Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Short Visit to Longos, Kalayaan, Laguna

* the church in Kalayan named for San Juan Bautista

* the church’s bell tower

* view of a side altar, I managed to take this shot by forcing the lens into a slit on the church’s side door

The name Longos first came to my attention when a war veteran who I interviewed provided me with some documents detailing their movements as members of HUKBALAHAP. (And I tell you dear reader; nothing beats hearing stories about World War II from the people who have lived through those tumultuous times.) It kept me thinking where exactly in Laguna were Longos and San Antonio.

A few months ago, while reading through a promotional poster about Laguna, there it was, a note about Kalayaan, Laguna, where Longos and San Antonio is found!

After having a fulfilling visit to Paete, I could not resist the temptation to make a short visit to Kalayaan, at least to its church. It is said that the town has three churches, but I think the one we visited (found on the shore of Laguna de Bay) is more known and more frequently visited.

* an unnamed grave? probably of a child? I wonder; or perhaps just a small memorial?

* ruins of what could have been a big structure; found just beside the church

* a grotto found on the entrance gate of the church

Looking up this centuries-old church, it is already a wonder that it has managed to survive the passing of times given its proximity to a body of water. Weather could have effectively worn it down. But there it was, the façade and bell tower standing strong. The ceiling (as seen from outside for the church was close when we did our visit) however was obviously recently constructed. Searching on the internet for notes and other info about the town, I found out that the typhoon Milenyo caused the destruction of the ceiling. The ceiling is just temporary and more work is to be done to repair them.

The surrounding place is composed of residential houses. There was an open area that can accommodate small gatherings or meetings. Adjacent to it was a Social Hall, an old one it seemed to me, but already in the process of demolition. Too bad my photo of the hall got corrupted when I extracted tje photos from the defective memory card we used.

Sites yet to see in Kalayaan: the two other churches and the Twin Falls. We skipped a visit to Exotic Restaurant because of budgetary limitations. It is also unfortunate that a photo of this famous and controversial restaurant got corrupted too. May be next I’ll be able to share some things about the restaurant and the food they serve there.

[How to go to Kalayaan, Laguna: From Manila or Calamba, board a bus bound for Sta. Cruz, Laguna via Calamba and College. Drop off at Pagsanjan (where most of the bus stations are found) and hail a jeep bound for Siniloan. Ask the driver to drop you off at Longos, if you are interested in visiting the church. The church is just a short walk from Exotic Restaurant which is also found in Longos.]

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