Calamba City is best known as the birth place of the most famous of all Philippine Heroes Dr. Jose Rizal! Go to Calamba and explore the Rizal Shrine and Museum. Have your pics taken with the little boy Rizal and his dog Tagpi. Joined us as we discover the Rizal House up close and personal!
Dr Jose Rizal and his dog….. si Pepe atTagpi?
Contributed by reader: According to Zaide’s Rizal book the dog’s name is “Usman”
Just beside Calamba City’s main church, the St John The Baptist Church, is the birthplace of Jose Rizal, the ancestral house was restored and was converted into the Rizal Shrine and Museum dedicated to the national hero’s life and works. The whole compound has a very spacious ground where a replica of a typical bahay kubo stood together with a sculpture of little Jose and his dog gazing at the house. There is a subsequent addition to the compound of a mini painting gallery and a showroom of some of Rizal’s sculpture, books and clothes. Entrance to the Rizal House Shrine and Museum is free. The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays.
The first year I’ve lived in Calamba the color of the Rizal House is white and then it was painted green. I was shocked to see it repainted then and response and reactions were varied, kalaunan people have accepted the new color of the Rizal Shrine and Museum in Laguna.
Front view – Rizal House
If you can drive by Binan bayan to their mercado or palengke you will also see the (dilapidated) ancestral house of Rizal’s mom Teodora Alonzo. It still stands up to today but in danger of being lost as there is controversy surrounding the Binan house since a few years ago there was a move to put the house on the market. As of now the Rizal’s mother’s house is located on a prime spot on the town’s commercial area. Hope it won’t be sold or taken down though as losing it is akin losing part of our history too. Instead I hope that the house be restored and preserved for future generations of Filipinos.
Backyard of Rizal House in Calamba
Rizal Shrine and Museum fronting Rizal Street, Calamba City
Most weekdays busloads of students visit the Rizal Shrine and Museum Calamba as part of their field trip hence it can get pretty crowded inside. As with every museum, taking of pictures inside is not allowed but you can take pictures of everything outside the main house.
Rizal’s famous quote on knowing one’s language
this particular art is easy to miss; clue: you have to look up when exploring the compound ^_^
This path is at the back of the big Rizal house. You can see the bahay kubo and the little boy Rizal and his dog.
Bahay kubo is the typical house of Filipinos especially in the rural areas.
Bahay Kubo sa Rizal Shrine, Calamba
You can see this balon ng tubig turned wishing well at the second floor of the museum.
Beside the Rizal Shrine is St John The Baptist Church where Dr Jose Rizal was baptized, there is a marker of his baptism inside the church if you want to take a picture. Adjacent to the church is the local plaza where Calambeno gather during afternoons and special holidays. It is also in the plaza where you can see the symbolic figure of the city, the bangga.
Bangga Landmark in Calamba
Once you get enough of the history tour, take time to head out to the Calamba Aplaya (10 minutes from the Shrine by tricycle) where you can marvel at the Laguna Lake, Mt Makiling and in the far distance the mountains of Laguna’s southern towns. Prior to the havoc wrecked by typhoons Ondoy and Santi in the entire province of Laguna, the city council made great improvements by cementing and beautifying the aplaya complete with colonial style lampposts and safety railings all over the place, unfortunately the structures were destroyed by the typhoons as the picture shows and to this date has not been restored.
Laguna Lake from Aplaya in Calamba
Mt Makiling and Laguna Lake
Aplaya continues to be a favorite place among the locals including me when I was living there. You can see lots of joggers, adults with little kids, couples and barkadas out to enjoy the lake, guys with fishpoles, men with nets aiming to harvest the littlest of shrimps. Early morning is a favorite time to catch the first sun rays and perhaps buy some of the lake’s bounties and late in the afternoon because it is so windy, and gazing at the lake will calm your frayed nerves. During weekend mornings they have a regular aerobic exercise session.
Another activity you can try is visiting Wonder Island Resort, the only resort hotel in the middle of Laguna Lake. You will need a prior arrangement though with the resort as transport there is a fast ferry provided by Wonder Island, you can ride their ferry from the aplaya dock.
Calamba’s traffic usually becomes heavy during summer season because of the many for rent private and public pools and other water resorts, most popular are the hot spring pools of Barangay Pansol and Bucal. Calamba shares with Los Banos the Mt Makiling where the hot spring water is source. There are public pools with a Php100/pax entrance for a day tour, the private pools go for Php4,000 to as high as Php20,000++ per day. Be aware though that presently only a handful are offering real hot spring water, most resorts just heats up their pool water so if you are interested in the real thing, ask the pool caretaker first before reserving. Have prior reservation during long weekends and the whole summer season. If you are a transient in Calamba I suggest you go to resorts like Sun Resort because they have rooms for as low as Php500 for room rental of 8pm to 8am, whereas the more expensive one like MonteVista Resort rents out rooms for Php2,000 to Php3,500 with the usual check-in and checkout time. It can get annoying sometimes when you are constantly flagged down by ‘flaggers’ (men carrying signboards of ‘private pool’ on the main highway, they earn commission when they successfully refer tourists to a private pool hence they can get quiet pushy but note though that if you don’t like the resort they brought you to, you can refuse and check other pools.
Calamba City is steeped in history, natural resources and a great summer location, I hope you will enjoy the place as I did.
HOW TO GET TO CALAMBA:
1. Bus Option. Go To Buendia Bus Terminal and ride a bus bound for Santa Cruz, tell the driver you are getting off in calamba crossing (Php79/pax) but the bus unloading area is in Calamba Waltermart so you can either hire a tricycle (pakyaw system you pay Php40-50/tricycle) or walk about 20meters to the main tricycle terminal and pay only Php8.00 to get to the Rizal Shrine and Museum. It is also Php8.00 from Museum to Aplaya.
2. Private Vehicle. Take the South Luzon Expressway and at the end of SLEX you just follow the road to Calamba (the other end-exit is for those travelling onwards to Batangas and the rest of Southern Luzon), once you passed Waltermart you just go straight passing a traffic light. You will come to a Y junction with a Rizal Statue an the center, take the right lane (burgos st, it’s a one way street) and just follow the road again. You will reach a side of the St John The Baptist Church, turn left you will then see the Rizal Shrine and Museum, turn left again and park in the sidestreet, you will then be in the main street. Remember that the main street (rizal st) fronting the museum is one way towards calamba crossing but the front of the church is already two way. From the museum its also a straight road to Aplaya, a few meters after passing the “St Paul and St John Arc” you will see a small billboard of Wonder Island, take a left and head straight, you will end up in the lake area.