Philippine summer is ending in no time. Seriously, where did time go? Things are happening too quickly, seasons are escalating too abruptly, and in a blink of an eye, we’re back to spending weekends indoors while super typhoons cut off our electricity. To help you make the most of your remaining days of summer, why not check these gorgeous waterfalls off your list. Because guess what? You don’t have to take a plane ride to get out of the city and to bring yourself somewhere charming enough it deserves to be on your adventure book. That said, money shouldn’t be an issue because these places are read: CHEAP AF. You can add these to these 15 other things you can do without straying too far from the city. (READ: 15 Day Trips To Take Near Manila)
Disclaimer: There are plenty other waterfalls near the city. These are just some of my picks that I’ve managed to visit so far.
1.) Hulugan Falls (Lusiana, Laguna)
I’ll start off with the bad news; the hike was challenging. It was for me because I went during rainy season. SO GO NOW while it’s dry and avoid the muddy trail down that are actually quite dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Of course I didn’t know what I was doing so I showed up with no extra clothes and I ended up hiking in my onesie– barefoot and all. Not my proudest moment, but reaching the waterfall was. I put this at the top because Hulugan Falls has the largest cascade in this list. Grand, spectacular, and breathtakingly large, this falls is one of those you’d be rushing to once you catch sight of it from afar, all the while struggling to catch your breath. There are also other waterfalls nearby that you can convince your guide to take you to if you’re feeling up for it. We hit up a total of three waterfalls when I went so it definitely took me awhile to get home. I ended up sleeping over at my aunt’s in San Pedro, Laguna because I missed the last van to Tagaytay. Hella worth it though. Length of hike: 40 minutes to 2 hours, depending if you’re making a stop to other falls.
*Take a bus to Sta. Cruz, Laguna and a jeep to Lusiana. It took me forever to get here but I came from Tagaytay and ended up taking a longer commuting route.
2.) Bukal Falls (Majayjay, Laguna)
Also located in Laguna among a few more others that I’ve yet to visit, Bukal Falls (also known as Kilangin Falls) stands out because of its fresh clear water. Situated in a cave-like entrapment with a few mini waterfalls around, Bukal Falls has a tendency to give out such an enchanting vibe. The cascade itself is small, but it’s the entire pool and surrounding that makes it so memorable. With leaves just nonchalantly falling down, water eternally drizzling everywhere, and the undeniable clarity of the icy water, it’s almost nostalgic of some kind of holy and sacred setting. The hike is meant to be easy but as always, I wasn’t in proper attire so I chose to take the horse halfway through the hike. Then off you go down the stairs for another 10-15 minutes, but it’s the hike back up that sucks. Length of hike: 40 minutes
*Take a bus bound to Sta. Cruz, Laguna and then a tricycle to the jeep terminal. Take a jeep to Majayjay and ask to be dropped off at Brgy. Bukal. Hail a tricycle to take you to the jump off point.
3.) Daranak Falls (Taytay, Rizal)
Located in Tanay, Daranak Falls is quite popular already with weekenders from the Metro. I went on a weekday and I was fortunate enough to have it to myself for a good amount of time. The cascade is quite big, even bigger during the wet season, but it’s the milky blue water that makes it worthy to take the third spot in this list. Though it’s a bit modified already with huts and cemented stairways, the falls itself has kept its rawness. There’s another waterfall a short hike away from Daranak, but we’ll get to that later. It’s only two hours away from the city so this can definitely be done as a quickie getaway. Length of hike: No hike needed. About three minutes walk from the drop off point/entrance.
*Take a van from Star Mall EDSA going to Tanay Rizal. Then get a tricycle to take you to the falls.
4.) Ambon-Ambon Falls (Laurel, Batangas)
Located in Laurel, Batangas, Ambon-Ambon’s timeless mysterious charm is worth chasing. It’s not the best waterfall in the list, but it is unique in its own ways. With two tiers of waterfall, the bottom one has a pool you can swim in while the top tier is impossible to climb as it hides on top of a huge boulder. You have no idea how bad I wanted to see what was up there but rumor has it, people have died or critically hurt themselves attempting to do so. It’s a short 30-minute hike to this one. Towards the end of the hike, you’ll be crossing between huge canyons and boulders that is nothing short of magical. You’ll also pass by a smaller waterfall which I have included in this list. Length of hike: 20-30 minutes
*Take a bus bound to Tanauan, Batangas. Get off Laurel, and hail a tricycle to take you to the jump off point. Make sure you grab their number so you can text them when to pick you up.
5.) Hidden Falls (Lusiana, Laguna)
Remember when I said my hike to Hulugan Falls took way longer than expected? Hidden Falls is partly responsible for that. That’s one of the awesome things about visiting either of these two falls– you get more than one. From the jump off point, it takes about 40 minutes to reach this secret gem. Keep in mind that this is located literally behind canyons so you’ll have to climb and rappel a little to get to it. You won’t have access to the pool as far as I remember, and it’s a pretty tight space in there, but you get a good frontal view so definitely worth adding to the list. Length of hike: Approximately 40 minutes
*To get here, follow the same directions to Hulugan Falls.
6.) Batlag Falls (Taytay, Rizal)
Batlag Falls is about a 20 minute hike from Daranak. Though overshadowed by the bigger and more popular one, I actually find Batlag a lot more charming. The water falls down in a unique mushroom-shaped rock formation, causing its cascade to fall down in a mystical shower that makes the entirety of the falls such a mesmerizing location. It felt enchanted, like it’s inhabited by fairies and other supernatural creatures. With banyan trees surrounding it, it’s like being in a fantasy movie. Length of hike: 20-25 minutes
*To get here, follow the same direction going to Daranak Falls.
7.) Balite Falls (Amadeo, Cavite)
Known mostly to locals, but when I say known, I meant it’s pretty damn popular, Balite Falls in Amadeo, Cavite will make a good stop if you’re ever visiting Tagaytay in the weekdays. I say weekday because weekends just won’t give you a satisfying experience. I remember going to this for the first time a few years ago. It was still somewhat raw and fantastic– but I went recently and was dismayed at how famous its gotten and how modified it has become. So modified that they’ve built a resort in it. It’s still a good spot to check out and perhaps get a refreshing jump out of. It’s a small waterfall, but if you’re a nature lover, you’ll like this one. (READ: Just A Waterfall Away) Length of hike: None, although if you didn’t bring a car, there will be a short 10-minute walk to the entrance.
*I only know how to get here from Tagaytay but there should be a faster way from Laguna. Take a bus to Tagaytay, get off at NBI, take a jeep to Amadeo and ask to be dropped off at the terminal, and then take another jeep to Manggahan where you will be dropped off at Balite Falls.
8.) Magalaslas Falls (Laurel, Batangas)
Another extra I had to add, if you’re visiting Ambon-Ambon Falls, you will definitely not miss Magalaslas Falls. Small, quiet, and unassuming, this waterfall has a better pool than Ambon-Ambon. Length of hike: 15-20 minutes
*To get here, follow the same directions for Ambon-Ambon Falls.
8.5) Extra mini waterfall: Layon Bilog River Mini Waterfalls (Nasugbu, Batangas)
Though not entirely a waterfall, this little hidden gem in my backyard is a pretty cool find. I found out about this river when I hiked Mt. Talamitam (READ: Mt. Talamitam), however, we weren’t able to visit it at the time because we were too tired and it was starting to rain. A couple of weeks later, I went back to check it out and I had so much fun jumping and swimming in the pool. (READ: Layon Bilog River) There are some very tiny cascade formed by the current of the rushing stream which can be quite satiating. Nothing is too special about this river so don’t expect much. But if you’re looking for a quick dip or a little bit of rush, I say go for it. There’s a short hike to get there so be prepared for leg day as you’ll be crossing over rocks and boulders. Length of hike: 20 minutes
*Take a bus to Nasugbu and ask the driver to drop you off at the jump off point for Mt. Talamitam. You don’t need to register if you’re not hiking the mountain, but you can either get a guide to show you the way or you can ask them for directions instead.
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