Saturday, April 11, 2015

Eastern Laguna: When Nature Meets Adventure

Santa Cruz, Pagsanjan, Majayjay & Liliw, LAGUNA
Date: APR 11, 2015

While playing Lakbayan quiz on the internet, I realized that I’ve never been to the towns of Eastern Laguna. That’s why when I had the opportunity to visit these places, I packed my bags right away and left. It did not disappoint me, and in every town that I visited, I saw wonders and magnificent landmarks. Too bad that I only had to visit for a day – which is not enough when checking out the province’s tourist spots!

The old Provincial Capitol of Laguna in Santa Cruz
I left the office early in the morning carrying a huge bag on my back and I went straight to DLTB bus terminal in Cubao. Our department’s team building would also coincide on my trip to Laguna, and I decided not to join them because the venue they chose was Jed’s Island Resort. Lots of people come into Jed’s Island every summer to swim and I know that it won’t be fun, so I just decided to skip it and go somewhere else. I don’t have any itinerary for this trip, and what I did was just to remember every vital information I saw online. This time, I will be heading to Eastern Laguna!

I slept for an hour during the trip and when I woke up, I was already in Calamba. I checked out what was going on outside, and then I saw the lugawan near the city hall where I ate last time, called Lugaw Royale. And then we passed by the junction going to La Vista where we had our team building last June 2014. All throughout my trip in Calamba, the magnificent view of Mount Makiling never failed to impress me.

Welcome to Pagsanjan!
We had to pass by the towns of Los Baños, Bay, Calauan, Victoria and Pila before we reached Laguna’s capital – the town of Santa Cruz. After reaching Santa Cruz, I got off the bus and walked towards the direction of the town of Pagsanjan. When I reached the border, I immediately looked for the stone arch, thinking that it was just around the area, but I wasn’t able to find it. I tried to look for it and walked for another 15 minutes but still got no luck. I reached the town market, and decided to ride a jeep going to the town center. There, I found the stone arch, but I decided to go straight to the church and check it out.

Church of Pagsanjan
The municipal hall of Pagsanjan can be found right next to the church, and adjacent to it was the town plaza, wherein a miniature Rizal Monument is built. There were also lots of posters scattered all throughout the plaza about the Bangkero Festival which just recently ended. After I’ve seen these places, I decided to walk towards the Pagsanjan Stone Arch, and then I took a couple of photos and videos the moment I reached it. I rode a jeepney back to Santa Cruz afterwards.

While inside the jeepney, we passed by the Laguna Provincial Capitol Building. I really wanted to get off the jeepney that moment to visit the government center, but doing it might drastically change my itinerary and I might not be able to visit the falls in Majayjay if I did it. I just went straight to the town market and came in just in time before a jeepney going to Majayjay leaves. I was lucky indeed, and by 9:00 AM, the jeepney left.

It ran very slow, and the ride took me more than an hour before reaching the town of Majayjay. I alighted at the jeep terminal, and asked the locals where the jeepney bound for Taytay Falls was. They pointed me to a jeepney with the signboard “Taytay”, and I was the only one inside. I thought it will be forever before it could fill up. Good thing that passengers suddenly came and we managed to leave by 10:38 AM.

I can't wait to see the falls
We drove through this dusty road with sharp zigzags going to the falls. It was full of cliffs and curves because the highway was built at the foot of Mount Banahaw. It was 11:05 AM when we reached the jump-off point going to Taytay Falls, and after paying for the entrance fee which cost P20, I walked down the trail and trekked for 15 minutes in order for me to reach the falls.

There were too many people that day, and what I saw were tents built near the river. And when I saw the falls, I got awestruck. It was beautiful and it seemed like a smaller version of Ditumabo Falls in Baler, Aurora. The water was cerulean blue, and a large amount of water was cascading from the falls down to the pool. People where dipping their feet on its cool waters, and because of my eagerness to swim (it was extremely hot), I just placed my bag near the rocks and began to plunge into the ice-cold water. The water was like melted ice, and it felt refreshing to swim in the falls while being warmed by the sun’s heat. I also liked the water because it was clear as the crystal, just like a mirror.

The majestic Taytay Falls of Majayjay
The ice-cold blue water of the falls
I just bathed for an hour, and decided to leave at 1:00 PM. I trek for another 15 minutes going back to the jump-off point and looked for the jeepney going back to Majayjay, but I wasn’t able to find them. I asked one of the tourist officials where the jeepneys were parked, but he told me that none of them were available that time, and pointed me to a group of tricycles that would take me back to the highway. He told me that the fare was only P40, and since I was in a hurry, I just rode it.

After reaching the highway, a jeepney with a signboard that says “Majayjay” coming from the direction of Lucban passed by, so I hailed it into a stop and rode. I transferred to another jeepney bound for Nagcarlan when I reached the terminal, and told the driver to drop me off at Liliw. I had to wait for a long time before the jeep left, that’s why it was already late in the afternoon when I reached the town of Liliw.

The first thing I did was to visit the town’s famous church called Saint John the Baptist Parish Church. I was amazed to see this church in real life. It looked beautiful, and it was made with red bricks. There was also a historical marker located on the church’s facade, and its courtyard was spacious. You could also see Mount Banahaw in the distance, which makes this site a picture perfect landmark. There were lots of visitors that time, and I found out that the town fiesta will be held a few weeks from now.

Right in front of the famous Liliw Church
After visiting the town’s historic church, I went outside to check out these shops and stalls that sell the famous Liliw-made slippers. I bought a single pair of slippers for my mom and I also bought a box of homemade special espasol. After buying pasalubong, I decided to eat at a nearby restaurant called RDP Pizza (because their menu looks great) and ordered lemon chicken for my lunch. It only cost P59, and I loved it because it actually tasted good!

Monument of Juan Cailles
It was almost 4 PM when I finished eating. I walked a couple of blocks until I reached the jeepney terminal bound for Santa Cruz. I only waited for a couple of minutes before it filled up, and in less than an hour, I managed to reach the town of Santa Cruz. I got off at the Provincial Capitol Building, and decided to look around the province’s government complex where the new and the old capitol buildings were located.

As I was leaving the government complex, a jeepney came so I hailed it and went straight to DLTB terminal and rode a bus bound for Cubao. I slept throughout the journey back to Manila, and it took me four hours to reach the capital – probably because of traffic jams along the towns of Calamba and Los Baños. When we reached Cubao, I asked the conductor to drop me off at the bus terminal bound for Bulacan, and rode a Baliwag Transit Bus to Pulilan. It was already 10:45 PM when I got home, and I instantly fell asleep the moment I got into my bed.

A single day is not enough to explore Laguna’s treasured spots, and I believe that there are more hidden destinations in this province awaiting to be discovered by adventurous people.


Perfect get-away near Manila to escape the summer heat
·         Ordinary Bus from Convergys to Cubao – P10
·         Airconditioned DLTB Bus bound for Santa Cruz – P140
·         Santa Cruz to Pagsanjan via jeepney – P8
·         Pagsanjan to Santa Cruz via jeepney – P8
·         Santa Cruz to Majayjay via jeepney – P35
·         Majayjay to Taytay Falls via jeepney – P17
·         Taytay Falls Entrance – P20
·         Japanese Cake x4 – P20
·         Taytay Falls to highway (near Costales Farms) via tricycle – P40
·         Highway (near Costales Farms) to Majayjay via jeep – P10
·         Majayjay to Liliw via jeep – P13
·         Liliw Church CR fee – P5
·         Lemon Chicken at RDP Pizza – P59
·         Liliw to Provincial Capitol in Santa Cruz via jeep – P30
·         Capitol to DLTB terminal via jeep – P7.50
·         Airconditioned DLTB Bus bound for Cubao – P140
·         Airconditioned Baliwag Transit bus bound for Pulilan – P65
·         Pulilan to Lumbac via tricycle – P40

Pasalubong/Souvenir:
·         Taytay Falls Ref Magnet - P50
·         Special Homemade Espasol, 1 Box – P50
·         1 Pair of Liliw Slippers – P45

TOTAL EXPENSES (without pasalubong/souvenir): P667.50
TOTAL EXPENSES (all): P812.50

05:00    Left Convergys and ride an ordinary bus to Cubao, P10
05:20    Arrived at Cubao and ride AC DLTB Bus to Sta. Cruz, P140
07:42    Arrived in Sta. Cruz
08:00    Reached Pagsanjan market by walking and ride another jeep going to the church, P8
08:08    Arrived at Pagsanjan Church and explore up to Pagsanjan Arch
08:35    Left Pagsanjan and ride jeep going back to Sta. Cruz, P8
08:55    Arrived at Sta. Cruz market
09:00    Ride Majayjay bound jeep, P35
10:12    Reached Majayjay and ride another jeep going to Taytay Falls, P17
10:38    Jeep left
11:05    Arrived at Taytay Falls (5PM jeepney last trip)
            -pay entrance, P20
            -ate japanese cake, P20
13:00    Left Taytay Falls and start trek to jump-off
13:15    Arrived at the jump-off and buy souvenir magnet, P50
13:30    Ride tricycle going to highway (near Costales Farms), P40
13:42    Arrived at the highway and wait for jeep
13:45    Ride Majayjay bound jeep, P10
            -additional info: Majayjay to Lucban costs P21
14:09    Arrived at the terminal and ride jeep bound for Liliw, P13
14:34    Jeep left
14:45    Reached Liliw and walk towards the church
            -CR costs P5
15:20    Left Liliw Church and walk around the city
            -bought espasol, P50
            -bought slippers, P45
            -ate at RDP Pizza, and ordered lemon chicken, P59
15:52    Ride jeep going to Sta. Cruz and ask to be dropped off at the capitol, P30
16:40    Arrive at the capitol
17:08    leave the capitol and ride a jeep going to AC DLTB terminal, P7.50
17:15    Ride DLTB Bus bound for Cubao, P140
21:30    Arrived at Cubao and ride AC Baliwag Transit Bus to Pulilan, P65
22:30    Arrived at Pulilan and ride tricycle going to Lumbac, P40
22:45    HOME

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