* 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.
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
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.]