I’m probably one of the last people among my travel circle to visit Hulugan Falls in Luisiana, Laguna. It was hugely popular in the past 1-2 years and I typically do not like joining the bandwagon (too many people), so I put off my visit until now. With Hali in tow, I joined a DIY trip to Hulugan Falls and two other nearby waterfalls — Talay Falls and Hidden Falls.
Here’s our visit to these waterfalls in Laguna + guide on how you can get here too.
Our waterfalls trip to Laguna
We arrived in Luisiana, Laguna, at about 8AM in the morning. From there, everyone needed to register and join a short orientation on what to expect on the trails to the waterfalls.
We took a tricycle to the jump-off point. We were accompanied by guides and a dog named Pochi — who is admittedly the best trekker among us.
Our first destination: Talay Falls.
It takes 30 minutes of trekking to get to Talay Falls. The trail is easy enough — it starts with concrete stairs and then proceeds right through the forest.
Talay Falls is a 2-tiered waterfall. Swimming here is not advisable since there’s a current that may pull you to the depths. You can only take pictures and appreciate its beauty.
There are bamboo tables beside it where you can leave your items.
Hidden Falls is about 5-10 minutes from Talay Falls. The trail going here is steep and risky. Our guides advised us to leave our stuff in the tables before proceeding, so we left our packed lunch and other unnecessary items and brought only our drybag with the cameras.
In the first part of the trail, we had to climb up one by one, all the while holding onto a rope. Honestly, I wanted to skip going to Hidden Falls when I learned about this. It was more out of laziness than fear, but Hali always pushes me to try new experiences.
After the rope trail, we had to “face the wall” and walk along a cliffside. I’m a minor-experienced trekker so I don’t know how much weight this holds, but this is possibly the most dangerous route I’ve ever taken. There are guides to assist on both ends, but one slip and you’ll fall off to great injury or death — no one has died here yet, by the way.
It was worth it though. Hidden Falls is so beautiful that I don’t know why it’s not talked about as much as Hulugan Falls. It’s tall and there are different streams pouring down into the pool below. It’s not possible to reach the pool below, but you can bath directly under the waterfall streams.
Hidden Falls is named as such because there are boulders on both sides hiding it from full view. Once you get past the cliffside, you can see it in its entirety.
Depending on weather conditions, it may not be possible to visit Hidden Falls due to the slippery rocks.
Hulugan Falls is of course the highlight of our waterfalls itinerary in Laguna. From Talay Falls and Hidden Falls, it’s another 30 minute trek to Hulugan Falls.
The route is relatively easy. We even got to chat on the way there. As it rained the past few days before our visit, the trail was still muddy so we still had to be careful especially as we were on a descent.
There’s an area where we could already see Hulugan Falls and the cave beside it. Then there are boulders and finally Hulugan Falls itself.
Hulugan Falls stands approximately 70 meters high, the tallest waterfall in Laguna province. During rainy season, it’s a massive gush of water which collects to a brownish pool below. It’s surrounded by boulders and potholes of varying sizes which look like small pools themselves.
On the left side of Hulugan Falls, there’s a small cave that serves as respite for people visiting Hulugan Falls.
After we had surveyed the falls, we picked a spot with a good view and ate our lunch. I was really hungry from the trek and knees were complaining from the strain. It was a good idea that we brought rice meals because I needed the energy.
Then Hali went for a swim while I took a rest on the cave. I appreciated the fact that even though we went on a Sunday, there’s just a moderate number of visitors to Hulugan Falls. It’s probably because it was rainy season, but I appreciated the fact that it still felt like a nature attraction instead of a weekend theme park.
The trail back to the jump-off point takes about 20 minutes. It’s rocky and mostly assault, but there are bamboo handrails all throughout so while it’s still tiring, it’s easier than the earlier treks.
How to get here
- From Manila, ride a bus to Sta. Cruz, Laguna (2 hours). Get off at the town proper.
- Ride a jeep bound for Lucena or Lucban and get off at Barangay San Salvador (P30 per person).
- Ride a tricycle to “Kapitan’s house” or simply inform the driver to drop you off at the registration area for Hulugan Falls (P20 per person).
From Hulugan Falls, you can trek to Talay Falls and Hidden Falls.
1 Day Itinerary
Here’s a sample 1-day itinerary for visiting the 3 waterfalls in Luisiana, Laguna (c/o our organizer Peng):
4:30 AM ETD Manila
7:30 AM ETA Luisiana, Laguna
8:00 AM Register and secure guide; ride trike to jump-off point
8:30 AM Start trek
9:00 AM Talay Falls
9:30 AM Hidden Falls
10:30 AM – 12 PM Hulugan falls/lunch
12 – 1 PM Start trek back to jump-off point
1 – 2 PM Wash up
2-5 PM onwards – sidetrip (optional)
5PM ETD back to Manila
8-9PM ETA Manila
Here’s a summary of the trails to the waterfalls:
- From the registration area or parking area, ride a tricycle to the jump-off point (P10 per person).
- From the jump-off point, it takes 30 minutes to reach Talay Falls.
- From Talay Falls, it takes 5-10 minutes to reach Hidden Falls.
- From Hidden Falls, you have to trek back for 30 minutes to reach Hulugan Falls.
Reminders and Tips
- Make sure you are physically fit before you go.
- Use trekking sandals or other durable, non-slippery footwear.
- Bring the following during your trek: dry bag (optional), waterproof camera, bottled water, snacks or trail food, trash bag.
- The latest you can trek to Hulugan Falls is 3PM. You can also stay there overnight as there is a camping site (camping fee: P100) and bathroom available.
- There are plenty of shower rooms and rest rooms at kapitan’s house or parking area.
- After your trek, make sure to buy bibingka from the locals! P100 for 3 pieces including a small woven basket.
If 3 waterfalls in a day isn’t enough, you can also do a side trip in one of these waterfalls:
- Aliw Falls
- Pagsanjan Falls/Cavinti Falls
- Kilangin Falls/Bukal Falls
Aliw Falls is your closest option as it’s also located in Luisiana, but in a different barangay. To get here, you can simply commute via trike (fare is ~P60). You need to register and get a guide (environmental fee: P30, guide fee: P300). Then trek for 30-40 minutes to reach Aliw Falls.
Alternately, here are other places you can visit:
- Batis Aramin Resort
We opted to visit Batis Aramin Resort (day tour fee: P200 per person). Typically, you’d want a full day or overnight here, but if you just want to see the hobbit houses and take a short dip in the pools, 2-3 hours stay is good enough.
Budget and expenses
These are the rates you should take note of (updated as of 2020):
- Registration fee – P30 per person
- Guide fee – P500 for Hulugan Falls only; P600 for the 3 waterfalls (good for 5 people)
- Shower fee – P20 per person
Whether you’re commuting or going via private car, a safe budget would be P1000 per person for a day trip.
Has this guide to chasing waterfalls in Luisiana, Laguna, been helpful to you? Let us know in the comments below!
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Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).