I made a quick trip to Laguna on March 8 in line with my determined search for sources of a specific type of woven native bags. When a side trip to Legazpi City and messages to possible sources from different places didn’t yield positive results, I decided to check out Anilag Festival, a week-long harvest festival in Laguna province. I read that one of the towns in the province takes pride in being the essential source of woven products made of pandan, including bags, hats, mats, and various other crafts.
Some factoids about the festival:
- Anilag is short for “Ani ng Laguna,” meaning harvests of Laguna. It is a week-long celebration that features the bountiful agricultural produce of the province.
- It is held in March every year in Sta. Cruz, the capital town of Laguna.
- It was first held in 2004 and was initially called “La Laguna Festival” in celebration of Laguna’s Foundation Day and to promote its products, delicacies, and cultural/historical/tourist attractions.
The road trip proved to be a wonderful way of discovering that there is more to Laguna than just its famous puto biñan, buco pie, and Pagsanjan Falls.
This year’s trade fair booths unveiled some interesting discoveries.
Bay (pronounced bah-eh) is a town known for its gardens and ornamental plants. Its name was said to come either from the word baybay, a reference to the shore of the lake, or babaylan, a reference to a priestess. The town is situated along the shores of Laguna de Bay.
Biñan is the trading and center of commerce of the South. The name of the place originated from the word “binyagan” (christened), which eventually evolved into Biñan.
Calauan is touted as the Home of the Sweetest Pineapple, which can be tasted and tested during its Pinya Festival. The town got its name from the word kalawang, which means rust.
The town of Cavinti got its name from the old tradition where the groom tries to catch the bride by her legs and the people shout the phrase “kabit sa binti,” later shortened to “Kabinti.”
Liliw is the go-to place for locally made shoes and slippers. The town’s origin was said to have come from a bird chirping “liw, liw, liw.”
Luisiana is a town famous for its tradition of weaving products made of pandan leaves. The town’s name was adopted in honor of the “father of the town,” Don Luis Bernardo and his wife, Doña Ana (Luis y Ana). The high elevation of the town generates a cooler climate than the other neighboring towns, which earned for it the monicker as The Little Baguio of Laguna.
The Embroidery Capital of the Philippines, Lumban, is a town in Laguna where the finest traditional Filipino wear such as barong and Filipiniana ternos are made. The town’s name is believed to have come from the Lumbang tree.
Paete is the Woodcarving Capital of the Philippines. The town got its name from “paet,” which means chisel and continues to practice its old tradition of carving statues, murals, and furniture.
The Sampaguita Capital of the Philippines, San Pedro, is the first city you’ll encounter on your trip to Laguna coming from Manila.
Please click here to view an old post on The Sampaguita Festival.
Victoria is a municipality that offers some of the most exotic yet delicious dishes including goats’ and ducks’ meat, which earned for it the nickname the Duck Raising Capital of the Philippines. The town was named after President Quirino’s daughter, Victoria Quirino. Its Itik Festival is celebrated, along with the town’s founding anniversary, to give honor and to know more about the products that come from itik (duck).
[Most of the information regarding the different towns of Laguna were taken from the biyaheng laguna page at http://www.biyahenglaguna.com/laguna-towns-and-cities/]