Pagsanjan falls is a popular tourist spot in Laguna and is the apparent shooting set for the film Apocalypse Now. Donning waistcoats filled with styrofoam (i.e. life jackets) we clambered into what is know as a banca in Tagalog. The guides said it would be a 45mins ride till we reached the falls whereby we would 'shoot the rapids' and pass through between cliff faces over 300ft high. My first thought was: are the batteries in my camera charged? Before I could start pressing the shutter button though it started to rain - again.
With only two inches separating me and the surface of the water I wasn't feeling my best (refer to last year's post to Balibago), but I kept saying to myself that sitting in that boat was worht it, just as long as I could keep my head - and my camera - out of the water.
A 10mins ride out of the town, passing children swimming and people doing their laundry, we were met with our first glimpse of the mountain pass. Wow, just wow. Nature truly is a beautiful sight.
There's not much to say about the journey to the falls except it took longer than 45mins to reach them. Also if I knew, I would not have bothered with clothes -would have just worn a bathing suit- considering how wet I got. The river was riddled with boulders big and small. Travelling upstream proved to be tough work for our bangkeros, not to mention the need to lift the boat -and its passengers- several times to avoid crashing.
Over an hour later, two checkpoints, a sore ankle and the inability to feel my legs we finally reached our destination, well sort of. First we had to get off the boat, climb over some rocks and get on to a small bamboo raft that was to be pulled towards -and under- the falls. Sharing the raft with my aunt and I were two cheerful-looking Korean men, wearing helmets just as most of the other tourists that we had passed along the way.
One of the men looked at my lack of cranium protection, gasped as I smiled back and exclaimed 'no! no!' in fear. How bad could it be? I was only going under a fast-flowing-393ft-high waterfall....
Let's just say I got off the raft with a headache, waterfilled ears and absolutely soaked to the bone. My camera didn't fair well either taking a bath but it was worth it, hell I wanted to go again!
Back where we started, waiting to get picked up I made the mistake of not bringing an extra pair of clothes. Luckily for me, my uncle's brother-in-law brought a pair of shorts belonging to his daughter for me to borrow. They didn't fit to say the least, and there wasn't much left to the imagination, not to mention the fact that I couldn't even zip the bloody thing....
Anyway I was relieved to get back to the resort and into my own clothes. The rest of the evening was spent having dinner and finding places to hang all our wet clothes. With another full day ahead of us tomorrow and early night was in order.
I was up early to fit some swimming in and explore the grounds before we were to head off again, this time bound for Taytay falls, Majayjay.
After an hour of rollercoaster driving, a bit more clambering along the side of the mountain with only a handrail to stop one from slipping to one's death we FINALLY reached the falls ... only to ... guess what? FOR IT TO RAIN.
There's a saying in Tagalog that goes: may balat ang puwet mo, malas ka. In other words, if you have a birthmark on your backside you have bad luck. Seeing as it seemed to rain every time we reached one of our destinations, the weekend was spent trying to figure out who had this birthmark.
After Majayjay, we had lunch at our uncle's family's house. After playing with their cute pups and pretending I can drive a tricyle we were off to Tagaytay, home to the Taal Volcano, the world's smallest active volcano. I mentioned last year that I didn't get a chance to take a boat ride to the volcano, and unfortunately again this year the same fate awaited me. The reason? It was getting dark and we couldn't see anything but ... well clouds. So instead, I had a go on the zip wire. Twice.
I'm terrified of heights, so dangling over the side of a mountain with only nylon preserving my life I was scared. I mean, my knees were shaking. But what the hell, I'm here, it's cheap and I don't have to ever do it again if I don't want to, so why not?
I've waffled on for far too long so I'll let the photos speak for themselves.
This has to be one of the funniest signs I have ever seen
Yes he thinks he's a tree
Anyone fancy a dip?