Daniel was stationed in the Philippines for 8 months between 2010 and 2011, and I was actually able to visit him for my Spring Break. While I was there, we went with a tour group to Pagsanjan Falls. I am totally not the type of person to go with a tour guide. That was the first one I've ever been on (unless you count the Jack the Ripper tour in London, but I don't). I'll have to admit, it was pretty awesome.
A 15-passanger van picked us up from our hotel in Manila. We were some of the first people on there so we got to see some sights as we picked up the others. Then we made the 2.5 hour drive to the river. We passed through a bunch of small villages and farm land. It was so beautiful.
When we arrived we were given some pretty sweet helmets and lifejackets. That guy talking in the picture below was the guy who drove us there.
Below was the view from the dock. The boat is the type we were about to hop in.
As we drove up the river we passed by a lot of towns and homes. It was pretty rad to just see people going about their everyday lives. They were fishing, doing laundry, and just playing in the water. This is one of my favorite things about traveling. Sometimes I sit and think about what the people in the places I've visited are doing now... just keepin it real in an amazing piece of Earth.
This was my favorite building we passed. I love anything to do with the Virgin Mary, and this statue was awesome. I loved all the Catholic influence in the Philippines. It reminded me of back home.
I loved the people too. I took a lot of pictures because I never wanted to forget them. I didn't even care if I looked like a stupid tourist.
After we passed all the towns the hilly riverbank turned into steep cliffs. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. It was so obvious how much older this island was than Hawaii. I'll never forget the vibe. Some things you just can't put in words.
We heard the roar of the falls before we saw it, of course. When we turned the bend there were tons of boats docked along the bank. I don't know where they all had come from, but it was pretty crowded. It didn't really take away from the trip, though. It actually kind of made it more entertaining:
When you get to the pond that the water flows into you can take a raft to a cave behind the falls. It is a pretty rickety raft and you get to the other side by pulling a rope rather than rowing.
As we went under the waterfall the force of the water actually kind of hurt. It was so amazing though. That was the first time I had ever been behind a waterfall. I didn't even know we would be able to do so when we signed up for the trip, so it was a pretty amazing surprise. I felt like I was dreaming.
When we got back we snapped a few pictures before we got back on the boat. One bad thing about the trip was that the boat driver was trying to rush us. They get paid by how many trips they take rather than by the hour so he wanted to get us back. (The whole trip took about 3 or 4 hours).
On the way back we passed by this modeling shoot (or something?) on one of the banks. I'm sorry but I couldn't hold my laughter. I don't think they were too happy about that.
There was this super shallow part of the river where the boat driver got out and actually pushed us as he ran along a line of rocks (shown below). I couldn't take a picture when he was actually running though because my camera wasn't waterproof and there was a lot of splashing going on.
When we passed through the towns, merchants in boats would come up to us and try to sell us cokes. They literally hitched their boats to ours and wouldn't leave us alone. I thought this sign was pretty funny:
We passed by this little boy in the middle of nowhere blowing bubbles. At this point I really thought, "This can't be real..."
It was a pretty amazing trip to say the least.