Pagsanjan Falls – A Preface
Pagsanjan Falls, together with Puerto Princesa Underground River and other sight seeing spots, is among the top five natural attractions that this island vacations buff had been dreaming to visit. Considered as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Philippines whose image is among the prominently displayed waterfalls pictures in private homes and public buildings in the country, it is actually located in the town of Cavinti, Laguna though its entry point is within the jurisdiction of the municipality of Pagsanjan particularly in the village of Pinagsanjan which serves as junction area of Balanac and Bumbungan Rivers.
Pagsanjan Falls – My Dream Travel To Nature Destination
Scenes from my elementary school days kept flashing back on my mind. With a stomach filled with either sweet potato or cassava with a little or no viand at all and, after bidding good by to my dear mother, I would run through more than a hundred concrete steps towards the school situated in the hill top overlooking the town center and hurriedly enter my school. Among the reasons that I never lost enthusiasm in going to school was because of the eagerness to gaze at the beautiful pictures of Philippine natural attractions, among them the Pagsanjan Falls, prominently displayed by my teacher in the front wall of our class room that really captured my imagination and made me inspired to pursue my studies being the only means I saw that I can escape from the bondage of poverty and visit my dream natural attractions some day.
More than two decades had passed since my college graduation and here I am, fulfilling my dream of visiting my top destinations, this time to Pagsanjan Falls. . .
When our vehicle was traversing the national highway from Calamba City to the capital city of Sta. Cruz in Laguna, I could not help but sympathize with the bitter feelings harbored by the Philippine national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal against the abusive Spanish Guardia Civil who forced her beloved mother to walk her way from their home in Calamba passing through the 45-kilometer road en route to the jail situated in Sta. Cruz.
A few minutes more of travel and my eyes was glued on this sight. . .
Unaware of the consequences, our vehicle followed on a motorcycle riding man who introduced to us as an experienced tour guide and who brought us here . . .
The information chart clearly stipulated that the standard round trip rate for the Pagsanjan Falls boat ride was only PhP 1,000.00 but the man sitting on the table charged us PhP 1,350.00 each. Being a person who prefer to be overcharged than to haggle, I left the responsibility to negotiate to my sister-in-law Ate Lourcy but her haggling expertise was no match to the adamance of the person manning the landing area. As we were running out of time, we agreed to pay provided we have to be issued the corresponding official receipt in excess of the standard rate which we understood to be covered by cash tickets. Nevertheless, no receipt was issued as agreed, hence, we hurried to the stairs down the river bank as the boat assigned to us had already docked.
Despite the feeling of resentment, not with the money but for the duping experience involved, but we still managed to smile while we were on board the non-motorized boat . . .
Our boat was then pulled upstream by a tug boat and we passed by this signage which rubbed salt to our injured feelings . . .
On our way upstream, we passed by spots of showbiz significance . . .
The tug boat stopped at the entrance to the Canyon dubbed the Pagsanjan Gorge Tourist Zone (PGTZ) which was also the film location starting point of the 1979 Academy Award, Cannes Palme d’Or and Golden Globe winning American film Apocalypse Now set during the Vietnam War directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starred by Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Dennis Hopper and Robert Duvall.
Our fate were then put on the hands of the experienced boat men who expertly piloted our boat as we shoot the foaming rapids . . .
The thrill did not only end with shooting the rapids but with the gazing of the grand canyons on both sides of the stream as well. As I focused my camera directly over our head, this sight hovering us had really amazed me much . . .
From time to time, we would pass by and take pictures of smaller waterfalls . . .
Upward we went further passing through the hard-to-maneuver parts of the stream passing in the process four more minor waterfalls until we reached our final destination. . .
As we docked at the banca garage, the sound of the thundering waterfalls made me jump from the boat as I carefully slogged over the pathway leading to the Pagsanjan Falls and this sight excited me most . . .
I and Zenith then took turns in taking one of the most memorable photographs of our lives with our dreamed Pagsanjan Falls at the background . . .
We were then prodded by the raft men cum life guards to try the thrill of getting nearer to Pagsanjan Falls and enter the Devil’s Cave at the edge of the plunge pool but I preferred to stay put to film Zenith in her exciting bamboo raft trip . . .
The return trip downstream took us 45 minutes to maneuver in contrast to our 1 hour, more or less, upstream travel to Pagsanjan Falls.
Pagsanjan Falls – Final Insights
Shooting the rapids, gazing through the grand canyons and savoring the mighty waterfalls in action was one of the most fulfilling moments of my life which I recommend you to also experience. Nevertheless, I urge you to be vigilant along the way and not allow yourselves to be duped. If you intend to visit the place, you better consult the comprehensive blog post of Tutubi about the tourist spot. Be that as it may, being a waterfalls fanatic, my visit to Pagsanjan Falls was not only a dream come true but a trip to heaven here on earth.