April 02, 2008
Have you experienced the full body massage under the Pagsanjan Falls? We finally did it. and it was fun, scary and something that is worth the hassle of going to Pagsanjan. The safest time to go to Pagsanjan Falls is during the summer season when the water level is low and the waterfall is smaller and less powerful. We have been always discouraged of going to the falls because of illegal boat flaggers on the way to Pagsanjan Falls. Here are some tips on planning your Pagsanjan Falls trip:
1. Avoid the weekend or holidays where there are a lot of tourists. We would recommend to go on a weekday to avoid the traffic jam on the way to Pagsanjan and the tourist crowd.
2. Don't ever stop or entertain the illegal flaggers who would offer you overpriced boat ride to the falls. In fact, they are rude and would shout at you as if you violated a one-way road. You'll be intimated with the number of people swarming to offer you boat rides. Some of them will follow you via a motorbike so don't even attempt to have an eye contact with them.
3. Go to an accredited resort directly where you can pay for the proper boat ride fees. Currently, It costs P635/ person for the boat ride to the falls and P90/person for the raft ride to have the massage under the falls. Unfortunately, there is no kids rate so we paid full price for Aidan. We went to Pagsanjan Falls Paradise Resort (+63 49) 808-4393, 808-5494.
4. Expect that you'll hear a pitch that the boatmen only earn from tips. The intent is to condition you to give a high tip. Currently, the tourists are giving them P200 or $5 per boatman (there are two boatman per canoe). For the Raft man, he is expecting P100 tip. In total, we gave P500 tip to make everyone happy. That is an expensive tip for a local tourist, and the right tip would have been half of that. On the other hand, it is also very hard to paddle all the way to the falls and they took care of us throughout the entire trip.
5. Allot a total of 5 hrs to go up to Pagsanjan Falls from Pansol, Laguna. We went to 88 Spa and Resort in Pansol, Laguna for lunch and drove to Pagsanjan for 90 minutes. The entire boat ride is 2 hours. You'll be going back for another 90 minutes in time for the sunset scene in Los Banos.
Aidan was scared at first but courageous enough to join us inside the Pagsanjan waterfall. He is already wearing a swim suit so that he is ready to get wet. BTW, we heard that the film crew who was filming when we went inside the Pagsanjan Falls was from Unang Hirit. It was a pleasant surprise. I wonder how it looked because Aidan was so scared of the sound of the Pagsanjan Falls.
The boat men would navigate via paddling, pulling and pushing the canoe through the rapids. Also, they would use their feet to navigate and give initial momentum to the canoe ride. Going up the river is difficult because of the downstream current.
At first we decided to sit Aidan in between us to give him assurance that he would be safe. Good thing, the water is clean so we don't have to worry about getting wet. On our way down, Aidan already sat in front.
The boat men have already created a system on how to handle one way streets. The boats going down are given priority because they have more momentum since they flow with the direction of the current.
Upon reaching the Pagsanjan Falls, you can ride the raft inside the falls and get a once in a lifetime massage under the falls.
It was indeed a great bonding session with Aidan. For me, I was able to check off Pagsanjan Falls in my list of awesome places to visit and blog about.