1. Traffic jams caused by unexpected float parades for the Palarong Pambansa 2014 Opening Ceremony held in Laguna. Which reminded me, the National Schools Press Conference I joined when I was in elementary was also held in the province!
4. A new destination. This time it’s Cavinti Falls, more popularly known as Pagsanjan Falls. Now the tickets say Admit One for 250 pesos but I don’t remember paying that much (or I just don’t care how expensive an adventure is as long as I can afford it with some tightening of the belt). We asked our guide why they call the falls Cavinti when it’s taught to us since elementary that it’s called Pagsanjan falls. He explained that from the time the natural wonder was made an attraction during 1970s, the town of Pagsanjan has claimed rights over it even though it was situated in between the two municipalities of Pagsanjan and Cavinti. For more than 30 years, 70% of the revenue from the falls has gone to the former with the remaining 30% to the latter. Sometime in late 2000s though, after much research, it was found out that majority of the land area covered by the falls is actually within the border of Cavinti making the town the rightful ‘owner’. Sadly, it’s too hard and impractical to correct all textbooks about the name but at least the municipality of Cavinti now gets the bigger chunk of the falls’ revenue.
Now there are two ways to reach the falls. First is via a canoe through the river which costs a whooping 1,200 pesos (or more depending on your haggling abilities and the season) including a boatman who will do all the rowing for you so you can just sit pretty wearing your life vest under the scorching heat of the sun for an hour or two (it’s that far and scary I bet especially if the rapids are raging). The cheaper alternative is a hike via the Cavinti trail located in Pueblo El Salvador Nature Park and Picnic Grove for 250 (from what I remember there’s also a choice where you can hike going down and then ride a boat going back). Of course we chose the harder (and cheaper) one! haha.
Aside from being called ‘Cavinti’ and ‘Pagsanjan’, the falls is locally known as ‘Magdapio’. Wikipedia’s version of the legend involves two brothers and a drought. The version our guide told us was about lovers named Magda and Dapio whose family were against their relationship (of course). In the end they died and the waterfalls was born. There’s even a painting of the falls with a silhouette of a smiling man and woman on display in the front desk of El Pueblo Park. It’s up to you which version to believe.
It always starts with concrete roads.
All in all it was 672 flights of stairs (Whew! TInago only had 400+!) and two rappels. The stairs sometimes are too steep you have to hold on at the railings for dear life. And the width is only enough for one person to pass at a time so there’s traffic. I am amazed that the rappel has no advanced form of pulley system. It’s the staff who pulls the person up and down (and they managed to transport the heavyweight me which is a feat!). It was very tiring but we managed somehow (Partida, walang inom inom ng tubig!).
I have expectations of grandiose and majesty thanks to my childhood textbooks. And even though it fell a little short in the aesthetic department (muddy water because it just rained etc), it made up in the experience department. It was summer when we went there so there were a lot of people. Behind the falls is a tiny cave called ‘Devil’s Cave’ and you can reach it through a balsa.
Unfortunately we didn’t have a waterproof camera so no pictures (I definitely need a GroPro). The temperature inside the cave was very cool I didn’t want to leave and welcome the heat but then again, it’s too small there’s really not much to do. Passing through the falls was a challenge because the pressure of the water was too strong it kind of hurt especially in the calves (got scared because I almost had a cramp and muscle cramps make me wail in pain) and also, the wimpy me had a hard time breathing. Still, it was refreshing. On a side note, I felt a bit sad because our Korean friends were hoarded like cattle and they weren’t even allowed to stay inside the Devil’s Cave. I understand that there were A LOT of people when we visited but we should treat our neighbors better if we want to be treated the same way when we visit their country.
Swimming initially wasn’t allowed. After much pleading, they let us in anyway. The thought of climbing 672 flights of stairs again (and going up is much harder than going down) made me sigh but we managed somehow. At least our clothes were already dry when we reached the jump off point.
5. Food. It’s so nice to wolf down delicious carbs and protein after a challenging hike especially if you suppressed your hunger for more than an hour because you traveled from Cavinti all the way to Los Banos. Talk about delayed gratification. Hello Bonitos! I raved about you to my cousins and you didn’t embarrass me.
And just for the novelty of its name, Ahl’s BTS or Better Than Sex cake. I’ve already written about this during my first trip to Elbi. It’s still delicious and I still don’t have a point of comparison. HAHAHA!
To lighten the mood, here’s my annoying face while eating BTS to end this post.