If you are looking for a quick getaway from the busy city of Manila but don’t want to travel far, Laguna has a lot to offer! Dubbed the Philippines’ Silicon Valley due to the numerous electronic and semiconductor industries built in the province, Laguna is also popularly known as the birthplace of the Philippines’ National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.
Besides the delectable treats such as buko pie, kesong puti (white cheese), uraro cookies, and other goodies, it has a variety of scenic natural landscapes that will take your breath away. Here are some of the best things to do in Laguna that are perfect all year round!
Best things to do in Laguna for your next road trip out of town
1. Have fun at Enchanted Kingdom!
Spend a day exploring the different attractions that the Enchanted Kingdom has to offer. It is one of the largest theme parks in the Philippines that your friends and family will surely enjoy — no matter their age. This is probably one of the top things to do in Laguna, especially for weekenders who are perpetually young at heart.
If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, be sure to check out the Ekstreme Tower and Space Shuttle. The theme park also offers kid-friendly rides like Jungle Log Jam and the iconic Rio Grande Rapids. It truly is an experience that you and your loved ones will not forget! You can enjoy an all-day Enchanted Kingdom pass for only ₱1,200 and ride all the famous attractions from daytime till night.
2. Hike Mount Makiling
Calling all nature lovers! If you’re seeking an exhilarating adventure that gets your heart racing, Mt. Makiling in Laguna is an ideal destination. However, be warned: this trek is not suitable for climbers with a weak heart. The steep, sloping terrain is evidence of Mt. Makiling’s volcanic past, making it a challenging hike even for experienced enthusiasts. Despite the climb, you will be rewarded with breathtaking vistas that serve as a sanctuary for wildflowers and endangered species like the Philippine eagle-owl and Philippine pygmy fruit bat.
3. Dive into Pagsanjan Falls
Ideal for weekend thrill-seekers, this nature excursion in Laguna promises an exhilarating activity just a two-hour drive away from the metro. Pagsanjan Falls is renowned for the experience of shooting the rapids. This involves riding on a small wooden local canoe upstream through a narrow gorge to reach the falls.
Upon reaching the third cascade of the falls and the pool at its base, you must contemplate your courage to venture into Devil’s Cave. This cave is situated behind the falls, and you can access it by boarding a bamboo raft pulled by the boatmen. Pack your waterproof bags ‘cause you are in for an adventure!
4. Visit the Japanese Garden
To commemorate the fallen Japanese soldiers during World War II, the Japanese government built the Japanese Garden in Cavinti, Laguna. The expansive garden provides charming vistas of the lake and beautiful scenic spots perfect for traditional picnics. It’s also the perfect place to take Instagram photos! Meanwhile, the garden intentionally lacks intricate details to underscore the importance of peace and meditation.
5. Stay at Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort
Villa Escudero Plantation Resorts invites travellers with its distinctive combination of cultural immersion, natural splendour, and culinary excellence. This enchanting destination provides an unforgettable experience that highlights the richness of Filipino heritage. Adding to the rural charm, they offer carabao rides that you surely wouldn’t want to miss! As part of the Philippine Experience Program, there’s also a cultural show that celebrates the Philippines’ diverse cultural tapestry.
A remarkable encounter at Villa Escudero involves a unique dining experience, with visitors indulging in a lavish lunch buffet at the base of the majestic Manmade Waterfalls. Imagine enjoying a delightful array of Filipino cuisine while seated amidst clear, flowing waters. The cascade of the waterfall serves as a tranquil backdrop, crafting a serene and memorable dining atmosphere.
6. Stop by Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery
Receiving recognition as a National Historical Landmark, the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery is definitely worth a visit. It played an important role in Philippine history. Amidst the Philippine Revolution in 1896, this cemetery functioned as a gathering spot for revolutionary leaders of the Katipunan.
You would definitely enjoy walking through what feels like a journey through time. Feel free to check out different artefacts found in the chapel and learn how they were able to preserve such historical architecture. The best part is that the entrance is free!
7. Reflect during your stay at the Rizal Re-Creation Center
Initially designed for conventions and retreats, the Rizal Re-Creation Center boasts two spring-fed swimming pools, a 70-foot water slide, an open basketball court, a chess pavilion, a trampoline, a paintball field equipped for low-impact play, and a thrilling bouldering wall. You can also enjoy a bite at the snack bar to fuel your energy as you would be pretty exhausted from all the activities. Adventure awaits at this hidden gem, so bring your group of friends and be ready to make awesome memories.
8. Uncover the Artistic Heritage of Paete
The year 2005 marked the official recognition of Paete as the “Carving Capital of the Philippines” by the government, cementing its artistic reputation. While art may not be top of mind when thinking of things to do in Laguna, the province presents a captivating collection of art pieces that can enchant any visitor. If you have the opportunity, explore the lakeside town of Paete in Laguna. It derives its name from the distinctive carving tool employed by the local artists to intricately carve wood into ornaments and statues.
9. Relax at Hidden Valley Springs
Unwind in the enchanting ambience of Hidden Valley Springs in Laguna, the nearest escape to experiencing a vibrant tropical rainforest paradise in this part of the archipelago! Situated in the town of Calauan, this picturesque vacation destination is embraced by natural spring water, indigenous vegetation, and an abundance of flora that has beautifully transformed a 300-foot-deep crater from the region’s volcanic history.
10. Enjoy family-friendly entertainment at Sta. Elena Farm
Travelling with kids? It’s the perfect opportunity to step away from technology, malls, and city life and immerse yourself in the fun-filled farm experience at Sta. Elena in Laguna! Despite its name, this farm doubles as an extensive playground, providing a family-friendly environment for both kids and adults to reconnect with nature.
Truly, Laguna proves to be an ideal destination for those seeking a quick escape from Manila’s hustle and bustle without venturing too far. With a myriad of hidden gems and fun things to do in Laguna, this province provides the perfect year-round getaway. Whether you’re drawn to history, nature, or culinary delights, it has something to offer every traveller!
Featured image credit: Axel Matriano | Unsplash