In school then, what most textbooks showed of Laguna was Pagsanjan Falls. Now, I have come to realize that Laguna is a haven for chasing waterfalls, and that there is more to it than just Pagsanjan. I have been to several but two are my favorites and are right by each other, Hulugan Falls and Aliw Falls——–two of the most beautiful waterfalls I have been to. You don’t even have to travel far to get there. It’s just a couple of hours from Manila, perfect for a day trip.
How to Get to Hulugan Falls
Via Public Transportation
- Ride The DLTB Bus to Cruz (Php 140 per head) from the Cubao or Pasay bus terminal.
- From Sta. Cruz, ride a jeep going to Lucban ( Php 30) and ask the driver to drop you at San Salvador in Louisiana. Just tell them Hulugan Falls; they know where to drop you.
Bring your own Car
If we had a car, it would have been better because there are a lot to explore in the neighboring town. This trip alone can bring you to 4 waterfalls. We only opted to visit 2.
- Drive to Cavinti via SLEX
Hulugan Falls is located in Louisiana, Laguna. It is one of the quiet towns in Laguna that is slowly gaining popularity. The moment we got down of the jeepney, we had to register and get ourselves a guide. I loved how organized it was; each of the guides had to draw a number then they are listed on a board in that order. Each time a group arrives, the guides are dispatched according to that order. On weekends, they prioritize guides who are kids so they can also have the chance to earn. We ended up with a young boy of 15. I didn’t realize he was that young but he was a great guide. The guide fee is not set, so you give what you feel is worth it. We were so happy with our guide that we actually paid him well.
From that point, we had to walk to the Kapitan’s house to register and pay Php 15 pesos. It was a very easy 15-minute walk, flat and paved most of the way. For those who are not yet ready to begin their hike, you can also opt to ride a tricycle for Php 10 per head. We wanted some form of exercise so we walked.
The hike going to Hulugan Falls would have been a very easy hike if not for the fact that it had been raining. The path turned into slush, mud and even in my Merell trekking shoes, it was almost impossible to walk. For this type of hike, even proper hiking shoes would be of no use. The mud was everywhere. Our guide said aqua shoes would have been the best solution. My friend Kay, as well as the other tourists on the path went bare foot. Good thing, they put bamboos and ropes for you to hold on to.
For 1 hour, it was a muddy trail, then the last 20 minutes were rocky. At this point, my trekking shoes didn’t serve its purpose anymore so I walked barefoot. Despite such, the view that awaits you once you see the falls is spectacular. It will make you want to do it yet again.
We were lucky we were allowed to go to the upper part of the falls. It felt like a typhoon in there. The current was strong and the mist was blowing right through our eyes. We ducked by a huge rock to take cover. Sometimes, according to our guide, it gets too strong that they don’t even allow guests in the river. That’s usually when there are typhoons, so pay attention to the weather forecast.
- Wear aqua shoes, your hiking shoes will do you no good. In the event that the trail is dry, which they say hardly happens, it should be an easy trail that you could walk in flipflops with.
- Ziplock and waterproof all your things. The spray and mist of Hulugan Falls is so strong that everything will be wet.
- There is a mini cave at the upper left corner of the falls. Go visit it.
- Bring packed lunch. It would be good if you bring for your guide too.
- There are other falls in San Salvador, Talay Falls.A lot of people went but we didn’t bother. We enjoyed hanging out in Hulugan Falls. You may want to check it out too.
- It tends to get crowded on weekends so if you can, go on a weekday.
- Make provisions for your camera. Kay had a Dicapac with her to cover her camera but then the mist was so strong it ended up misty and all that. We struggled to take a picture.
The way going up to Hulugan Falls is the same way going back. We were faster this time around; we did it without footwear at all. Our guide told us about Aliw Falls, which was nearby. The Kapitan no longer allowed the guides of Hulugan to go there. We had to ask permission from the other Baranggay before we could go there. We had time, so we agreed to do that.
The hike to Aliw Falls was less muddy than that of Hulugan. It was a much easier trek; we were in the falls in 20-30 minutes easy walk. We were lucky that when we got to Aliw Falls, there was no one. Hulugan falls was high, mighty and strong while Aliw Falls was wide and cascading. The water was murky because of the mud but it was majestic.
We sat by the rocks and stayed there longer since it was so serene. I loved it.
We gave our guide extra for taking us to Aliw Falls. We then began our trek back up and took a bath in Aling Bernadette’s house. After, we bought some bibingka ( 3 for Php 100) to try their delicacies and waited for a jeep to take us back to Sta. Cruz, where we began our journey back to Manila.
Hulugan and Aliw Falls are a few of my favorite falls in Laguna. When you get the chance, pay it a visit. You won’t regret it.
Roundtrip Bus from Cubao to Sta. Cruz Php 280
Roundtrip Jeepney from Sta Cruz to Lousiana Php 60
Registration Php 15
Bath Php 15
Bibingka ( 3 pcs) Php 100
Guide Fee ( we were so happy we gave him P500) Php250
Total PHP 720 or USD $15