I lived in Laguna for 5 years, one of the great things about my job then (which I am grateful for) was that it took me places. And Pagsanjan with its Shooting The Rapids river adventure ride was one of those job perks I’ve come to enjoy. (Pagsanjan Falls geographically is really ‘Cavinti Falls’ as the falls itself belongs to the municipality of Cavinti, Laguna and not Pagsanjan). I’ve been there thrice and the last one was December of 2009.
Pagsanjan Falls is one of the more popular Philippines Tourist Attractions, and the picture of the falls has also become iconic like that of Cebu’s Magellan’s Cross and Ilocos Norte’s Paoay Church. If you are looking for ideas for your summer getaway this 2013 that is close to Manila, why not consider conquering the rapids of Pagsanjan? It will be a wonderful road trip as you pass gentle countryside.
This famous arc of Pagsanjan will welcome you to this tourist favorite town in Laguna:
Update: When you are planning to have a Laguna quick getaway or a vacation over the weekend, I hope you will consider following the eastern outskirts route of Los Banos – Pila – Sta Cruz – Pagsanjan- Paete, I will be sharing a possible Laguna Day Trip itinerary soon that you can follow.
It’s easy to reach Pagsanjan even through public transport:
Go to Buendia Bus Station and ride a bus bound for Sta Cruz, Laguna. Tell the konduktor (the guy giving out the tickets) that you are getting off the bus in their terminal. (the usual bus terminal is in Pagsawitan, Sta Cruz). There are already jeepney’s bound for Pagsanjan in the bus terminal, ride one of them and ask to be taken to the Pagsanjan Tourism Center where you can request for boatride assistance. (2011 figures:airconditioned bus ride from Buendia to Sta Cruz is around P140 + jeepney ride Sta Cruz to Pagsanjan is P7)
The only way tourists like us can reach the falls safely is through a boatride due to the falls being located right smack in the center of two adjoining 1,500 foot cliffs (It’s not advisable to go there when its raining heavily as the river water swells and you could get trap)
Our group opted to avail of the Shooting The Rapids package of a hotel, I think we paid close to P1,300 each person for that, the fee already include the boatride, boatmen fee, the cavinti/pagsanjan toll fee. Each boat can accommodate max of 3 passengers plus 2 boatmen.
river boat ride to Pagsanjan Falls
I love the still silence that will greet you once you pass the last sign of civilization, mountain wall with its lush greenery and a very still river water ( part of the way) welcoming you to its folds. It would not be surprising if old folks believes in diwata and engkanto because the raw beauty of the place.
But don’t be fooled the ride is called Shooting The Rapids and rightly so because there are 13 rapids on the way to Pagsanjan Falls (one way takes about an hour and a half) and some rapids can be rough. This is the point where your boatmen will show their exceptional agility and navigation skills. They will carry your boat literally with the awestruck you in it over the boulders and against the current. Mapapahanga ka talaga! Wow!
Don’t be surprise though halfway through the ride there is a rest stop/store where your boatmen will rest (as they should after sweating it out) and hopefully gets free snack/meal from you (actually the store keeper there will ‘request’ you to buy for your boatmen, take note prices there are a bit high, soda sells for P40). While your boatmen eats/rest, you can while away the time by having pictures taken by the small falls (it’s so minute when compared to the real thing lol )
picture taking at ‘small falls’
After that customary rest you will continue on your ride, your boat will have to be carried over between two really close big boulders where the rapid is strong!
And then there it is Pagsanjan Falls in all its roaring glory!
You’d be again shelling out P90/person at this point if you want to ride the bamboo raft to go under the falls and reach the cave just behind the falling waters. Please, please ride the raft, your Pagsanjan experience will not be complete without it. But caution for those with heart problems, the water feels like a giant boulder has collapsed on your back the moment you are under the water spray, although some say its just akin to a hard, tough massage. The thunderous sound of falling water can be scary heheh.
Personal tip: ask to be seated farthest on the right on the way to the falls and be on the left as you go back, that’s where the water spray has the least impact, i know because that’s my strategy after my hard-earned lesson the first time I braved the falls heheh. See where I am seated, my teammates didn’t know this hahaha
Bamboo raft in Pagsanjan!
Bamboo rafting to Pagsanjan Falls
You can swim to your heart’s desire when you are clear of the falls for the water is just around chest deep but it can be really, really cold. The view from behind Pagsanjan Falls will make you want to make time still while you listened to pulsing waters.
Then you head back to the boat station/hotel a bit tired but feeling awesome
Pagsanjan is one of Laguna’s Top Attractions. Hope you can make it there this summer! If not this summer, then on your future weekend getaways. ^_^