Lecheria Hill – Calamba, Laguna

Lecheria Hill in Calamba, Laguna.

Lecheria Hill in Calamba, Laguna, seen here looking south across the rice paddies from the Rizal Memorial Park.

Lecheria Hill in Calamba, Laguna could be a different place for every Calamba resident. To the informal settlers at its foot and slopes, it is home. To the casual observer, it could be a site for a communications tower. To some folks, it is the resting place for their loved ones.

To the Calamba elders however, it is the center of the religious sect – some say cult – called Rizalistas. Founded in 1936, the sect which is also known as the Iglesia Watawat ng Lahi, believes that Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero, is God.

Giant Banana Leaf – Cabatuan, Iloilo

20121103_092913

The giant banana leaf at the town plaza of Cabatuan, Iloilo, Philippines. The dome of the town’s church is visible on the upper-left side.

This giant arch, shaped as a banana leaf/stalk at the town plaza of Cabatuan, Iloilo welcomes visitors to the place. The structure symbolizes the pride of Cabatuan residents – the chicken dish called “Tinuom”. Banana leaves are essential in cooking Tinuom.

Cabatuan town, about 24 kilometers north of Iloilo City, is also the site of the Iloilo International Airport (ILO).

Iloilo City Hall

The new Iloilo City Hall basks under the late morning sun.

The new Iloilo City Hall basks under the late morning sun.

The new Iloilo City Hall basks under the late morning sun.

The new Iloilo City Hall basks under the late morning sun.

The 7-storey new Iloilo City Hall opened to the public on December 15, 2011. Built with a budget of more than PHP700M (USD17M) the building’s design is a composite of the distinct features of iconic edifices in the city, such as the Masonic Temple and the old city hall, among others.

A 15-foot bronze statue of “Lin-ay”, the historical Ilonggo lady, is perched on the city hall’s dome.

Lin-ay, the historical Ilonggo lady, perches at the dome of the Iloilo City Hall.

Lin-ay, the historical Ilonggo lady, perches at the dome of the Iloilo City Hall.

Iloilo River – Cleanest Urban River in the Philippines, Probably

The award-winning Iloilo River, seen here from the top of the Iloilo City Hall, is probably the cleanest urban river in the Philippines.

The award-winning Iloilo River, seen here from the top of the Iloilo City Hall, is probably the cleanest urban river in the Philippines.

The award-winning Iloilo River, seen here looking north from the top of the Iloilo City Hall, towards the Iloilo Provincial Capitol in the distance. Iloilo River is probably the cleanest urban river in the Philippines.

Iloilo River flows through the heart of Iloilo City. From its headwaters at the Iloilo City-Oton border, it flows through the mangrove flats of Arevalo District, towards the posh residential areas of Molo, the new central business district (CBD) in Mandurriao, the Iloilo River Esplanade in Mandurriao, Molo and Lapaz districts, the heritage areas of the old downtown, and the once busy docks of the Iloilo River Wharf (Muelle Loney). It empties into the Iloilo Strait, the narrow body of water that separates Iloilo City from Guimaras Province.

Zipping Through Calamba

xP1070945a

The South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Extension zips through Calamba, Laguna, looking North towards the city.

xP1070948a

Looking South towards Sto. Tomas, Batangas.

The South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Extension zips through Calamba, Laguna, starting from the end of the SLEX in Brgy. Turbina, Calamba up to Brgy. Biga, Sto. Tomas, Batangas, where it connects with the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) tollway, all the way to Batangas City.

The new route considerably cuts travel time from Calamba to Sto. Tomas, as opposed to the traffic-prone Maharlika Highway.

Fiery Way to Paradise

xP1070954a

Fire trees line along the access road to Ayala Greenfield Estates in Calamba, Laguna.

The road to Ayala Land’s high-end residential development – the Ayala Greenfield Estates – in Calamba, Laguna, Philippines is lined with fire trees in full bloom.

In the distance is Mt. Makiling, a potentially active volcano surrounded by hot spring resorts. It is Laguna’s second highest peak, next to Mt. Banahaw.