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.


Chyng said...


really? may kilala kang dive master? amazing!
my instructor's name is jomel.

ansaya grabe. and lucky you, for sure discounted ka!

lakwatserong tatay said...

hi ms. chyng,

hehehe...actually cousin ko po yung isa sa dive master dun. In fact, last time na nasa Bohol ako last 2007, inaya nya ko isang dive daw kaso medyo takot ako nun eh...pero parang ngaun nakita ko na ung nagawa mo..parang gusto ko na subukan...hehehe...tapos, last month nasa Palawan ako, kaso lang puro snorkeling lang ginawa ko....check nyo po ung mga entries ko dun...nasa list nyo un to visit this year eh.....^_^


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