Pagsanjan Falls is truly one of the best experiences you can have in the Philippines. Take a boat ride that takes about 30mins each way (about P750 per person). Ride the bamboo raft also that takes you directly to the waterfall and behind it where there is a cave. you can swim and take pictures here!
Some people just went the to see the falls. But that's just half of the cake. Please ride the balsa and dare not miss the rapids. It's really like a water therapeutic massage. The water is so heavy on your body and head but inside you , you will feel so light. The experience is so good. Please do not miss it. A Pagsanjan falls trip without the rapids is like a cake without the icing...
This historic town gate was built in 1878-1880. It has three Roman style arches topped by two lions, guarding the royal Spanish emblem. Along Rizal st, near the gate, some old houses survived, holding memories of the past Filipino architecture.
Taking the raft to the center of the falls is optional. We were initially thinking if we will do it or just stay a safe distance away. Since we were there, we decided to pay the P90 per person fee and get closer to the falls.
The water was cold. It was hard to see and breath with the water falling directly at us. Painful at some point. But enjoyable nonetheless. We were there for ~3 minutes and already had enough. Exhilarating!
***We thought that the P90 fee is too much.
The main reason why any tourist would go to Pagsanjan is to see Pagsanjan Falls (which is actually in Cavinti, not Pagsanjan). You can hire a canoe from any of the numerous resorts along the river. It can take at most 3 passengers and 2 boatmen will maneuver it along the river.
Canoes will be pulled upstream by motorboat the earlier part of the ride. When it gets to the rocky part, the boatmen will use their oars, and sometimes get off the canoe to do push the boat through the obstacles.
The view along the river is spectacular. You have the Sierra Madre mountains on both sides, really high walls of rock and vegatation. There are several waterfalls along the way. :)
Don't forget to take a river rapids trip to see Pagsanjan Falls. Most of the adventure is in the journey to the falls, as you snake your way through the Pagsanjan River. You should expect to pay no more than 580 pesos (as of 2005) set by the Dept. Of Tourism. I was actually shown this rate sheet by the tour operator as he explained to my friend and I the course of our journey on a map. Expect several hours for the trip from the base which the tour operators start to the falls, and back.
The river trip is not extremely rough, although expect to get slightly wet at times. Life jackets are given to passengers as an extra pre-caution, but the boatsmen are experienced locals who know their terrain.
At the end of your journey, expect to tip your boatsmen that took you to falls. This should be around 500-1000 pesos (depending on the service and your gratuity). Don't expect to pay more than this, especially since some of them may insist more.
Overall, the natural beauty of the air, water, and earth involved in this trip is something you will never forget!!
the pics at the falls were taken using a camera fone so medyo malabo hehehe.
as you can see...stuff to do would be 1. shoot the rapids, see the falls 2. relax in the hotel 3. eat at 83 gallery cafe and or 4. visit the neighboring towns....
Nothing really prepared me for the beauty that is Pagsanjan Falls. After the rough boat ride, we finally reached the Falls. And if I may borrow a cliche', "it was like seeing the rainbow after the rains".
The roaring sound of the water on impact may make you balk, but hey DON't! Hop on the raft and take the short trip to the falls, I mean through the falls. Yep, the raft took us not only close to the falls but literally under it. It was like having a shower full blast! The sound of the cascading water drowned out our shrieks of delight.
That was just half of the fun. Behind the falls is a small "cave" with waist-deep, warm water. We got off the raft and spent some time swimming. Our experience made the trouble we went through seemed little.
There is only one way to get to the falls - hire a boat and sail through the length of Pagsanjan River. If you think it will be a smooth, leisurely ride, think again! The river maybe silent in some parts, but definitely rough in others. It was like taking a roller coaster ride on water! Upstream was a difficult task for the boatmen as you go against the current. Downstream is more fun as you go along the flow of the water.
But you need not be afraid to try it. The boat operators implement rules on passenger safety. Each one is provided with life vest and seat cushion, and is briefed on the do's and dont's while on the boat. And, your life is safe on the hands of the boatmen who are really experienced and memorized by heart the twists and turns in the river.
A must see and I actually think one of the highlights of my trip to the Philippines is riding the boats to and from the falls. I guess you can say you would be doing what the locals do for fun there since international travel guides do not seem to know about this although most Pilipinos have either gone / or want to go when they are in Luzon.
Men with freakily outstanding muscle definition from the ages 12 to 60 paddle you in a heavy dugout canoe up to the source of the river, the Falls. Nevermind the countless rapids they pull you UP through! I ended up questioning my whole exercise routine afterwards.
Don't worry about having to help out and pull the dugout up. They've got it down to an art and you can just relax and watch the jungles cliffs going straight up 300 ft on both sides as they squeeze the river to sometimes not less than 30 ft across.
Along the way, there are a couple stops where you can buy refreshments and even chicken barbecue. Very good chicken barbecue I must say.
Once you reach the Falls, you can actually go underneath the Falls to a small grotto behind the water by riding a bamboo plank. Once there, you can stay in the grotto pool and realize you just made a memorable vacation experience.
Cons to the trip?
Hell of drive from Manila. I just went to sleep but I think it must have been 2 hours to get there.
I think paid about 1790 pesos. Well worth it.
Here's a website with some good pics.