After my impulsive Baguio City travel, my feet was already kind of itching to go to another place; so when my highschool buddies started saying, “uy gala naman tayo!” I quickly looked for a place I haven't been to but not that far away from the metro since our schedules won't allow us to be gone for too long. I guess heaven heard my plea because all of a sudden, an officemate of mine showed me a photo of Hulugan Falls in Laguna which he had been wanting to visit for quite some time now. So I told him, “sir, unahan na kita!”
When I told my friends about it and that it's just in Laguna, they were quick to say yes and then we scheduled the trip on a Monday (since we already suspect that the place might be packed on weekends).
On The Road
|Meet one of my guy best friends, Paul|
We said we'd leave at around 5:00 AM but unfortunately, two of my friends (actually a married couple) arrived late. Crap. They arrived at my place almost past 6:00 AM and imagine coming from Valenzuela (which is up north of NCR) to Cubao (where we can take a bus going to Sta. Cruz, Laguna) on a Monday at around 6:00 AM. Hello Monday morning rush hour! Oh well… YOLO! So we left as soon as the two arrived and hoped for the best.
Hoping for the best isn't enough though. And just as we suspected, TRAFFIC IS ALREADY HELL IN EDSA. So we got to the bus station at around 8:00 AM and since the bus would still have to go through the rest of EDSA I just knew that we'll get there past lunch time. But since there's no turning back now, I just made use of the time to hang catch up with Paul (my seatmate and one of my best friends).
Chat. Sleep. Eat. Repeat.
That was how we spent the 4-5 hour bus ride from Cubao to Sta. Cruz, Laguna. I have been down south but I am not that familiar with the places there. I'm more of a northener. So when my friends were asking me, “are we almost there?” I'd respond to them with, “patience. This is an adventure.” But really… My butt already hurts.
We told the bus conductor to drop us where we can take another ride going to Luisiana and got off at a jeepney terminal going to Quezon. We asked the driver if he can drop us off at Brgy. San Salvador in Luisiana because we're going to Hulugan Falls and, yep, the jeepney is going to pass by there.
The Trek Going to the Falls
So upon getting off at the sign that says “This Way to Hulugan Falls,” we were greeted by the locals and were immediately asked if we're heading to Hulugan Falls. After giving our affirmation, they assigned us a guide and off we went… To the baranggay captain's house first to register (gotcha! LOL).
We just paid a small amount for the environmental fee or something (less than PHP20.00) and then off we go to the falls.
I read a blog post saying there were two trails (the shorter and steeper and the longer but easier) and you will be asked to choose which you would prefer; but since we arrived there at around 1 or 2 PM (I think), we weren't given that option anymore. OFF TO THE SHORTER AND STEEPER TRAIL IT IS!
I love walking, don't get me wrong, but I haven't hiked yet (I'd love to but I believe I still need to train and trek more since my right knee is kind of weak and cracking) so the trail was enough to make me sweat like crazy and make my legs wobble.
But then I saw the falls and I told myself, this is really worth it.
We looked for a good spot to sit, rest, and eat lunch and then off we went to take a dip and swim. Our guide assured us that there's nothing to worry about our stuff and he also took our photos so double yey!
Going Back to Manila and Some Tips for Newbies
At around 4:00 PM, we decided to pack and leave. Then I realized, it was easier climbing back up than going down but it was more tiring. Whew! But we were able to get back to the baranggay captain's house before 5:00 PM and that's where we took a shower.
Oh and about the guide, you are the one who's going to decide how much you'll pay them. We each gave him PHP100.00 so he got PHP400.00 from our group.
Going back to Manila was easy. We just took a jeepney going back to Sta. Cruz and asked to be dropped off to the bus terminal going to Cubao and that's it. The traffic though was still crazy… Both in Laguna and EDSA. The bus left at around 6:00 PM and I arrived at my fiance's place in Katipunan at around 10:00 PM.
So for those who are planning on going to Hulugan Falls too, let me give you some quick tips:
1. Wear proper trekking sandals. The trail can be slippery and wet so better make sure that your footwear has good grip.
2. Be there early so you can have options with regard to the trails to take. I believe that if you'll take the longer and easier trail, you can also pass by another falls.
3. Bring easy to eat food and don't litter in the area even if the guide won't stop you from doing so. Common courtesy and please let us all do our part in taking care of the environment.
4. Don't bring your little kids with you. We came across a couple who brought theirs and so they weren't able to go down to the falls because it would be too dangerous. You kinda need to like hold on to some vines and once you fall… You'll fall all the way down the rocks and running water from the falls. It won't be a pretty sight.
So that's it about my Hulugan Falls trip. It was tiring and exhausting but definitely worth it. Thanks to my fiance for massaging my legs till I fall asleep the night I arrived at his place after the trip. I need to walk more and work on my leg muscles so that I can do a harder trekking trail or maybe hiking next. Who knows?