El Castillo Royal Hotspring Resort
(049) 545 2005
El Castillo Royal Hotspring Resort Pagsanjan Reviews
Apr 06, 2007
With short planning time and limited budget, we decided to stay in Manila for the 5 day holiday. Not wanting to do nothing for these rare vacation moments, we decided to do a day trip in Pagsanjan Falls. I've been hearing about this place since I was a kid but I've never really had the chance to go so its pretty exciting to see what this place is all about.
Pagsanjan is about 2 hours away from Makati. We left Makati at 730 am on a Good Friday so there were almost no cars on the road. To get there, take the South Super Highway all the way down to the last exit -- Calamba, Laguna. Follow the road that leads to Los Banos, Laguna. Take the main road and you'll get to Pagsanjan, Laguna. You'll be passing the municipalities of Los Banos, Pila and Sta. Cruz. Enjoy the ride! The view of the trees and the rice fields reminds me how great it is to be out of Manila! Wonderful! We got to the resort at 930 am.
A Pagsanjan Arc will mark your arrival at your destination. Pass the arc and you'll see the Pagsanjan church. Make a right at this point and you will notice a lot of boatman flaggers on the streets. Billboards along the roads will notify you that you shouldn't be dealing with illegal boatmen in the area. Be warned too that there are flaggers as early as 20 minutes away from the main Pagsanjan area. They will tell you that they are part of the Boatmen Association and will bring you to the area. They might be legal but its still best to trust the Department of Tourism Accredited groups.
We have made earlier reservations with La Corona Hotel in Pagsanjan. Their contact info is: 049-5011753. Look for Michael or Marvin. My suggestion is to arrange and book a trip with a hotel or a resort since you can use their facilities after you get wet from the falls. Believe me!!! You would want to take a shower after the trip. With the heat of the sun and the cold water of the falls, you need to freshen up after the rapids trip. :-) It's P100 more than the normal rate but you get to use their facilities and the best part is that, the resorts have back-ups and emergency support if in case something happens during the trip. Their shower rooms are clean so freshening up is not a problem. I just wish they had an exhaust fan in the shower room since its a bit warm.
As soon as we got there, we were received with a warm smile by the receptionist. After paying P760 per person, we relaxed for a few minutes at their breezy patio/ restaurant. After a cup of coffee, a couple of juice drinks and a plate of french fries, we were off on our Shooting the Rapids adventure.
Our Boatmen were waiting for us by the steps leading to the river, ready to put our life vests on. Once the vests have been secured, we got into our canoe. The boats can take 3 people max. I was so scared that we might fall off the canoe in the beginning. It was a small thing carrying 4 people with the boatman in front leading the way and skillfully stepping on the rocks to move our boat forward. These boatmen are unbelievable! After a few minutes of seeing how our boatmen can easily maneuver our boat, I relaxed and just took photos. It was really amazing how they can kick and pull and carry the boats from one point to another.
In between rapids, you will see lush greens on both sides while you're cruising through calm waters. You can hear birds, see dragon flies and spot monkeys along the way. Its a nature trip! Fantastic!
After about 10 minutes on the boat, we had a stop over in a place where you can buy drinks and eat grilled chicken. This is a tourist trap! Once you get off your boat, the vendors will instantly ask you to buy a drink for your boatmen. Since our boatmen were so good, we decided to get each one of them a can of coke. Hmmm... How much is a can? P40! Highway robbery! But, I guess the boatmen do deserve the rest and the soda. The second part of the ride to the falls is much harder than the first part.
When we got to the Pagsanjan Falls (which is actually in the Cavinti, Laguna area), we got on the raft that will bring us inside the cave and under the falls. The raft ride is P90/ head. This is the part that you should not miss!!!! You get wet big time but its so much fun. Remember to put your head down but tilt it a bit on the side where you can get some air. You'll be under the water fall for a good 10 to 20 seconds. Scream as much as you can and enjoy the super cold water!
After a few minutes of rest and admiring the falls, we headed back to the resort. The ride back is faster and more fun since the water is down stream. It felt like being on the Log Jam ride of Enchanted Kingdom!
After 2 hours, we were back in the resort for a much awaited meal. LUNCH! The lunch in the resort is super yummy! Don't miss their Adobo de Pagsanjan (there's a lot of pork fat though so please tell the waiter to remove them if you don't want fat) and Spicy Sizzling Sisig.
To cap off the trip to Pagsanjan, don't ever miss having a massage by Lola Lolita through the resort! She's the best! Plus, you'll have the massage in a cabana near the pool area.
Expenses breakdown per person:
Shooting the Rapids package via resort:
P760 inclusive of vest, boat ride, guide, use of pool and showers at the resort
P 80 two cans of coke for our boatmen
P 90 Raft ride to the falls
P 50 tip for the men at the raft ride
P 200 tip for our boatmen
P 200 (estimate) for lunch
Total cost: P1380
** Exclusive of Gas and Toll fee
Things to remember:
1. Expect to get wet so be in clothes that can get wet
2. Bring toiletries for showering
3. Use sun block -- it can be really hot
4. Bring either a pelican or a bag that is water proof so you have a container for your camera and money
5. Bring water for drinking while you are on the boat
6. You might want to bring a towel or sarong to cover your legs from the heat of the sun
Part of the Pagsanjan Falls Trip -- Shooting the Rapids travel blog
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Mar 19, 2007
This is the only reason that you want to pagsanjan. The official price is P660 pr person ,but all the boatmen will try to overcharge you. I was stupid to pay more than to since there where some boatmen who met me while i got out of the bus, but i managed to bargain it down to P900 which isnt all that bad if you count in the tricycle ride to and from the busstation.
Part of the Philippines 2007 (Includes 1week in London) travel blog