Laguna’s First Non-religious Festival

Every third Wednesday of April to the ensuing Sunday, Nagcarlan throws its doors wide open for everyone to partake of all the mirth and excitement that come with the celebration of the Ana Kalang Festival. It is during this time of the year when Nagcarlan showcases its unique folk arts whose leitmotif is the use of dried indigenous materials and displays its great potentials as the Vegetable Basket of Laguna, or even the Vegetable Bowl of Southern Tagalog.

The festival involves the participation of 52 barangays, 35 schools, and several commercial establishments of the municipality in a five-day fete which includes an agro-trade fair, cultural presentation, talent competition, traditional games, beauty pageant, street dancing, clowning contest, fashion design competition, grand parade and a whole lot more of revelry and merrymaking.
Throughout the celebration, giant statues called kalang-kalang and replicas of old structures known as arko, all beautifully crafted from indigenous materials, are put on display around the municipal compound. Every nook and corner is decorated with fresh farm produce, while the biggest hall of the Municipal Building is filled with a wide array of antique furnitures, images, and all sorts of precious wares borrowed from prominent families of the town.

Originally held in the first week of October to coincide with the peak of lanzones harvest, this 25-year old festival traces its beginnings in 1987 with the successful holding of the first Lanzones Festival, which was replicated in October 1988. In 1989, however, the sudden drop in lanzones harvest necessitated the renaming of the celebration, and the organizers’ unanimous choice was Ana Kalang Festival – in honor of the woman who figures in the legend that tells how the town of Nagcarlan got its name. Because October has become a stormy month in recent years, the local government, upon consultation with stakeholders, has decided since 2008 to move the celebration to April, when local fruits and vegetable are most abundant and weather conditions are most favorable.