WET & WILD WEEKEND: Boating and Rafting In Pagsanjan Falls

Last Saturday, I joined Isaac, Joy and their two foreigner colleagues, Adrianos from Venezuela/Greece/Spain and Elena from Italy on a weekend getaway. The plan was to show them around and bring them to the famous Pagsanjan Falls. I was so excited since I haven’t been there and I thought that it only existed in postcards. I suddenly remembered when teachers asked us to submit some “Philippine Landmarks” projects in grade school.

Before heading to the falls, we stopped by Joy’s beautiful home in Victoria, Laguna for lunch where they served us a seafood feast fit for a King. There was Inihaw na Bangus, Tilapia, Ensaladang Mangga, Kare-Kare, Sinigang na Isda, Seaweed Salad, Guinataang Langka, and the sweetest mangoes ever! Her family, as always, was so nice and accommodating and we were so damn full. Adrianos and Elena cant resist on trying every single dish. (Sorry, I have no photos, I was too busy eating) πŸ™‚

An then we went to the town of Pagsanjan which is a 30-minute drive from Victoria. I’ve noticed that there were a lot of resorts along the riverbanks where tourists like us can stay in if we plan of staying overnight. After paying the tickets which costs P 1,500 per head, we were so ready to go; and me, scared as hell as always. I dunno, I’m really scared of drowning since I can’t swim.

Two boats were allotted for us since each boat can only accommodate three people plus two boat guides. We were each provided life vests to ensure our safety in case our boats tumble down.

At the start of the trip, our boats were hooked up on a motor boat that dragged us for about 15 minutes upstream until we reached the rougher waters of the river where rocks pile up and the waters get shallower. From the boat, we saw the set of GMA 7’s TV series Amaya and the beautiful tree which, according to the boatmen, became the setting for that old teen TV series entitled ‘Tabing Ilog’ (the hut and the dock was not there anymore though).

A few minutes more, the hard tasks of our two boat guides started. With one Manong in front and the other at the back, each of them used their feet (barefoot) and hands to push the boat upstream against the rushing rapids. I saw the struggle on their faces as they push and pull our heavy boat towards our destination. I really feel for these men. At this stage Me, Joy and her husband Tomas were discussing that perhaps our original tip amount was too small and their efforts should be fairly compensated. I then noticed that the river was calmer and quiet which only meant one thing, we were on the deeper sections of the river. Thoughts in mind were Crocodiles, Piranhas, and Anacondas. Seriously!

We then stopped at a big waterfall but, it was not the Pagsanjan Falls yet. We were told that when the waters are too violent due to heavy rains, sometimes the boats go only until here. We got off and there was a store offering us some food and water since this would be our only chance for refreshments as there was nothing available at the falls itself. We were too excited to be thinking about food at this point so we continued our journey.

Now, the path along the river is full of lush greenery. It was very quiet and the only sound that I heard was the water, the creatures in the nearby forest and our voices saying “Wow, and ganda”. It was a worthwhile sight. Kinda reminded me of those scenes in movies Jurassic Park, along the Amazon River or from the movie Anaconda (and yes, I’m still thinking of the big snake).

Then we reached the famous Pagsanjan falls. It was not as big as I imagined but I felt that it’s strong, mighty, and still majestic. You see, I have this fascination about waterfalls, fairies, and forest creatures so it was like the perfect setting.

But here’s the fun part. Under the waterfall there is a hole and you can actually go under the falls and into that cave right on. So, with no hesitations, we left all of our things, jumped into the bamboo raft, and went underneath the falls. The bamboo raft was strongly and tightly secured to big ropes and was navigated by two very muscled Manongs. I was so scared that the falls might kill me but guess what, I had the coldest, craziest, hardest, and most unique shower of my life! Its like being in the middle of a hurricane. We went for a short swim inside the cave and went back. We got drenched from head to toe!

We then decided to go back. It was faster going downstream and less effort for our boatmen because we were going with the flow. We were so excited by the speed that we raised our hands only to realize that we were supposed to stay still. The water gushed in so fast and we panicked. I thought were gonna drown but luckily, we didn’t. But it was fun! Hahaha! We got back at the river banks past 6:00 PM and was so excited to change out of our wet clothes. We were all happy of the experience and glad that Adrianos and Elena enjoyed the trip. Getting wet was all worth it!

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