Semana Santa 2014







Leo 17 Countryside Inn

Leo 17 Countryside Inn
Rizal Street, Pakil, Laguna

Provides cozy comfort while in the pilgrimage village of Pakil.

…quality service at reasonable proces to customers
Php 1,500/ night of stay
…convinient spot 3 minutes walk to the church and town plaza
5 minute walk to the Beatles Place Restaurant
…clean bedrooms, toilet and bath aircon and electric fans.


Contact Person: Teresa Saldana Sanchez
Contact no. 0999 502 4352
Check in time: 2:00PM
Check out time: 11: 00AM

The Beatles Place

The Beatles Place
…there are places I’ll remember

Enjoy a relaxing meal at the Beatles Place, Bano Street, Pakil, Laguna
The Bealtles Place can put together activities and attractions for would be visitors as follows
…walking tour to the 17th century Franciscan stone church of Pakil.
…mountain adventure. Find Peaceful moments in the quiet soltitude of the mountain terrain. Experience the sights, sounds and smell of the mountain. Safe, guided, half day trail hike into the mountains.
…watching the Magic of Pakil!
with skillfull hands and a few carving tools comes a wooden one piece angel or a bird with wings out of wood shavings.
…visit the artistic quarters of DAN DALENA, Pakil’s best artist.
…enjoy the local “bibingka” ang quench your thirst with fresh buko juice.
…Relax and enjoy listening to the lively sounds of the marching band of Pakil.
…Take a dip in the miraculous Nuestra Senora de los Dolores de Turumba swimming pool…the miracle WATER OF PAKIL.
Seasonal Events
Viernes Santo
Turumba rituals
Comedia – if Available
Ahunan sa Pingas
Flores de Mayo

For small and intimate gatherings, the Beatles Place is a great venue. As the name implies, it features a lot of memorabilias about the famous band of the four guys from England.

It has a good sound system and can accommodate 100 persons which is perfect for reunions, seminars and birthdays.


The Beatles Place is located at Bano St., Bgy. Bano, Pakil, Laguna .

San Pedro de Alcantara Church

The first community of Pakil was organized and founded by Fr. Pedro Bautista (later canonized as a saint, San Pedro Bautista) in 1588 and he designated a place for the church and plaza in Pakil. Back then, Pakil was a visita of Paete until 1676 when Fr. Francisco de Barajas was assigned as permanent minister and helped establish the first church under the patronage of San Pedro de Alcantara.

Although permission was obtained in 1684 to reserve tribute collected over five years for the construction of the church, the foundations were not dug until 1732, during the incumbency of Fr. Fernando Haro. The complex was burnt in 1739. Work on the complex continued until 1767. An additional storey was added to the bell tower in 1777. In 1840, Fr. Joaquin de Coria repaired the church. Because of a fire in 1851 which ravaged most of the town, Fr. Juan de Llanera repaired the church the following year. Fr. Juan de Dios de Villayos repaired the church roof and bell tower after it was damaged by an earthquake in 1881. The church was repaired in 1883 by Fr. Paulino Camba; damaged by the earthquake of 1937, it was repaired yet another time. During World War II, the church suffered damage and was repaired. The latest major repair was from 1980 – 84, when a storey of the bell tower was rebuilt.

The church mostly follows franciscan church designs built during the Spanish colonial period with a Corinthic-lonic styles. The order’s emblem can usually be found inscribed on the facade of the churches, in the bas reliefs inside the church or on the church bells. In Pakil and most of the churches built by the Franciscans, the church has a Cruciform layout with an adjacent convent built around an atrium.

The main altar is painted in white and has a pantheon of 14 saints with the Archangel Michael towering above the others. Each icon is housed in an elaborately carved niche. There are two smaller altars at the sides of the main altar. Along the right side wall, there is a pulpit and a large painting depicting the concept of Heaven, Earth and Hell, Judicium Finale (“Final Judgement”). The painting was done by Jose Dans, a 19th century artist from the neighboring town of Paete, Laguna.

Right beside the painting is another altar with a life-sized figure of a crucified Christ. This figure is the one being placed inside the Santo Entierro during the Holy Week procession in Pakil. One of the stories that I heard about the crucified Christ is that no one knew who scuplted it.

Legend has it that a man who did it knocked on the door of the church or convent and asked if he can stay inside and in exchange he’ll carve up something for the church. As the story goes, the priest provide him with the wood and carving tools, then the man locked himself inside a room within the convent and told the priest that he is not to be disturbed. People would hear him working on the wood carving from inside the locked room. Then, on the seventh day everything in that locked room fell silent which led them to check on him. Upon opening the door, they saw the life-size image of the Crucified Christ but the man was no longer there.

Beside the Crucified Christ is an image of the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist. Other features inside the church are the old paintings depicting the stations of the cross and recent additions like the paintings located at the dome above the main altar.

The convent adjacent to the church houses the sacristy and also the newly built adoration room/chapel which features the original painting of the Blessed Virgin that was enshrined in the church.

E & R Handicrafts

At the edge of the town heading towards the town of Pangil, you will find E&R Handicrafts which is famous for its wood filigree products . It is here where soft wood from the lanite, anlang and malapapaya trees, which are mere weeds in the forest are shaped, whittled and carved into miniature decor items.

As you roam around the makeshift showroom, you may see an artisan beginning to whittle on a stick of white wood. After 20 minutes or so, he would have formed a delicate swan, a feathery bird or an angel.
E & R Handicrafts is a manufacturer / exporter of wooden home decors, x-mas decors and wood carvings. They sell a wide-range of decors from tissue holders, jewelry boxes and other filigree products.

175 Tavera St. Pakil, Laguna Philippines.
Phone: 049/557-0009
Fax: 049/557-0009
Contact Person: RUDEL L. SAN GASPAR

Pakil, Through the Eyes of a Balikbayan

Note: This was written by the author for a newsletter (?) back in 2001.

Pakil, Laguna is a small provincial town, in a small corner of the Philippines, which is a small island in a small corner of the world. The town is so small, quiet, and unobtrusive that it’d really be quite easy to miss if you’re just passing by on the highway. But to miss Pakil is to miss out on a gem. Besides being the very inspiration for the creation of Pakil East and the former home for so many of us, Pakil is the quintessential Philippine province. From its narrow streets, beautiful antique houses, its ancient church, and up to its lively plaza, Pakil exudes a sense of timelessness and grace. Even as houses change, children grow and people come and go, the small hometown essence of Pakil still remains the same.

Life in Pakil flows down to a trickle. You’ll immediately notice the absence of such modern day distractions like malls, arcades, and nightclubs there but Pakil’s strong point has never been in its ability to entertain the masses. Its beauty and charm comes from its ability to teach you to appreciate the basic things in life. Without distractions, everything seems so fresh and so new to your eyes and without distractions, life never seems to get stale or boring. Laughing with friends, eating a good meal, seeing a beautiful girl, or listening to a funny story never seemed to get old on me. Be simple at heart and learn to appreciate life’s simple pleasures and I assure you that Pakil won’t disappoint you in any way.

But even more important than earthly matters, there exists in Pakil a strong spirituality. The Turumba, the sermon at Mt. Ping-as, Holy Week are but a few examples of this guiding spirit. Faith is a lesson that’s taught very well in Pakil and even though I admit that I’m not the best Christian in the world, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of admiration and wonder at the love, faith, and hope that the townspeople have in God and in heaven. During a sermon on the peak of Mt. Pingas, I vividly recall the priest pointing out to the overhanging clouds overhead and saying how close heaven seemed to us as if we could just reach out with our hands and touch it. In Pakil, amidst the faithful, atop the mountain and with loved ones, I too believed.

I don’t think words can do Pakil enough justice. Visiting Pakil and the Philippines have been such enlightening experiences for me and I can’t stress enough how grateful I am for being given the chance to visit. I’m not going to kid you and tell you that everything is fine and well there. Life is hard, corruption and crime are rampant, and a lot of people are suffering but amidst the pain and chaos are people that we love. Even throughout the darkness they still shine through and now I finally understand why so many Filipinos voluntarily leave everything behind to work in a foreign country just so they can earn money to send to their families. Pakil and the Philippines taught me love, sacrifice, dedication, and commitment and its inspired me to become a better person up to this day. It’s a lesson that I will keep in my heart and will never ever forget.

Awit ng Turumba

Turumba, Turumba Mariangga
Matuwa tayo’t magsaya
Sumayaw ng Tu-Turumba
Puri sa Birhen Maria, Sa Birhen!

Turumba, Turumba sa Birhen
Matuwa tayo’t mag-aliw
Turumba’y ating sayawin
Puri sa ahal na Birhen, Sa Birhen!

Biyernes ng makita ka
Linggo ng i-ahon ka
Sumayaw ng Tu-Turumba
Puri sa Birhen Maria, Sa Birhen! (2x)
Turumba, Turumba sa Birhen
Turumba, Turumba sa Birhen
Turumba’y ating sayawin
Puri sa Mahal na Birhen! Sa Birhen!!

Who is General Cailles?

The General Cailles Memorial District Hospital in Tavera Street, Pakil is one of the first hospitals established in Laguna. It was built in 1957 under the watch of Dr. Jose Kamatoy who was at that time the head of the Laguna Provincial Hospital in Sta. Cruz. But who is General Cailles?

Although he hasn’t received the recognition and name recall like Gen. Del Pilar, Gen. Malvar, Gen. Luna and other top generals during the revolt against Spain and Philippine-American War, General Juan Cailles was able to accomplish a lot of things both as a revolutionary and as a statesman after the war.

Born in Nasugbu, Batangas to a French musician, Hipolito Cailles and a Hindu mother, Maria Caupama, Juan Cailles was the sixth child of seven siblings. After graduating from the Escuela Normal in Manila, a school run by Jesuits he became a schoolteacher in Cavite. For 5 years, he taught in the public schools of Amaya, Tanza and Rosario in the province of Cavite before joining the Bonifacio’s Magdiwang Council. He later joined Aguinaldo’s Magdalo forces.

He was a commanding officer of Batallon Trias under the regiment of Gen. Mariano Noriel. In one encounter with the Spaniards, Generals Candido Tirona, Edilberto Evangelista and Crispulo Aguinaldo, all of whom were superior to Cailles, died during the battle. He then rose from the ranks, becoming Lieutenant Colonel in 1898, then Colonel in 1899. He was then promoted by Aguinaldo to brigadier general and appointed as military governor for Laguna and Tayabas (now Quezon province) in 1898-1899.

In the Philippine-American War, he was the commanding General of the Battle of Mabitac (Sept 17, 1900) which resulted in a victory for the Filipinos. In this engagement, Cailles’ troops were able to outmaneuver a bigger American contingent.

Although, there was not much written about General Cailles, he was a problem to the Americans. In an NYTimes article published on May 1901, the following were written:

“Cailles’ surrender is not expected. If he should come into the American lines it would be to die. His crimes are so many and so serious that it would be impossible to pardon him, and he knows it. It is expected that Cailles will fight to the last, and Gen. MacArthur is expected to bend all his energies to hunting him down.”

On June 20, 1901, he surrendered to the Americans and worked with the Americans in rebuilding the country. Cailles then served as the governor of Laguna from 1901 to 1910, and again from 1916 to 1925. He was then appointed by General Leonard Wood as representative of Mountain Province to the Philippine Legislature in 1925 and reappointed in 1928. He was then again elected as governor in 1931 and re-elected in 1934.

In 1935, with the help of the Philippine Constabulary, he was able to suppress the Sakdalista uprising in Santa Rosa and Cabuyao in the Laguna. He was also instrumental in the campaign to capture the notorious bandit, Teodoro Asedillo, the “Terror of the Sierra Madre.”

Juan Cailles died on June 28, 1951 due to a heart disease.

Faustin Pantua (September 21, 1900), Report of attack on town of Mabitac, 21 September 1900 [translated from the original Spanish text by E. D. Bass] (articles in PDF format)

Saint Peter of Alcantara

Peter was born in the town of Alcantara, province of Caceres in Spain in the year 1499. His father was the governor of Alcantara, while his mother was from the Sanabia family which was one of the noble families in Alcantara. Upon completing his course in grammar and philosophy in Alcantara, he went on to study at the University of Salamanca.

In 1515, he joined the convent of the Franciscan of the Stricter Observance in Manxaretes, Extremadura, Spain and became an ordained priest in 1524. He was elected as the superior of the religious province of St. Gabriel in 1538. In 1540, he drew up the Constitutions of the Stricter Observants, but this was met with opposition and forced him to go to the mountains of Arrabida, Portugal to live a lifer of eremitical solitude. Soon after, other friars joined him and several communities were erected in the province of Arrabida. He returned to Spain in 1553 and spent two more years in solitude.

Peter provided counsel and encouragement to St. Teresa of Avila in the reform of Carmel. He also encouraged her to found her first monastery at Avila, Spain in August 24, 1562. The autobiography of St. Teresa provided the source of information regarding the life, work, the gift of miracles and prophecy of Peter.

He often went into ecstasy. He is purported to have slept for only one and a half hours each day, inside his room which had a floor area of only four and a half square feet. While in prayer and contemplation, he was often seen in ecstasies and levitation. In his deathbed, he was offered a glass of water which he refused, saying that “Even my Lord Jesus Christ thirsted on the Cross…” He died while on his knees in prayer on October 18, 1562 in a monastery at Arenas

He was beatified by Pope Gregory XV in 1622 and canonized by Clement IX in 1669. His feast day is October 19.

In 1826, St. Peter of Alcántara was named Patron of Brazil, and in 1962 (the fourth centenary of his death), of Estremadura.

In the Philippines, only 2 churches are named after him, one in Barangay Taal, Bocaue, province of Bulacan and the other in Pakil, province of Laguna.


Early Accounts of the Turumba

In the course of my research about the Turumba Festival in Pakil, I have come across a number of books documenting its history. One book that I came across was written by Alejandro Roces entitled, Fiestas in the Philippines. In his book Mr. Roces came across a book written in the 19th century entitled, Twenty Years in the Philippines Aventures d’un Gentilhomme Breton aux iles Philippines. Its author, Paul Proust Dela Gironiere was a French Naval surgeon lived in the town of Jala-Jala, in the province of Rizal during the 1830’s. In his book, he wrote one of the earliest descriptions of the Turumba Festival.

Here’s an excerpt about the Turumba (translated from French):

“Some religious festivals especially those in the countryside, are influenced by beliefs. For instance, there is a procession celebrated yearly in the town of Pakil where all the sick and invalid take part in by dancing. In this manner, they believe, that they will get cured of their sufferings. Coming from places as far as 20 miles, the lame and sick who still have a little bit of strength plod themselves along to Pakil to participate in the fiesta.

During the entire duration of the procession these unhappy ones dance assisted by helpers and shout ‘Toromba la Virgen, la Virgen toromba’. It is a strange spectacle to see all these poor devils make superhuman efforts and incredible contortions until the Blessed virgin is returned to the church. These unfortunate ones at the end of their strength throw themselves to the ground gasping and rest motionless for hours. those who are seriously ill often die of exhaustion, while others regain their health or get worse.”

Also, according to Mr. Roces’ book, Gironiere had a different version about the origin of the festival. In his version, the festival began with an Armenian whose boat capsized in Laguna de Bay during a storm. He promised that he would hold a procession in honor of the Blessed Virgin if he reaches the shore safely. Upon reaching the shore, he fulfilled his vow and proceeded to dance while shouting, “Turumba!, Turumba!”. However, this version of the story does not account for any of the unique features of the Turumba Festival not even the meaning of the word. And Mr. Roces dismisses this as an implausible explanation of the origin of the festival.

Aventures d’un Gentilhomme Breton aux iles Philippines (Adventures of a Gentleman Breton in the Philippine Islands).

Full transcript of the book can be found here (French)