Savoring Pinoy Delights: THE LUSCIOUS LANZONES

I look forward to the early -ber months in Laguna because I can enjoy one of my favorite seasonal fruits, the lanzones!

 

 


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For our foreign readers, LANZONES (Lansiumparasiticum) is a seasonal, tropical, exotic, and edible fruit which originated in West Malaysia and is widely grown in the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia.

 

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Clustered like grapes, this fruit is elliptical, ovoid, or round, measuring 2-7 cm (0.79-2.76 in.) by 1.5-5 cm (0.59-1.97 in.) in size.

It has a thin, leathery, slightly-fuzzy yellow skin that varies in thickness from 2-6 mm (0.079-0.24 in.). The yellow skin will gradually develop brownish-black spots as the days go by as this fruit spoils quickly and does not have a long shelf life. So, eat it immediately after purchase. My advice is to buy only what you can consume within 2 days.

 

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This year, fruits were harvested in early September in Laguna, and priced at 80-90 pesos per kilo (2018). I personally prefer the smaller variety since I find that they are sweeter and have smaller seeds, if any at all.

Lanzones is known under a variety of common names worldwide: bhubi (Bengali), bon bon (Vietnamese), buahan (Cebuano), buwa-buwa (Tagalog), ceruring (Balinese), dau da dat (Vietnamese), dhuku (Javanese), dokong (Malay), duku (Burmese, Indonesian, Malay), gaduguda (Sinhalese), kokosan (Indonesian), langsak (Burmese), langsat (English, Indonesian, Malay, and Thai for thin-skinned variety), langseh (Malay), langsep (Javanese, Malay), lansa (Malay), lansones (Cebuano. Tagalog), lanzones (English), lon bon (Vietnamese), long kong (Khmer), longkong (Thai, for thick-skinned variety), lotka (Bengali), and pangkai (Mizo language).

The larger variety of lanzones is called Duku. It has large round fruits, a thicker skin, and some consider it sweeter than the smaller variant.The hybrid between Duku and Langsat is called Duku-Langsat. Another variation is Longkong, or Dokong, introduced in Indonesia and Thailand. This variant has a thick skin, sweet aromatic taste, no latex, only a few seeds or is seedless.1

Lanzones is grown in different parts of the Philippines: Camiguin (known to yield the sweetest lanzones during the month of October), Laguna (fruits harvested from September to November, depending on the onset of typhoons and strong winds which may affect the flowering stage), Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, and Northern Mindanao.2

The Lanzones Festival is held annually in Camiguin Island for 4 days during the 3rd week of October, to celebrate their lanzones harvest, the precious livelihood of the residents there.3

Legend says that this fruit was originally poisonous.3 The name itself, lanzones, comes from the Filipino term for poison – lason! It is said that there was once a town with bountiful trees which bore round and pale-colored fruits, but the people were afraid to eat them. They saw a man who tried to eat a fruit, but he died as soon as it touched his lips. This made the people afraid of even touching the fruit. Then, one day, the town suffered from drought, food became scarce, and the people became hungry. Suddenly, a mysterious lady came to town, sang and danced in the streets, picked a fruit from the poisonous tree, pinched it, and ate it. To the amazement of the people, the lady did not die. She claimed that as she pinched the fruit, she took out the poison. She then asked the townfolk to eat the fruits, and famine eventually ended.2

A second version of its origin goes like this: lanzones was poisonous and extremely sour but one day, a woman (believed to be the Virgin Mary) and Her Child (the Baby Jesus) travelled along a road, were very hungry, and found only lanzones trees all around. Having no other option to eat, they ate the fruits and, henceforth, the lanzones became edible and sweet.4

The fruits, when allowed to ripen on the branches of the tree, are attractive to flying animals at night, like bats. The people from Paete, Laguna, in the Philippines, hang kerosene lamps on the trees to repel bats and other nocturnal animals.1

When completely ripe, the fruit is eaten as is, or added to cooked/processed dishes/items. Its thin skin is opened by pinching/squeezing the stem end until the skin opens and is then further easily peeled back to reveal about 5-6 translucent white, smooth, juicy and sweet (sometimes, a bit tart or sour) fleshy segments, which, together, may have 1-3 dark green, bitter-tasting, inedible seeds of different sizes. Break the segments apart, and eat them one by one. Discard the inedible seeds, if any.

 

Z-lanzones-peeled

Peeling may yield a milky latex, especially when newly picked/harvested, that may stain your fingers with a slightly sticky blackish-brown sap. Personally, I do not mind this sap because this fruit is one of my top favorite fruits.

However, if you are turned off by the black sap on your fingertips after consuming a sizeable amount of this fruit, worry no more! There are 5 ways to avoid/address this concern: (a) use a paper towel when removing the skin; (b) apply oil to your fingertips to avoid the stickiness; (c) dip the fruit into boiling water to eliminate the sticky substance; (d) apply alcohol on stained fingers and wipe off with a paper napkin;or, (e) my dear father taught me to simply rub my stained fingers through my hair several times till all the sticky sap is gone. He said the natural oil in my hair removes the sticky, sappy dark stains, and you know what? It works! But if I do this, I see to it that I shampoo my hair thereafter. Try all these techniques and tell me what really works for you!

Lanzones is used in beverages, desserts, fruit salads, jams and jellies. Its fleshy segments are added to curries and soups. These are also added to other fruits like bananas, pomegranates and strawberries, to make popsicles.3

Each segment contains fructose, glucose and sucrose. It also contains carbohydrates, fiber, pantothenic acid, protein, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), C, and minerals, such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.This fruit is low in fat so this is good for weight-watchers! It has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, as well as an abundance of natural antioxidants (e.g., polyphenols) that can help the body to fight disease-causing free radicals.5

 

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This fruit is considered a healthy snack for people with diabetes because of its high fiber content, along with the presence of the antioxidant polyphenol, which improves glucose levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar.3

 

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There are no known side effects when eating this fruit. However, this fruit is known to cause gas so overconsumption is not good for people who easily bloat. Also, pregnant women should consult their doctors before eating lots of this yummy fruit.3

The bark, leaves and/or segments are known to: aid in weight loss; be effective in de-worming; boost the immune system; cure dysentery, malaria, scorpion stings and ulcers; improve metabolism; reduce cholesterol levels; regulate blood sugar levels; relieve diarrhea and eye inflammation; and treat bloating and fever.

Did you know that the dried skin of lanzones is traditionally used in the Philippines as a natural mosquito repellant? I recall my Dad who used to sun-dry the peels and light them up in our terrace during night time. The smell was pleasant and guess what? I had no mosquito bites!

So, what are you waiting for? Go to your nearest fruit stand while supply lasts!

Most of the information was obtained from the Wikipedia page, “Lansium parasiticum”.6

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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1www.choosephilippines.com

2www.onlyfoods.net

3www.tagaloglang.com/lansones

4www.marketmanila.com

5www.livestrong.com

6”Lansium parasiticum,” accessed September 8, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lansium_parasiticum

 

AMBON-AMBON FALLS: The Sweet Reward of Trekking

Location: Panguil River Eco-Park, Barangay Natividad, Town of Pangil, Province of Laguna, Region IV-A, Philippines

1-entrance-name

Dear Seniors, let me ask you these questions first:

  1. Do you reside in Metro Manila, Laguna, Batangas, Quezon, or nearby areas, and just want to spend the whole day with your family far away from work, school, the traffic and pollution of the city?
  2. Do you love nature-tripping but do not want to go too far from your home?

 

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3. Are you fond of picnicking? Do you love to bring your signature adobo, steamed rice, vegetables with sweet/spicy bagoong, marinated chicken/pork to be barbecued on-site, fresh fruits, junk food, and whatever else you fancy? Or, are you the type who does not cook at all and who is willing to try native “lutong bahay”, i.e., home-cooked dishes; not gourmet but decent enough dishes, and pay accordingly? If you belong to the latter, no worries, there is a small kitchen in this destination with a local cook. Just tell them when you arrive so they can do the marketing. Seniors, do not forget to inform them of your dietary restrictions (like low salt, low fat, etc.).13-food-collage      some dishes you can order in-house (Adobong Baboy, Fried Tilapia and Pinakbet)

  1. Are you willing to trek 15 minutes for a River Tubing adventure? Or are you game to trek all the way to Ambon-Ambon Falls, i.e., 30 minutes one way, then 15 minutes going back for the River Tubing? Are you out of shape or not sure if you can make it all the way but would like to see and be near the falls? No worries, you can stop and rest anytime/anywhere along the path; trek/walk at your own pace; the guides are very helpful. Seeing the falls is worth the trek!
  1. Is it okay for you to walk and get wet along the side of the river, climb a couple of rocks (sometimes with flowing water), cross the river about 3 times through a bamboo bridge, and ride 3 bamboo rafts along the way?
  2. Do you want to personally witness an awesome falls and have a “back-massage” from its thundering water? Or do you just want to soak in the sun, swim/wade in shallow waters with your “apos” (grandchildren) and loved ones?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, then I have a suggested place for you – the AMBON-AMBON FALLS in the Panguil1 River Eco-Park, in Pangil1, Laguna. It would only take about 2 – 2 1/2 hours once you exit Calamba from the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), depending on the traffic in Calamba and Los Baños.

Interested families or groups can go to the Eco-Park any month of the year but, personally, the best months to enjoy this adventure is from October till February, when the water is right for River Tubing, except when there is a typhoon.

Use the Waze app in your cell phone to tell you where to pass. Less techie? No problem, I always advise my visitors going to this destination to just follow the national road and look for directional and feeder signs. Your destination: Pangil1, Laguna!

I suggest you all wear your swimming/trekking attire before you ride your vehicle so it would be easy to start your adventure once you reach the place. Fully charge your cell phones and power banks but designate just one or two cell phones to be brought to the River Tubing/Ambon Ambon Falls. Make sure to place each cell phone in a water-proof container that you can then bring during your trek and waterfall moment/s. You can ask your guide to take pictures while you/your group are under the falls. Do not worry, they are used to doing this, and know the right places to take the shots, as well as how to take care of your device/s. I also recommend applying sun block 30 minutes beforehand to take effect. A pair of reliable, non-slippery footwear that can get wet and still be good for trekking along the set path, walking along the river, and crossing bamboo bridges is recommended. Eat breakfast and finish your morning “ceremonies/rituals”. You can actually stop along SLEX for breakfast and/or clean public rest rooms. Bring bottled water for trekking, if necessary.

Tell your designated driver to just follow the slotted/solid white lines or solid yellow lines (solid lines for no overtaking; better observe traffic rules to be safe) painted at the middle of the road –that’s an indication that you are cruising along the national highway. You will pass through the following towns from SLEX (Calamba exit coming from Makati/Paranaque): Calamba, Los Baños, Bay, Calauan, Victoria, Pila, Sta. Cruz, Pagsanjan, Lumban, Kalayaan, Paete and Pakil. “Marami ba?” (Do you find it too many?) Do not be turned off; you will only be passing through these towns and not going inside any town proper. And, once you exit Los Baños, it’s the end of traffic.

Along the way, just enjoy the view that includes lots of rice fields (stare at the greenery – that is good for your eyes), coconut trees, and even some stands offering local and seasonal fruits. You can stop, bargain some, and maybe buy the fresh fruits you want to munch on the road. You can also buy native delicacies (puto, kuchinta, buko pie, espasol, etc.) in Los Baños. (Note: remember your doctor’s advice, if any, regarding your restricted dietary intake.) Moderation always; nothing in excess, ok?

The road leading to Panguil River Eco-Park — from where you can access Ambon Ambon Falls — does not have a sign ever since the national highway of the said town was widened. But the General Manager told me that a directional sign will be installed soon. In the meantime, just remember that when you reach the town of Pangil (there are directional signs for this along the way), watch out for a short bridge followed by the barangay hall of Brgy. Natividad to your right. Turn right on that small road and just drive straight till you hit the end of the road – that’s it! You have reached your destination!

1-entrance-1                                Entrance – Panguil River Eco-Park, Pangil, Laguna

If you have a big group, or are the type of traveler who is “sigurista” (a person who wants to be sure that all aspects of his/her trip are well organized) like me, I suggest you reserve a cottage or even an air-conditioned room (contact information at the end of this post) to ensure you have the kind of accommodation you and your family could enjoy for the whole day or even overnight (although I have not tried doing the latter).

For smaller groups, you can rent a native hut for eating/resting for day use only. I suggest you designate one person in your group to watch over your belongings in the hut while the others swim/wade, go to the falls, or experience the River Tubing.

There are separate structures for public shower-cum-rest rooms for males and females. Bring plastic bags for your wet clothes/toiletries for easy packing if you will use the public shower rooms. Unfortunately, dearest Seniors, there is no hot water for showers, neither in the public shower rooms nor in the rented rooms. (For me, these are just minor details that will not spoil your adventure of the refreshing and awesome Ambon-Ambon Falls.)

Are you still interested? Then, read on.

You have now parked your vehicle in the designated paid parking space. It is safe, I assure you, just lock your vehicle/s and keep your valuables safe with a designated person/watcher. Better still, do not bring any jewelry.3-enter-parking-2

One person from your group must go inside the Admin. office to pay the required fees. Beforehand, you need to count how many you are in your group (separate the count for adults and children, 5-10 years old).1-register-1                                       Entrance, Admin Office, Panguil River Eco-Park

2-admin-office-inside-1                                      Interior of Admin Office, Panguil River Eco-Park

2-staff                              The hospitable staff, Amin Office, Panguil River Eco-Park

The breakdown of fees is shown below. Once payments are made, guides will be assigned to you, depending on how many you are in your group and your desired activity/activities.

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You must now carry your things to your rented cottage/room (for overnight) or native hut (for day use). I am sure the guide/s will help to transport your stuff.

3-enter-walk-1                                       Turn right and proceed to the Hanging Bridge

3-enter-walk-2-stalls                                          Mini-stores for snacks and basic necessities

4-hanging bridgeYou then cross a Hanging Bridge. You can start your selfie/group poses here. For those with vertigo, those who easily get dizzy, or those who are afraid of heights, go slow on this bridge and just look straight ahead; do not look down or sideways.

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4-hanging bridge-3-huts                                          Left view from the hanging bridge

9-huts                                       Huts, viewed from the hanging bridge

4-hanging bridge-3                                                    The end of the hanging bridge

At the end of the bridge is a round cemented area with the name of the eco-park – another group shot here, for sure! All persons who will go to the falls are required to wear the safety vests. Ask assistance from the guide/s if you have difficulty attaching all clasps, especially the one that goes around the bottom.

5-oval-2-pasalubong center                       The Pasalubong Center to the left of the central round cemented area

5-oval-3-rt side                                 More huts to the right of the round cemented area

4-hanging bridge-3-huts-2                        More huts for rent at the right side of the end of the hanging bridge

5-oval-3-other huts              Another hut overlooking the cool stream from the Ambon-Ambon Falls

For the not-so-adventurous Seniors, you may opt to just wade in the shallow waters near the rented native huts. Enjoy your “blue space”2 with your “apos” (grandchildren) and other companions. Breathe in the clean air. Savor the cooling effect of the running water, coming all the way from the falls.

2-steps                               Trekking? Gear up! This is how the trail surface looks like

For the more adventuresome Seniors, you’re now geared up to start your trek. Just relax, breathe normally, do not hold your breath. The path goes up and down along the side of the river and you can rest whenever you need to, dear Seniors. The guides will adjust to your pace. Do not forget to take pictures along the way. The guides are more than willing to patiently take as many pictures as you want. Just do not forget to give them a tip later, ok?

You may opt to just walk for about 15 minutes and ask for the River Tubing adventure. It is about a 5-minute thrill of riding on connected inflated rubber tubes.

You can ask your guide to take pictures of your group as you glide downstream to the lower part of this park, near the rented native huts for the day.

Or, you may opt to ask a member of your group to stay on the hanging bridge and to click away as you glide towards the end point of the ride. Then, you can just join the wading people of your group, grab a snack, and share your brief ride downstream. Why don’t you convince them to experience River Tubing too?

For the more fit and “game” Seniors, bring water (to quench your thirst) and a towel (to be used after your “falls experience” just in case “ginawin ka” (you easily feel cold). Well then, brave Seniors, trek onwards, for a total of about 30 minutes towards the Ambon-Ambon Falls.

At certain points, you will cross the river three times over a bamboo bridge, climb a couple of rocks (with or without flowing water, depending on the season), and ride a total of three bamboo rafts till you reach the falls. Ask the tour guide to take pictures of each interesting point of your trek.

12-bamboo raft                                        You will ride a bamboo raft three times

What’s this, you tell me you can’t swim? Or are you not confident in your swimming skills for the slightly deep part, right before the falls? No worries! Just float facing the sky and your guide will pull you towards the falls through your safety vest. Do not forget to leave your cell phone with the guide so he can take pictures in strategic locations. This way, your group will have memorable shots near/under the falls.

When your group is now complete near/under the falls, pose in unison and tell the designated guide-photographer to wait for your wacky poses, and then some! Keep smiling! Achieve!

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You have all reached your final destination – the Ambon Ambon Falls!

You are allowed to stay as long as you want near/under the falls. I dare you to try a hard back massage under the falls (depending on the pressure of the water). This “blue space2” experience will surely be a big hit when you talk about it with your “amigos/amigas” (male/female friends) the next time you see each other back home.

Once you signal your guide that you want to return, he will again pull the safety vests of floating persons who do not want to swim the deep water till they reach the first raft going back. You will go back the same way until you reach the River Tubing spot, after about 15 minutes of trekking. Refer to the same guidelines I gave earlier.

The River Tubing is the last time you will see your guides so I am sure you want to thank them. Please do not forget to give a tip to your guides when you land, ok?

After the River Tubing experience, you can then go back and join the rest of your group in your rented private room (for those staying overnight) or native hut (for day use only). Some may decide to snack, have brunch, or opt to shower/take a bath and change clothes.

9-rooms                                                           Cottages for rent

8-restrooms-1                                      Separate male and female shower/rest rooms

8-restrooms-2                                             Interior of female shower/rest room

9-camping site                                           Camping Site – tents are available for rent

12-swimming pool-ok                                                                Swimming Pool

10-pavilion                                                 the Pavilion for large get-togethers

I have been entertaining family members and friends through the years in this destination but have not experienced staying overnight. Who knows, I might do it next time so I can share the experience with you as well.

By the way, I always pay for my visits and all comments are based on my repeated experience in this Eco-Park.

I was also told by General Manager (GM) Raymund Diaz about the following additional offerings of the Eco-Park:

1. Massage-Therapy, i.e., Hilot-Wellness Full Body Massage at PHP300 per hour, starting April. This is good news for interested seniors! They have five massage beds and about 20 trained massage-therapists on call. I need to try this!9-Massage-3

2. A 200-meter trail leading to a point where one can have a panoramic view of the town of Pangil and Laguna de Bay, along with a bambusetum, a garden with a collection of bamboo plants. This, I’ve got to see during my next visit!9-new walk

3. An extension of the River Tubing to double the length of the ride so that means double the fun, fun, fun for all to enjoy going downstream! Watch out for it; it is coming soon!

Special thanks to the following for the information shared: GM Diaz, Assistant GM Richmond Samson and Cashiers: Mafeh, Rose Ann and Dhang!

Bottomline, this is an exciting and reasonably-priced day trip for you and your family/friends. This “blue space2” is just about 3 hours (or less, depending on the traffic) from the Calamba exit of SLEX. The air is fresh, so you can declog your urban-polluted lungs. Only basic facilities are offered, thus, do not expect five-star facilities/services. You will definitely feel a bit tired, but fulfilled, from this experience.

Did you find this post informative? Have you also experienced going to the Panguil River Eco-Park, either just for the day or overnight? I would like to hear from you. Do post your comment/s below. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device. Thank you!

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1Panguil is the original spelling of Pangil, the town in Laguna, where the Ambon Ambon Falls is located.

2Blue space is the term for visible water needed to improve the quality of life.1 Examples of blue spaces are beaches, canals, fountains, harbors, islands, islets, lakes, marinas, ponds, ports, rivers, streams, and waterfront parks.  To know more about blue space, see my post: Short and Simple: WHAT IS BLUE SPACE?

Laguna, Philippines: TWO TALLEST RIZAL MONUMENTS IN THE WORLD

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust (French novelist, essayist and critic, 1871-1922)

I am based in the province of Laguna and, since my travels depend on the health status of my soon-to-be 96-year-old mother, I have time to look around this province and marvel at its uniqueness and beauty. Here is one such record/beauty: did you know that the province of Laguna, in the Philippines, has two of the tallest Rizal monuments in the world? Yes, you read it right, not only in the Philippines but in the world! Bet you did not know that! Well then, read on to know more about it and be proud of such man-made attractions in our very own country!

Dr. Jose Rizal is generally regarded as the (unofficial) national hero of the Philippines (this statement will be tackled in another blog), and there are almost 120 monuments to honor him in the Philippines, to name a few: Cagayan de Oro City (Cagayan de Oro), Calamba (Laguna), Catbalogan (Samar), Daet (Camarines Norte), Dapitan City (Zamboanga del Norte), Iloilo City (Iloilo), Jolo (Sulu), Luneta/Rizal Park (Manila), Sta. Cruz (Laguna), Tacloban (Leyte), and Villasis (Pangasinan).1, 2

While there is no law in the Philippines that orders every town to build a monument for Rizal, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) requires that, if at all, such monuments are to be built in front of a prominent building, plaza, or park, and the statue has to be life size.3

There are also various sculptures, statues, monuments of Rizal found worldwide that recognize his intelligence, heroism, and significant scientific and literary contributions in Andorra2, Bern (Switzerland), Brussels and Ghent (Belgium), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Heidelberg (Germany), Hong Kong, Jinjiang, Fujian (China), Lima (Peru), Litomerice (Czech Republic), London (England), Madrid (Spain), Mexico City (Mexico), New South Wales (Australia), Paris (France), Rome (Italy), Singapore, Tokyo (Japan), Toronto, Ontario (Canada), Alaska, California, Chicago, Florida, New Jersey, Seattle, Texas, Washington (USA), Wilhelmsfeld (Germany), and Vienna (Austria), to name a few.4

To-date, the tallest monument of Dr. Jose Rizal in the world is in the Laguna Sports Complex, Barangay Bubukal, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, Philippines. Erected during the term of Laguna Governor Jeorge Ejercito Estregan,it is unique because it depicts Rizal as a sportsman, the only one of its kind in the world!4

1-Sta-Cruz-Rizal-statue                                 The tallest Rizal monument in the world  (2014-present)                                             Laguna Sports Complex, Barangay Bubukal, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, Philippines

For foreigners, it is worth knowing that Rizal was a polymath, a person who is an expert in different areas/fields.2, 14 He was an agriculturist, architect, cartographer, educator, economist, engineer, ethnologist, farmer, historian, inventor, journalist, musician, mythologist, nationalist/patriot, naturalist, novelist, ophthalmologist, painter, philanthropist, playwright, poet, polyglot6, propagandist, psychologist, scientist, sculptor, sociologist, theologian, writer, woodcarver, but he was also inclined to sports. In fact, he played six sports: arnis7, boxing, fencing, (pistol) firing, judo and jujitsu8.He was so talented for a Filipino even during the Spanish period!

This statue shows Rizal wearing a fencing uniform and holding an épée9 in his right hand. The statue is located atop a flight of stairs that serves as the 1,000-square-meter wide pedestal. This monument was erected within the Laguna Sports Complex to inspire the Filipino youth to excel in sports.

This 7.9-meter high statue was built at a cost of PHP6 million and was unveiled in time for the opening of the Palarong Pambansa (National Games) on May 10-16, 2014, the first time said event was hosted by the province of Laguna.4

Sculptor Toym Imao, son of national Artist for Sculpture Andulmari Asia Imao, designed the monument.10

The hollow space underneath the stairs will be made into a museum and a library about Laguna and Rizal’s history.4

The second tallest monument of Rizal in the world is located in The Plaza of Calamba City, Laguna, Philippines, in front of the city’s City Hall Complex, along Bacnotan Road, in the barangay of Real. Recall that Calamba is the birthplace of our national hero. This monument was the tallest in the world from 2011 till 2014, until the other Laguna monument was erected.11

1-Calamba-Riza-monument                                    The second tallest Rizal monument in the world                                                        The Plaza of Calamba City, Laguna, Philippines (the tallest, 2011-2014)

This one is a 6.7-meter (22 feet) bronze statue atop a 2.8-meter podium, and shows Rizal holding a book in his right hand. It also has a 7.87 feet granite pedestal and a 13.12 feet circular stairway base. Including the podium, the base, and the pedestal, the monument has a total height of 13 meters or 43 feet (about a four-storey building) and weighs 2 tons. It has two markers – one from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and another from the City Government of Calamba. It was unveiled by President Benigno Aquino III on June 19, 2011,4 in celebration of Rizal’s sesquicentennial (150th) birth anniversary, according to Wikipedia page “Rizal Monument (Calamba)”.12

Mayor Joaquin Chipeco came up with the idea of building this monument as a gift to the people of Calamba and as a tribute to Rizal in his own hometown. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), along with the local government unit of Calamba, initially funded the construction of this monument. A 35-year old sculptor from Marikina City, Jose Dionas F. Roces, was commissioned to build the monument. Construction started in December 2010 and was completed on April 2011, according to Wikipedia page “Rizal Monument (Calamba)”.12

Do you know that this monument has two important symbolisms? Here they are: (1) The statue stands 22 feet, symbolizing the 22 languages and dialects Rizal mastered as a polyglot6 (languages – Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, Filipino, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Sanskrit, Spanish, and Swedish; dialects: Cebuano, Chavacano, Ilocano, Subanon, according to Wikipedia page “List of polygots”).13 (2) A 15-step stairway leads to the 2.8 meter podium. Each step represents one decade, from the time Rizal was born in 1861, up till the monument’s unveiling on 2011, for a total of 150 years or 15 steps. All these according to Wikipedia page “Rizal Monument (Calamba)”.12 The number 15 is also significant because it was unveiled by the 15th President of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III!5

Filipinos, be proud and love our country! Be inspired by our heroes like Dr. Jose Rizal!

Look around your town or city. What are its unique natural and man-made attractions? Please share and tell me about them.

Did you find this post informative? Do you have pictures of Rizal statues/monuments elsewhere in the Philippines and/or other countries? Please share! I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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1www.joserizal.com

2www.gmanetwork.com

3www.news/abs-cbn.com

4www.lifestyle.inquirer.net

5www.newsinfo.inquirer.net

6A polyglot is a person who has mastered multiple languages.

 7Arnis, kali or eskrima, is the national sport and martial art of the Philippines. It uses weapon-based fighting with bladed weapons, knives, sticks, or other improvised weapons. It also uses “open hand”, or techniques without weapons, such as hand-to-hand combat, joint locks, grappling and weapon disarming techniques.

8Jujitsu is a Japanese martial art and a method of close combat for defeating an armed and armored opponent in which one uses either a short weapon or none at all, according to the Wikipedia page “Jujitsu”.15

9Épée refers to the largest and heaviest of the three weapons used in the sport called fencing, according to the Wikipedia page “Epée”. The two other weapons are foil and sabre.16

10www.balita.ph

11www.joserizal.com

12“Rizal Monument (Calamba),” accessed July 9, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rizal_Monument_(Calamba).

13“List of polygots,” accessed July 9, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_polygots.

14www.pop.inquirer.net

15“Jujitsu,” accessed July 9, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jujitsu.

16“Épée,” accessed July 9, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Épée.

ANILAG FESTIVAL 2018: Hali na! Tara na! Masaya sa Laguna! (Come on! Let’s go! It is happy in Laguna!)

Location: Laguna Provincial Capitol Compound, J. P. Rizal Street, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, Philippines

The Anilag Festival is a week-long celebration held yearly during the second week of March, in the Laguna Capitol grounds located in the town of Sta. Cruz. It started in 2004, changed to La Laguna in 2012, and renamed Anilag in 2016.1

For 2018, this festival is scheduled from March 10-17 and the theme is: “Sama-sama ang Pamilya sa Masayang Laguna” (Together as a Family for a Happy Laguna).2

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This festival is like a smorgasbord of daily activities which caters to all ages, gender and interests.

 

Z-4Carnival Rides, Anilag 2018 (February 24-March 17)

Carnival rides opened early, starting February 24 and will end on March 17 (Saturday, last day of ANILAG) for the kids and kids-at-heart.

Here is the calendar of events for ANILAG 20182:

Days 1-3Anilag 2018 – Schedule of Events: March 10-12

MARCH 10 (Saturday) is the first day of Anilag 2018. It started with a Heritage Fluvial Parade (4-7 am), followed by: a Thanksgiving Mass (7-8 am), Ecumenical Prayer & Formal Opening of ANILAG Festival 2018 (8-9 am), Opening of Trade Fair Exhibit & Competition (9-10 am), Lakbay Lawa Forum (10 am-12 noon), Street Dance Competition & Land Float Parade (3-10 pm), and Fireworks Display (12 am).

MARCH 11 (Sunday) is the second day of Anilag 2018. It started with the First ANILAG Color Run: “A Run for Mayon Evacuees” (5-7 am), “Mardi Gay” & LGBT Parade Queen (2-5 pm), and ANILAG Miss Laguna Gay Queen 2018 (8 pm-12 am).

MARCH 12 (Monday) is the third day of Anilag 2018. The morning show “Unang Hirit” covered the event (5-8 am), followed by: a Flag Raising Ceremony (8-9 am), Landscape Competition (10-11 am), Little Mister and Miss Laguna 2018 (3-5 pm), Enchanted Kingdom Magical Show (5-6 pm), and ended with BandANILAG: OPM Battle of the Bands (8-11 pm).

Days 4-6Anilag 2018 – Schedule of Events: March 13-15

MARCH 13 (Tuesday) is the fourth day of Anilag 2018. This day was full of activities: Drum and Lyre Competition (8-11 am), Ani-Laki and Fishery Contest (1-3 pm), Culinary Arts & Flairtending Competition (1-5 pm), Artisans Demo: Fruits, Vegetables & Ice Carving (2-5 pm), Pinakamagandang Lola ng Laguna 2018 (6-9 pm), and Dance Revolution: Inter-Collegiate Dance Battle (9-11 pm).

TODAY! MARCH 14 (Wednesday) is the fifth day of Anilag 2018. Three events are scheduled: a Job Fair (8 am-12 noon), Bird Show (8 am-5 pm), and Burdang Lumban, the Laguna Fashion Designers Competition and Wedding Cake Competition (8-10 pm).

TOMORROW! MARCH 15 (Thursday) is the fifth day of Anilag 2018. The following activities are scheduled: Palarong Pinoy Traditional Games (9 am-12 noon), 3D Street Art Compeititon and Water Color Competition for PWD (12 noon-2pm), ANILAG Singing Idol (4-6 pm), and Pre-Pageant: Ginoo at Binibining Laguna 2018 – Casual Wear (8-11 pm).

Days 7-8Anilag 2018 – Schedule of Events: March 16-17

DAY AFTER TOMORROW! MARCH 16 (Friday) is the sixth day of Anilag 2018. The following activities are scheduled: Corn Congress (8 am-5 pm), Tricycle/Motorcycle Show (8-11 am), Car Show Competition (8-11 am), and Coronation Night: Ginoo at Binibining Laguna 2018 (7-11 pm).

LAST DAY, GO WITH YOUR FAMILY THIS WEEKEND! MARCH 17 (Saturday) is the seventh and last day of Anilag 2018. The following activities are scheduled: Short Film: AdNILAG and Laguna Photo Contest (9 am-12 noon), Dog Show Compeititon (2-5 pm), Pyromusical Competition (7-8:30 pm), and People’s Night Extreme (8:30 pm).

Each town in Laguna was assigned a trade fair booth to decorate in order to showcase its local pride, products and tourists attractions.

Z-AlaminosALAMINOS BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of ALAMINOS highlights its religious patron saint, Nuestra Señora Del Pilar (or Our Lady of the Pillar, the name given to the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with Her apparition to Apostle James the Greater as he prayed by the banks of the Ebro at Caesaraugusta – Zaragoza, Spain, in AD 40).3

 

Z-BayBAY BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of BAY (pronounced “ba-eh”) replicates the facade of its church, St. Augustine Parish Church.

 

Z-BinanBIÑAN BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

 

Z-CalambaCALAMBA BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of CALAMBA CITY showcases its famous CALAMBANGA, a giant water clay pot which symbolizes part of the city’s name – “banga” with the names of all the 54 barangays inscripted on it.

 

Z-CaluaunCALAUAN BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of CALAUAN features a gigantic PINEAPPLE, its main product which is so sweet and juicy!

 

Z-CavintiCAVINTI BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of CAVINTI proudly shows its Guinness World Record for the LARGEST SAMBALILO HAT (13.05 meters, or 42 feet 9.7 inches, in diameter; 2 meters in height; 3 meters width of the central dome) as of August 1, 2016.

 

Z-FamyFAMY BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

 

Z-KalayaanKALAYAAN BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of KALAYAAN features its BUTTERFLY FARM for nature lovers.

 

Z-Los-BanosLOS BAÑOS BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The facade of the 2018 booth of Los Baños is a giant cake, honoring the town’s famous bake shop, Mernel’s Bakeshop.

Z-Los-Banos-2Various products, displayed and/or sold, inside the Los Baños booth

 

Z-LuisianaLUISIANA BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of LUISIANA features Pandanan, its San Isidro Festival, in honor of the patron saint of farmers, held every April 3.

 

Z-LumbanLUMBAN BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

Z-Lumban-2The 2018 booth of the town of LUMBAN, the “Embroidery Capital of the Philippines”, showcases various products.

 

Z-MabitacMABITAC BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

 

Z-NagcarlanNAGCARLAN BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

Z-Nagcarlan-2The 2018 booth of the town of NAGCARLAN offers various sweets and snacks for sale. The representatives of Nagcarlan are all very friendly and courteous. Next time, I will try their Bignay Wine and other delicacies.

 

Z-PaetePAETE BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

Z-Paete-2The 2018 booth of the town of PAETE showcases different wood carvings. Paper maché products are displays outside the booth.

 

Z-PakilPAKIL BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of PAKIL sends a message that one can still have fun with faith through their TURUMBA FESTIVAL, in honor of Our Lady of Sorrows held seven times from April till May of each year (the first held on the Friday before Palm Sunday and the last held on Pentecost Sunday), commemorating the seven sorrows of the Virgin Mary, celebrated with the people of the town singing and dancing to praise Her.

 

Z-PangilPANGIL BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

 

Z-RizalRIZAL BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

 

Z-San PabloSAN PABLO BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

Z-San Pablo-2The facade of the 2018 booth of SAN PABLO CITY features the COCONUT and inside, I was so happy to know that it exports COCOPLUS, powdered, organic, centrifuge extracted skimmed coconut milk to Japan.

Z-San Pablo-3Inside, the SEVEN LAKES OF SAN PABLO, the famous seven crater lakes around the city, is promoted. I appreciated the hospitality of the city’s representatives, especially Maria Donnalyn E. Briñas (Assistant City Tourism Officer).

 

19-San PedroSAN PEDRO BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The facade of the 2018 booth of SAN PEDRO CITY is abloom with giant sampaguita flowers, reminding visitors of its SAMPAGUITA FESTIVAL, a week-long festival celebrated during the second week of February.

 

Z-SiniloanSINILOAN BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of SINILOAN features its GUILINGAN FESTIVAL, held annually in August, named after the old rice grindstone used to make their local delicacies (e.g., kalamay, puto).

 

Z-Sta CruzSTA. CRUZ BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The facade of the 2018 booth of the town of STA. CRUZ offers a replica of the PROVINCIAL CAPITOL building since it is the capital of the province of Laguna, as well as a giant KESONG PUTI between two carabaos as it celebrates the Kesong Puti Festival every April 4-11.

 

Z-Sta MariaSTA. MARIA BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The facade of the 2018 booth of STA. MARIA exudes the town’s bountiful agriculture which made me recall the town’s MARILAG FESTIVAL, celebrated as a thanksgiving for their harvest.

 

Z-Sta RosaSTA. ROSA BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of STA. ROSA CITY proudly features its industrial estates (like the car manufacturing plants) and its famous theme park, Enchanted Kingdom.

 

Z-VictoriaVICTORIA BOOTH, ANILAG 2018

The 2018 booth of the town of VICTORIA, the “DUCK RAISING CENTER OF THE PHILIPPINES”, has eggs (their salted eggs are so good) and ducks (prepared like Kinulob na Itik) as accent pieces in the exhibit’s facade.

Z-Victoria-2I admire the ceiling treatment in the inner part of Victoria’s booth.

 

Z-VzBambooThe LAGUNA BAMBOO PRODUCERS AND MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION (LBPMA) also has a booth to showcase their products.

 

Z-VzFood-Stall-1I briefly went around and walked through the different food stalls selling enticing snacks and meals but I didn’t give in to their temptation LOL

                            Z-VzFood-Stall-2The newly cooked giant stuffed squids caught my eyes                                 but I finally decided to skip them as well.

 

Z-Vz-PasalubongI only stayed for less than three hours and was able to purchase these as “Pasalubong” (souvenir treats for my family): Pianono, 2 kinds of Macapuno Balls, Dalandan Concentrate, Santol-Mango Bites, 3-Layered Brazo de Mercedes-Leche Flan-Ube, and Gatas Tisoy and 3Cows Choco-Milk Drinks

 

So, what are you waiting for? You still have until this Saturday, March 17, 2018, to go to this special Laguna festival, the ANILAG FESTIVAL! Hali na! Tara na! Masaya sa Laguna! (Come on! Let’s go! It is happy in Laguna!)

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Visit a related post: THE ANILAG FESTIVAL

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1www.anilagfestival.ph

2Anilag Festival 2018 Facebook account

3“Alaminos,” accessed March 13, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaminos.