Pagsanjan Falls, Laguna
Pagsanjan Falls stands proud a 120 meter drop causing a thunderous clashing of water flowing down the Pagsanjan gorge. This three tiered falls can be accessed by shooting the rapids from Pagsanjan or by hiking and rapelling from Cavinti, Laguna, hence the name Pagsanjan and Cavinti Falls. It’s third name Magdapio Falls was born of folklore from two brothers Balubad and Magdapio and the lovers Magda and Pio.
Contrary to popular belief Pagsanjan Falls is not in Pagsanjan but in Cavinti, Laguna. The falls was originally accessed only through Pagsanjan by skillful boatmen treading their way through rocks and shooting the canoe along a series of 14 rapids, known as “shooting the rapids”. As time passed and modernization happened, Cavinti was able to regain the falls by establishing a safe path to tourists to hike and rapel the mountains heading down the waterfalls.
Thus, Pagsanjan became the tourism capital of Laguna as most tourists would access Pagsanjan Falls through the gorge. The annual “Bangkero Festival” is celebrated every 1st week of March, dedicated to the bangkeros who also serve as tour guides to the guests exploring the falls.
Cavinti finally reclaimed what was originally theirs – the famed Pagsanjan Falls. The waterfalls are actually located in Cavinti and the locals call it Cavinti Falls. It is just that the entry is by shooting the rapids from the river in Pagsanjan. Cavinti has now opened a backdoor 589-step trail via metal ladders that go straight to Cavinti Falls.Rowena Magcale Academia.edu
The 90s show Tabing Ilog also featured Pagsanjan Falls.
Cavinti Falls, Laguna
Cavinti Falls is also known as Pagsanjan Falls or Magdapio Falls (from local folklore). The entrance to the falls is located in Pueblo El Salvador Nature’s Park and Picnic Grove, Barangay Tibatib in Cavinti, Laguna. From the entrance, it will take almost an hour trek and two rapelling going to the falls.
Back in June 2019, I was able to experience trekking Cavinti Falls. Prior to this, I also experienced shooting the rapids when my uncle treated us for an out of town trip in Pagsanjan Laguna, although the memory is now vague and we dont have much photos back then.
Hike Cavinti Falls
Upon arrival in Barangay Tibatib, you will need to register in Pueblo El Salvador Nature’s Park and Picnic Grove. Then, they will assign your guide who will help you put on your harness to use for rapelling. Before hiking to Cavinti Falls, make sure to get your breakfast in the store near the entrance to have energy for your adventure. You can also buy snacks and take them to the falls. The road to the falls is a private property and the paved path only goes before the entrance to the property.
Rapelling in Cavinti Falls
Part of the adventure when trekking en route to Cavinti Falls are the two vertical drops or what locals call rapelling. When doing the rapelling, make sure that your feet are close together so that it will not bump the metal railings which may cause injuries. Also, hold the rope so you wont be swinging back and forth when going down. If you are afraid, you can also just use the stairs.
FYI the rapelling is only for going down. When going up from the falls, you will need to climb the stairs.
There are also steep stairs going up/down the falls. Make sure to be careful and hold the railings especially when you are wet.
The Majestic Pagsanjan / Cavinti Falls
Regardless of what you call the falls, whichever path you choose to get there – the long boat ride or the hour long trek, Pagsanjan falls is truly a majestic site to behold. The adrenaline rush will only be complete once you ride the raft and bathe under the falls and enter the Devil’s cave at the back of the falls.
Pagsanjan is a third class municipality of Laguna located 96 kilometers southeast of kilometer zero in Manila. It is known as the tourist capital of Laguna primarily because of the famous Pagsanjan Falls.
Cavinti is also a third class municipality bordering Pagsanjan and Luisiana in Laguna. It is located 110 kilometers from KM.0 and is known for Cavinti Falls and Cavinti Underground cave.
How much is the Entrance Fee to Cavinti Falls?
As of 2019, the entrance fee to Cavinti Falls TREKKING ADVENTURE is ₱285 per passenger inclusive of tour guide assisted trekking, rapelling, lifevest, balsa experience and Cavinti Falls Experience. The price for TREKKING PLUS BOAT RIDE is ₱645 per passenger inclusive of tour guide, trekking, rapelling, lifevest, balsa experience, cavinti falls experience, boat ride and shooting the rapids going to boating station.
Pagsanjan Falls Day Tour
Pagsanjan falls can be done in a day tour. I haven’t seen anyone camping in Pagsanjan Falls so I’m not sure if its is possible. Pre Covid19 Pandemic, the best time to go there is at 4am, taking the first trip going to Sta Cruz, Laguna however, the schedules now may be affected by the Bus schedule offered by DLTB. Also Cavinti Falls is still closed at the moment. See notes at the bottom of the page
5:00 AM – PITX to Sta Cruz
6:30 AM – Arrive at DLTB Sta Cruz Station and take jeep to Cavinti
7:00 AM – Arrive at Cavinti Town Proper
7:30 AM – Arrive at Pueblo El Salvador and Register
8:00 AM – Start Trek
9:30 AM – Arrive in Pagsanjan Falls
1:00 PM – Prepare for return to Jump off
2:30 PM – clean up and wash
3:30 PM – Depart from Cavinti
Chasing Waterfalls Cavinti and Luisiana
An alternative itinerary for Pagsanjan Falls is to also go to Luisiana and do chasing waterfalls. There are 4 falls in Luisiana Laguna namely Hulugan Falls, Talay Falls, Aliw Falls and Hidden Falls. You can continue to Lucban Quezon and head to Kamay Ni Hesus then come home via Lucena to Alabang.
The two Legends of Magdapio Falls
Magdapio Falls is the other name of Pagsanjan and Cavinti falls which is based on the legends. There are two versions of the legend of Magdapio Falls. The first is the tale of the two brothers Balubad and Magdapio. When the land was struck by famine and drought, the weaker Balubad eventually died and Magdapio buried him in a slope. Because of his anger and anguish, he cursed the gods and stuck the rocks with his cane finally causing water to well up and rage down the canyon forming the Pagsanjan falls. The second is the tale of two lovers Magda and Pio, a classic elite and poor loving each other eventually causing suicide by jumping through the falls and ending their lives.
Long, long time ago in a land now called Laguna, there were no falls. There were only foliage highlands and Twin Rivers, called Bumbungan and Balanac. Right at the eastern bank of Bumbungan River, there lived two brothers named Balubad and Magdapio . For many years, they have enjoyed a life of peace and happiness.
But a calamity struck one day. A terrible drought brought famine and death. No rain came for successive months. The land became dry and the birds, deer and other animals fled, some had died. The twin river, creeks, and other bodies of water dried up too. Not a single drop of water in any area was left.
Balubad and Magdapio suffered greatly. They prayed for rain each day and night but those were unanswered prayers. Days passed and the brothers grew weak and later on Balubad died. Magdapio grieved and cried in sorrow. He buried his brother on the slope of the mountain overlooking the river delta.
Left alone in the waterless world, he searched the region for water but couldn’t find any. He cried and cursed the gods for his despair. Angrily he hurled down his cane on the rocks and suddenly, a spring bubbled. Rapidly it grew bigger, the fresh waters roared down the canyon walls, soon becoming a booming waterfall. Thus, the falls of Pagsanjan emerged.Drealsays
Magda came from a wealthy family, having a relationship with a commoner like Pio was frowned upon by her parents. Love knows no bounds, evidently in this case, social status means nothing for the two lovers. Pressured to end their relationship, the couple made a decision to end their lives instead by jumping from the falls. Coming from opposite sides of the falls, the families searching for the couple shouted, alternately, “Magda!” “Pio!” During this manhunt, a Spanish conquistador was trekking the area when he heard the shouts, so he later named the falls, Magdapio.Tipofmytounguemoments
Don’t forget to protect you gears with these WATERPROOF bags
Budget Tour Pagsanjan Falls
In under ₱1,500 you can enjoy a day tour to Pagsanjan Falls. The bulk of the budget is for the fare and entrance, and you still have extra for food.
- ₱165 – Bus to Sta Cruz
- ₱10 – Jeep to Pagsanjan
- ₱24 – Jeep to Cavinti town proper
- ₱100 – trike good for 2 passengers
- ₱285 – entrance fee etc.
- ₱20 – locker
- ₱100 – tip to guide (voluntary)
How to Commute to Pagsanjan Falls?
If you are planning to commute to Pagsanjan Falls, from PITX, take the bus going to Sta Cruz and alight in Pagsanjan. You can choose to go to Pagsanjan tourism office or continue to Cavinti by riding a jeep going to Lucban, Quezon. Ask the driver to drop you off the tricycle station entrance of Cavinti falls then take a tricycle going to Pueblo El Salvador Nature’s Park and Picnic Grove or Cavinti Falls.
Note: The DLTB Bus going to Sta Cruz, Laguna in Buendia has been moved to PITX. For the updated schedule in PITX, you can check my article here. You can also check DLTB facebook page or contact them at 09338247130
If coming from Dasmariñas, you can also take a van going to Pagsanjan. you can check the routes, fare and schedule here.
How to go to Pagsanjan Falls by car?
If you are a group, you can also use a car or rent a van going to Pagsanjan Falls. From Alabang, take the SLEX road and then exit at Sto Tomas towards Bucal Bypass road until you reach the National Road passing by the towns of Calamba, Los Baños, Bay, Sta Cruz and Pagsanjan.
The travel time from Alabang is almost 3 hours depending on the time of day. Best to get there in the morning to avoid the traffic in Calamba.
Pagsanjan Falls Laguna Map
Things to do near Cavinti Falls
- Cavinti Underground Cave
- Book a trip to Caliraya Lake & Adventure park
- Hulugan, Luisiana Falls
- Kamay ni Jesus, Lucban Quezon