One thing I’ve learned from travelling to beautiful places (aside from not having any mobile service) is that it makes us feel more alive, it increases our serotonin levels making us happier and it helps detoxify us from a long stressful week at work. I noticed that it also energizes us mentally and physically. There is absolutely something about nature that gives us that natural high. Since nature soothes the soul, body and mind– it will probably heal some broken hearts as well.

After my last visit to Real Quezon’s Nunok and Balagbag falls I wanted to go out and explore more and wander out of the city life. The world is best explored outside of the four corners of your home or work place. So, if you’re planning to go to a beautiful place for a vacation- grab your keys, put on your gear and travel to your next destination and discover the unknown or hidden treasures of the Philippines.

As we chase some of the mesmerizing waterfalls in Laguna, we ought to know that Laguna is notable for many attractions like the hotspring resorts in Calamba, the famous Pagsanjan falls and the slopes of Mount Makiling. From Metro Manila to Laguna, travel time will just be around 3-4 hours. You’ll need a lot of endurance and strength as some of the trekking paths to the falls can be strenuous. While some of it, can be like a walk in the park.

Here are 3 stunning waterfalls I have managed to visit within Laguna this year:

1. Ambon- Ambon Falls Pangil, Laguna

Trekking and rafting is an all in one experience once you decide to go to Ambon-Ambon Falls. The falls is located within the vicinity of Pangil River Eco Park.

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Sign to Panguil River Eco Park (Credits to photo owner Van Cazin)

The place has some numerous fees that have to be settled prior to the entrance at the park. Here is a break down of some fees that you will need to take note of (based from Backpacking Philippines):

“Day rate (6am to 6pm): PhP40.00
Night Rate (6pm to 6am): PhP80.00
Overnight rate (more than 12 hours but not more than 24 hours): PhP100.00

Camping fees:
2 days/1 night camping fee per person: PhP160.00
3D/2N: PhP240.00

Other fees and charges:
Trekking to Ambon-Ambon falls (tour guide): PhP60.00
Environmental fee: PhP1.00
Development fee: PhP1.00″

They will charge you for electricity as well which I believe is 20 pesos per use. Here is a look of the Pangil River Eco Park.

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Directions to the Pangil Eco Park
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The hanging bridge to the cottages
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A view from the Hanging Bridge

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During our arrival, we pitched our tents and got ready for lunch. You’ll be surrounded by trees, the sound of crickets and the smell of  damp earth soil (something you don’t hear, smell and see in the Metro). If you will plan to camp in, please note that not all parts of park have good lighting conditions. Thus, it would be advisable to bring additional camping lanterns or camp lights with you.

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Travelling with an empty stomach can increase stress levels (or maybe it’s just me). Nevertheless, do not travel without eating a hefty meal.

Right after lunch, it was siesta time. After that short nap we decided to head to Ambon-Ambon falls. We had a tour guide with us to lead us through the 30 minute trek. The guide really knew his way around the falls. Along the way you will pass along 3 water rafts that will direct you to the falls.

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Water raft to Ambon-Ambon falls. (Credits to: Van Cazin)
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Sights from the trail (Credits to Van Cazin)
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Some breathtaking scenery and this was just from the trail (Credits to Van Cazin)
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You won’t notice that 30 minutes had already passed by because of the scenery.

The 30 minute walk to the falls will involve you being careful not to step over moving rocks “buhay na bato” or rocks that are encompassed with moss (since this can be very slippery, be sure to wear slippers good enough for hiking). It was moderately difficult since you have to cross over bamboo bridges, ride the bamboo rafts and go across the rocky hill formations. These physical activities will certainly have you catching your breath but once you get there you’ll be amazed by the breathtaking view of the Ambon-Ambon falls!

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So captivating and so… (Credits: Van Cazin)
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A meek preview of Ambon-Ambon falls. (Credits: Jan First Reyes)
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We conquered it!

It was a day filled with laughter and gratitude. If you’re going to a place isolated by phone reception, I am sure it will be worth it. Since my urge to travel I have discovered 2 things about me: 1) food is my best friend and 2) nature is my drug. A place like this is so stunningly spectacular that it leave you writing and telling stories of how awe-inspiring natures beauty can be.

We ended the night over a camp fire and some booze. Don’t forget the marshmallows, hotdogs matched with OPM songs (because “you’ll be safe here”).

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Wood being consumed by fire, the sound so relaxing.

Next stop…

2. Bukal Falls, Laguna

Located at the foot of Mount Banahaw, is a freezing yet mystical waterfalls called the Bukal Falls.

Upon arriving at the Barangay Hall of Bukal you will be asked to register and pay a fee of 40 pesos. You will be accompanied by a tour guide that will lead only 7 persons at a time. The trail to Bukal falls will be a tough one so it is advisable to travel light. Trek level for this hike was extremely difficult but they concluded that the hike was for beginners (it was an understatement). The hike could take 30 minutes to an hour depending probably on how fast you could walk uphill. The entire walk that day made me feel like I had spent 2 hours at the gym. I didn’t know if that was a good or a bad thing. Half way through the hike there is a store right in the middle of nowhere. The sari-sari store sold fresh buko juice which could quench your thirst. Though, it did satisfy my thirst. It could not do wonders to my aching legs and feet.

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A steep stairway
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Watch your step!
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Some parts of the trail had cement
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But most parts of the trail is slippery and muddy.

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Bamboo crafted bridge on the way to the falls.
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Breathtaking mountain scenery.
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Another mountain scenery.
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A sneak peek of where the water could be flowing from.

 

Just 15 minutes away from the falls I almost felt like throwing in the towel when I realized there isn’t anyway for me to turn back. I simply needed to move forward because I was already half way through. Which made me think about life’s philosophy. If I gave up right there and then, I would have regretted it. “No pain, no gain”. It is always the weak ones get left behind, though I was about to give up I wasn’t going to let myself lose. The same goes in reality. Notice that those who are truly brave enough to forge and see what’s beyond the road will be the only ones who will be able to move forward, otherwise you’ll just feel stuck. Do not give up in the middle of a big break through. Stay resilient and keep moving forward. Something worth it is coming your way.

So at the midst of self realization, a short supply of oxygen, an empty liter of water, a t-shirt soaked in sweat and some sore bones and toes- we finally arrived at the Bukal Falls. FINALLY!

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3rd layer of the waterfalls
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Bukal means spring

The water from the falls cascades downstream making this crimson pool. Upon the arrival to the falls and after seeing this view from the top it certainly makes the trip worth it. If I had backed out, I would not be able to appreciate this wonder. Moving on to the 2nd layer of the falls…

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A stream of water flowing from the 2nd layer of the waterfalls.

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At the top of the Bukal Falls you’ll see a majestic creation that could only be witnessed by those who endured the 1 hour hike to the falls. Staring at it makes it all worth it!

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A beautiful share of blue (Credits: Tsetseflying)
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Icy cold spring water falls (Credits: Tsetseflying)
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People flocking through the Bukal Falls. (Credits: Veronica Mariano)

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3. Taytay Falls

For our last chase on the list of Laguna’s waterfalls we arrived to Taytay Falls also called as Majayjay falls.I was a bit worried that the hike would be as difficult as the one I had experienced in Bukal Falls but after being told that the level of the floor was evenly laid out and already made of concrete I was somewhat relieved. The walk seemed like a fair 15-20 minutes from the main entrance up to the falls.

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Taytay Falls or Majayjay Falls – 2nd most popular falls in Laguna.

If you’re really in for a swim be prepared to dive into water that will steal the heat away from your body. Your back might be all warmed up from the walk to the falls but once you try to set yourself into the waters you’re in for a surprise. It was bitterly cold that it could leave you pale even if your blood runs warm. I went into the shallow waters really slowly as my muscle began to shake uncontrollably, it was literally freezing! My body felt a bit numb after swimming close to the falls.

We went there on a weekend, so when your travelling to Taytay falls on a weekend expect a lot of people to gather around the falls. This falls is easier to get to so camping in for the night would be possible. Consider the place a weekend gateaway from your daily repetitive routine.

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Dozens of people gathering near the Majayjay falls.

You really do not need lots of money to travel. If you’re looking for a fun-filled adventure this weekend check out these cheap thrills:

Total amount spent for Ambon-Ambon falls: 1100 pesos organized by some Konyo Kids from Convergys (includes: gas money, food, entrance fee, parking, pitching tent fees, and a tour guide)

Total amount spent for Bukal and Taytay falls: 999 pesos organized by MMC Travel and Tours (includes van transfers Manila-Laguna-Manila, food, entrance fees, tour guides and a visit to 2 falls with side trips to Lucban Quezon)

It is always breathtaking to experience natures beauty. Just a wary reminder: be a responsible traveler and be mindful of the environment especially when travelling to these isolated places. Take nothing but pictures and memories, leave nothing but footprints and carry out your garbage with you. In simpler terms: “Do not litter”. Let’s help preserve the natural beauty of these creations.

Another self realization: traveling seems to have our days end with a rejuvenated soul. It is an incredible activity that helps clear and ease our minds. I would do it all over again if I had the chance.

So, this then ends the Laguna falls chase. I’ll leave you with one of my inspiring travel hugot or quote: “If you want it, it should be worth the fall.” If you don’t want it bad enough you’ll never go after what you want and you’ll never be where you want to be. Simply ask yourself, is it going to be worth falling for? If so, go and chase the dream and make it happen.

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ohmmmmm (Credit: Van Cazin)

If your interested for more travel adventures please like and share this article, I would greatly appreciate it!