Laguna is a province in the Luzon region of Philippines. Like any other place in this country, Laguna has a lot to tell when it comes to the province’s history, culture and traditions. It is very obvious in its tourist attractions, monuments, and antique houses. There are also tons of important figures born in Laguna including the country’s national hero – Dr. Jose P. Rizal. These and more have helped the province of Laguna construct a very interesting and colorful history, culture, customs, and traditions. Many of their traditions are still practiced until now by old and young locals of Laguna.
Laguna is one of the many provinces in the Philippines that have been influenced by the ways of the Spaniards. Because of this, several religious sites were built in Laguna. The government of Laguna, as well as the locals, did an excellent job in preserving these churches. There are at least four major churches in Laguna namely the Church of Santa Rosa de Lima, San Policarpio Church, San Antonio de Padua Church and the Church of Saint John the Baptist. The Laguna tradition of Visita Iglesia (church visit) done every Maundy Thursday each year are still exercised by many. People from the province of Laguna and from its neighboring areas visit these huge churches to perform this tradition or ritual that is very unique in the province and in the whole country of the Philippines.
Another yearly tradition in Laguna is their ANILAG Festival. It is a weeklong celebration that usually happens during the month of March. The ANILAG Festival is held to give thanks to the all the blessings that the people of the province had in the previous year. ANILAG Festival is celebrated through beauty pageants, dance showdowns, food contests, and woodcarving competitions. Aside from being a tradition, the ANILAG Festival is also a way for the government of Laguna to showcase it marvellous sceneries, sumptuous local delicacies, and of course, the talent of its locals. During this festival, hundreds of Filipino tourists from different places as well as foreigners gather to witness this grandiose annual celebration.
Aside from the annual events and festivities, there are customs in Laguna that can be seen only in some parts of the province. In Magdalena, Laguna, there is a wedding custom called Galahan. It is a wedding practice for newly wed couples where it is mandatory for them to dance in front of the relatives. What sets this custom apart from the norm is that they must carry a plate where a glass of wine and a bottle are placed. After the dancing and the drinking, the relatives of both parties must place any amount which would help the couple in starting their married life. There is also a custom called Bayanihan where neighbors offer an extraordinary kindness to their fellow Laguenos in times of need. This hospitality and thoughtfulness that they show to everybody makes foreign tourists come back again and again. Only in the province of Laguna where you can experience this warm welcome.