Traveling and Discovering the Treasures of the Fun and Rich Southern Tagalog Region

Traveling and Discovering the Treasures of the Fun and Rich Southern Tagalog Region


When In Manila, traveling to various Luzon locations, like Pampanga and Ilocos, and outgoing flights to popular country destinations such as Boracay, Puerto Princesa and Cebu, happen at  every corner!  Roadtrips are usually considered to be more fun options for nearby trips. Did you know that in just 2 hours, you can already access the culinarily, culturally, and historically-rich Southern Tagalog region?

The Philippine Tour Operators’ Association(PHILTOA), in cooperation with Department of Tourism’s Region IV office, organized a 5-day familiarization trip (April 26-30, 2014) to the Southern Tagalog-Mindoro region. PHILTOA shone the spotlight on the natural, cultural and culinary treasures of Laguna, Batangas, Quezon, and Mindoro in preparation for the featuring of the Region IV Tour packages at the Philippine Travel Mart this coming September 2014.

Travel agency managers, tour operators, fellow mediamen and, of course,, were there to join the fun! Though I was only able to be part of the first 2 days, it was definitely two of the MOST worthwhile days I have ever had. 🙂


Traveling and Discovering the Treasures of the Fun and Rich Southern Tagalog Region


We started traveling at 6:05am after departing from Intercontinental Manila. For the first two days of the 5-day familiarization trip, we had a total of 15 major stops, and our first stop was Nagcarlan, Laguna.

#1 Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery

After more than 2 hours of traversing SLEX and passing by the beautiful baranggays of Laguna aboard a freezing bus, we reached our first stop: the Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery. I honestly did not know anything about this national landmark prior to our visit, but when we were finally briefed about its history, I began to appreciate this important treasure of the province of Laguna, and more importantly, of the Philippines.



The classic facade of the cemetery under the gloomy skies



The curator briefing us about the site’s story

The curator shared that  Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery was used as a secret meeting place a few years before 1900 by the Katipuneros, and was further utilized by more Filipino soldiers during the Fil-Am War to draft their plans. 

Meanwhile, its architecture reflects Spanish colonial origins with its construction being led by a Franciscan Friar named Vicente Velloc in 1845. “Its octagonal grounds are enclosed by a wall decorated with wrought-iron grills and stonework meant to look like drapery.” In 1986, by the decree of former President Ferdinand Marcos, the underground cemetery was opened to the public as a national heritage site.

To reach the actual underground cemetery, there is a flight of stairs down to the very cold dungeon-like area filled with graveyard. It is said that these belonged to the powerful Catholic clans back then.

The landmark is open for public viewing from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday. If you would like to visit this historical site soon,  you may contact the Nagcarlan central office at: 5249952.





The PHILTOA heads


#2 Tsinelas Festival at Liliw, Laguna

After a nice and informative introductory experience of the Southern Tagalog region,we headed next to the “nakakaaliw” na Liliw, Laguna! Like any other Filipino festivals, there were a lot of banderitas going on the area, but this time, there were a lot of TSINELAS (of course, it’s the “Tsinelas Festival”, after all haha) . We entered a street where it was literally filled with slippers and shoe-selling stores from left to right!



(top) People flooding this footwear store to purchase their very affordable products
(below) I’d like to believe that this shoes/sneaker/sandals/heels deserve to be inducted in the Top 10 Most Fashown Footwear of the Philippines



There were also a lot of these beautiful human-sized sandals exhibited along the street

We were also lucky to get the chance to meet the Mayor of Liliw, Mr. Ericson J. Sulibit. Their office staff was really hospitable and exemplified the true characteristics of a “La-la-la-la-Laguna” native 🙂


Mr. Sulibit showing us the basic type of Liliw sandals. I actually bought a modified version of this (for just P95), and I brought into the sea, sand, and the bumpy roads of Manila, and it’s still very much intact!


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