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Talay-Hidden-Hulugan Falls: Waterfalls in Laguna

Laguna is known for its hot spring resorts in Pansol,  but over the weekend, I learned that  Laguna also serves as home to numerous waterfalls aside from the famous  Pagsanjan and Majayjay Falls. The recently opened trail of Hulugan Falls, which is now making a buzz in social media, is quickly becoming a favorite weekend getaway destination especially for people from  Manila.

May 7, 2016 — From Manila, we started navigating with the help of Waze and travel sites over the internet to help us get to Luisiana. If you’re lucky, the travel can be as short as 2 hours. In our case, since it was a long weekend, the traffic slowed us down a bit so the journey took us 3.5 hours.

We got to San Salvador at 8:30 AM. Because we wanted to hop from Hulugan to Aliw Falls, we immediately registered at the jump-off point and paid the entrance fee. Then we met our 22-year old tour guide, Kuya Rowie. Guidance by a local operator is required by the government. You may think that you’ll do fine without one,  but from experience, you’ll find them useful especially with the twists and turns of the trail.

 

 

 

 

Before we proceed with the trek, we asked if there is a facility for shower and toilet. It was a great relief to discover that there are makeshift comfort rooms available for ₱15.00. If you’re planning to stay overnight and did not bring packed food with you, you can buy food and water by the jump off point. There are no vendors near the falls, so better be prepared!

We started the trek with a bottle of water in one hand, and camera (plus other gadgets) in the other. Kuya Rowie was kind enough to bring some of our stuff while joking around and talking to us casually. It was a good thing that the number of tourists wasn’t significant yet by this time, so it was somehow a perfect timing to appreciate the beauty of Hulugan without the crowd.

 

 

TALAY FALLS

First in our itinerary is the Talay Falls.  It was an easy trek going to Talay Falls. Because it was the dry season, the trail wasn’t muddy and there wasn’t a lot of ups and downs, except for a few big rocks which doesn’t require much effort to surpass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIDDEN FALLS

After a taking in the beauty of Talay Falls, we continued our trek going to Hidden Falls. Although the trek was fairly short since Talay and Hidden Falls are neighbors,  the hike was challenging this time around. The trail was rocky and involved a few “walking on the edge”. We even experienced rope rappelling. Talk about adventure! But the obstacles were nothing compared to the sight of Hidden Falls.  It was grand!  The running water took all the sweat away! We sat down by the spot where the falls were hitting the rocks. Just be ultra careful going there because the rocks were mossy and slippery. We took off our sandals to be safe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HULUGAN FALLS

We almost didn’t want to leave but people were starting to flock already so we went on our way to Hulugan Falls. Going to the falls took us roughly 30 minutes, and it wasn’t as hard as the trail to Hidden Falls.  We also passed by the camping area where those who plan to stay overnight in Hulugan Falls can set their tent for just a pitching fee of ₱50.00, including the bathroom and faucet use. (Bring your own tent and food! There are no vendors around here.)

Even though the trek was easy,  our bodies were already exhausted, thirsty and our skins are starting to sting due to sunburn. (Lesson learned: apply sunblock first before braving the trails.) The heat of the sun was scorching and the downward slope was adding more pressure on our toes. Our bodies were feeling extra heavy and we were running out of breath. Without noticing that we’re nearing the attraction, I was hearing the sound of falling water and the laughter of people from a distance. We have arrived!  Hulugan is the highest falls in the province of Laguna, with a height of 235 ft!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were already few groups wandering around the falls  – some were swimming, some were resting on the rocks, some were eating their packed lunch and some were taking photos. As much as we wanted to run into the water, the rocks were very slippery so we had to be cautious. I saw a few tourists slipped due to the heavy moss surrounding the pit. Since I am not a good swimmer, I was skeptical if I’ll dip into the waters or not. We were warned by Kuya Rowie to be mindful when swimming because it’s hard to tell which part is deep and rocky. Thank goodness we have our tour guide to assist us. If in case you run out of drinking water on your way to the falls, people can get a refill from the spring water inside the rock shelter.

 

 

 

 

We took the steep trail, which was about a 30-minute trek, going back to the jump-off point. This time, although recharged from the Hulugan Falls swim, we got easily tired because the upward slope was sharp. By the time that we’re almost back on the concrete road,  our knees and legs were shaking so we took the tricycle going back instead. We got back as early as  12:40  pm. Although we wanted to proceed to Aliw Falls, we didn’t push through because we heard that they closed the trails as the water dried up in Aliw Falls. We could’ve visited Majayjay or Pagsanjan Falls, but our bodies were physically tired.

Instead of going home early, we still chose to go on a road trip to Lucban, Quezon and Nagcarlan, Laguna to visit Kamay ni Hesus and Underground Cemetery.

 

 

Guide to Hulugan Falls, Luisiana, Laguna

 

  • There is no fixed rate for the tour guide, but they range from ₱300 to 500. In giving, take note that the barangay gets  ₱50 cut from the fee you’ll give the guides.
  • Make sure to wear sandals that are ideal for trekking. Avoid bringing rubber slippers!
  • Apply sunblock!
  • Wear a cap.
  • Take a lot of friends with you if you’re going there via private car, so you could chip in gas and tour guide fee.
  • Don’t bring heavy stuff! You don’t want all that extra weight while trekking.
  • You can stay overnight for a ₱50.00 camping fee. Bring your own tent.

 

 

[tg_accordion title=”How to Get There” icon=”” close=”0″]a. Private Car
1. Take Calamba Exit in SLEX.
2. Head to the town of Pagsanjan. (Before you get to Pagsanjan, you ‘ll pass through several towns €“ Pansol, Los Banos, Victoria, Pila, Sta. Cruz.)
3.Next landmark to watch out for is Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church. From there, turn right until you get to San Salvador. (The arc of San Salvador is on the right side. Be very alert because the sign is not very noticeable.)

b. Public Transportation
1. Ride a bus bound to Sta. Cruz, Laguna via Calamba (From Starmall Alabang, ₱102.00)
2. Once you ‘re in Sta. Cruz, ride a jeep bound going to Lucban. (Tell the driver to drop you off San Salvador)[/tg_accordion]

[tg_accordion title=”Itinerary and Budget” icon=”” close=”0″][one_fourth]May 7[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]05:00 am[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ETD from Las Pinas to Brgy. San Salvador, Luisiana, Laguna[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last]₱ 700/head (Gas contribution); ₱ 94/toll (From MCX-SLEX  to Calamba Exit)[/one_fourth_last][one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]08:30 am[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ETA Brgy. San Salvador, Luisiana, Laguna; Register at Jump-off Point[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last]₱ 20/head (Entrance Fee to Hulugan Falls); ₱ 30/car (parking fee) ; ₱ 400/ tourguide (Guide Fee)[/one_fourth_last][one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]08:40 am[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Trek to Talay Falls[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last][/one_fourth_last][one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]09:30 am[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ETA Talay Falls[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last][/one_fourth_last][one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]09:50 am[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ETD Talay Falls; Trek to Hidden Falls[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last][/one_fourth_last][one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]10:10 am[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ETA Hidden Falls[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last][/one_fourth_last][one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]10:45 am[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ETD Hidden Falls, Trek to Hulugan Falls[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last][/one_fourth_last][one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]11:20 am[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ETA Hulugan Falls[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last][/one_fourth_last][one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]12:15  pm[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ETD Hulugan Falls, Trek to Jump Off Point[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last]₱ 10/head (Tricycle from Hulugan Falls to Jump-off Point)[/one_fourth_last][one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]12:40 pm[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]  ETA Jump Off Point; Rest[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last][/one_fourth_last][one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]01:00 pm[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]Lunch;  Shower Time[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last]₱ 15/head  (Shower Fee); ₱ 60/head  (Tapsilog for lunch!)[/one_fourth_last][one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]01:30 pm[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ETD Manila[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last][/one_fourth_last][one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]05:00 pm[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ETA Manila[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last] 97/toll (via MCX -SLEX)[/one_fourth_last]
[one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth][/one_fourth]
[one_fourth]ESTIMATED EXPENSES[/one_fourth]
[one_fourth_last]₱ 782 / head[/one_fourth_last][/tg_accordion]

 

 

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