This is the continuation of the blog post entry entitled “Summer Getaway 2008 – Part 1 – Arriving at Manila” which talks about our summer vacation in Metro manila.
Day two of our vacation was spent at the famed Pagsanjan falls (Local name: Magdapio Falls) located at Pagsanjan, Laguna. Finally I can answer yes to the question asked in the song “Biyahe Tayo” which says “Nasubokan mo na bang mag rapid sa Pagsanjan” (Have you tried the Rapids of Pagsanjan)
It was about past 9:00 a.m. when we left the hotel. We traveled close more than 2 hours to the Southern part of Laguna through the South Luzon Expressway. This hi-way never ceases to amaze me because it looks like driving through the interstate hi-ways of the United States. Just like the United States, fast food restaurants (ike McDonalds, KFC, Jollibee) and Coffee shops are right now conveniently and strategically placed beside gasoline stations. In some areas they even have a “mini-commercial center” wherein you can find convenience stores and other business establishments built around the gas station centers. These areas serve as “Rest areas” similar to what they have in the United States.
Sadly, this kind of urban development is not still being implemented in Cebu. But I believe we will be seeing it soon a few years from now, with the development of the Cebu Trans-axial hi-way. I will be writing about that topic in another post.
We arrived in time for lunch. The package tour we paid for was inclusive of transportation, buffet lunch and a boat ride. Our host was the Pagsanjan Falls Lodge and Summer Resort. We had a simple yet sumptuous buffet lunch of chicken, fish, vegetables and fruits. Afterwards we changed, put on some sun screen, grabbed our gear and headed for the boat. In the Philippines we call these small boats as “Bangka.”
The small boats were very colorful and looked like a small toys from a distance. My brother Alfred, my sister Norlene and I rode in one boat while my mom, dad and my son Zed got in another boat. Aside from the passengers, each boat had two boatmen that would serve as its crew.
We were advised that going there would take almost an hour and a half because we are going against the current while coming back would take less than 45 minutes. A motorized boat pulled our boat and several other boats until we reached the rocky part of the river.
From then on, the boatmen rowed the little boat to get us to our destination. There are times when they would push and pull to get the boat through the rocks. There we steel bars that were placed in some rocky areas that will serve as “Railings” so that the boat would be able to go upstream or downstream without being jagged by the rocks. Sometimes I feel like the small boat would break apart but the boatman assured me that no such thing will happen because their boats are made of Fiber glass. There are occasions though that the rocks will punch a hole in the boat, but there is no need to worry since the river is not that deep and the banks of the river are not that far.
After about half an hour of pushing, pulling and rowing we made a brief stop at a resting station where we could see several “mini-falls.” The boatmen had to take their lunch. We just loitered around and enjoyed the scenic view.
After several minutes, we continued our journey and was continued to be dazzled by the sights and sounds that nature has to offer in that place.
When we were about to arrive at the main falls, we could hear the powerful sounds of the falls roaring.
Unlike our Kawasan falls, which is located in Badian Cebu, the water in Pagsanjan falls is murky and muddy. However Pagsanjan is much bigger and higher than Kawasan falls, hence it provides a much more majestic view. Kawasan also takes a long time to reach since you have to walk great distances. You will need pf flyers shoes for this.
We wanted to experience going underneath the falls. So we rented a raft that was operated by the local government. We went underneath the falls and had the thrilling experience of having hundreds if not thousands of gallons of water poured over our heads.
There is a cave at the back of the falls, but we did not dare to go in. We stayed for a while. This is some of those moments wherein you hope could last a lifetime, the experience of being in the back of the falls and enjoying the nice cool mists that each drop of water brings.
There were lots of Korean tourists that were also there. Most of them did not stay long.
Afterwards, we then went out from behind the falls. We spent some time swimming and after several minutes, it was time for us to go back.
The return trip was as unbearable as the trip going there. I got cramps because of they way we sat. Luckily the return trip was much shorter as we are going downstream.
We changed our clothes, did some more picture taking and bid Pagsanjan falls goodbye.
Luckily the return trip to Metro Manila was much faster since we left before the rush hour. We arrived at the hotel and rested for a while. After an hour we then went to Robinson’s place to have dinner at the food court. Since the evening was still young and we wanted to maximize our vacation, we decided to go to Star City.
Our first stop to Star City was the famed Snow world. Since we live in a tropical country we do not get the “winter experience.” I have experienced snow fall when I went to the United States while I was driving through the mountains of Viriginia, but I never experienced the winter season itself. Snow world is a great way of giving Filipinos a glimpse of what it’s like to go through the winter season. This is perhaps the only place in the Philippines were you experience the winter season all year through.
It is such a shame that they do not allow cameras in there. Although “Snow world” was only small, it was such a great experience. We experienced -15 degrees Celsius icy cold environment. In there they have several interesting structures such as an igloo, a passageway made of solid ice and several Ice sculpture there of famous landmarks of the world such as the Eiffel tower and the leaning tower of Pisa. For fun, they have two ice slides.
No need to bring jackets, since it is provided with the entrance fee. However mittens and socks are not provided so you have to shell out extra money for that. (Or you could bring your own)
We couldn’t bear the extreme coldness so we got out. We then enjoyed the rides, went to two horror houses and went through the Jurassic park. The like dinosaur exhibits are great for kids. It was such a fun and entertaining experience. My son Zed Avalon enjoyed it so much. There were also several exhibits of real dinosaur fossils by a Korean fellow.
We wish the fun would not end; unfortunately, Star City had to close so we headed back to the hotel and decided to call it a day. We will be visiting another interesting site tomorrow, the Manila Ocean Park, more on this in the post to come.
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