WITH MORE THAN 600 resorts in the place today, its tourism’s promoters claim that it has earned the nickname “Resort Capital of the Philippines”.
In 1848, Jose Rizal’s parents decided to build a home in this town in Laguna, southern Luzon called Calamba. Its name was derived from "kalan-banga", which means "clay stove" (kalan) and "water jar" (banga).
Rizal’s adoration of it’s scenic beauty—punctuated by the sights of the Laguna de Bay, Mount Makiling, palm-covered mountains, curvy hills, and green fields—was recorded in the poem he wrote in Ateneo de Manila in 1876, ‘Un Recuerdo A Mi Pueblo’ (In Memory of my Town).
But if Rizal‘s poem were written today, he might have mentioned the three-floor SM mall, shopping centers, and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) terminus in the place. A city since 2001, Calamba’s most recent claim to international fame is perhaps its being the origin of Herbert Chavez, the ‘Superman’ look-alike via plastic surgery recognized by the Guinness World Records as having the largest collection of superman memorabilia.