The family had an early visita iglesia last week when we went down to Laguna to have a simple “flower offering” for Boy Scout Victor de Guia Jr. at the Victor Oteyza de Guia Memorial Elementary School (Vogmes) located at Barangay Balian, Pangil, the hometown of the de Guias.
Vijoe was with 23 other Filipino Boy Scouts who died in a plane crash in the Sea of Bombay in India while on their way to the 11th World Jamboree in Marathon, Greece.
Twenty-four streets in Quezon City were named after the fallen scouts in their honor.
Vijoe is the son of the late Victor de Guia Sr. and the late Virginia “Gene” de Guia, first woman mayor of Baguio City. He is also the younger brother of National Artist for Film, Kidlat Tahimik, a.k.a Eric de Guia. Other siblings are Virginia de Guia Abiad and Patricia de Guia-Eriksson.
Vijoe Day is usually celebrated by Vogmes close to his birthday in March.
Baguio also honors Victor de Guia Jr. or Vijoe every Oct. 1 with the “Scout Victor de Guia Jr. Day.” This was through city council Resolution 238 s. 2016 authored by then councilor Edgar Avila and signed by then mayor Mauricio Domogan.
The first part of the itinerary in our visita iglesia was a visit to Liliw – famous for its slippers and shoes and the beautiful Liliw Church. This was of course preceded by a sumptuous lunch of pla-pla (fresh water fish) crispy fried and in gata and kare-kare at a local restaurant called Fishdaan, a resto situated in the middle of a fish pond. An added yummy food was star apple in condensed milk, a dessert concocted by my sister-in-law Emma Siapno. There is now an abundance of the star apple in Laguna. Other famous gourmet food in Laguna are chicharon Balian, alamang with chicharon, pancit habhab, Lucban longganisa and Lerma’s halu-halo.
With picturesque Laguna towns and centuries old churches, the next part of the itinerary were visits to the 15th to 16th century churches. It was a time to have an early visita iglesia for the coming Holy Week in April. First stop was Caliraya Lake. It is a man-made lake traversing Lumban, Cavinti, and Kalayaan. Created in 1939, the lake has developed into a popular area for water sports and outdoor recreation, including fishing.This is also where the Caliraya hydroelectric power plant is located, the first power plant ever built by the National Power Corporation in 1942. It is 109 kilometers southeast of Manila, on the Sierra Madre mountain ranges and approximately 289.12 meters above sea level.
We followed the Pangil, Caliraya, Cavinti, Luisiana, Lucban, Tayabas, Pagsanjan back to Pangil route to visit the churches.
Pangil is five minutes away from Pakil and 10 minutes away from Paete. We passed by the churches of Cavinti then Luisiana where different products of pandan leaves, from hats, to mats, to table mats, and baskets were available for souvenirs.
Then it was off to Lucban, famous for the Pahiyas Festival every May 15. The outside of the church still had small nipa huts decorated with Valentine’s Day motif.
We ate at their famous Pancit Habhab and Lucban longganisa Resto which is near the church.
Next stop was Tayabas Church. It was huge and had a semblance with the Manaoag Church. Going back we passed by Pakil Church, the site of the Turumba Festival. It is also the location of Kidlat Tahimik’s 1981 film “Turumba.”
The coronavirus has made us tourists in our country. As the Department of Tourism old slogan says, “Wag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan.”
Welcome home to my sister-in-law Evelyn Ria Manglapus and nephew Q Felipe Manglapus! Enjoy your stay in Baguio.