The beautiful Hulugan Falls is located at Barangay San Salvador, Luisiana, Laguna. Opened to the public just five months ago, it has already attracted thousands of backpackers from the Metro and Laguna alone. As this was only near Santa Rosa, together with Jacob and his cousins, we went on a quick trip to this majestic beauty.
February 7, 2016 – Monday
We left at 5:30am and arrived at Brgy. San Salvador by 7:00am-ish. We were assigned a tour guide, Ate Beth, upon arrival at the information center. And then paid ₱15 each for the registration at Kap’s(Brgy. Captain) house. She assured us that the trek wasn’t difficult. However, we still needed make-shift poles due to the slippery road ahead.
There are two trails leading to the falls: short but difficult and long but easy. Since it was a shady Monday and it was drizzling from time to time, Ate Beth led us to the latter trail. Good thing I wore sandals because it was already slippery and muddy when we started. Timothy and Simon only wore slippers which made it very difficult they had to continue walking barefoot. Please, please, please do not wear slippers(or white sneakers, hahaha, sneakers in general). Some locals provide boots for rent so I guess you could also try that.
After a short walk, we passed by an ongoing road construction. 🙁 I strongly suggest you visit the place now before it finishes to avoid a bigger crowd. I wish they’d just leave it like that so that visitors would be able to enjoy the muddy adventure it naturally offers.
Ate Beth was right; the trail wasn’t really difficult, more like challenging yet bearable. Average time is 45 mins. but it really depends with the group’s pacing. Going to the falls, we walked for 58 minutes. I think what made it challenging was just the mud but that’s part of the whole experience. As it rained the day before, the mud was really thick like your ideal muffin batter. Halfway through the trek, we needed to leave our poles because the next part was a series of steep steps that ended at the bottom of the falls. There were bamboo hand rails placed (distantly, haha) on each side for support. We could already hear the sound of rushing water getting louder as we descended which made us more excited!
We finally reached the falls after 20 minutes of struggling down, maybe around 8am. The Hulugan Falls didn’t fail us for it was truly beautiful I wanted to cry. Marveling its beauty, all I could say was, “Sheeet. Ang ganda!” An understatement for what we saw. Every angle looked amazing as if everything was perfectly placed around the perimeter. It made me forget the weakness in my knees hahaha!
There was already quite a number of people around the area but we still managed to get a good spot. We left our valuables with Ate Beth by the niche at the left side of the falls while we had a good swim. The water was soooo cold and the wind was strong; we were constantly sprayed with water in the face hahaha. But it’s okay, we did enjoy it anyway. 😀
Here’s a gallery of what we did:
Ascending was harder because the steps were bigger and steeper. Nevertheless, we finished climbing in 15 minutes with our limbs already limping. hahaha. Our trek back to the jump-off only took 35 minutes.
While walking, we got to interview Ate Beth. She shared that her husband is also a tour guide and this is now their main source of income. On some days, she manages to take two trips. And when there is no work, she accepts laundry jobs. To keep the tourism in the area, the tour guides clean around the vicinity and scrub the boulders to prevent moss. For this unforgettable trip, we paid her ₱400. 🙂
We cleaned ourselves nearby the first sari-sari store we saw that offered bathrooms for ₱15, unli-water, men! I was also surprised they had showers at that rate. (I remember during our Batulao dayhike, we only had a pail of water for ₱40.)
We really enjoyed this muddy experience! For less than ₱200 (excluding tollgate fees and gas), we were able to enjoy this hidden gem. This made me wanna visit all the falls around Laguna. 😀 Mondays used to annoy me but this one, I love. <3