Things to Do in the Philippines

15 Fun & Unique Things to Do in Laguna

The province of Laguna lies southeast of Metro Manila, and is more commonly associated as the birthplace of the country’s national hero, Jose Rizal. While three million Filipinos call this area home, a rising trend in Philippine tourism has caused both local and foreign tourists to take notice of Laguna’s perfect balance of old and new.

Its rich history aside, here are a 15 things to do in Laguna that you can look forward to when you find yourself in this part of Luzon.

1. Travel to the City of Seven Lakes

Seven Lakes

(photo via Youtube, @Esca Batallones)

Engage your senses by traveling to San Pablo, Laguna, heralded as the City of Seven Lakes. It’s named as such because it’s surrounded by some of the most beautiful lakes in the province. Situated between the foot of two mountains—Makiling and Banahaw—San Pablo boasts of Lakes Sampaloc, Yambo, Pandin, Bunot, Kalibato, Muhicap, and Palapakin. While you can travel all 7, the most tourist-friendly are Pandin, Yambo, and Bunot.

  • Location: San Pablo
  • Budget: up to P1,000
  • Operation Hours: Tours begin as early as 9am-10am and are in operation until sunset.
  • Best for: Adventurous couples, Barkadas, Families going on a picnic
  • Highlights: Seeing the Lakes up close, jumping into the rivers, rafting, and being surrounded by fresh mountain air
  • Activity Tips: Ask tour guides for the history of San Pablo, as well as the individual history of the Lakes you visit. Go as a group to maximize costs of raft tours and food spreads, and prepare trekking shoes for climbing. You can even rent a tricycle to take you to all seven, for a fee of around P500+.
  • Insider Info: Mt. San Cristobal is the volcano which caused the formation of all seven of San Pablo’s lakes.
  • Contact Info:
    Aling Tina or Aling Siony
    Phone Numbers: +63 9079952983, +63 9299789565

2. Go for a Swim at Laresio Resort

Surprised to see this sort of attraction in an area that’s only one drive away from the city? Laguna has plenty to offer in terms of water activities, and this is just one of them. Offered by the famous Laresio Resort, here are some fun things to do when you’re in this part of town! Remember to bring a swimsuit!

  • Location: Laresio Resort, Alvair Compound, Purok 1-B, Barangay Tadlac, Los Banos
  • Fee(s): around P500
  • Operation Hours: 24 hours
  • Best For: Families, team building, barkadas who want to do a quick staycation
  • Highlights: Cliff diving up to 13ft and speed sliding on a 32ft long slide
  • Insider info: Inquire about a corkage fee and bring your own towels to save on extra cash. Also, the lockers are definitely worth renting out so you can keep valuables safe while you swim.
  • Contact Details:
    Phone Numbers: +632 552 5148, +63 9175517934, +63 9175381284
    Website: laresio.com
    Facebook: @LaresioPH

3. Fall for Taytay Falls

Taytay Falls

(photo via Flickr, @KoolBeep)

Considered the second most popular waterfall site in Laguna, Taytay Falls is located in Majayjay. Besides its clear and clean waters, sometimes you might even catch a glimpse of dragonflies making themselves comfortable in the ambiance.

  • Location: Majayjay
  • Fee(s): Commute fees are P150-P180 per person. There is an entrance fee to the falls proper, considered as an environmental fee: P20 per head. Overnight stays will incur a cost of P30/head. Tents can be rented for P200-P350. Parking at the foot of the falls is P40, flat rate.
  • Operation Hours: 24 hours
  • Best for: Families on road trips, barkada outings
  • Highlights: Eating by the food stalls located by the Taytay falls, seeing the Majayjay Church, walking towards the waterfalls and encountering all the greenery of the forestry.
  • Activity Tips: Bring your own tent to save on costs!
  • Insider Info: Do not leave for the falls later than 10am! This is because trikes will charge you a rental fee of P700 for the trip to take you to the fall proper after 10. Similarly, jeeps will only take the Majayjay/Taytay routes till 10am.
  • Contact Details:
    Barangay:
    Phone Number: +63 9155278826

4. Experience Pagsanjan Falls

No Laguna to-do list is complete without mentioning one of its more iconic locations. Ranking as the #1 most popular waterfall site in Laguna, the Pagsanjan Falls is a place kids in the Philippines learn about as early as grade school. Known by the locals as Magdapio Falls, this gorgeous landmark is located in the town of Cavinti, and is flocked by tourists all year round.

  • Location: Cavinti
  • Fee(s): You can see the falls for free, but if you choose to access other areas of the Pagsanjan park proper, pay around P20-P30 and prepare tips for trike drivers. The tourism office can offer you packages of P1,250 per head since this includes the Pagsanjan Rapids.
  • Operation Hours: Daylight/working hours, no overnight in park proper
  • Best for: Families, barkadas
  • Highlight(s): The two different routes to get to Pagsanjan Falls aka taking Pagsanjan’s rapids, or taking Cavinti Town’s rappelling/hiking/trekking route.
  • Activity Tips: Gauge how well you can perform some of the physical activities required of the area, like climbing and trekking and cliff-jumping, as some of the offered stunts can be dangerous to those who aren’t prepared.
  • Insider Info: Look for “Devil’s Cave,” which is a special cavern under the waterfalls accessed via bamboo raft. Look for the jump-off point at the Pueblo El Salvador Nature Park and Picnic Grove too!
  • Contact details:
    Tourism Office:
    Phone Number: +6349 501 3544

5. Bathe in Bato Springs

Bato Springs

(photo via Facebook, @BatoSprings)

Since Laguna isn’t that far from the Metropolitan city of Manila, take a trip down to Bato Springs in San Pablo City for a quick weekend of R&R. Perfect for any time of the year, the springs offer a variety of pool sizes and springs for the whole family, or barkada, to wade into. It may actually be a better idea to travel here during its lean seasons after summer, so you can have the entire spring all to yourself!

  • Location: 71 Francisco Balagtas Blvd., Brgy. San Cristobal, San Pablo City
  • Fee(s): around P600
  • Operation hours: 24 hours
  • Best for: Officemates, barkadas, couples
  • Highlights: The pool areas with year round cold water, the tranquil vibe where you can kick back with a cold one and relax, the canteen with well-loved Filipino foods.
  • Activity Tips: Reserve a spot in advance if you visit during summer, but on lean seasons, you’ll have this beautiful park all to yourself! Also, if you want to plan any big family reunions or the like, ask about big rooms that can hold as much as 24 people.
  • Contact details:
    Phone Number: +63 9126256699
    Facebook: @Batospringresort

6. Family-friendly fun at the Sta. Elena Farm!

Got kids along for the ride? Time to disconnect from technology, mall-hopping, and city-living at Sta. Elena, Laguna’s fun farm! Despite its name, the farm also acts as a giant playground where kids and adults alike can reconnect with nature in a family-friendly way.

  • Location: Fun Farm, Sta. Elena, Cabuyao
  • Fee(s): P300 per head
  • Operation Hours: 9am–5pm
  • Best For: Families with children
  • Highlights: The petting zoo, Carabao Carts, and picnicking by the farm grounds! You can also purchase organic veggies and treats at Holy Carabao. Ask about the mini-zipline and horse-back riding too.
  • Activity Tips: You have to call them to reserve in advance, as they do not accept walk-ins. Avoid coming here on rainy days as it might get too muddy, but if you happen to be here when it does downpour, just be prepared with boots so that the kids can still have fun!
  • Insider info: Parking is free on site, and there’s no way to get here via public commute so rent a car in advance.
  • Contact Details:
    Phone Numbers: +63 9209131349, +63 935 8954
    Website: funfarm.com.ph
    Facebook: @TheFunFarmatStaElena

7. Pay your respects at Rizal Shrine

Rizal Shrine

(photo via Commons)

Waterfalls aside, Laguna is also famous for being home to the country’s national hero, Jose Rizal. In Calamba, a shrine was erected in his memory, and is open to all interested parties who are curious about the polyglot’s humble origins.

  • Location: Francisco Mercado St., corner Jose P. Rizal Street, Barangay 5, Poblacion, Calamba
  • Fee(s): P80 to P160
  • Operation Hours: 8am-12pm and 1pmm-5pm (Tuesdays to Sundays)
  • Best For: People who want to know a bit about our national history, students, field trips, families
  • Highlights: The interactive renovations are made to highlight the exhibits displayed across the grounds, statues mimicking Rizal in his childhood, preserved artefacts
  • Insider Info: While the shrine itself is now just a replica, former President Elpidio Quirino supervised its construction with the help of legendary architect Juan Nakpil to ensure the quality was close to the original. You’ll find Spanish era artefacts, an open library for public reading, and gift shops to commemorate your trip.
  • Contact details:
    Phone Number: 63 4954520110
    Virtual Tour: nhi.gov.ph/firefly/RSC_Facade.html
    Facebook: @rizal.shrine.calamba

8. Come to the Botanical Gardens

Inhale some of the freshest, cleanest air around when you visit the Makiling Botanical Gardens located at the lower elevations of the Molawin-Dampalit watershed (traveling tip: This is also nearby the University of the Philippines Los Baños campus!)

What began as a research facility to support professional instruction related to forestry and plant sciences back in the 60’s, the Makiling Botanical Gardens have now evolved into a recreational park.

  • Location: College of Forestry and Natural Resources, UPLB Campus, Mauricio Oteyza, Los Banos
  • Fee(s): P10 per person
  • Best for: Student excursions and barkada trekking
  • Highlights: Getting students as tour guides so you get the best experience
  • Activity Tips: Bringing a picnic basket with you, doing a nature-trail day trip, finding the waterfalls, naming the rare flora
  • Contact details:
    Phone Number: +6349 536 2637
    Website: makilingbotanicgardens.com

9. The Underground Cemetery

The Underground Cemetery

(photo via Commons)

Visit another piece of Philippine history, unique to Laguna. The Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery may sound creepy, but it actually resembles more of a historical museum nowadays, rather than a piece of haunted ground. Known as the only underground cemetery in the country, Nagcarlan is also notable for its role in the Philippine Revolutionary narrative.

  • Location: Nagcarlan
  • Fee(s): FREE
  • Operation hours: 8am-5pm (Tuesdays to Sundays)
  • Best for: People who want to learn about local history, students, college barkadas
  • Adventure Level: If you don’t mind walking around a cemetery to learn more about the Philippines’ interesting past, then this should be mild!
  • Highlight(s): The underground crypts were only friars were allowed to be buried.
  • Activity Tips: Ask if a curator is available to tour you and your friends. (The current curator is Ms. Cecila Sumague)
  • Contact details:
    Phone Number: +63 9178521503
    Email: [email protected]

10. Find the Hidden Valley Springs

Let your hair down at Laguna’s Hidden Valley Springs, the closest you’ll get to living a lush tropical rainforest paraudise in this side of the archipelago! Located in the town of Calauan, this postcard perfect vacation hotspot is surrounded by natural spring water, local vegetation, and has abundant flora which has since filled in a 300ft deep crater from the area’s volcanic origins.

  • Location: Calauan (If you want to just book, you can go to their Makati Office at 111 Carlos Palanca Jr. St., Legazpi Village, Makati City)
  • Fee(s): Check rates here.
  • Operation Hours: 24 hours
  • Best For: Staycations with the family or the girls, couples
  • Highlight(s): This place heralds itself as a “paradise” of sorts, because it’s surrounded by so much of Mother Nature.
  • Contact Details:
    Phone Numbers: +632 818 4034, +632 840 4112 to 14
    Website: hiddenvalleysprings.com.ph

11. Spend the day at Nuvali

Nuvali Wake Park

(photo via Pixabay, @277077)

Compared to the other local attractions in Laguna, Nuvali is probably more commercialized than what you would expect. However, if you take away the outlet malls surrounding this modern space in Sta. Rosa, there’s still plenty to do to please your inner thrill-seeker. In fact, Nuvali is probably the perfect example of a hybrid of nature, enjoyment, and relaxation!

  • Location: Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road, Don Jose, Santa Rosa
  • Fee(s): FREE (but there are additional fees for the activities)
  • Operation Hours: 24 hours
  • Best for: Families, couples, barkada get aways
  • Highlight(s): Free bird watching, leisurely strolling and shopping around outlet stores, restaurant hopping
  • Contact Details:
    Phone Number: +63 9175275688
    Website: nuvali.ph
    Facebook: @NUVALIOfficial

12. Visit Cavinti Japanese Garden

Who needs a Japanese visa when you can glimpse what the Land of the Rising Sun has to offer, right here in Laguna? Satisfy your inner Japanophile and travel to the Cavinti Japanese Garden. This area actually serves as a shrine created by the Philippine-Japan Friendship Society in memory of the Japanese soldiers who died during the tailend of World War II.

A ceremonial tomb commemorates those who died in battle right at the center of the Garden. Moreover, this place is a living symbol of the positive relationship between the Philippines and Japan after the war ended.

  • Location: Near Caliraya Lake, Lumban
  • Fee(s): FREE
  • Operation hours: 24 hours (best to come here when the sun is out)
  • Best for: Everyone and anyone is welcome to enjoy this tranquil and zen-like space! Great for photographers and bloggers too.
  • Highlight(s): Finding all of the temples that commemorate the victims of the 2nd World War.
  • Insider Info: If you climb to the top of the 100 steps going up the elevation, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view of the Lake Caliraya, with the mountain as the backdrop
  • .

  • Contact Details:
    Phone Number: +63 9055174371
    Facebook: @HeraldBebis

13. Discover the art heritage of Paete

Paete

(photo via Flickr, @Arnold)

While most people might not associate art with travelling, Laguna offers some of the most interesting art pieces that can intrigue any visitor. If you have the time, visit the lakeshore town of Paete in Laguna, which is named after the signature carving tool the artists from this area use to chisel wood into ornaments and statues. In 2005, this reputation was solidified when the government named Paete the “Carving Capital of the Philippines.”

  • Location: Paete
  • Budget: P300 (round trip fare)
  • Best for: People who want to buy quality wooden artifacts, Local artists who want affordable and sturdy wood, and Families who want to explore something new and refreshing in Laguna
  • Highlight(s): The religious figures made of wood, which the town is famous for.
  • Activity tips: Request a list of activities from Paete’s generous tourism office. These stops would include the Church of Santiago Apostol, shopping for wood carvings to take home to Manila, eating at the famous Kape Kesada, and if you’re in town during the right time of year, you can even experience the Paete Holy Week procession.
  • Insider info: Try looking for someone who sells Pancit Hab-hab, a delicious take on Filipino noodles. Locals will also tell you to try visiting the falls at the foot of the mountain closest to the town, or to hike the mountain to see three crosses at the very summit.
  • Contact Details:
    Tourism Office:
    Phone Number: +6349 817 1814

14. Bond at the Rizal Re-Creation Center

Got a big group coming to Laguna? Make sure no one is left out by coming to the Rizal Re-Creation Center, which is perfect for company outings, team building events, or family reunions. Surrounded by clean yards and towering palm trees, book activities in advanced and get treated to a fun-filled afternoon with your friends and loved ones.

  • Location: Arban St. Brgy. Paule I, Rizal
  • Fee(s): P360 (weekday day tour), P385 (weekend day tour), P800 to P900 (overnight rates), P1,000 to P1,750 (room rates)
  • Operation Hours: 24 hours
  • Best for: Family outings, reunions, couples, families with kids, office seminars, office parties, team building
  • Highlight(s): Seeing the two mountains surrounding the resort, Mt. Banahaw and Mt. Cristobal. Also, true to its name as a recreational center, this area boasts of a 70ft long water slide, basketball and volleyball courts, large playing fields, a mini zipline, pools, and a paintball battlefield.
  • Activity Tip: The bigger your group the better package rates you’ll be able to get!
  • Contact details:
    Phone Numbers: +632 638 7248, +632 628 7369, +63 9285082617, +63 9178119276
    Website: re-creationcenter.com
    Facebook: @rizalrecreationcenter

15. Hike Mt. Makiling

Mt. Makiling

(photo via Flickr, @TON70)

A vacation in Laguna wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the crown mountain jewel of the province, the magical and legendary Mt. Makiling. Inspiring countless legends and tales, embodied by the spiritual protector of the forests—Maria Makiling—this hiking trail is not for the faint of heart. The mountainside reclines, and its steepness is a testament to the fact that Mt. Makiling is actually an inactive volcano.

  • Location: Entry Points are at Sitio Jordan, Brgy. San Miguel, Sto. Tomas and UP College of Forestry, Los Banos
  • Budget: P200 to P500
  • Operation hours: You can hike at any time, but please prepare to descend or return to the city by 4:30 PM. Do not stay here during nightfall for safety and security reasons.
  • Best for: Hikers, mountain climbers, environmentalists, nature-lovers, students of any sort of environmental science course, anyone who wants to experience trekking for the first time
  • Highlight(s): Finding the Makiling Botanical Garden and National Arts Center, which Mt. Makiling houses. You should also try finding all the picnic groves surrounded by ancient, giant trees!
  • Activity tips: Bring lots of insect repellent, sturdy shoes, umbrellas, and your own food!
  • Insider info: Since this area is close to UPLB, why not ask a student to help you go around? Also, look for the Mud Springs and Flat Rocks to see nature at its finest.
  • Contact details:
    Phone Numbers: +6349 536 3572, +6349 536 3572 or 536-2637
    Websites: mountmakiling.org, mountainet.ph

Enjoy a fun experience and check out other tourist spots to visit, restaurants to try and more in Laguna. Discover cheap hotel deals and cheap flights from carriers like Philippine Airlines, AirAsia, and more with Traveloka!


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