Pagsanjan Falls (indigenous name: Magdapio Falls) is one of the most famous waterfalls in the Philippines. Located in the province of Laguna, the falls is one of the major tourist attractions in the region. The falls are reached by a river trip on dugout canoe, known locally as Shooting the rapids, originating from the municipality of Pagsanjan. The boat ride has been an attraction since the Spanish Colonial Era with the oldest written account in 1894. The town of Pagsanjan lies at the confluence of two rivers, the Balanac River and the Bumbungan River (also known as the Pagsanjan River).
The main falls is actually located within the boundaries of Cavinti, Laguna but access by boat originates from the town of Pagsanjan. A move by the ruling body of the town of Cavinti was submitted to the Sangguniang Bayan (legislature of municipalities in the Philippines) on February 10, 2009 proposing the renaming of the falls to Cavinti Falls.
The falls and gorge were declared as a National Park with Proc. 392 on March 29, 1939 and Proc. 1551 on March 31, 1976. The Pagsanjan Gorge National Park covers an area of 152.64 hectares (377.2 acres).
Access to the falls
The most popular way of reaching the falls is through the Shooting the rapids boat ride, which originates from any of the resorts along Bumbungan and Balanac Rivers. Two skilled and licensed boatmen takes one to three passengers on a wooden or fiberglass, long, narrow canoes to the falls, which could take more than an hour of paddling upstream depending on traffic and water level. The journey takes passengers through the narrow and verdant Pagsanjan gorge lined with huge boulders, rocks and small waterfalls.
The ride upstream ends in a natural pool below the falls where an optional raft ride takes visitors through a curtain of cascading water to the Devil's cave behind the falls. The return trip called Shooting the rapids is a thrill ride through fourteen rapids as the skilled boatmen maneuvers the boat through the narrow rocks as it head downstream.
It is also possible to hike the falls from the town of Cavinti. The top of the hidden falls is best viewed from the view deck of Pueblo El Salvador Nature's Park and Picnic Grove in Brgy. Tibatib. To reach the main falls, one has to go down a steep steel ladder, which in one section, goes vertically straight down. A few small falls are also located upriver.