Read here about the trip experience.
1) Pagsanjan is pronounced as Pag-san-nyan.
2) The name of the river is Magdapio.
3) The stretch is of 6 KMs before we reach the falls. First 4KMs are done by a motorized canoe and then the boatmen (they are called banceros) take over and paddle the canoe against the powerful flow.
4) There are at least 10 sets of rapids in last 2 KMs.
Some people under the waterfall.
5) There are around 980 boats with two boatmen each.
6) The boatmen hire these boats for PhP (Philippine Peso) 100 per trip (1USD = 42 PhP).
7) Every day only 120 boats are allowed to take this trip so their turn comes only once in a week and hence they try to earn as much as possible.
8 ) The area is protected by the environment department.
9) One such trip costs us from 1200- 1500 PhP per person; breakup of which includes 30% tax to local municipality, 30% to association of (boatmen and hiring of motorized canoe), hiring of gears like life jackets, helmets etc.
How to go there:-
It is about 90-100 Km from Manila and takes about 2 hrs. Roads are very good but traffic may be more in some places.
You take South-Luzon-Express way (SLEX), take Calamba exit and go via Los Banos, Pila and then through an old Arch marking Pagsanjan.
You may stay overnight and check into a hotel who also offer a ride to the falls or do a day trip from Manila, just negotiate the price with the numerous people who will stop you at every few meters to give you a deal.
Big rocks and blind turns awaited us.
Some tips before heading for waterfalls:-
1. Although not required, it is advisable to wear a helmet because the boat moves too close to the big rocks which you might hit.
The walls of the gorge are too high and any falling objects such as small stones can do damage to your unprotected head.
Also, I heard sometimes monkeys are also fond of throwing objects from up the gorge.
2. Wear appropriate clothes. Be ready to get drenched. Bring one extra set of clothes which you can keep in your vehicle or with your tour organizers.
3. Have plastic bags for your cameras and other valuables. Better would be to leave them (except cameras) behind if you can.
Even the cellphones do not work once your boat enters the gorge.
Renalto, our boatman catching up his breath midway..
4. Tips to boatmen are included in the ticket, but if you still feel to give them, be ready to shell out a few hundred PhPs.
5. Beware of the modus operandi of people selling eatables & drinks for boatmen. These people coax you to buy chips packets for the boatmen who brave the turbulent water. Once bought, these packets go back to the same shop and money changes hands.
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