Hike through rainforests, rappel down a gorge and canoe through rapids to see some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Philippines. Private transportation from Manila included.
Highlights and activities: - Visit 4 waterfalls including Pagsanjan Falls and Hulugan Falls - Hike through lush rain forests. - Descend a gorge by walking, climbing and rappelling down a forest walkway. - Ride a traditional dugout canoe through river rapids. - Swim in waterfall lagoons.
Overview: Laguna de Bay, just south of Manila, is the biggest lake in the Philippines and it is surrounded by some of the greenest mountains in the country. These forested mountains are braided by countless streams and rivers that feed into the lake, blessing the Laguna area with numerous waterfalls. Of all the beautiful cascades in Laguna, Hulugan Falls and Pagsanjan Falls (also known as Cavinti Falls and Magdapio Falls) are the most impressive. Not only are the waterfalls striking but their surroundings and the experience involved in getting to them are unforgettable.
Hulugan Falls is in a rainforest and to get to it we hike on narrow trails, cross streams and scramble over rocks. Before reaching Hulugan Falls we arrive at two other cascades, Talay Falls and Hidden Falls, each remarkable in its own right. Hulugan Falls itself is stunning with its 70 meter (230 foot) high curtain of water creating a fine veil over a richly vegetated rock wall.
Pagsanjan Falls is at the bottom of a gorge and is surrounded by a dense forest of exotic plants. Scenes of the movie Apocalypse Now were filmed in the Pagsanjan river gorge and it is one of the must-see destinations of the Philippines. To get to the falls we make our way through the rainforest and down the gorge using a system of elevated walkways, stairs and ladders. It’s an exciting and scenic descent that involves the use harnesses and ropes to lower down several sections. Pagsanjan Falls spills violently into a lagoon and we hop on a bamboo raft to get up close and behind the falling water. The experience is culminated by a canoe ride down a river bordered by sheer cliffs and dotted by rapids.
Itinerary: We pick you up at your hotel at 6AM and drive 3 hours to Luisiana, home of Hulugan Falls. From the trailhead it is a 30 minute hike to Talay Falls, the first of three waterfalls in the area. This is the smallest of the falls that we visit and has the calmest water, making it an ideal place to take a dip. Just above Talay is Hidden Falls and we do a 10 minute scramble up a steep route over rocks to find it. From Hidden Falls it is a 30 minute hike across streams and down steep trails to Hulugan Falls. When our eyes and hearts have had their fill we hike back to the trailhead, closing the loop in about 30 minutes. We then have lunch at a local eatery.
After lunch we drive 30 minutes to the trailhead of Pagsanjan Falls in Cavinti. We walk about 10 minutes down a trail then arrive at a metal walkway suspended above the forest floor. Here we put on harnesses and use a rope to lower down a vertical section. We make our way down the gorge using the metal walkway and lower twice more with a rope. Getting to the falls at the bottom of the gorge takes about an hour.
Pagsanjan Falls is about 30 meters (100 feet) away from shore and we get on a bamboo raft to approach it. We go behind the falling water into a recess in the rock wall where we can appreciate the power of the cascade up close and safely take a dip at the same time.
After experiencing the falls we get on a dugout canoe and float downriver through the scenic gorge. This is a ride like no other, with our skillful boatmen navigating shallow sections and rapids by jumping out of the canoe and pushing off rocks with their feet.
Our vehicle awaits at the end of the canoe ride and we get back to Manila at around 7PM.