Liliw Gat Tayaw Tsinelas Festival in Liliw Laguna

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Last week, I was invited to join Southern Tagalog Fam tour along with tour operators, fellow travel writers and travel bloggers. Southern Tagalog Familiarization Tour was organized by PHILTOA (headed by Mr. Cesar Cruz), Department of Tourism Region 4 (Director Rebecca Labit) and local tourism stakeholders.

The Original Liliw Tsinelas made from Coconut Bark
The Original Liliw Tsinelas made from Coconut Bark

In preparation for the upcoming Philippine Travel Mart 2014 – the Philippines biggest travel tradexhibition promoting domestic and inbound tourism, we explored some of the tourist attractions in the Province of Laguna. After visiting Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery, we proceeded to Liliw – a town that is popularly known as the Footwear Capital of Laguna. During our visit, the town is currently celebrating their annual Liliw Gat Tayaw Tsinelas Festival.

Liliw Gat Tayaw Tsinelas Festival 2014
Liliw Gat Tayaw Tsinelas Festival 2014

Liliw Gat Tayaw Tsinelas Festival

Along the Gat Tayaw Street, shoe stores are decorated with products colorful shoes, slippers, sandals and even bags of different designs and materials. Some of the winning entries in this years “Pinaka Maganda na Malaking Tsinelas” contest.

1st Place Pinaka Maganda at Malaking Tsinelas Contest in Liliw Gat Tayaw Tsinelas Festival
1st Place Pinaka Maganda at Malaking Tsinelas Contest in Liliw Laguna

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Liliw Laguna is celebrating its week-long Gat Tayaw Tsinelas Festival every April 22 – 27 of each year. Every year, the highlights of the festival are the parade of floats showcasing the agricultural and industrial products of Liliw which includes a variety of locally produced footwear.

2nd Place Pinaka Maganda at Malaking Tsinelas
2nd Place Pinaka Maganda at Malaking Tsinelas

There is also an annual street party, Mutya ng Liliw, Chorale competition, and the “Tsinelas on the Ramp”, a fashion show featuring great quality footwear that is proudly made in Liliw Laguna. At the second floor of the town’s Municipal Building, various paintings are also exhibited showcasing creative artworks from local talents.

Painting Exhibit at the Municipal Building of Liliw Laguna
Painting Exhibit at the Municipal Building of Liliw Laguna

According to the Municipal Mayor Ericson Jovellano Sulibit, Liliw is known as a cold water spring resorts destination back in the days and tsinelas made from coconut bark is just one of their local products. Over the years, local backyard footwear makers started to use various local and imported materials until it became Liliw’s signature product.

Tsinelas Stores in Liliw
Tsinelas Stores in Liliw

History of Liliw Laguna

Founded in 1571 by Gat Tayaw, the small town of Liliw is nestled at the foot of Mount Banahaw, 17 kilometres (11 mi) away from Santa Cruz, Laguna’s capital.

According to a story, Liliw got its name from a bird. It was said that Gat Tayaw and his followers decided to erect a bamboo pole and to name the town after the bird that would first alight at the top of the pole within four days. A crow, however, was the first bird to alight on the pole. A crow was considered bad and so Gat Tayaw and his men moved south and erected another bamboo pole. A beautiful bird alighted on the pole and sang, “Liw, Liw, Liw”. Thus the town became Liliw.

Throughout the Spanish regime, the name Liliw was used. When the Americans came, the town was renamed to Lilio since the Americans found it easier to pronounce it than Liliw. However, on June 11, 1965, the municipal council passed Resolution No. 38-S-65 which declared Liliw as the official name and spelling of the town. This was to avoid confusion in pronouncing and spelling the name of the town.

Tourism Contact:

Office of the Mayor
Liliw, Laguna
Telephone No. (049) 563-1001
Email: liliwlgu@gmail.com

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