Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pagsanjan / Cavinti Falls Eco-Adventure (Dec 2013)

It was supposed to be a Laguna day trip including a boat ride up to Pagsanjan Falls, hunt for the delectable buko pie and visit UP Los Banos (my SIL's alma mater), but time wasn't on our side, almost getting lost in the new hway and taking the road less travelled. We only got to accomplish one.

here is the driving map to Cavinti from Manila following the expressway

We were supposed to take the conventional boat ride up to Pagsanjan Falls but upon reaching Pagsanjan town proper, we were "welcomed" by several touts. They were walking along the van as we drove past each and everyone of them. Some even caught up with us after driving for a few kms ahead. But we already had a place in mind where we were supposed to start this boat journey. Unfortunately, as we were told earlier on by a police/traffic enforcer, the said place has been closed for quite some time. We had no choice but to look for another location to set off from. We found one resort with very accommodating staff. They informed us that due to rain from previous days, it would be a bit challenging to do the boat ride up to the falls. We were told we could still go on the boat ride half-way to the falls, but still paying the full amount (PHP1250 per person). It was not a good option for us so we ventured further up the province until we reached the next town which was Cavinti. My brother-in-law read from the internet that there was a good eco-adventure activity that we could possibly do.

As it turned out, Cavinti is actually where the falls is geographically located (as what the locals said). And the locals of Cavinti we spoke with (staff of Cavinti Falls Eco-adventure park) insisted that what was known to many as Pagsanjan Falls is actually Cavinti Falls. We were politely corrected with the misnomer when we asked how we could reach the falls from there. 

Cavinti Falls Eco-adventure park was closer to the falls and offered us a different experience from what we initially hoped for. There was no long boat ride. We were told we were to climb up and down a series of steep staircases, rappel twice, and take a bamboo boat (balsa) ride right through the falls. Due to the intensity of the activity, young kids, elderly, or unfit people are not allowed. Too bad my father-in-law as well as Tita and Ira couldn't go on this adventure. They were quite strict with the age limit which was 12, I think. Ira was only 9. He was fit enough and I think he could have made it through, but safety was their priority and we respect that. Our 3 travel companions were left at the viewing deck, which was not a bad place to kill time.

Here are some of the photos we took during our eco-adventure (which cost PHP270 per person plus tips to the guides and boatsmen).

on our way to the viewing deck

patron saint of the town

all geared up

Several hundred steps (580 to be exact!) and a couple of rappels after and we were at the launching point of the balsa ride to Cavinti Falls. The balsa was pulled by 3 men using a rope tied into a rock inside the cave behind the falls. 

our first glimpse of Pagsanjan/Cavinti Falls

it was a long way back to the top
We didn't only have to brave the heights, but also the cold 
as we were all soaking wet from our balsa ride through the falls.

We were exhausted. We were terrified at some point. We got wet and cold. We didn't give up. We definitely had loads of fun at Cavinti Falls Eco-adventure Park. Our guides were nice and took good care of us. It's an experience we could do again, next time probably with Ira. 

I totally recommend this activity.

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