It was one of those workdays when it was quiet, relaxed and I had time to think about plans for the weekend. I was working in the office in Manila and when you looked outside you could already see the traffic jam and pollution between the grey and achromatic skyscrapers. So our weekend-day destination has to be something green and relaxing!
My friend came up with the idea of the Pagsanjan Falls: It is near to Manila in the province of Laguna and situated in the green Pagsanjan Gorge National Park. The whole trip will feature some adventurous elements. The perfect mix for a quick escape out of the Philippine capital. By the way – the waterfall is in one of the major touristic region of this area, so you can´t do anything wrong.
How to go to the Pagsanjan Gorge National Park from Manila
The Pagsanjan Waterfall is just 30 min away from Manila by bus. We decided to go there on a sunny Sunday. I met with some friends at Cubao Bus Station and we took the first DLTB bus to Cavinti. Arriving there we took a tricycle to the national park, where the waterfall is. Before you go to the national park make sure you grab some lunch, because you will definitely need the energy in the afternoon.
How to go the Falls
Option 1: By canoe on the “Shooting the Rapids”-River
You have two options to got to the waterfall: The first (and more relaxing) is, to hire a boatman from any of the resorts along Bumbungan and Balanac Rivers. Two skilled boatman will guide you to the fall on a dugout canoe on the Shooting the rapids river.
Option 2: Hiking trek with a lot of climbing action
If you are more the adventures type, you should choose option 2 because it´s more fun. It´s a challenging, steep hiking trek down to the waterfall, that include a lot of climbing action, so make sure you are in healthy condition and not afraid of heights. Make sure as well to bring proper climbing equipment such as outdoor climbing ropes. There’s also a high ropes course near the falls if you’re into adventures like that! The view is worth it in this exhausting adventure. To go to the trek, get off the jeepney in Cavinti and go with a tricycle to Pueblo El Salvador Nature’s Park and Picnic Grove.
Guides will take care of you and lead you to the fall. You will make your way trough the peaceful, green and beautiful jungle around the falls. Enjoy the silence and take some deep, deep breaths of fresh air.
On the way down there are two spots where you have to rappel yourself and go down for around 30m. That is the challenging part. But don´t worry, it looks more challenging, than it actually is and you can definitely handle it with a little help from your friends.
The guards will help you and make sure you go down safe. After you mastered that, the relaxing part begins.
Going into the waterfall
The 90 meters high waterfall is actually not that impressive. But the cool thing is, that you can go in a cave behind the fall. How? If you didn´t spot all the other tourists from the boats yet, I will tell you how to go in there. There are boatmen on a raft. They will pull on a rope to bring you inside the waterfall. There you will stay for a couple of minutes, swim in the water or take photos in the cave. It is a lot of fun going through the waterfall because everything on the raft is shaking. Make sure you hold on to the raft so as not fall in the water. But I promise you all the hassle is worth it, as it is a lot of fun. Don´t forget to give a good tip to the boatman as they do it all day long.
When you´re finished with taking pictures and your cold bath, I have bad news for you: You have to climb all the steep stairs up, where you came from! After the water action this might be even more challenging, but you can handle it. Fight your way up and enjoy the view from the top to the waterfall. After you´re done, take a break, grab a mango shake and head back to Manila. Otherwise you can stay in a Pagsanjan Hotel.
I really enjoyed the short break out of the Philippine capital and can recommend the day trip to everyone who needs some fresh air and a relaxing spot to get some distraction from all the stress at work.
Have you been at the Pagsanjan Falls? Tell me about your experience in the comments!