Las Piñas City: “Home of the Bamboo Organ”

Las Piñas City

Las Pinas MapOne of the earliest settlements in the coastal fringes of the old Walled City of Manila, Las Piñas City is bounded on the south and southwest by the municipalities of Imus and Bacoor in Cavite; on the north and northeast by Parañaque City; on the east and southeast by Muntinlupa City; and, on the northwest by the Manila Bay.

In 1775, this small fishing village was established into a town by the Spanish colonialists. During the Philippine Revolutionary War for Independence in 1896 Las Piñas was the site of numerous battles between the Katipunan and Spanish forces. There are quite a few schools of thought on the origin of the city’s name, but the most plausible is a theory based on an inscription on an old church bell dating back to the time of Fr. Diego Cera which shows that the town was then known as Las Peñas. The phrase “las peñas,” which means “the rocks,” referred most likely to the stones and adobe that were quarried in the area for the construction of bridges and buildings during those days. As the years went by, the phrase “las peñas” could have easily been corrupted to “las piñas” which is in use up to this day.

One cannot think about Las Piñas City without the world renowned Bamboo Organ coming to mind. Presently installed at the St. Joseph Church of the Parish of Las Piñas, this musical instrument made out of bamboo, wood and metal is the only organ of its kind in the world. It was built in 1824 by Fr. Diego Cera, the town’s first parish priest and is famous not only for the indigenous materials used in its construction, but for this unique instrument’s deep, melodious sound as well.

Las Piñas is a late bloomer, emerging from its rural cocoon in the late 60s with the construction of the South Super Highway. In the mid-80s, progress in this 4,154-hectare city went along at a faster clip when the Coastal Road was constructed directly linking Metro Manila to Cavite. By the early 90s, Las Piñas was serving as the gateway to the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon industrial growth corridor. Eventually, this once rustic coastal town transformed into a booming urban city of large industries and residential subdivisions. In 2002, it was named one of the country’s “Most Competitive Cities” together with Makati, Marikina, Muntinlupa and Davao cities.

What to See in Las Piñas

Although Las Piñas City is 20 kilometers from the heart of the City of Manila, it has been swallowed up by the huge urban sprawl that is Metro Manila. Nonetheless, the city has kept its own individual character and remains to be the favored stop of visitors because of its attractions that are unique and distinctly Filipino.

The Bamboo Organ: This rare and unique musical instrument can be found inside the St, Joseph Church of the Parish of Las Piñas. Fr. Diego Cera, its first parish priest, constructed the organ in 1824 using hundreds of bamboo poles that he buried in the beach sand for one year so that these will resist termite infestations. The organ is admired not only for its construction, but for its melodious sound as well. Ancient though it is, the organ is still working and is still in use up to this day. That is why it becomes the center of attention when the city celebrates the Bamboo Organ Festival during the month of February which attracts many music artists all over the world.

Sarao Jeepney Factory: Dubbed as the “King of the Road,” the ubiquitous jeepneys that ply the roads of Metro Manila and in the provinces are a testament to the ingenuity of the Filipino. Las Piñas is the acknowledged jeepney producing center of the country, and the Sarao Jeepney Factory owned by Leonardo Sarao is the recognized pioneer and leader in the industry. Your trip to Metro Manila will not be complete without visiting this vehicle assembly plant located along Padre Diego Cera Ave., Pulanglupa to witness how these works of art on four wheels are made.

Salt Beds: The distinction “Salt Center of Metro Manila” used to be held by Las Piñas—until the construction of the Coastal Road and land reclamation project in Manila Bay severely affected the industry. However, through the initiatives of local government leaders, the salt beds of Las Piñas were restored giving visitors the chance to see the traditional method of salt-making and harvesting the way the people in this historic place have been doing it for the past two centuries.

Where to Eat in Las Piñas

While Las Piñas has retained some vestiges of its rural setting, it does not lack in modern facilities that would address the needs of its residents and visitors. Its modern malls are filled with recreational and food establishments where one can obtain reasonably priced food and entertainment, such as:

Dencio’s Bar and Grill: Located at the 2nd level of Star Mall Las Piñas along C.V. Starr Ave. in Pamplona, this food establishment provides excellent Filipino and grilled seafood and music entertainment at very reasonable prices.

Barrio Fiesta Restaurant: When you think of Filipino dishes, Barrio Fiesta invariably comes to mind. Luckily, this popular restaurant now has a branch at the 3rd level of SM Southmall located at Alabang-Zapote Road. So, when you are in the vicinity, why not check out its special kare-kare in thick peanut sauce served in an authentic bubbling palayok (earthen pot).

Ted’s La Paz Batchoy: If you want a quick, hot, filling meal why not step into this joint located at the Ground Level of SM Southmall. Order a large bowl of its extra super original La Paz batchoy and a plate of puto (rice cakes), then wash it down with a glass of ice cold tea. This heavy meal is guaranteed to keep you going for the rest of the day.

Where to Stay in Las Piñas

Balikbayan Vacation Home: Located in a middle class gated community, this B&B establishment is centrally located to the Alabang Town Center, Madrigal Business Center and has easy access to major road arteries leading to the Metro Manila and Calabarzon areas. It has two air conditioned rooms, one bathroom with hot water, cable TV, in-room ref, living room, dining room and well equipped kitchen. One of the bedrooms has a queen size bed and two single beds in the other. All these conveniences for a rate of USD50.00, or P2,000.00 converted at current forex rates.

23 Leo Street
Veraville Homes I Subdivision
Las Pinas, Philippines
Tel. No.: 951-698-0873 (US)
Toll Free: -011-639293442669(PH)

Eurotel: Provides the elegant service and ambiance of a European hotel at a cost you can afford. With rates starting at P1,975.00 guests will enjoy air conditioned rooms, wi-fi connection, bar and café, 24-hr. room service and free valet parking.

Website: http://www.eurotelph.com/index.htm
Alabang – Zapote Road (in front of SM Southmall)
Alamanza Uno, Las Piñas City
Tel: (63-2) 805-0095; 806-7646
Fax: (63-2) 800-3876
E-mail: eurotel_lp@yahoo.com

How to Get to Las Piñas

Manila to Las Piñas and Back: The Coastal Road that runs throughout the southern length of Metro Manila’s shoreline with Manila Bay is a very important artery for people commuting to and from Manila to Las Piñas and Cavite. You can get to Las Piñas on buses from Taft Avenue in Manila bound for Zapote or Cavite and just tell the conductor to inform you when to get off. Approximate bus fare will not exceed P50.00.

Cebu to Las Piñas and Back: To reach Las Piñas from Cebu, you can either fly from Cebu to the Manila Domestic Airport in Pasay or sail from Cebu to Manila. Approximate cost of a round trip plane ticket is P4,000.00 – P5,000.00 while a round trip boat fare is approximately P3,000.00 – P4,000.00. If your point of disembarkation is the Pier Area in Manila, you can take a jeepney or hop into a taxi cab and ask the driver to take you to Taft Avenue. From there take a bus bound for Zapote of Cavite. The taxi fare from the Pier Area to Taft Avenue is about P100.00-P150.00, while the jeepney fare is cheaper at P7.50. The bus fare to Las Piñas will not exceed P50.00. If your point of disembarkation is the Manila Domestic Airport, take a taxi cab up to Roxas Boulevard then board the bus bound for Zapote or Cavite. The taxi fare is about P100.00 while the bus fare to Las Piñas will not exceed P50.00.

Dumaguete to Las Piñas and Back: To reach Las Piñas from Dumaguete, you can fly from Dumaguete to the Manila Domestic Airport in Pasay. Approximate cost of a round trip plane ticket is P4,000.00 – P5,000.00. From the airport, hop on a taxi cab up to Roxas Boulevard and take the bus bound for Zapote or Cavite. The taxi fare is about P100.00 while the bus fare to Las Piñas will not exceed P50.00.

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