Date of Trip: December 22, 2015.
Date of Trip: December 22, 2015.

Keep your eyes wide open to the wonders of nature.

When I was still in grade school, there were only two waterfalls I was familiar with, namely Maria Christina Falls and Pagsanjan Falls. It was because, probably like most Filipinos, these waterfalls were part of our lesson in Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies), which our teachers made us to memorize in order for us to pass their exams.

The name of the second waterfalls was named after the Municipality of Pagsanjan since the most popular entry point to this waterfalls is through this municipality. It might also be the reason why many people, including myself, believed for so long that the waterfalls was actually located there. However, as we now know (or probably will know as they read this blog), the actual location of the waterfalls is in the municipality of Cavinti. And in 2009, a petition to rename the waterfalls from Pagsanjan Falls to Cavinti Falls was made (Laguna Travel Guide).

Although I am raised and born in the province of Laguna, this is my first time to visit this very popular tourist destination. Although there were negative rumors about the place, such as bankeros or boatmen robbing the tourists, it was not the main reason why I didn’t visit the place before. My main reason was the cost of visiting the area. Since I attended school in Sta Cruz, Laguna, I always thought that the price of more than Php 1,000 for a trip to a very near area was a bit pricey, and not worth my money. I always been kuripot (stingy), even when it comes to travelling, ergo, I became a backpacker.

So just this year (2015), when I heard that there is an alternative route to visit the waterfalls, which is way much cheaper, I grabbed this opportunity to finally visit this well-known ecotourism site. Instead of boating, we trekked down to the location of the falls. The jump-off point is the Pueblo El Salvador Nature’s Park and Picnic Grove in Barangay Tibatib in Cavinti.

It was easy at first because it was literally just a walk in the park. However, when we reached the view deck, the activity became much more challenging and exciting. We had to rappel twice and pass through a series of very steep metal stairs before we could reach our destination.

After around an hour of trekking (and rappelling, and slipping), we finally reached the location of Cavinti Falls. The water was murky since it had been raining for days before our trip. In spite of the murkiness of the water, we still had a dip and did a little bit of swimming. We were not able to experience the bamboo rafting as it was not available during our trip. Then, after about an hour of stay in the area, we headed back to the registration site. After we took our last set of group photos at the registration area, we headed to the jeepney terminal in Cavinti. And on our way there, we had a short stop over at Bumbungan Ecopark.

Overall, our experience was nice. But to be honest, I was expecting more, most especially since it is “the” Pagsanjan Falls. Or maybe because I was trying to look for the grandeur of the waterfalls in Luisiana, which is a nearby municipality. But, as they say, every destination has its own beauty, and we just need to learn how to see it, in order for us to appreciate its uniqueness.

When we left, we took nothing but pictures, we left nothing but memories.

For your information (FYI):

Cavinti Falls is also known as Magdapio Falls. According to the staff in the registration area, the name is based on a folklore about the tragic love story of Magda and Pio. Their story is just like the usual theme of a Filipino teleserye, wherein a poor man and rich lady fell in love with each other, and their families disapproving this affair. Since they were deeply in love with each other, and wanted to be together for eternity, they decided to do this by jumping off the cliff.

Additional notes:

  • You can also visit Bumbungan EcoPark after you’re done with the Cavinti Falls or, include Cavinti Caves Complex and Underground River in your schedule.
  • According to some locals, it is actually difficult to find a tricycle within the area of Pueblo El Salvador, so, if you are planning to commute, it is better for you to get the number of the tricycle driver that will take you there. He (or they) can fetch you from El Pueblo Salvador to Sta. Cruz jeepney terminal without additional charge. When we had our trip, they even allowed us to have a stop over at Bumbungan EcoPark.
  • You should really bring your own food. Food stalls or stores are very limited within the area.
  • The payment that you will give upon registration included already the payment for the tour guide. However, if you think that your tour guides deserve more, then it is your prerogative to give them more.
  • Always observe GiGO or garbage in, garbage out. Let us help in conserving and protecting our environment.
  • You can contact the municipal tourism office of Cavinti through:
    • landline: (049) 523-0012 ; or
    • official facebook page: facebook/cavintitourism

Acknowledgements:

I would like to thank my friends for accompanying me in this trip, most especially to Alexandra Santos and her family for accommodating us in their home and for the great food they prepared for us. 

Travel Guide    
Route Mode of Transportation Estimated Travel Time
DLTB/HM Bus Terminal (Cubao) to Sta Cruz, Laguna (Pagsawitan*) Bus (Sta Cruz Bound)* 3 hours
Pagsawitan to Cavinti (Tricycle terminal) Big Jeepney (Lucban Bound) 25 minutes
Cavinti (Tricycle terminal) to Pueblo El Salvador** Tricycle 25 minutes
Pueblo El Salvador(registration area) to Cavinti Waterfalls  Foot 1 hour
*Lucban Jeepney Terminal    
**Nature’s Park and Picnic Grove    

 

Estimated Budget (in Pesos)  
Transportation (one-way)  
Victory Terminal (Cubao) to Sta Cruz, Laguna (Pagsawitan) 149
Pagsawitan to Cavinti (Tricycle terminal) 20
Cavinti (Tricycle terminal) to Pueblo El Salvador* 100
   
Tour packages  
Package A (Trekking and deck view) 50
Package B (Trekking, rappelling via metal ladder, raft riding, entering the falls) 270
Package C (Package B plus boat ride exit to Pagsanjan ) 1,250
   
Food** 100
   
Environmental Fee (Bumbungan EcoPark)*** 10
*One way trip for the tricycle, which can accommodate upto 5 persons (but the drivers prefer just upto 4 persons)  
**Just for packed lunch and trail foods  
***Optional  


Suggested Itinerary 

5:00-8:00am Travel from Cubao to Sta Cruz
8:00-8:30am Waiting time for Jeepney
8:30-9:00am Travel from Sta Cruz to Cavinti
9:00-9:30am Travel from Cavinti (Tricycle terminal) to Pueblo El Salvador
9;30-10:00am Registration and some last minute preparation
10:00-11:00am Trek from the registration area to the waterfalls; including rappelling and taking photos
11:00-12:00nn Swimming
12:00-1:00pm Rest and lunch
1:00-2:00pm Head back to the registration area
2:00-2:30pm Waiting time for the tricycle and cleaning
2:30-2:35pm Travel from Pueblo El Salvador to Bumbungan EcoPark
2:35-3:00pm Short stay at Bumbungan EcoPark
3:00-3:15pm Travel from Bumbungan EcoPark to Jeepney Terminal (Cavinti)
3:15-3:45pm Waiting time for the jeepney
3:45-4:15pm Travel from Cavinti to Bus Terminal (Pagsawitan)
4:15-4:35pm Waiting time for the bus
4:35-7:35pm Travel from Sta Cruz to Cubao

Here are some of our photos during our Cavinti Falls adventure:

my friends at the start of our trek
my friends at the start of our trek
my friend Alex trying the water along the trail
my friend Alex trying the water along the trail
The statue of El Salvador del Mundo at the rest area
The statue of El Salvador del Mundo at the view deck
the first rappelling that you need to do as part of the trail
the first rappelling that you need to do as part of the trail
the metal ladder as viewed from its side
the metal ladder as viewed from its side
the second rappelling that we did that was longer and nearer to the location of the falls
the second rappelling that we did that was shorter and nearer to the location of the falls
Although it is shorter, it is still high
Although it is shorter, it is still high
the metal stairs after the second rappelling, which is around 80-85 degrees
the metal stairs after the second rappelling, which is very steep (around 80-85 degrees slope)
Our first encounter with the water of the Cavinti Falls
Our first encounter with the water of the Cavinti Falls
Alas! The Cavinti Falls
At last! The Cavinti Falls
"Candid" shot of my friends
“Candid” shot of my friends
The usual groupie
The usual groupie
on our way back
on our way back
Ok. Here goes the challenge.
Ok. Here goes the challenge.
using the metal ladder to go up
on our way up using the metal ladder
Almost there!
Almost there!
a view of the mini waterfalls along the trail
a view of the mini waterfalls along the trail

 

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