I knew Pagsanjan Falls as one of Philippines’ natural wonders since I was in first grade (Civics & Culture class). Though I have been staying in Metro Manila (I’m from Capiz) for eight years, it was only last Saturday (09/14/13) that I personally heard its roaring and raging water.
It was a bit difficult to decide where to go or what to do for a mini high school friends reunion when one has to consider each one’s likes, limitations, and available time.
Time was running out before the fun day out, a few options were suggested, and Pagsanjan Falls was finally chosen as the destination.
The first thing I did was look in the internet on how to go there. Through http://www.chasingphilippines.com/2011/05/road-not-taken-to-pagsanjan-falls.html and http://paroonatparito.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/pagsanjan-falls-via-pueblo-el-salvador-cavinti-laguna/, I was able to come up with an itinerary. We left Buendia that late because one friend arrived from Indonesia 0600H of the same day.
Pagsanjan Falls via Cavinti land route
0830H Departure to Sta. Cruz, Laguna via Green Star Bus Line (Fare: P130)
1045H Arrival at Green Star Bus Terminal, Sta. Cruz, Laguna
1100H Lunch at carinderia in front of the bus terminal
1130H Take special trip via 2 tricycles (we were 5). The fare was P180/head (haggled from P200), roundtrip. But we ended up voluntarily paying P200/head because the tricycle drivers were kind. I asked for Mang Enrico’s mobile number – 09094209254.
We passed by Pagsanjan Arc and requested Mang Enrico to stop so we could take pictures.
1210H Arrival at Pueblo El Salvador Del Mundo, an ecopark owned and managed by the government.
The Pueblo personnel were eating by the time we arrived. They were all nice. We paid P280/head. No refund policy applies if one will back out in the middle of the trek. Children ages 12 years old and below were not allowed.
It was raining on and off. Most of us decided not to wear raincoats and just bathe in the rain. We left all things that we thought we won’t need because we were constantly warned of the challenge of climbing up the stairs on our way back, and that we needed to bring the lightest load that we can.
1245H Mang Sammy accompanied us from the start of the trek with cemented path, then some stairs, but were not metal yet, so they were not counted in the 586 steps, until we reached the big statue of Jesus. At this point, each one put on a harness.
Metal staircases started here. Two guides at the first vertical ladder where we had to rappel our way down were waiting at the foot of the first staircase.
I was the first in line.
Guides were just present in the rappel stations, then we just had to continue going down, following the metal ladder/path.
Then we reached the 2nd of the 2 vertical ladders.
I was first again to go down.
After this was the steepest of all staircases.
At the foot of the stairs, we were eager to see the falls. We saw bangkeros with their boat that transported other tourists to the falls via the river route.
1330H Then alas, we saw it:
There were two rafts that will transport visitors to The Devil’s Cave behind the falls. The name is such because they say it looks like the face of the devil. I didn’t see what they meant. But anyway, we went there twice. On our first try, I discovered how suffocating it is to passed beside the falls itself because of the thick, raging mist. Life jackets were not available for those who took the land route. Since we did not have a waterproof camera, we did not bring any gadget at the cave. But one of us decided to take the risk of bringing her camera on our second try.
1445H We decided to go upstairs so we can go home early. We were so happy with the experience. We gave tips to Kuyas maneuvering the rafts at the falls and those who were at the rappel stations.
A clean water source is available along the trek, and the other one is in one of the big rocks just before you will reach the falls.
The tricycle drivers were waiting for us at Pueblo and they took us to the nearby Bumbungan Ecopark so we can take a shower. Bath was also available at Pueblo, but only good for one person at a time. We just paid a P10 ecology fee.
This was such a very fulfilling and enjoyable nature trip that was planned in such a short time. We did not underestimate the difficulty of the trail, so we ended up finishing it not so tired.
1700H Departure for Ayala, Makati via Cubao bound bus (Fare: P135)