Just 2 hours away from Manila, I got the chance to cross off chasing waterfalls from my bucket list. In Luisiana, Laguna you will have the chance to visit not only one but three waterfalls namely Talay Falls, Hidden Falls and Hulugan Falls in a day! With its cool waters and stunning view, the three falls are a must visit in the province of Laguna.
Going to the falls requires a bit of trekking. Word of advice, wear sturdy and proper footwear. You will be walking on water and slippery trails. The walk consists of tenacious dancing and jumping like a ballerina on drugs grabbing onto the nearest thing you could lay your eyes on for dear life. How slippery it is depends on whether you went during the wet or dry season or so the guides say.
To get from the starting point to the Talay Falls, it will take you around 15 to 30 minutes.
Upon reaching the falls, we asked our guide if we could swim but due to environmental concerns, he advised us not to. The Talay Falls was a sight to see. But the murky water was a bit disappointing. I was expecting crystal clear waters since the water comes from the hot springs.
Just beside the Talay Falls are bamboo tables and chairs good for a picnic. Under the shades of the trees and the feel of the fresh air, the place is the perfect spot for a meal. Although we saw lots of red ants and mosquitoes.
Less than a 5-minute hike above the Talay Falls lies the Hidden Falls. The trail is pretty easy to follow. It is a bit slippery though. Lying behind rocks, the falls stands majestically. The water from the Talay Falls comes from the Hidden Falls so basically Talay Falls is somewhat an extension of the Hidden Falls.
We went up to the falls to have a feel of what the actual falls is like. Going up is pretty risky, one wrong step may lead to your fall and possible death. We were lucky the water wasn’t much that we were able to stay under it for a few minutes.
The Hulugan Falls was termed as such ever since the time a carabao fell down the falls due to the strong water currents. It’s weird and funny. I even asked the guide a few times if he was serious.
After Talay and Hidden Falls, we walked for a few minutes until we reached the campsite. Filled with green grass, tall trees, and pandan trees, it was very enticing to camp for the night. Camping fee is 100 pesos. There is a bathroom and a caretaker near the campsite.
Reaching Hulugan Falls was one tough challenge, we had to go down a long, uncemented, and slippery walk path. Once you get a glimpse of the falls, all the exhaustion will be gone in an instant. The waterfalls I’ve seen before couldn’t compare to what Hulugan has to offer. The falls was huge. Just standing under it was overwhelming.
There are no tables or cottages beside the falls. The only thing available is a bathroom. The falls features a salbabida (floater) with a rope attached to get you from point X to the actual falls. The water is murky though. Some parts are deep while others are shallow. Slippery rocks consist the bottom of the plunge pool. It can go as deep as 10 ft. The water isn’t crystal clear. Swimming in the plunge pool is a one of a kind experience but it can be freezing.
You need to take extra caution around the falls. Pits are scattered everywhere they range from xs to xl, to even xxl, xs takes a thumb while xxl takes you whole. While taking pictures, one of my friend’s leg went into a pit. It wasn’t life-threatening but painful the same. There are a lot of rocks surrounding the falls, some are sharp and slippery. Be careful when walking, a small slip up would be painful.
Anyways, before we went swimming, we fixed our lunch boodle style. Although there were no tables, it was fantastic eating beside the great Hulugan Falls.
On the way back, we used another route. The path is rocky and steep but it is shorter compared to the route we used going to the Hulugan Falls. At the top, there is a store usually open during weekends which sells water. Just a couple of minutes’ walk from here is the road going back. You can ride a tricycle from here to the Kapitan’s house.
Registration Fee: 30php/pax
Tour Guide Fee: There is no standard rate.
For us, we each shelled out 100 pesos. That would be a total of 700 pesos for our payment.
How to Get There
- From Buendia or Cubao, ride a bus bound for Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Travel time is around 2 hours.
- Drop off at Sta. Cruz town proper.
- Ride a jeep going to Lucena or Lucban and drop off at Brgy. San Salvador. Fare is 30 pesos.
- Ride a tricycle going to the Kapitan’s house where you will register. Ride is 20 pesos per person.
- Ride a jeep going to SM Calamba and drop off at Waltermart Calamba.
- Ride a jeep or bus bound for Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Travel time is around 1 hour. Fare is 61 pesos for a bus ride.
- Drop off at Sta. Cruz town proper.
- For 30 pesos, ride a jeep going to Lucena or Lucban and drop off at Brgy. San Salvador.
- Ride a tricycle going to the Kapitan’s house for registration. Ride costs 20 pesos per person.
Here are some of the financial damages the trip may incur:
Bus fare to Sta Cruz from Manila (One-way) : 140 pesos
Bus fare from Calamba to Sta Cruz (One-way) : 61 pesos
Sta Cruz to San Salvador (One-way) : 30 pesos
Tricycle to the Kapitan’s house & starting point : 20 pesos
Registration : 30 pesos
Tour Guide : no standard rate, depends on how much you will give
Tips and Reminders
- Use proper footwear. You will be walking on slippery trails and water.
- Take your trash with you. Let’s all preserve the beauty of the place.
- Have a waterproof camera. The Hulugan Falls is very generous when it comes to water. It will feel like it’s drizzling when you’re standing near it.
- There are a lot of rocks below and around the falls. Be careful.
- Best time to go is from December to February and March to May to avoid the bad weather. Although, when it hasn’t rained for a long time, there may be very little water running which can be a bit disappointing.
- Bring water with you. You will be walking for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- You have the option to only go to Hulugan Falls or to all three waterfalls.
- Check out Aliw Falls if you have more time. Going there requires a new tour guide and registration since it is located in another barangay.
- There are bathrooms for rent at 15 pesos at the Kapitan’s house.
Check out other camping and travel guides tips here at Wanderera.