A certain travel and history television program that I saw about five months ago showed me a more cheaper, fun way to the famous Pagsanjan Falls than the traditional canoe ride / Shooting the Rapids which costs 1,000+ Pesos per head. I gained enough money in three weeks planning to spend it all for this Pagsanjan Falls trip. I’ve read different websites (www.chasingphilippines.com & www.lakwatseradeprimera.com) and used google maps to gain more information. Our first attempt (I was with my best friend) last October 25 was such an epic fail because we carelessly went to Cavinti while Tropical Storm Ofel was brewing in the Southern Luzon. 😦 I went again to Cavinti alone (my friend has errands to do) just this morning (November 4) and it was a success! 😀
From San Pedro, Laguna, I left my home about 5:45 a.m. and arrived at Alabang Provincial Terminal 6:00 a.m. I boarded upon an ordinary bus (there are no air-conditioned Alabang-Santa Cruz bound buses in the terminal) which left the terminal immediately. I asked the bus conductor to drop me off at Pagsawitan. For your information, the fare from Alabang, Muntinlupa to Pagsawitan in Santa Cruz, Laguna is 80 Pesos only. I finally arrived in Pagsawitan after about two and a half hours of traveling around the outskirts of Laguna, which offered scenic views of mountains and fields. Take Note: during this travel of mine, the Balanac Bridge / Pagsanjan Bridge was under construction. Only bikes and motorcycles were permitted to cross the bridge and people were only allowed to walk across it. Because of that, I did not proceed to the jeepney station at Santa Cruz Market and quickly rode a tricycle to Balanac Bridge (since I hate riding on jeepneys as much as possible). I paid a “special” fair of 60 pesos to the tricycle driver, but you can ride a jeepney from Pagsawitan to Balanac Bridge for just 8 pesos. Tricycles were not permitted to cross the said bridge. While crossing the bridge, the emerald-ish Balanac River stunned me because of its charm and cleanliness! Anyway, Lucban and Cavinti via Junction bound jeepneys were waiting on the other end of the bridge. There, I rode a Cavinti via Junction route jeepney and paid 15 Pesos to the driver and asked him to drop me off at the “sementeryo” (cemetery); parang huling hantungan lang. From the temporary jeepney station in Balanac Bridge, we traveled through the winding Pagsanjan – Cavinti Road for about thirty minutes until I was dropped off in front of the cemetery.
From the cemetery, I rode a tricycle for 80 Pesos (Yep, I am aware that I was tricked because I know that the fare is only PhP15 per head. Ayaw ko lang masira araw ko kaya hindi na ako nakipag-talo.) to reach my destination: the Pueblo el Salvador Nature’s Park and Picnic Grove where one can reach Pagsanjan Falls by trekking. The people in the Pueblo were very nice and accommodating. I immediately signed a logbook, paid a fee of 270 Pesos, was given a tourguide named U-tol who equipped me with a harness, and was ready to go trekking!
My tour guide was very talkative (in a nice and positive way)! We talked about tourism business and stuff. And since I was alone, he was the one who (voluntarily) took pictures of me! haha. He said to me that I should take many pictures of the Pueblo so that many will be motivated to go trekking in the said place. By the way, the Pagsanjan Falls is actually located within the boundaries of Cavinti, specifically somewhere between Brgy. Anglas and Brgy. Tibatib. We can call Pagsanjan Falls as Cavinti Falls and Magdapio Falls too. The latter name was derived from a folklore about two brothers named Balubad and Magdapio.
I saw the majestic forest and valleys of the Sierra Madre mountain range surrounding the place in all sides. Reptiles, birds, and insects were everywhere too. I even saw monkeys having a siesta on the coconut trees and even a hawk in the sky!
Below the cliff were the Bumbungan River and the Naculo Falls. Sadly, I was not allowed to go to the Naculo Falls viewing deck because there were no caretakers present there during that time.
One will encounter numerous steep metal stairs and two vertical ladders!
After a few minutes of trekking within the caress of nature, I heard a sound that made me very excited- the roar of the Pagsanjan Falls! We were getting nearer to the falls!
After an hour of trekking through the Cavintinian forest, the Pagsanjan Falls, the most grandeur falls in the Philippines, finally came into full view! The exhausting trek was worth it! The sound of the falls, the sun rays, and the mist surrounding the area adds to the beauty of the place!
A few minutes later while I was taking some pictures, boats arrived in the deck which are from the pricey Pagsanjan Shooting the Rapids. Filipino and a couple of Chinese tourists joined me in appreciating the Pagsanjan Falls. We rode the raft and went straight to the Devil’s Cave which is a cavity behind the falls.
It was very exhilarating! The cool water from the falls actually tastes good! We even swam in the chest-deep pool inside the cave! Unfortunately I wasn’t able to bring my camera with me within the cave. 😀 Well, after that exciting raft ride, I then decided to climb the stairs towards Pueblo el Salvador again with my tourist guide. The ascent was like 50++ times more difficult than the descent! It was breath-taking, LITERALLY! Climbing up the steep stairs and vertical ladders took my breath away- like I’m having a hard time breathing! Good thing I brought some bottles of water.
By the way, I saw this HUGE millipede (anglayo sa pinag-uusapan! haha) while ascending the steep stairs
As soon as I arrived at the Pueblo el Salvador headquarters, I quickly took a bath and changed my clothes. I also took some rest in their office. Before I left Pueblo, I gave my guide a tip of 200 Pesos. From Pueblo el Salvador, I walked towards the cemetery and from there, I rode a tricycle to Cavinti Junction (oddly, the Cavintinians pronounce the word Junction as Johnson) which cost me 20 Pesos. Then, I rode a jeepney from Junction to Balanac Bridge which cost me 15 Pesos and rode a tricycle to Jam Bus Station for 40 Pesos (I HATE riding jeepneys). Next, I rode an air-conditioned bus from Jam to Alabang which cost me 120 Pesos. All in all, my expenses for this trip is only 900 Pesos [fare (starting from Alabang bus terminal) + entrance fee + tip]! This trip is indeed unforgettable. It’s like all of the stress in my life was swept away by the waters of Cavinti / Pagsanjan Falls. Anyhow, I would like to thank chasingphilippines and lakwatseradeprimera for giving me guidelines to this wonderful adventure. 🙂
*If the Balanac / Pagsanjan bridge’s renovation is finished, I would likely suggest this LINK for your guidelines if you want to go to Pagsanjan Falls via Cavinti.
*You can ask questions to kuya U-tol, the one that guided me down the falls, with this number: +639104193683