Laguna is a province roughly 65 kilometers away from Manila. Such proximity usually prompts a vision of a crowded destination among travelers. Lucban, on the other hand, located in Quezon province is 80 kilometers. We are always on a lookout for a place not too far from the city, so we have decided to check out Lucban and the famed Pagsanjan Falls in Laguna. And man, it was a jam-packed weekend of adventure, food, and relaxation for us!
We have experienced traveling by bus, jeep, bus, tricycle, you name it, we’ve done it, and we love it! But for this trip, we’ve decided to indulge a bit and roll VIP style with our van ( and it makes things so much easier of course!). We left on a Friday night, chips, drinks and bags in tow for a short escape in the congested city. We were not able to follow our exact itinerary, but, we had discovered more, and we were quite grateful for it.
Here’s what we had discovered during our Quezon – Laguna trip:
This majestic waterfall is located in Barangay San Salvador in Laguna. There are 2 ways to reach it, one is by an hour trek in a more forgiving and easier path. Unfortunately, this path is usually muddy during the rainy season so it’s best to avoid it. The second is the 30 minutes steep, uneven, “oh my goodness why I brought so many things I could have left it in the van” path. A good amount of stretching is strongly recommended. My legs were starting to quiver on every step. I looked at our guide with a tad of envy as he navigated casually along the way.
Hulugan falls has a bewitching aura complete with its avatar-esque tree. It was definitely worth the workout! Ask the locals if it’s the best waterfalls in the province and their response is a resounding yes, brimming with pride.
The water is refreshingly cold and perfect to soothe and motivate our bodies for the ascend. We were able to reach the top, huffing, and puffing. We passed by a huge group of young tourist. One of them asked their guide if she is up for the hike. She just smiled. After a few minutes, we heard a collective screech from the group. We wished them good luck in our heads.
Lucban is a charming quiet town in the province of Quezon. The town is famous for the colorful festival in celebration of San Isidro Labrador. One can definitely just walk around to explore. You would not miss its prominent landmark, the San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Church, a baroque designed church originally built in the 16th century. Not far from the church is the Rizal Shrine or the town plaza. The streets surrounding the area is full of restaurants, waiting for hungry travelers to try.
A trip to Lucban would not be complete without getting the much talked about Lucban langgonisa (we’ve noticed that they spelled it like that) from Eker & Ely’s. The langgonisa is different from the usual longganisa that you would probably taste here in the Philippines, the scent is overflowing with spices, the taste can be compared to French saucisson. And yes, it the taste is French approved!
Laguna (Pagsanjan Falls)
Pagsanjan or Cavinti falls is located in the town of Cavinti in Laguna. This is a very popular tourist destination in the province, with pictures of the falls plastered in postcards and reading books for schools. Again, there are 2 ways to reach the falls, one is through an hour hiking which includes vertical steel ladders and steep pathways. Honestly, after our experience with Hulugan falls, our legs were still protesting about the thought of another trek.
We’ve opted for the wooden canoe ride, passing by Bumbungan and Balanac river. We though that it’s a simple, scenic boat ride, similar to a typical island hopping experience. Wrong! The boat ride is a mind-blowing experience! With 14 rapids and rich vegetations, it is astounding for the river to keep its natural beauty even with the influx of tourist. Oh and don’t worry, the boat would not flip, unless you do sudden actions, of course. The skills of the boatmen were remarkable as they navigate their way to the river, every row, step (they have to maneuver the boat through the rapids) is with precision and yes, hard work. The best part of the trip? The bamboo raft ride going to Devil’s cave. Do not even attempt to cover yourself, you will definitely get wet, so leave your mobile phones behind as well.
After a day filled with adventure, we brought our rumbling tummies to Calle Arco, an ancestral house turned restaurant. The place is rich with travel trinkets and vintage pieces which can be seen in different themed dining areas. The food is fantastic! It’s good for sharing with hungry travelers and a great value for money. Food would costs around Php 250 – 300 pesos. Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of the food for we were too hungry.
So, if you are on a lookout for an escape from the city, check out Lucban, Quezon, and Laguna for a quick adventure!