Festival of Life in Laguna

IT is a fun-filled summer as the province of Laguna celebrates its colorful culture and crafts in the first La Laguna Festival of Life from April 10 to 17 at the Provincial Capitol Complex in Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

Gov. Jeorge "E.R. Ejercito" Estregan said the weeklong event highlights the traditions and alluring attractions of the province which has made it a top tourist draw south of the metropolis.

"Laguna takes pride in its natural wonders such as the mystic Mt. Makiling, the scenic Laguna Lake, San Pablo City’s seven lakes, enchanting waterfalls, hot and cold spring resorts, as well as historic spots such as postcard-perfect Spanish-era churches, welcome arches and ancestral homes," he said.

He added that the festival is a celebration of life itself because of the God-given attributes of the province and its people.

Festivities began on April 10 with the Festival Queen Mardi Gras Party, traditional sagala, and a fireworks display.

On April 11, the festival formally kicked off with the trade fair exhibit and landscape competition where each town showcases its pride of place, followed by the street dancing tilt.

The indigenous gown and barong creations of the province’s promising couturiers take center stage in a daily grand sagala and designers’ competition.

Spicing up the festivities are beauty pageants, body painting, entertainment events, body painting, a brass band tilt, drum and lyre exhibition, dog show, Palarong Pinoy native sportsfest, a cooking and bar tending contest.

It will be star-struck evening on April 15 with the Governor’s Night hosted by Chris Tsuper and Nicole Eala and featuring Itchyworms, Frio, Sex Bomb Dancers, Bangs Garcia, Black Jack and Kakai.

Star-gazing continues with the Ginoong Laguna Pageant on April 16 hosted by Giselle Sanchez and Bobby Yan, and the Binibining Laguna Pageant on April 17 anchored by Jojo Alejar and Bernadette Allison, with Richard Poon as guest artist.

The festival’s highlight is the Grand Float Parade on April 16 where gaily-adorned municipal floats take to the streets featuring Laguna’s towns and cities led by local officials.

La Laguna draws to a close on April 17 with a dragon boat and banca race, and a fluvial parade on the picturesque Sta. Cruz River.

Ejercito said that the festival is special because it serves as a fitting prelude to the nationwide observance of Dr. Jose Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary on June 19 which will center around the Rizal Shrine in Calamba City.

Composed of 27 towns and three cities, Laguna has successfully combined modern living and rural ambiance. The bustling province is host to residential villages, golf courses, emerging business districts, industrial enclaves and first-rate tourism-related establishments, and at the same time has preserved its rustic character especially on the towns around Laguna de Bay, the country’s biggest lake.

The province is also known for popular age-old crafts such as the hand-embroidered barongs of Lumban, the footwear of Liliw and Pagsanjan, wooden sculptures from Paete, silverware of San Pablo City, pandan decors from Luisiana, as well as signature delicacies such as namely buko pie, puto, uraro, and espasol to name a few.

SOURCE: http://www.malaya.com.ph/apr13/liv1.html