CAVINTI & LUISIANA, LAGUNA, PHILIPPINES — Perfect for a “chasing-waterfalls weekend”, Laguna offers a wide choices of waterfalls for you to visit and shower into. One of the many possible waterfalls combos is Pagsanjan Falls – Hulugan Falls – Aliw Falls, which I have tried in no more than a month after my solo trip to Hulugan Falls.
Perhaps you’ve known Pagsanjan Falls since you were a kid. You’ve probably read it somewhere in your textbooks or might have seen it in the postcards or posters that your teacher told you to bring as part of your homeroom project. Pagsajan Falls, though named after the the town made famous by the falls, is actually not within the borders of Pagsanjan. The waterfalls is located within the municipality of Cavinti and hence, whenever you hear about Cavinti Falls, you should know that Cavinti Falls and Pagsanjan Falls are one and same. Its indigenous name however is Magdapio Falls, named after Magda and Pio, folkloric characters whose tragic story resembles a typical telenovela of today. Another folklore that I am more familiar with is the one about the brothers Balubad and Magdapio, the former of which became the mountain and the latter produced the falls after striking the land with his wand.
It has became a century of tradition and culture to reach Pagsanjan Falls by canoe from the town of Pagsanjan. Hence, replacing “Magdapio” with “Pagsanjan” as the tip-of-the-tongue name of the falls. To reach the falls from Pagsanjan, you need to hire boatmen and ride their canoe. The rate is around P1200-1500 for the boatride per person.
In 2007, the municipality of Cavinti developed the Pueblo El Salvador Nature’s Park and Picnic Grove in Brgy. Tibatib, thereby providing an alternate route to reach the falls.
Since we don’t have the budget for the boat ride via Pagsanjan, we opted for the route via Cavinti. This trail allows you to trek your way down (and rapel) to the falls. Naluko Falls, which is actually just the topmost level of Pagsanjan Falls, can be seen from the viewdecks of Pueblo El Salvador.
TRAVEL GUIDE: Pagsanjan Falls (via Cavinti)
- HOW TO GET THERE. From Cubao, ride any bus bound to Sta. Cruz (Laguna) and alight at Pagsawitan (fare, P140). Ride a jeep bound to Lucban and alight at Cavinti Junction (fare, P20). Note: In Laguna, “Joson” and “Johnson” also refers to “junction”. From Cavinti Junction, ride a tricycle to Pueblo El Salvador (fare, P100/trike). Get the number of the driver as the transportation back to town proper is scarce.
- FEES. Pay P270 at the office in Pueblo El Salvador if you would trek to the falls, inclusive of environmental fees and the guides. Pay P50 if you will just visit the view deck and forget the trekking and rapelling part.
- SIDETRIP. On your way back to Cavinti Junction (or on your way to Cavinti town proper, if you’ll have your lunch there), ask the driver to drop you for a moment at the Bumbungan River Eco-Park for no extra charge (sometimes, they do volunteer to bring you here). Bumbungan River is the river connected to Pagsanjan Falls. Fare remains at P100 per tricycle.
It has not been more than a month since the last time I saw Hulugan Falls. This time however, I was not alone. And by not alone, I mean the place is crowded. Much different from the last time where I enjoyed the falls all by myself. The water also has lesser volume than what it has a few weeks ago. Read the rest of the entry about Hulugan Falls here.
TRAVEL GUIDE: Hulugan Falls
- HOW TO GET THERE. If you are following our Pagsanjan-Hulugan-Aliw itinerary: From Cavinti town proper, ride a tricycle to Cavinti Junction (fare, P10). Ride a Lucena-bound or Luisiana-bound jeep and alight at San Salvador (fare, P15). From the information kiosk near the barangay arc, a mandatory guide will be assigned to you. From there, ride a tricycle towards the barangay captain’s house for registration (fare, P10).
- FEES. Pay P15 registration/environmental fee at the captain’s house. Guides are required but the fees are not standardized, hence, depends on you. We paid P200 for a group of 6.
- To reduce impact, try visiting the falls on a weekday.
Our last waterfalls for the day! Just a tricycle away from San Salvador, the distance between Hulugan and Aliw Falls makes a visit to the two become possible within half-a-day. The trek to Aliw Falls will take about 30 minutes for an average outdoor junkie and is easier than the trek to Hulugan Falls. While Cavinti and Hulugan Falls teems with gushing waters, the waters of Aliw Falls flow down into a series of cascades. You could shower on one of the upper / middle cascades of the falls or take a plunge to the catchbasin below.
TRAVEL GUIDE: Aliw Falls
- HOW TO GET THERE. If you are following our Pagsanjan – Hulugan – Aliw itinerary: From the registration area of San Salvador, hire a tricycle to take you to Brgy. San Jose (specifically in DAFI resort). Fare is P25 per person.
- FEES. Registration fee depends on you, we paid P15 per person. Guide fees (usually a different guide from Hulugan Falls because of the different jurisdiction), like that in Hulugan Falls, are not standardized. We paid the same rate as what we paid in Hulugan Falls (P200 for a group of 6). Wash-up at the resort is P10.
- Fare from San Jose to Sta. Cruz is P30.
SAMPLE ITINERARY (Pagsanjan Falls, Hulugan Falls, Aliw Falls)
0500 ETD Cubao
0800 ETA Pagsawitan, Sta. Cruz
0830 ETA Cavinti Junction
0900 ETA Pueblo El Salvador
1000 Cavinti/Pagsanjan Falls
1130 ETD Pueblo El Salvador
1145 Sidetrip Bumbungan River
1200 Lunch at Cavinti town proper
1245 ETD Cavinti Junction
0115 ETA San Salvador
0200 Hulugan Falls
0300 ETD San Salvador
0400 ETA Aliw Falls
0500 ETD Aliw Falls