Tuesday, April 30, 2013

2013 Liliw Gat Tayaw Tsinelas Festival Visit

 * welcome arc to this year’s Tsinelas Festival

 * this year’s festival poster

Random internet search gave us a chance to break the monotony of the weekend. This was when we learned that 2013 Liliw Gat Tayaw Tsinelas Festival is on its last day. Officially commencing on April 24, 2013, the annual Tsinelas Festival is a five-day celebration in the town of Liliw, Laguna.

 * symbolic slipper, Liliw’s prime product

* Pransisem posing with a statue of the great Gat Tayaw (and presumably, his dog)

The festival activities were the following:

April 24 – Mass, Opening Ceremony, Parade, Street Fashion Show, Photo Contest, “Disenyo” Juding

April 25 – Jobs Fair, Liliweños Got Talent

April 26 – Lukayuan, Awit, Sayaw Atbp., Haranang Bayan ni Heber Bartolome

April 27 – Bailete Street Party

* the town in a fete!

 * Mutya ng Liliw 2013 candidates
      * the town hall above the town flaglets

* plants for sale in the festival

The Last day was reserved for the Mutya ng Liliw 2013 Coronation Night. In reflecting about the fest’s title it seems like it is a double celebration: to take pride in its prime product – the slipper – and to recognize the town’s pioneer, Gat Tayaw.


* tsinelas, oversize tsinelas, winning tsinelas, and tsinelas stores

This year’s Tsinelas festival is packed with a wide range of stores where you can buy shoes, slippers, sandals, and other native materials made in the town of Liliw. Food-wise there are, I think, more food available to the visitors. It was good to find here a street food version of “Watusi”, something in which I became attached to during my elementary schools days. It felt good again freely eating out in the street like a child. Although our second round of food was shawarma (which is not entirely native to us), it was still good to literally eat outside. As for Arabella, we decided to visit the place at a more convenient time.

 * tsinelas, oversize tsinelas, winning tsinelas, and tsinelas stores

The story of how tsinelas (and other similar footwear) came to be Liliw’s signature product is an interesting line of study. And one cannot help but be proud of this town’s resilience and happy disposition at the same time, knowing that people gladly come to their place for their original products.
 * tsinelas, oversize tsinelas, winning tsinelas, and tsinelas stores

But note that you can still visit Liliw outside the Tsinelas Festival period since there are mainstay stores which sell slippers and other footwear throughout the year.

 * long time, no eat – Watusi!

* view of some of the old houses in the vicinity of the festival area

Read about the previous year’s Tsinelas in my “The 11th Liliw Gat Tayaw Tsinelas Festival 2012 Experience” blog post.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Home Away from Home: Bahay Laguna in Magdalena, Laguna


  * behold, Bahay Laguna

Tucked within the greeneries of Magdalena, Laguna is a house that’s been built essentially for Laguna’s youth – Bahay Laguna. The name may be encompassing but this place sure lives up to its description.

* fellow nominees striking a pose

Former Laguna Governor Felicisimo T. San Luis is essentially behind the creation of Bahay Laguna for this place houses most of his ‘life’ as a governor. Bahay Laguna is foremost a museum for the late governor, whose tenure as a provincial leader spanned more than thirty years. The museum contains, among others, memorabilia from his governorship years, personal effects, and a wide array of souvenirs from the different towns and cities of Laguna.



 * some of the personal memorabilia of Gob San Luis;
I didn’t know he was a Freemason until our last day there

 * probably the flag used during Gob’s funeral

 * photo souvenirs

But that would only be the ground floor. Upstairs are books by and about Gob Felicing and other reading materials. And perhaps what the second floor holds dearest are the clothes of the former governor. I personally enjoy looking into them, as if one sees the governor in person.

 * a small chapel inside Bahay Laguna, a last-minute discovery

 * some of the books found in Bahay Laguna

 * displays found inside Bahay Laguna

Beyond the displays Bahay Laguna is home to the annual Gawad Felicisimo T. San Luis Para sa Namumukod-Tanging Kabataan ng Laguna. I was fortunate to have been included in last year’s search. Here the young people – from high school, college, and even young professionals – are honed in different activities all anchored on the traits and ideals of the former governor.


* outside views

 * The marker on the site of General Emilio Jacinto’s death says:
Sa pook na ito maimpis binaril ng mga kawal ng
Pamahalaang Kastila si Emilio Jacinto noon Pebrero 1898
kaugnay ng Himagsikan ng Pilipinas noong 1896-1898.”

And this annual search perhaps makes the place more alive, more dynamic. One only has to recall those many nights, longish as they may seem, spent by the young people – the ‘nominees’ as they are fondly called – and realize that the place is really a home. I daresay the six-month search is too short to fully know the people around but long enough to take good memories with you.

The name Bahay Laguna is a statement of invitation as well. The museum is open to the public but prior arrangements have to be made. Bahay Laguna is located at Brgy. Bungkol, Magdalena, Laguna.

P.T.: I could not help but recall one of the songs often sung in Gawad activities.


(first verse)
Ano ang kakaibang damdamin
aking nadama ng makita ka
nang una kong iniyapak ang aking mga paa
at pumasok sa iyong pintuan

lahat ng pangarap ay isa-isang binuo
lahat ng karunungan mo'y akin ding natamo
pagkat ikaw ang saksi sa aking pagkatao
sa kanlungan mo nahubog ang isang ako

(second verse)
ang ganda mo noong una kong namasdan
at ang paligid mong dulot ay kapayapaan
ang sining at kulturang iyong ipinamalas
naging tala sa aking pag-unlad

kailanma'y sa 'yong lilim ako ay babalik
pagka't hiwaga mo kahit saan ay hahanap-hanapin
ikaw ang saksi sa aking pagkatao
sa kanlungan mo nahubog ang isang ako

saang sulok man ito nakaukit ang pangakong sasabay sa paglayag ng barko


sa kanlungan mo, nahubog ang isang ako
sa kanlungan mo, ako'y ako...

*Lyrics and chords are obtained oido from a YouTube video. They may still contains errors.

[How to go to Bahay Laguna, Magdalena, Laguna: If you are coming from Manila you can approach this place in two ways, through Santa Cruz, Laguna or (hail, my home city) through San Pablo City, Laguna. 1) Through Santa Cruz: just board a bus bound to Santa Cruz. Ride to Arreza in Pagsanjan, Laguna – a complex composed of some establishments and a market – and you can board a jeep bound for Magdalena or Liliw. Just ask the driver to drop you off at Bahay Laguna. Some drivers know that place better as “Rehab” since it is just beside a rehabilitation center. 2) Through San Pablo City: board a bus bound to Lucena City, Quezon. Drop off at San Pablo City Medical Center and ride a jeep to the city proper. Look for the jeepneys bound for Liliw (usually near the San Pablo Cathedral and fire station) and board one. Drop off at Nagcarlan and look for the jeepney terminal for the trips to Santa Cruz via Magdalena. You have to take note of this ‘via’ because there jeepneys bound for Santa Cruz too but via Calumpang. Tell the driver to drop you off at Bahay Laguna or Rehab.]