Mar 5, 2012

Pagsanjan Falls

The Journey Is The Reward At Pagsanjan Falls

Pagsanjan Falls

The location of the final scene of the 1979 film “Apocalypse Now.” via: jojo nicdao

About 95 Kilometers southwest of Manila lies the town of Pagsanjan, a rural outpost that hosts thousands of visitors from all over the world for one simple reason: Pagsanjan Falls. Tourists flock to Pagsanjan River during beautiful summer days to marvel at the area’s thick canyon walls, lush vegetation, towering cliffs, and the opportunity to “shoot the rapids” at Pagsanjan Falls – the Phillippines’ most famous waterfall.

How to “Shoot The Rapids”

Pagsanjan Falls Photo

via: ReverendMungo

The town of Pagsanjan runs on tourism dollars. Once you’re in the town you’ll find that catching a canoe is a very simple process. Each boat seats 4 people – two boatmen, and two guests. Make sure you do not accept offers from any “entrepreneurs,” who are likely scammers. The certified boatmen are extremely talented and practiced, as Pagsanjan Falls can host 1,000 or more visitors in one day. The boatmen use a combination of oars, as well as hands and feet to steer the boats through narrow lanes.

The Journey Is The Reward

Pagsanjan Falls Image

via: m_kihr

The boat ride upstream takes about an hour. The trip back is a little bit faster, and should take around 45 minutes. On a clear summer day, the views can be breathtaking. Once you reach Pagsanjan Falls, you’ll be given the option of hopping aboard a raft (for an extra fee of course), that will steer you under the waterfall. Don’t feel like you’re missing out if you don’t take the raft under the falls, in our opinion, the journey to and from the falls is the real reward.

Three Tips For Pagsanjan Falls

1) Start your trip early, and make it a day-trip – If you’re departing from Manila, try to get out of the city around 5:00 AM, this will get you into Pagsanjan around 7:00, and you’ll be one of the first few boats to travel up the falls. There’s no need to stay in Pagsanjan. While the town has a quaint, country-like feel to it, the Falls are the only must-see attraction in the area.

2) The cost is 1000 pesos, and bangkeros expect about 100 pesos each as a tip. In a boat with two passengers, you should pay no more than 1200 pesos for the trip. Boatmen are typically very friendly, helpful and worthy of tips, however, many tell a story about how they are paid only in tips. This is not true.

3) You will get wet. Certainly if you take the raft ride under the waterfall. There are lockers for rent at Pagsanjan, but keep in mind that you will want to have money with you to pay for lunch, and a tip for your boatmen. Put your camera in a plastic bag to keep it safe, there are also waterproof cameras available for purchase in Pagsanjan.

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