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Thursday, June 03, 2010

Getting High at Majayjay » Taytay Falls, Laguna Escapade

Our original plan for the weekend was to have a barkada picnic at La Mesa Eco Park in Quezon City but decided a group hitch with Anjo’s friends at Majayjay Falls Laguna. I’ve never been there and I only know the place because my friends told me that “Tabing Ilog,”
the ABS-CBN television drama series from 1999 to the early 2000s, which I like watching on its first year, and tagged as the Philippine version of Dawson’s Creek, was shot mostly on that place. We also got excited because they said that it is not a place with nice comfortable resorts but a rainforest camping-survival gig. Therefore, aside from my usual travel stuff, I also packed a blanket and a small pillow.

So, how high is Majayjay?

Majayjay is a municipality in the province of Laguna, Philippines. It is located at the foot of Mt. Banahaw, and stands 1,000 feet above sea level. It is bounded by the municipality of Majayjay on the north, by Lucban in Quezon province on the south, by Luisiana on the east, and by Liliw on the west.


Cool Info: “Majayjay” was derived from the word “Ma” which means many. Some say that in the old days, to reach this town of hilly terrain, one had to pant, saying “hay, hay” and later the name became Majayjay. Cool eh? If the Jejemons will make this place their official hometown, and I suggest they must, they will be called “Hehemons.”

 
The place is 120 kms south of  Manila and we left at around 2:00 pm, but because of the damned heavy traffic, we endured a butt-aching 4 to 5-hour ride to reach the place and it was already dark when we got there. The place was already crowded with other campers and it’s hard scouting in the dark so we didn’t got a nice secluded spot to put up our tents. We just decided to settle near the river and immediately set campfire to cook our “survival” dinner - 1 pc. very small eggplant, 1 hotdog and a slice of tilapia for each of us. Anjo didn’t warn us that her friends also planned this as a survival-of-the-stomach camping gig. Although there are sari-sari stores in the jump-off area, which also served as the parking lot, it’s a kilometer away from our camp and the trail is steep and dark plus we are all exhausted from the trip. It’s a good thing we have leftover biscuits with us.

 After dinner, our group just enjoyed nice bottles of vodka and beer in the river against our flickering campfire till daybreak. We had nice loud talks and whatever it is we talked about, I can’t remember because I really got drunk and cut myself at the back. It is nice place to get drunk because if you need to immediately get sober, just dive on the icy waters - hang-over is also not a problem.

   
Majayjay Falls, Taytay Falls or Imelda Falls?

Well it’s confusing. I was told that we are going to Majayjay Falls, but I discovered that Majayjay is the name of the municipality where the falls is located and the falls is actually named Taytay Falls. If it’s your first time there and you asked for direction, it’s better if you will asked for Taytay Falls, although others call it Majayjay Falls.


So where the hell is Imelda Falls? Well, if Cavinti, Laguna has the Pagsanjan Falls, Majayjay has the Taytay Falls which is also called Imelda Falls, because ex-First Lady Imelda Marcos financed the promotion of tourism in this place. Never get fooled because Majayjay Falls, Taytay Falls and Imelda Falls are just one same falls. It is the 7th of a series of Falls that form the Dalitiwan River which eventually joins the Pagsanjan and Sta. Cruz Rivers, the two largest tributaries of the Laguna Lake.


It is a two-storey high falls located in a remote scenery inside a tropical rainforest. To reach Taytay Falls or whatever you want to call it, you have to go down the stone steps leading to a kilometer-long cemented foothpath; with clear water flowing in a stream beside it against big boulders covered by green moss held tightly by roots of lush trees. 

Camping near Taytay Falls is a cool experience – because of the cold waters of the falls perhaps: But I must repeat – very very cold, it’s like swimming in ice water, really good for hangover.

What to expect in the area.

» Entrance Fee:  35.00 Pesos per head
» Sari-sari stores, carinderia and videoke bar at the jump-off (but I suggest you bring your own food. Bottled water is available at the stores.)
» Comfort rooms and shower rooms at the camp site
» For overnight stay, you have to bring your own tent, camping gear and whatever-things-you-need.

» Cooking and campfire is allowed at the camping sites.
» The place is not for senti-type, stare-at-the-view-and-unwind person because the place is crowded and noisy as locals and visitors spend the night there, drinking and littering especially on weekends.
» The best way to enjoy the place is to bring cool friends or family and have quality bonding moments.
» Perfect place to enjoy booze and tell all your contempt and hatred against your boss, your company, the whole world, or even your friends who are there – Don’t worry the icy water will eventually cool everything down when things get heated.
» If you want to avoid the crowd, plan a hiking spree, but you really need hiking gears and experienced hikers to accompany you.   

Irresponsible tourism

The place definitely needs urgent protection from the threat of irresponsible tourism. Campers and other visitors just left their trash on riverbanks and camping sites even directly on the river itself. They are allowed to take full bath in the river – with their shampoo, soap and even brushing teeth. Too many campfires also have a direct effect on the forest for sure.

Policies and rules must be strictly imposed on all visitors. I hope local officials will craft better policies to improve the protection efforts of Majayjay waters.

Majayjay really get me high

It’s been a long time since I last saw fireflies. I used to play with these when I was a kid and the experience of seeing them again at Majayjay bring back those carefree feelings when I was a kid, and life isn’t complicated yet – enough to de-stress me. The place is also very much like Calawagan Mountain River Resort, my favorite place in our town.

With cool friends, cool water, nice booze hit and a nostalgic rainforest (with fireflies) – I can say that it was a perfect weekend and yes, Majayjay really get me high!


IF YOU WANT TO GO ON TREKKING IN LAGUNA OR ALSO WANT TO SEE BURUWISAN FALLS CHECK THIS OUT:
Mt. Romelo (Famy) Laguna Hiking » How to Torture Yourself to a Trek and Be Happy About It 

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More Majayjay pictures CLICK HERE

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Sources of Facts and Citations:
» Wikipedia Article "Majayjay, Laguna" [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majayjay,_Laguna]
» All photos are from the author
Disclaimer: Information such as entrance fee, amenities and what you can do in the area  are correct at the date of posting. I work hard to try to ensure my articles remain up to date. Unfortunately local policies are always in transition and changes happen without prior notice. With the sheer number of articles on this blog it will not always be possible for me to update everything instantly unless I am made aware of an inaccuracy directly. I therefore cannot accept liability for any out of date or inaccurate information that may change or prove inaccurate after the initial creation date of the article. Thank you for visiting my blog.
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About the Blogger

Yodi Insigne
Yodi de Veas Insigne is one of those delusional sorts who imagines himself a useful contributor to the greater blogosphere (Well, that's what he's trying to accomplish).

He started blogging for three reasons:

1. He always felt he has something important to say,
2. Books can make him cry,
3. He want to sleep at night.

He is a certified bookworm, travel junkie, shutterbug, movie freak, Mangyan freethinker who sleeps a lot and think a lot. He got a little vice, which is black coffee and cashew nuts. He got colorblindness on yellow and green - and he freaking loves it!

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