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Unimaginable Boatride to Pagsanjan waterfalls

I have heard of the Pagsanjan Falls since I was a kid. It was actually my Grade 4 section name and taking this trip was meaningful to me because of this shallow reason. The town of Pagsanjan is part of Laguna, which I only found out when I got there! Its location is right after Sta. Cruz, Laguna. To get there, we rode a provincial bus at HM Transport Cubao in Quezon City and it costs Php 148.50 for each passenger. We were slightly disappointed that throughout the whole trip, there was no movie played in the bus. To entertain ourselves throughout the whole trip, we slept at intervals, ate cookies and endless conversations on random topics. Well, its always good to travel with anyone who converses a good talk on anything.

We were actually lost at first when we had the bus drop us at the rotonda of Sta.Cruz. The weather, surprisingly, turned out ugly because it began to shower rain and thanks to me I brought an umbrella. Tricycle drivers were noticing that we were tourists because of our backpacks and we were walking back and forth, round and round, looking like we didn't know what to do. It was funny because I only have 800 pesos in my wallet and I needed to get cash from my bank account. Just a tip, the nearest ATMs in the area at at Landbank beside Mercury Drug in Sta.Cruz city proper and BDO bank (still beside Mercury Drug) in Pagsanjan city proper. I could not have imagined traveling without atleast having 2-3,000 pesos inside my wallet!

You'll know you're at the Pagsanjan City Proper once you see the plaza at the left side, church at your front and a 7-Eleven and Andok's restaurant at your right. Ofcourse, we were very hungry when we arrived and looked for an authentic Pagsanjan restaurant. There's the famous "Aling Taneng's Halo Halo since 1973" located near the bridge. I was craving for the usual Tapsilog Filipino breakfast but they don't serve any Silog orders! That was surprising. Also, they have viands which is suited for two to three people, costing to as much as 180 to 350 up. Having budget constraints, we left the famous restaurant and walked again to search for something affordable and authentic. We found this interesting place, Emin and Milas Canteen. We made the right choice! Their food was affordable, served hot and too many to be gobbled up by one person! We ordered their House Specialties: Kilawing Bituka at Php 60 which really tasted great and perfect for Isaw lovers; the delicious Bicol Express at Php 60 and the Pancit bihon which costs Php 65 and can be consumed by three to four people. Our brunch was perfect especially we loved the taste, spice and temperature of the food. Our favorite was the Pancit Bihon because they served too many that we weren't able to finish them all and have to request the remaining for take out.


Being unprepared as we are, you might already guessed it that we don't have any hotel booked prior to our trip. We canvassed La Vista which offered Php 1,200 for an airconditioned room and Php 350 for a fan room. It looks clean and a bit okay but we hesitated because my friend read about another hotel, Pagsanjan Falls Lodge. From the City proper, you can take a tricycle worth Php 25 for you to reach Pagsanjan Falls Lodge. But you can actually have a 10 minute walk to reach the place. At Pagsanjan Falls Lodge, they only have group rooms since this hotel usually caters mostly to group outings and company teambuilding seminars. The room we got which is the Standard room costs Php 1,600 plus add Php 275 each for the additional two persons. Our room(S3) is airconditioned, has a TV, its own shower bathroom, two lounge chairs, with one Queen bed and two single beds, plus a nice terrace which overlooks the breathtaking Pagsanjan River. One advantage of the room we got is its nearness to the adult swimming pool. Another type of room is the Deluxe(estimate 2,000+) which we saw to be away from the Lake view but as I've seen in the picture, the interior looks a little high end than what we got.

Pagsanjan Falls Lodge actually has their own access to boatrides enroute to Pagsanjan Falls but because of budget constraints, we now looked for a cheaper offer. We went back to the town proper and there are several men who approached us and offered boatrides. The government approved price for the two hour complete boatride is Php 1,250 per person. This includes your life vest, helmet, a stop over at the Picnic area and the balsa ride to Pagsanjan falls. Reading the inclusions of the boatride fee seems very simple and left us thinking that its so expensive! In my province in Agusan Del Norte, I always experience boating for free since my grandparents live beside the sea. So it was surprising that I need to spend this much. But wait til you experience the whole thing!

We were surprised at first that the long wooden boat only allows a maximum of three guests to ride in. We had two men who did the rowing at the front and end sides of the boat. At first, our boat was being pulled by a motorized vessel at the front. The ride was peaceful at open waters. We found out that GMA 7's "Amaya" and "Alice Bungisngis" shows were shooted here. There were small nipa and wooden stilt houses made by GMA for the Amaya TV series (this is the one where Marian Rivera stars as a strong native princess). The time when we got to the rapids (which you'll know when there are rocks that hinder your boat from passing), the motorized vessel removed the rope that was attached to our boat. The boatmen told us that there are about 2,000 boat men in Pagsanjan and can only row once a week. We were being served by father and son boatmen #3 and #907. I really commend the front boat man we have (Mr. Boatman #3). Not only does he have to row but he regularly has to go out the boat and use his feet to push the big rocks away from our vessel and uses his arm to pull the entire boat on top of rocks ( and yes you read it right, on top of the rocks and steel tubes which amazingly our boat is not destroyed because of him doing this). He's a mere 21 year old, frail looking thin boy but has the strength of Goliath! This boy is lighter than us (I was in a company of friends weighing 140-160 lbs. and I'm 128 lbs.) and it made me feel guilty when he lifts the whole boat up!

The river lead to the partition of two mountains. This gives an exhilarating view! No sound of the city just the tweet of birds and rushing river waters. We were happy to know that there are no crocodiles lurking in the waters nor sea snakes are not rampant here. So its safe to take a plunge when you reach the open waters. As usual, a lot of Koreans were also touring the place, estimating to 15-20 boats only full of them! Well, although they're unfriendly to the locals I'm glad their constant vacation to different tourist sites in the Philippines, has boost up our tourism industry! I was thinking that time, "Why are they always present anywhere in 'Pinas and any time in 'Pinas? Don't they have anything to do besides vacationing?". Oh I must envy them for that!

Going back to the ride, we stopped by the Picnic area where all the prices of the goods are Php 50. Either chips, a beer, cigar or a coke. This stop has a "mini falls". If you pay for Php 500 at the start of the tour, this means your boat will only end here. So remember to get the Php 1250 tour to enjoy a rare Pagsanjan experience!  We get to pass to three to four "mini waterfalls" before we reached the far end, the main Pagsanjan waterfalls. We have to leave our boat and materials with our boat men. We were lead with a different set of men in a "balsa" or raft. This raft took us underneath the great waterfalls and unto a cave. That time we were with the other Koreans in the raft and we realized we don't have our helmets on! I quite panicked because I thought my head would come off if the water fell on my head! Haha! But it didn't! It was fun and we stayed at the small cave for 10 minutes. Water was cold but refreshingly good! Total boatride time to get to the falls is an hour but takes less than 45 minutes to get back. As Science would explain it, its easier to row through the waters when the water is not against you.

The good thing about our accomodation is that we get to enjoy the long slide and their two pools. We didn't ate inside the hotel as the prices were expensive. We walked back to the town proper and ate at regular carinderias which served more great tasting food. We ate Bulalo for dinner (Php 120 good for 3-4 persons) and ofcourse a Tapsilog breakfast the next morning (Php 60). Our trip was very memorable considering that this is only an overnight trip. So come and discover Pagsanjan!#



UPDATE!

As I truly enjoyed my 2012 trip to Pagsanjan Waterfalls, last April 2014, I invited my family to venture the same trip again with me! Now I have my brother who is equipped with a good GoPro camera and I also maximized now my underwater camera by taking more shots of the Pagsanjan experience.


<<<Flip the Page to see my latest trip to Pagsanjan Falls with my family>>

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1 comments:

  1. vee, you have a lot of pageviews, good for you!!! and you have ads from nuffnang.. Yippee!!

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I love food and travel and anything unique and exciting. I love life itself and its a great joy for me to share my food and travel experiences with you.