For travel purposes, we divide Laguna into three travel regions, all having one major hub to the other locations and distinctive flavors and geography.
|Eastern Laguna (Cavinti, Famy, Kalayaan, Luisiana, Lumban, Mabitac, Magdalena, Majayjay, Paete, Pagsanjan, Pakil, Pangil, Santa Cruz, Santa Maria, Siniloan)|
Rainy region at the western side of Sierra Madre; major tourist draws are the Pagsanjan Falls, Lake Caliraya, and the wood sculptures of Paete.
|Northwest Laguna (Bay, Biñan, Cabuyao, Calamba, Los Baños San Pedro)|
Urban sprawl with a mix of modern communities and crowded communities; major draws are the hot springs and the Rizal mansion, Enchanted Kingdom in Santa Rosa, and lovely downtowns with Spanish-era churches.
|Southern Laguna (Alaminos, Calauan, Liliw, Nagcarlan, Rizal, San Pablo, Victoria)|
Forested and mountainous area, with scattered towns and the hub city of San Pablo. Attractions in this area are the Seven Lakes of San Pablo, the Underground Cemetery of Nagcarlan, and the wooden slippers (bakya) of Liliw.
With fast suburbanization brought by Manila's outward growth, most cities in Laguna are largely bedroom communities, and much of their history and culture have been lost into obscurity. If you want to see the real Laguna, head south and east.
- 1 Santa Cruz - Provincial capital
- 2 Biñan - Now a large suburb of Manila, it was where Jose Rizal have his first education
- 3 Calamba -Hometown of Jose Rizal and a city of hot springs
- 4 Cabuyao - An out-of-the-way residential and industrial city, with some notable churches and
- 5 San Pablo - Largest city in Laguna in terms of land mass. The "City of Seven Lakes".
- 6 San Pedro - A growing residential and industrial suburb not far from Metro Manila. Home of the Sampaguita Festival and the Shrine of the Holy Sepulchre.
- 7 Santa Rosa - A growing residential suburb and main gateway to Tagaytay, with an amusement park, malls,.
- 1 Alaminos
- Cavinti - resort town, home to the Caliraya Lake
- Liliw - A small municipality overlooking Mount Banahaw. Known for its slippers.
- 2 Los Baños - Suburb of Calamba. Home of hot springs, Mount Makiling, University of the Philippines Los Baños and the International Rice Research Institute
- 3 Paete
- 4 Pagsanjan - Home to Pagsanjan Falls
- Rizal -
- Santa Cruz - Provincial capital.
- Santa Maria
Laguna also has its share of its historical contributions, such as the Laguna Copperplate Inscription dated back to 700 CE and the birthplace of Philippines' national hero, Jose Rizal. Most of the settlements in Laguna dates back to the Spanish era, and provides a glance on its colonial past.
Laguna is also another frequented tourist destination not far from Metro Manila. Los Baños is abundant on hot spring resorts, and Calamba is another important location as Jose Rizal's hometown and also has its share of resorts. Pagsanjan, just east of the provincial capital in Santa Cruz, is home to the frequented Pagsanjan Falls.
The economy of Laguna is centered on the Laguna de Bay (also called Laguna Lake) and its rice paddies, but there have been shifts to an industrial and commercial economy. Biñan and Santa Rosa have become important industrial centers, but they remain bedroom communities near Metro Manila. With a number of motor vehicle factories, Laguna is nicknamed the "Detroit of the Philippines". The rest of the province relies on agriculture and tourism.
The local climate is generally characterized by frequent rain showers throughout the year, except for the northwestern corner, where there are dry and wet seasons. It is important to take account the frequent changes in the weather when visiting most of Laguna.
The primary language is Tagalog. The Tagalog dialect in Laguna is generally the same as in Manila, but with some influences from Batangas and Quezon dialects in terms of vocabulary. Most Laguna residents can speak English, especially in the urbanized regions.
Laguna is accessible by the South Luzon Expressway. There are many exits that connect to the various cities of Laguna, including the Santa Rosa or Calamba Exit.
Travel around the cities and towns using the jeepneys. Fares are cheap, but they can be very crowded. In inland areas, service can be scarce. Bus service is limited to the major locations.
In rural areas, use the tricycle, but it's sometimes tight, especially for foreigners. Beware of deceptive tricycle drivers who charge above the official or agreed fare.
Bringing a car can be another way to explore Laguna and avoiding hassles with local transport, but expect traffic jams, dangerous road conditions, and aggressive drivers. While Laguna has wide highways like the South Luzon Expressway and two major national roads, expect two-lane roads frequented by tricycles, motorcycles and pedestrians elsewhere.
Petty crime is a major issue in the cities, but elsewhere, it is generally safe. Crime is not a problem in the tourist attractions when you use common sense. Beware of touts though, especially in tourist hotspots like Pagsanjan or Los Baños.
Severe weather is also an issue in Laguna. While the northwestern part of the province have wet and dry seasons, the rest remains rainy throughout the year, so, bring an umbrella whenever possible. Floods can be a problem when Laguna de Bay or any of the rivers that empty into it overflows. Typhoons are also another major risk.
- Cavite - Most go there to visit the city of Tagaytay, but you can also have a glimpse of its rich historical heritage.
- Batangas - Laguna's southern neighbor has beach resorts, the iconic Taal Volcano, historic cities and towns, and religious sites.
- Quezon Province - Laguna's eastern neighbor has nature, culture, and history that should dispel common stereotypes of it being a forested backwater along the way to Bicol.