glory, he approached her. All of a sudden there was thunder and lightning. The earth quaked with terrible intensity, while the river swelled alarmingly into a lake.
Xplorerboyz @ Lake Palakpakin
Watch out for the Last Two Lakes and City of Nagcarlan's tourist spots.
Lakwatserong Tatay @ Lake Palakpakin


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