The road to Liliw is quite a long one but it is definitely a journey worth taking. Not only would a traveler be absorbed by the soothing scent of mountain air but by the scenic view of southern Laguna’s rural countryside, as well. That is the first welcome
to indulgence, Liliw-style. Getting there, even the first few moments is such a rewarding delight! Whatever time of day, Liliw presents a cozy community with vibrant street scenes. Here, the old patrician houses, mostly restored or renovated, reveal the abounding yields of yesteryears, since Liliw sits on a lush agricultural land right at the foot of Mount Banahaw. Today, however, they appear as a quaint complementary backdrop to a more flourishing industry that has turned the streets of Liliw the bustling avenues to exhibit its most valuable trade—footwear. The Gat Tayaw Street of Liliw is flanked with stores (mostly the ground floor of residential houses) where throngs of local and foreign visitors flock for their best finds. Shoes, slippers, step-ins and sandals, either made from genuine leather, synthetic materials or native stuff, just seem to find their comfortable nooks and racks from the most exclusive stores to the most modest bargain stalls. Even the humble kuchos (old-fashioned mules embellished with beads and sequins) are never outmoded here. In this town, talking of footwear, there
is no running out of stocks. Every last week of April, Liliw and its celebrated footwear take the spotlight as the entire municipality stages the Liliw Gat Tayaw Tsinelas Festival.
The five-day fiesta, organized by Local Tourism Council, is the Liliweños way of giving tribute to Gat Tayaw, the chieftain who founded the town in 1571. The celebration is perked up by colorful activities that promote local trade industry and tourism. But Liliw is more than just Laguna’s Footwear Capital. Besides the whole host of footwear to get a kick out of, food stalls, eateries and specialty stores around are revelations of the town’s gastronomical surprises which include the heavenly uraro (arrowroot) cookies, homemade sweets, and loads of native kakanins. And who would not fail to spot the famous firewater of Laguna, the lambanog, which is locally distilled in some corners of LIliw? And yet, a few strides away from the trade center looms the captivating Saint John the Baptist Church—another marvel to brood over. Exploring beyond the poblacion, the frolicking waters from Mount Banahaw which course their way down to several cold spring resorts in the countryside lure any languid soul for a refreshing break. If the road to Liliw is truly a journey worth taking, then, coming back here is, beyond doubt, a choice worth making. Just no one would ever get enough of the Tsinelas country.