LUISIANA, LAGUNA, PHILIPPINES — Perhaps one of the greatest finds in 2015, the majestic Hulugan Falls offers a gigantic cascade of its cold waters. Hulugan Falls is located in San Salvador, Luisiana, Laguna, making its location very conducive for a quick getaway from the busy streets of the metropolitan.
I was supposedly meeting my co-author for a scientific article at Los Baños last December 22, but it didn’t pushed through so I have just looked for something adventurous to do. That was when Hulugan Falls popped into the view. Going to Luisiana alone is not a difficult feat since Laguna has been my home for five years. Oftentimes, I just really want to do things by myself. Walang halong #HugutanFalls o kung ano pa man.
Hulugan Falls is one of the recent “discoveries” in 2015. According to locals, only few knew about the falls until it became internet-popular earlier in 2015. It might be possible that the falls really evaded the majority for decades since the forested area have no nearby residents.
I’ve heard from Dan of More Dan Travels that the trek will pass by the top of the falls. When I was there, however, they have developed an alternate trail (and I think this will now become the major trail). The trail starts from the road that is undergoing construction, followed by loamy forest floor with few steep descents. The final and challenging part was the descent on the muddy trail with several protruding rocks. If you are an average outdoor junkie, you can reach the falls in 30 minutes. Extend that if you’re not.
Exploring during weekdays has its perks: less photobombers. However, Hulugan Falls made sure its presence was felt that day. The volume of water cascading down was so large. The downward impact was so strong that the wind gust from the cascading water felt like storm. I couldn’t even get closer.
I was planning to visit the nearby Aliw Falls too, but it quickly got dark. I forgot that December 22 has been tagged as the shortest day of the year because of the solstice. Maybe some time I’ll get to be Aliw-ed soon.
One note though: the road construction may help everyone get to Hulugan Falls easier but it doesn’t mean we have the right to do whatever we want. As responsible tourists and visitors, please do help in preserving the beauty of Hulugan Falls. Keep the trash to ourselves.
Before, heading home I’ve decided to visit UPLB and see the annual Christmas tree. Feels good to be back.
TRAVEL GUIDE / TIPS
- HOW TO GET THERE. From Cubao, ride a HM or a DLTB bus bound to Sta. Cruz, Laguna and get-off at Pagsawitan (fare PhP140). There are also DLTB and Jac Liner buses in Gil Puyat that are bound to Sta. Cruz. From Pagsawitan, ride a jumbo jeep bound to Lucban and alight at San Salvador (fare P30). You will see an arc on the right side of the road once you are in Brgy. San Salvador. Go to the information desk and they’ll be assigning a mandatory guide for you. Take a tricycle (fare P10/pax) or choose to walk towards the registration area (Brgy. Captain’s house).
- FEES. Registration fee is P15 per head. Guide fee have no fixed rates, depends on you.
- No nearby eateries in the area, so plan about your food. Sari-sari stores are present along the road. Recently, there are food stalls selling pancit habhab, bibingka and other local delicacies.
- While you’re at it, you may also visit Talay Falls in the same barangay but farther from Hulugan Falls. In the nearby Brgy. San Jose, Aliw Falls offers to allure you with its voluptuous cascades and cold caress. If you still can’t get enough, Pagsanjan/Cavinti Falls and Majayjay Falls from the nearby municipalities will gladly welcome you.
- Remember the Leave No Trace policy.
- To reduce impact on overcrowding, try to visit on weekdays.
SAMPLE ITINERARY (HULUGAN FALLS & ALIW FALLS)
0500 Departure Cubao
0730 Arrival Sta. Cruz
0745 Departure Sta. Cruz to San Salvador
0820 Arrival San Salvador, Register
0830 Start Trek
0930 Arrival Hulugan Falls
1100 Back to registration area, lunch, rest, log-out
1230 Depart for Aliw Falls
0130 Arrival Aliw Falls
P140 x 2 – Bus fare (Cubao to Sta. Cruz)
P30 x 2 – Jeep fare (Sta. Cruz to San Salvador)
P10 x 2 – Tricycle fare (San Salvador arc to registration area)
P15 – Registration / Environmental Fee
P200 – Guide fee (depends on you, no fixed rate)
TOTAL – P575 (for a solo traveler)