The Pakil Tourism Master Plan: What to expect in the next 10 years

Laguna de Bay, the second largest inland waterbody in Southeast Asia, divides the town of Pakil in Laguna. As a consequence, tourism development in the town’s 13 barangays has developed along two distinct clusters.

The first cluster, referred to as Poblacion, focuses on faith-based, cultural, and heritage tourism. It covers barangays Baño, Burgos, Gonzales, Rizal, Taft, and Tavera.

Kanlurang Pakil, the second cluster, covers Barangays Casinsin, Matikiw, Casareal, Kabulusan, Dorado and Banilan. It promotes agrotourism and industry-based tourism. 

Over the years, pivotal infrastructure projects have been implemented in the Kanluran cluster. These include solar-powered irrigation systems in Barangays Casinsin, Matikiw and a water impounding tank in Barangay Banilan. 

Pakil’s famous wood whittlings or kayas

More roads will be under construction in Kanlurang Pakil to stimulate economic activities that lead to increased revenue generation for the entire town and its constituents.

Connected to all aspects of local governance, the Poblacion and Kanluran clusters form Pakil’s Tourism Master Plan, incorporating the town’s disaster risk reduction plan, local climate adaptation plan, and its gender and development (GAD) plan into one cohesive, synergistic whole.


“Pakil: Where fun starts with Faith,” is an oft-repeated tagline when referring to Pakil. For centuries, the town has been known for its religious icons and cultural festivities. 

According to Tourism Officer Lara Galleros, faith tourism in Pakil is a quaint combination of religion and culture. The town is proud of its religious traditions even as it accentuates the vibrant heritage of its people.

It is in Baño where Pakil’s miraculous Turumba Swimming Pool or Panghulo is located. 

Regarded as one of the main tourist attractions and a veritable source of tourist income in Pakil, the pool commands a good headcount of tourists and guests that seek to enjoy the pristine, crystalline water that flows from the verdant mountains of the Sierra Madre.

The water from the Panghulo is famous for curing ailments. Visitors have been seen to carry jugs or containers to bring home a sample of the water.

A visit to Barangay Baño will not be complete without taking a dip into the waters of Turumba Swimming Pool.  

In like manner, the town is proud of Barangay Burgos and its long-held cultural practice of safeguarding its aquatic resources through its Turumba fish sanctuary. 

In November 2020, at the height of floods triggered by Typhoon Ulysees, social media netizens expressed admiration at seeing photos of Brgy Burgos inundated by clear, clean water, instead of murky, trash-infested floodwaters. 

Pakil Mayor Vincent Soriano explained that the floodwater in Burgos is clean because it came from nearby Turumba fish sanctuary. It has been observed that as an added result, the canals of Pakil are similarly clean and full of fish.


For the next 10 years, the Sangguniang Bayan-approved Master Plan will convert the plaza fronting the Municipal Hall into a heritage plaza.

The old Municipal Hall will also be converted into a museum to promote the culture and heritage of Pakil to tourists.

Cultural heritage tours will be improved, beginning with the professionalization of tourism officers through tours-related immersion trainings. 

A case in point is the Turumba Walk of Faith, a tour designed to promote the image of the centuries-venerated Our Lady of Turumba, ensconced in the San Pedro de Alcantara Church, the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Turumba.

The declared heritage zone inspires a better appreciation of the Turumba Festival.

A Pakil Marina project is likewise in the pipeline to create a tourist site where the image of the Our Lady of Turumba was found.


The Pakil Tourism Office tied up with UP Los Baños Media shall create an audiovisual brochure and multimedia plan to promote Pakil. 

The Department of Tourism (DOT) validated all Pakil tours, ensuring that facilities and amenities offered are compliant with DOT requirements.

Already, income opportunities have increased for Pakileños as establishments promoting tourism begin to pour in Pakil.

The Pakil LGU is considering the revival of the dying craft of whittling or kayas to further boost the town’s attractions.

Part of the master plan is the promotion of eco-farm tourism in the upland barangays.

Turumbalik Saya sa Pakil

Opening of Turumba Festival

Pakil holds the distinction of having the longest Marian religious festival in the Philippines. And it has been celebrated for 235 years since Sept. 14, 1778.

The festival centers on the prophetic arrival of the Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores de Turumba in Laguna after the launch, ridden by the missionaries that carried the Virgin, got shipwrecked in Laguna de Bay. 

It rained that night, when the small painting of the Virgin washed on the shore near Pakil Church. The following morning, the Virgin’s painting miraculously stayed dry and the Pakileños who found it more than two centuries ago, sang and danced their way as they carried the icon to their church. The ecstatic experience was described as turumba—to tremble in ecstasy and great joy. 

The Turumba Festival commits to memory and posterity the seven sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which begins on the Friday before Palm Sunday (Viernes de Dolores) and culminates on the Sunday before Sept. 15 (Domingo de Dolor) when the image of the Virgin Mary is found. 

So popular has the festival been that it was immortalized in Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere, gaining devotees through-out Southern Tagalog—in particular Quezon province—and much later, in more modern times, attracting visitors from Metro Manila and even abroad.


In practice, the Turumba Festival proper is celebrated in the month of April, with this year’s festival held from April 15 to 19.

Thousands of visitors and tourists attended the event marked by processions, dancing, and sports competitions.

Day 1 started with a Costume Color Fun Run and the Parade of Pakil Brass Bands. Its many activities included the Lakan at Lakambini ng Pakil 2023, the Arco de Turumba Festival Arch Competition, DepEd Day, Indak Pinoy Folk Dance Competition, culminating in the Congresswoman’s Night. 

The 4th Laguna Lake Cup—a race to swim the 8.5-km stretch of the Laguna Lake—greeted Day 2 of the festival. Started under the administration of Mayor Vince Soriano, the event showcases the love for swimming of Pakileños. Highlight of Day 2 was the Governor’s Night.

A rousing Job Fair opened Day 3, followed by Petmalu Show for pet lovers, Kusina Pakilenya showcase of local delicacies with a twist, Zumbalik Saya for Zumba groups, and the Mr. Baybay Todomax, a contest for tricycle drivers with each participant wearing a komedya Moro-moro attire. Day 3 culminated with the Congresswoman’s Night.

The 4th day of the festival had a Grand Parade of the most beautiful arches of each barangay. Main activities of the day included a Turumba Street Dance showdown, and Campanario. Highlight of Day 4 was the awards night for the best arch and the winners of the Street Dance Parade.

From Left to Right: Mayor Vince L. Soriano, Mayora Myrna H. Soriano, John Randel C. Grande, Coun. Jeffrey Cotoner

The Turumba procession was held on the fifth and last day of Turumba Festival 2023, with a concert to entertain and to thank guests and visitors to the five-day event. Day 5 ended with the much-awaited Mayor’s night.

Turumba Festival 2023 is Pakil’s entry to the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) Pearl Award this year.

Pakil received the 1st runner up award for the 17th ATOP-DOT Pearl Awards, where they entered the 2019 Turumba Festival. 

The 2nd Laguna Lake Cup received 1st runner up award for Best Tourism Event for Sports and Adventure, also in 2022. 

According to Pakil Tourism Officer Lara A. Galleros, their participation in the ATOP awards is a way to promote Pakil and for the Turumba Festival to be further recognized nationally.



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