This last entry in my Cavinti series collates the remaining observations I have noted plus a few accompanying photos. The poblacion is not the only place of interest in Cavinti. Perhaps the more popular spots are Caliraya Lake, a man-made lake found also in the mountainous area of Cavinti and Pagsanjan Falls which technically falls within the jurisdiction of the town of Cavinti. Or course I would love to visit these places and I hope I can do so in the near future.
* façade of Cavinti municipal building
* silhouette of what could be an interpretation of “Inang Bayan”
* a simple monument commemorating the fighters,
both soldiers and guerillas alike, who fought during World War II
The Houses in Cavinti
I was not able to find any old houses (that is, houses built around the time of the Spanish occupation in the Philippines) in streets around the town center. One might speculate that they either suffered the usual wear-and-tear or perhaps negligence or possibly destruction due to earthquakes recorded in the town’ history. Or perhaps during World War II. It was with regret that I did not look up on any information about this in the municipal library.
* Nakatagong Paraiso Resto-Bar;
an old woman told me that this bar has several stories underground;
too bad we were not able to see the interior as the bar was closed
Native Products of Cavinti
The good thing about the town of Cavinti is that it takes pride in its town-made products. At least for this one, we could commend the town’s current leadership for putting emphasis on the townsfolk’s capabilities.
A few questions about the town’s products led to a detailed discussion about the making of the town’s primary product: the sambalilo. It is a woven hat used mostly by farmer of workers in the mountains, easy to carry, and relatively cheap compared to the work hats. The material used for making the sambalilo is also found in Cavinti so there are no high costs put into the sale of the finished products.
In talking to the elders who indoctrinated me in the craft of sambalilo making, they said that the pandan leaves we usually use for our rice is not the real pandan. They call it pandan-pandanan. They say that the real pandan leaves are wider and have fine thorn-like protrusions that must be removed prior to the making of sambalilo.
The process of removing those little thorns is called “hininik” which one can easily understand given its root word. The next process would be to cut them (or “baak” as they have termed it). Then the leaves must be sun dried (“bilad”) at least for a day. The next step would be to cut the leaves into four (remember that leaves are wide) or “linasin.” Depending on the product in mind (banig, bag, place mat, etc.), the next step would be to put the cut leaves into the “ilohan” (the process would be called “ilohin”). The sambalilo actually has a number of parts but since I have rendered my notes on these incomprehensible due to the difficult task of understanding what was being said about the process and writing notes at the same time. Nevertheless, one thing I can share about a part of sambalilo would be the “puyo” which is the topmost part of the hat.
* some of the students who walked a good distance
just to visit Kalakal Souvenir Shop
* native products sold at Kalakal Souvenir Shop
The Town Library
Upon entering the municipal library, I felt like I was transported back into an earlier time. Posters and photos are hung up the walls: of the past town leaders, even of the past Congress of the country. There are collections of books which, however they may seem old and outdated given the rapid influx of new published materials into the academe, would definitely help any young Cavinti folk to get to know the Philippines and the world in general. I know of other libraries in other Philippine towns which are already closed or have devastatingly small collections of books. I even learned of a town which does not even have a town library! Thus I am quite happy to find the Cavinti library which still thrives despite the modernity that creeps into neighboring towns. The town may be somewhat rural in nature, but its people would not be left behind with these books. One can read books and reach places one only dreamt of in the past.
* a giant sambalilo which won third place
during the last La Laguna Festival / Contest
* Rizal Monument found in a covered court in Cavinti, Laguna
* students polishing their write-ups after a half-day tour of Cavinti
In Summing Up
Besides the overhaul on my interview approach, our visit to Cavinti, Laguna made me realize more that the term travel as it is used these days is not only confined to visits to highly-commercialized tourist spots. Travel, as it seems to me now, is immersing into places and understanding their culture, their people, their history. After all, we go to places carrying different perspectives. This is now my disposition. Rural or urban, this is my concept of travel.