Laguna is considered a treasure trove of different cultures and influences passed down and maintained for hundreds of years. From breathtaking views to historical structures, the province of Laguna remains to be one of the country’s top tourist destinations. So, if you’re planning a trip to the birthplace of our national hero, here are 10 of Laguna’s best tourist spots that you should visit:
1. Pagsanjan Falls/Cavinti Falls
Possibly one of the most popular waterfalls in the country, and top-of-mind tourist spots in Laguna, the majestic Pagsanjan Falls is undoubtedly a must-visit. The journey to the famous falls alone is filled with breathtaking sites. Whether you choose to shoot the rapids, or trek down the Pueblo el Salvador route, the area has no shortage of picturesque spots.
- Type: Waterfalls
- Location: Brgy. Tibatib, Pagsanjan, Laguna. From Manila, take a bus headed to Sta. Cruz, Laguna. From there you can take a jeepney or tricycle which will take you straight to the tourism office.
- Budget: Approx 1500 per head for roundtrip boat transfers
- Time: 8am-3pm
- Activities: Shoot the rapids, Swimming
2. Rizal Shrine
The Rizal Shrine in Calamba is a replica of our national hero’s childhood home turned museum. The museum tells the story of Rizal’s many phases of life from when he was a young boy, to his studies in Europe, all the way to his death.
- Type: Museum
- Location: Francisco Mercado St. cor. Jose P. Rizal St., Brgy. 5, Poblacion, Calamba, Laguna. From Manila, ride a bus heading for Sta. Cruz Laguna. Tell the conductor to drop you off at Calamba City. From there, take a tricycle to Rizal shrine.
- Budget: FREE
- Time: Thursdays to Saturdays, 8:30am-12pm and 1pm-4:30pm
- Activities: Learn about history
3. Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery
This national historical landmark was established during 1845. The cemetery was used to bury the town’s common residents, while the underground crypt was where the Spanish friars and other notable individuals of that era were laid to rest. It’s the only one of its kind in the country.
- Type: Cemetery
- Location: Nagcarlan, Laguna. From Manila, ride a bus heading to Lucena City. Tell the conductor to drop you off at San Pablo City in Laguna. From there ride a tricycle to the jeep terminal going to Nagcarlan. Have the jeepney driver drop you off at the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery.
- Budget: FREE
- Time: 9am-4pm
- Activities: Explore
4. Pila Heritage Site
The town of Pila, Laguna is one of the few towns in the Philippines to gain National Historical Landmark Status since the year 2000. Pila was miraculously missed by American bombers during WWII, so, today, it still maintains its traditional Spanish architecture and layout.
- Type: Heritage Site/Town
- Location: Pila Heritage Site, Pila, Laguna. Ride a Sta. Cruz bound bus from Cubao or Buendia. Tell the bus conductor to drop you off at Pila town proper. Once you reach the town proper, you can start the heritage tour.
- Budget: FREE
- Activities:Tour, Museum visit, Take photos
5. Villa Escudero
Villa Escudero is a working coconut plantation founded by a couple during 1880. It’s a popular destination for guests who want to experience the best of traditional Filipino culture. At Villa Escudero, you can take a jeepney to explore the vast property, visit museums, and have lunch at the famous Labasin Waterfalls Restaurant.
- Type: Plantation/Resort
- Location: Maharlika highway, Laguna / Tiaog, Quezon
- Activities: Explore, eat, relax
6. Japanese Garden
The garden was built by the Japanese government during the ‘70s to remember the Japanese soldiers who passed away during WWII. Aside from its historical significance, the garden is also a great place to catch views of the beautiful Lake Caliraya and the Sierra Madre Mountain Range.
- Type: Memorial park
- Location: Near Caliraya Lake, Lumban, Laguna. Take a Sta. Cruz bound bus from Manila. Get off at the terminal in Pagsawitan, Sta. Cruz, Laguna then ride a jeepney with “Lumot” signboard. The Lumot-bound jeepney will take you directly to Lake Caliraya/Japanese Garden.
- Budget: P20
- Time: 7am-4:30pm
- Activities: Nature trail, picnic
7. Mt. Banahaw
If you’re in need of some peace and quiet, it’s a good idea to make the trip to Mt. Banahaw.
Though it’s more known as a popular hiking destination, the volcano is also considered a pilgrimage spot or “holy mountain” for locals. Even without taking the climb, you will pass by Bangkong Kahoy Valley where you’ll meet friendly locals and get a glimpse of Laguna’s beauty.
- Type: Mountain/Volcano
- Location: Borders of Laguna and Dolores, Quezon. Take a Sat. Cruz-bound bus from Manila. Get down at San Pablo then take a jeep to Dolores.
- Activities: Hike
8. Makiling Botanical Gardens
The Makiling Botanical Gardens is for those who want to experience the best of nature without having to brave a steep hike. The gardens are paved with trails you can safely follow, and if you have time, you can take the loop all the way back to the entrance. Along the trail you’ll see; towering greens, rare species of trees and plants, and a stream that cuts through the property.
- Type: Gardens
- Location: College of Forestry and Natural Resources, UPLB Campus, Los Baños, Laguna. Board a bus bound for Sta. Cruz Laguna from Cubao or Taft. Get off at Crossing, Los Baños, and ride a jeepney to UPLB Forestry. Tell the driver to drop you off at Makiling Botanical Gardens.
- Budget: P10 per head
- Time: 8am-4pm
- Activities: Nature trail
9. Paete Town
Paete Town is located in the north-eastern part of Laguna, along the shores of Laguna Bay. Paete is most famous for its large population of craftsmen who are highly skilled in wood carving and embellishment.
- Type: Town
- Location: Paete, Laguna. From Cubao, take a bus to Sta. Cruz, Laguna. At Sta. Cruz, take a jeepney bound for Siniloan and asked the driver to drop you off at Paete’s town proper.
- Budget: Entrance is free.
- Activities: Watch the craftsmen, buy some handmade items, Visit churches
10. Laguna Churches
Laguna is one of the most famous destinations for Catholics especially during the Visita Iglesia season. The province is home to a number of centuries-old churches that date as far back as 1500s. If you’re not the religious type, the sight of the ancient architecture alone is worth the trip.
- Type: Church
- Budget: FREE
- Activities: Mass, visita iglesia, take photos