Because my work has been overtaking my life, I opted to travel near this year. So instead of the usual long drives & road less taken, me and some friends from the office head down to Majayjay, Laguna! 😀
2am and we were up and about at the DLTB bus terminal in Gil Puyat! Since there were no ticket reservations for the bus, the only way for travelers to be able to arrive to Laguna early, they have to be at the terminal by 2am and line up for the bus bound to Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Fare is Php140.
I’m an advocate of packing light when traveling, just bringing the essentials and nothing more so to limit the stuff we have to carry to Majayjay, the team opted to just shop at the local market of Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Prices of commodities may be a bit higher than usual as some of the stall owners there took advantage the downpour of local & foreign tourists in the area. Like the price of raw chicken eggs on the first stall I asked, it was Php10 whereas the usual price is just around Php4 to Php6 each. My tip: Be wise, haggle. 🙂
Scenes from the local market:
The town of Majayjay in Laguna is a bit far since its already situated near the boundaries of Laguna and Lucban, Quezon. From the town proper you can already see the two infamous mountains, Mt. Banahaw and San Cristobal. Aside from kesong puti, Majayjay is also famous for its crystal clear waterfalls, one of which is called Taytay Falls.
Nestled at the foot of Mt. Banahaw, it’ll take about 45 minutes to almost an hour of tricycle ride from town proper to get to the location of Taytay Falls and that does not include the 15-20 minutes trek up the rainforest. It is a fairly easy travel to plan especially to those who wants to have a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the Metro. The only downside is that since its just near Manila (plus its summer and we went there last Labor day 2015), you can expect a lot of people flocking the place and enjoying the cold (around 15 to 10 degrees) and refreshing water from the falls. People were everywhere, every nook and cranny was almost full to the brim. We actually had to wait a couple of hours before we were able to pitch our tent! :))
Us, trying to set camp after waiting for almost 2 hours! :)))
I’ve been hiking and camping all my life but my travel buddies were first timers to what I call “buhay fungus”! hahaha! but proud of these people for keeping an open mind about camping. It’s tough especially for beginners since when camping, you’re deprived of everything – the usual comfy beds in a bedroom, toilets and bathroom for your convenience, food properly served on a table, etc. It’s back to basics, period. You have to do things the simplest and the hardest of ways. But that’s the beauty of it though and a plus that after a camping experience, you’ll be twice a street smart than you were before. And nothing beats the tranquility and peace that camping can give you since there were limited mobile phone signals and intermittent mobile data signal in the area. You can avoid those unwanted calls from the office asking you to work on a weekend! :))
Though its a challenge to cook food, ours was as good as the food you can order from a hotel kitchen (thank you to the resident chef of the team, Wea!). Tip on what to bring and cook when camping: easy to open cans, ready-to-eat meals, and marinated food should be on the list since are the food that is easy to prepare and cook. Plus you are sure that it won’t get spoiled (especially the marinated ones) before you can cook it.
The water coming from Mt. Banahaw was just freezing cold so cold drinks was not a problem at all! :))) Just secure it with some nylon cord, tie it and dip it in the water.
Essentials when camping aside from food & water – sleeping bags! I am not a fan of sleeping bags. I’m content with my malong and the tent when camping but for trips of high altitude and in a forested area, expect a cooler climate where jackets and sleeping bags are needed. Like in Majayjay. I think it was a little around 20 degrees (or less) during the night up until dawn of the next day.
Minus the hassle and all the people who went there, this is what we have, the crystal clear, icy cold waters of Taytay falls. Its just majestic. To describe how clear it is despite the volume of guests bathing there, Taytay falls is in 3 shades of blue and you can clearly see the bottom of the catch basin of the falls. That’s how clear it is!
yep, 3 shades of blue it is! 😀
here’s a sample itinerary for those who wants to see for themselves and experience Taytay falls:
Going to Majayjay, I recommend, though it is a bit pricey, to take rented tricycles. Especially if your group will shop for food. This will give you extra convenience plus an open view of Mt. Banahaw & San Cristobal while traveling to your destination. Tricycle rent price range: Php600 to Php750. Again, try to haggle and negotiate to get the best price. As for the budget, we spent less than Php1,000 for this trip. Savvy, eh? 😀
I’ve always loved the outdoors, camping, and traveling with friends and this trip definitely tops my list of favorite travels thus far. Good food & destination plus an awesome company of great friends! couldn’t ask for anything more. Life should be spent more with friends, traveling, and discovering places and not getting yourselves confined and stuck with pile loads of work. find the time to take it easy, breathe, travel despite your hectic schedules.
I’d like to thank my good friend and officemate, Duey Guison for allowing me to use his awesome photos of the trip. He’s working as Lifestyle section editor for ABS-CBN Lifestyle, also contributes for Choose Philippines & ABS-CBN Sports. Photography is his hobby too! 😀
So until the next travel adventure and keep on movin’ your feet! 🙂