Total Pageviews

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pagsanjan Falls via vertical trek at Cavinti Laguna

Usually month of May is the time where students start to gear up for another school year while others are pursuing the time for last minute outing before the rainy season comes. And since we can’t get enough of summer, we decided to explore waterfalls in Laguna province last weekend (May19). It was last year when we started chasing Pagsanjan and Majayjay falls for the beauty it contains, but time restraint us from visiting the place since we’re occupied every summer and it’s not advisable to drop a visit during wet season. 
Pagsanjan Laguna Arch
Pagsanjan falls was once called “Magdapio falls” derived from the legend of two brothers, Balubad and Magdapio who suffered from drought then eventually called as Pagsanjan falls. This magnificent falls is actually within the province of Cavinti Laguna but entrĂ©e to the falls by boat originated from the town of Pagsanjan. You can reach the waterfall via shooting the rapids which costs 1,350php per head that includes life vest, boat ride with 2 boatmen (3 people per boat), entrance fee, and the water raft ride to devil’s cave. Just get ready for chances that boatmen will charge you an exorbitant tip, usually 200 and up which according to them is for their hardwork in controlling the boat from the rapids. Since we’re on a budget and can’t spare thousand of pesos for just a day trip, we ended up taking vertical way to Pagsanjan falls. It can be done through trekking and rappelling from the starting point in Pueblo El Salvador Nature's Park & Picnic grove at the town of Cavinti. However, before taking the Pagsanjan falls via Cavinti way make sure that you are in good shape, without medical condition such as heart problem or asthma, ready to face long walk to almost 500 steps of steel and  two times rappelling since it’s the same way you will pass through back to Pueblo. 

road trip to Cavinti Laguna
We left Alabang 4:30 in the morning and travel all the way to Cavinti Laguna. We passed by the town of Calamba, Bay, Victoria, Pila, Pagsanjan where we are hounded by boatmen offering their service, and finally Cavinti. 

We arrived at Pueblo El Salvador around 9:30am after our heavy breakfast at Jollibee Pagsanjan. At the front desk you will be asked if someone in your group has heart problem, asthma or fear of heights reminding visitors that payment is non-refundable once you backed-out. We paid 150php per head that includes entrance fee, guide and rappelling gears. All set for an extraordinary adventure. 

The trek to the falls takes an hour or two depending on your speed. Along the way you will be greeted by lush greenery and tall trees that can somehow alleviate your sweat. 

After 30 minutes of trekking down the quite muddy path we reached the statue of El Salvador del Mundo, a mark that the next pace will be 600 steel steps down and two times rappelling. From here you will be equipped with safety harness. 

El Salvador Del Mundo. 1st stop over.

First vertical ladder to rappel

Followed by steel steps

Second vertical ladder to rappel

Followed by super steep steel ladder and wearing harness is strictly observed here

View from the elevated ladder

canoe along the river
Boats at rest

After sweating out and challenging our endurance, we finally see what we’re looking for. The magnificent Pagsanjan falls. 

Tour to Pagsanjan falls is not complete without experiencing the raft ride. Tourists will be asked to board the bamboo rafts and rafters will pull the rope up to the big falls. We really relished the raft ride and even tried it two times. When we’re nearing the falls everyone got so excited and some of us were howling like we’re in the middle of a storm where it’s hard to breathe and see. It was like a natural massage with a bit of pressure as the water is so heavy gushing down our head and neck. Like as one of my friends said, “Para tayong binatukan ng sampung beses!” (Feels like we’re being hit on the nape 10 times hahaha). Nonetheless, it was so enjoyable and exhilarating!

Exhilirating raft ride passing through the falls to Devil's Cave

Behind the falls is the Devil’s cave with waist-deep water where you can spend some time swimming.

After the thrilling raft ride, we rested for few minutes and prepared ourselves for another tiring climb back to Pueblo. We then asked some boatmen if they can take us to Pagsanjan town because we want to experience shooting the rapids but they charged us 1250php per boat which is equivalent to 400+ per head (3 pax per boat). For the reason that it’s out of our budget we decided to take the route up and since it’s a one way track to Pueblo we need to wait for our turn to go up as tourists coming down consecutively. Otherwise, use your convincing powers here so people-in-charge on the harness will prioritize you to ascend.

We were so worn out and sudated when we finally got to our service van but our hard work paid off because of the gratifying chance to see the beauty of Pagsanjan falls plus the extraordinary raft ride experience we really enjoyed. Trekking, Climbing, Rappelling, Rafting, and Passing through the falls to devil’s cave; it was one heck of a memorable Pagsanjan adventure. We survived and it’s worth the sweat!

Helpful tips:

1. Bring a lot of water since trekking and rappelling needs lot of energy to consume.
2. Sure you will perspire throughout the whole trek, so bring towel for your sweat and your back.  
3. If you will take the same route back to Pueblo, it is advisable to bring food or any snacks because for sure you will starve after the tiring trek and you’ll be energized while waiting for your turn to go up. 
4. Be in your comfortable clothes and footwear.
5. Bring extra clothes because you will surely get wet and you can change clothes at the shower room just across the falls. 
6. Bring only the important things needed on your trek like towel, water and your camera on a resealable plastic bag to protect it from getting wet or better yet bring a waterproof camera.

Driving direction to Cavinti Laguna:

From Makati Area drive all the way to Sout Luzon expressway until you reach Calamba exit, turn right at Calamba crossing then passed by neighboring towns Bay, Victoria, Pila, Pagsanjan and Cavinti. Observe carefully road signs (since road signs are limited) until you reach a big billboard-like poster of Pueblo El Salvador Natures Park and Picnic grove on the left side of the road.

For tour packages to Pagsanjan falls either via shooting the rapids and vertical trek check out this site:

Additional info here:


  1. The rapelling and the trek in the stairs are so exhausting but you will reach the beautiful waterfalls =)

  2. How much is the entrance fee? would this include the bamboo rafts ride to the falls??

  3. if your coming from Cavinti the entrance fee costs 150 pesos only including guide, gears and water raft to Devil's cave...

  4. @Jon Diesta yeas you are right... this vertical way to Pagsanjan is advisable to budget travelers and adventurers.... In the end you will enjoy the magnificent Pagsanjan Falls.... thanks for dropping by =)

  5. Hi! This is Nicole Cayanga, graduating student from St. Scholastica's College, Manila. I am doing a survey for my thesis about value, satisfaction and behavioral intentions of tourists engaged in adventure tourism, particularly your experience with Pagsanjan Falls. Here's the link:
    Feel free to forward this survey to your friends. Thanks!

  6. is there a parking area for private cars in pueblo el salvador?


Your feedback is highly appreciated

Sharing it to the world!