By Marjorie Gorospe
CALAMBA CITY, LAGUNA – For those looking for a different side of Calamba’s history other than being the birthplace of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, drop by the Calambanga plaza and learn more about the legend surrounding this first-class city.
Calambanga is an enormous claypot that bears the names of the city’s 54 barangays and symbolizes Calamba’s origin. The city is said to have derived its name from “kalan banga” or clay stove.
According to the legend, two Spanish guardia civils (civil guards) got lost in a place and met a young lady carrying a jar of water as they were passing through. Thinking the Spaniards were asking what she was carrying, the lady nervously answered kalan banga when her interrogators were simply asking where they were.
The name stuck and, due to difficulty in pronunciation, the two soldiers called the town Calamba.
What was once a small town was declared a city with the passage of Republic Act No. 9024 in 2001.
Calambanga is not only a historical landmark but is also considered world’s biggest claypot. This same jar is also found in the city’s seal and its construction was completed in 1939.
Around the giant claypot is a view deck while below it is a cave-like space, said to be popular among lovers, or an ideal shade from the hot summer sun. Visitors to the city can find it a good resting place in between visiting other spots like the Rizal shrine or attending mass at the Saint John the Baptist Parish.
But just a reminder, there are no food establishment inside the plaza so best to bring your own food but make sure to dispose of trash properly.
I have vivid memories of my childhood with my family in this place; back when all we do was run around and enjoy the fine view of the city. I was not fully aware back then about its significance in the local history. So when my mother told me about a quick visit to Calamba, I did not hesitate to drop by and see this giant claypot again.
Sadly, I cannot deny the fact that the place is not as clean as it was before and many politicians posted tarpaulins (with self-serving messages), which blocks the view. Vandals have also scribbled indiscriminately so I’m hoping the local government makes an effort in keeping the place clean.
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