The Japanese Garden of Caliraya – Beautiful Sunday

The Japanese Garden of Caliraya – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108

Looking for a peaceful picnic spot? We visited a place in Caliraya, Cavinti Laguna here in the Philippines. Where the air is cool, a calm ambiance and the wind whispers to the leaves of the trees. Join me today as we explore a place that symbolizes peace and friendship of two nations.

The Japanese Garden of Caliraya

To get here you would need to drive up a mountain where a lake called Caliraya is located. A man made lake which was created in 1939. The lake is now popular tourist spot, great for swimming and other water activities. Since we were on a tight budget, we are unable to cross the lake to visit the resorts.

Instead we went to a Japanese Garden located near the lake.

At the entrance you would need to pay 20 pesos or around $.40 USD. The entrance fee is used to maintain the garden, making sure it is always clean.

I have been here when I was very young. Although I can’t recall what I did here, but name outside is something that I still remember.

Once you come inside, you would immediately notice the Japanese structures. I do not know what it is called and what it signifies, but I felt a peaceful aura just by looking at it.

There is a trail that goes thru the structure and leads to the right side of the garden. There are so many trails all over and would be a bit difficult to choose which trail to follow. Just like in life where there are so many trails to choose from. Some would lead you to fulfillment, while others could lead you to disappointment.

Instead I chose the left side where there are a lot of stairs. Difficult paths often leads to greater rewards.

The kids has already gone ahead of me up the stone steps. The climb was not so difficult and can be easily managed by anyone.

Upon reaching the top, a pond and a bridge would greet you. Ponds and bridges are always present in Japanese gardens. I guess they are a part of the elements to complete the garden.

The water in the pond is not clear and looks muddy. Although, I noticed that there are fish thriving in the pond. Instead of Koi fish, they are replaced with Tilapia fish as they are native in this area.

Crossing the bridge leads you to more stairs that branches out into two. Trees covers the stairs and serves as a shade as you climb up.

The kids chose which stairs to take and claimed up the one facing the bridge. It was a bit tiring and I had to stop halfway to catch my breath.

Reaching the top leads you to a shrine for General Yamashita. Here I found out that the garden is actually a memorial for the Japanese soldiers who perished during the second world war. The Japanese government developed this garden in 1970 as a symbol of friendship to the Philippines.

General Yamashita was assigned to hold off the Allied armies in the country.  During the Japanese occupation a lot of war atrocities has been committed. When the war ended the Japanese forces surrendered. General Yamashita was put on trial and convicted of the war crimes. His punishment was death by hanging.

Although, he said that he was not aware of the actions of his subordinates. He would have punished his soldiers if were aware. Thus the Yamashita standard was created which holds the commander responsible for the actions of the subordinates. He was hanged to death and some say that his remains are still buried here.

Not only that there is the legend of the Yamashita treasure. Gold treasures hidden by his forces during the retreat. Until now the legend lives on a treasure hunters are still looking for the buried treasure. Who knows it could be hidden in this garden.

After visiting the shrine, more steps awair leads to the top. Seemingly, an endless climb to the clouds above.

Typhoons has reshaped the garden, uprooted trees has made the trail look adventurous.

These stone structures can be found all over the garden. I don’t know what they are and if anyone knows what it is. Please do share with us.

The final set of stairs awaiting to be conquered. I was hoping it is the last as my legs are getting weary with all the climbing.

As I reached the top, a wide open space appeared before me and cool wind was brushing my face.

There were a couple of stone benches, but I am not completely sure. They could be grave stones.

Here a view of the Caliraya lake can be seen. The hill that I am standing on is the highest point in the garden.

There is another section here on a small hill which is sealed off by barbed wires. Why would this area be sealed off?

Too stubborn to stay away I found a way thru the wires.  Here I met an American war veteran as stubborn as me. He said that he was a part of the Korean war.

He was investigating the stone structure in this part. He mentioned that it looks to be like a graveyard as he saw something like this in Korea.

This memorial site seems to have been vandalized. In the slots, there are supposed to be brass plates. Names of the soldiers are engraved on them.

Here not one of the plates remains. It is very sad to see a memorial site desecrated. The brass plates may have been sold off and melted along with the memories of the departed.

I said farewell to our American friend and bid him a safe travel.

We continued our exploration and followed the road this time. A peaceful walk thru a road covered with trees.

Small trees were lined up on the right side.  Looks like they have been planted manually as as they are arranged in rows.

As I saw the red Japanese structure, I knew that our journey has come to an end. A trail that leads back to where we started. Just like in life where there are so many choices and challenges. Still we must never forget where we started.

Thank you very much for allowing me to take a little bit of your time. To share with you a garden that represents peace and friendship. Putting things behind us a moving on thru life.

Hope to see you again soon and have a peaceful weekend everyone.



Tomoyuki Yamashita

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All photos are original and taken with

Lumix GX85 12-32 mm kit lens