Famed for its white cheese made from carabao milk, Santa Cruz is a small city where the Santa Cruz River meets Laguna de Bay. It was founded in 1602 and hosted the 1899 Battle of Santa Cruz during the Philippine-American War. Today, Santa Cruz serves as the provincial capital of Laguna and is an important commercial hub.
Things to do in Santa Cruz
One of Santa Cruz’s most important landmarks is the Immaculate Conception Parish Church, which was originally established in the early 17th century and was reconstructed following a fire in 1945. Take note of the sculptures depicting the Virgin Mary that decorate the facade before stepping inside to explore the whitewashed interior with its gilded altar. The Immaculate Conception Parish Church overlooks a park dedicated to the Filipino nationalist, Jose Rizal.
Want to stretch your legs? Head to the Bayside Baywalk, which hugs the southeastern shore of Laguna de Bay. Shaped like a crow’s foot, the largest lake in the Philippines sprawls across more than 900 square kilometres and is an important source of freshwater fish. Not only is it home to common carp and eel, but also Indonesian barb and Manila catfish.
A short drive south of Santa Cruz is the Calumpang Hanging Bridge, which spans the rushing waters of the Santa Cruz River. Experience the thrill of walking high above the river as the bridge swings beneath your feet. Nearby is the historic Calumpang railway station and the scenic Brgy Silangan Kabubuhayan Gardens.
Getting around Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is just over an hour’s drive from Calamba and two hours from Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which has flights to destinations across the globe. Regular buses connect to Santa Cruz and jeepneys are available for getting around. Renting a car or scooter is the most convenient way of exploring the area.