The Philippines has been nothing but great. It is truly more fun there and the three weeks we spent in the country was not enough. We will be going back to see more because there is so much more to see and do. During our three weeks there we saw many places and did lots of different things. One of the trips that I truly enjoyed was our 2 day trip to Taal, Lucban and the waterfall of Pagsanjan. We started off our trip in Taal in the province of Batangas where one of our friends comes from. There is also a volcano named Taal which is something we will see during our next trip :) :The city is famous for its old style ancestral houses and its biggest catholic church in Asia. The ancestral houses are houses built during the Spanish colonial times. They are magnificent and remind everyone of the country's rich history.
Taal ( the city ) is located far away, traffic wise at least; from the city of Lucban where the famous Pahiyas festival takes place. Since it was already getting dark we spent the night in Tagaytay and we left for Lucban the next day at around 5 AM. Due to the heavy traffic on the road it took us around 3h to reach Lucban even though it is only 100 km away. All the jeepneys and tricycles make your trip last for hours :) Even when you overtake one jeepney there is still going to be 100 other ones ahead of you; each not going faster than 30-40km/h...
The Pahiyas festival in Lucban was amazing. People of the city decorate their houses with colorful decorations. They do it in order to give thanks to a bountiful harvest. The festival kicks off at 6 AM with a mass in a local church. As the day goes by there is more and more people arriving in the city to admire all the decorations. The decorations are often made from fruit and vegetables which are then eaten in the afternoon.
On our way back home we made a stop in the city of Pagsanjan in the Laguna province in order to see the famous Pagsanjan falls which are also known as Cavinti falls. I must say that seeing these falls was a great experience even though i did not expect it to be that good at first. After being to Iceland and having seen tens of different waterfalls they don't impress me that much any more. In addition to that the price to see the falls was 1250 pesos which i thought was too much for the local standards. The whole idea of the trip was that you sit in a boat and simply relax while two boatmen do all the paddling for you to get you upstream to the falls..
After being given helmets and life jackets we waited for our boat to arrive. The place did not look very impressive. I did not expect much from the whole experience and i was convinced we had fallen victim to a tourist trap...... boy was I mistaken!!!
Our boat then got attached to other boats with other people just like us. The leading boat had an engine and it would pull all the other boats upstream to a point where it could go no further because of the rocks and the river being too narrow. That's when the boat men came into play.
After a couple of minutes the scenery completely changed and it changed for better :) The river banks grew tall and it felt like we entered a river jungle in a canyon. There were many rock formations along the way. Each formation had a narrow passage, wide enough for a single boat to go through The skillful boat men worked their assess off to get the boat across using both their legs and their paddles. I admire their strength and skills. They worked very hard and put a lot of effort into it. It makes one feel like a lazy fat tourist LOL Make sure to tip these guys as they truly deserve it for all the hard work.
At certain places the water was too shallow for the boat to go across. To get the boat across the boatmen would lift the boat up and slide it on special steel pipes that were placed there just for that reason. I really liked the idea!
We reached the falls in around one hour. The place was full of people swimming in the natural pool and enjoying the waterfall. We boarded a bamboo raft guided by a rope that would take us across the natural pool all the way to the actual waterfall. A boatman on the raft was using the rope to pull the raft all the way to the waterfall. The raft went through the waterfall with thousands of liters of water crushing against our bodies. It was a great experience :) If you decide to do it make sure that you have a water proof case for your electronics because it will get wet.
Check out some more pictures below