Luisiana: Fall in Love with Hulugan Falls
Luisiana is just a small quaint town in Laguna, but its slowly becoming famous because of its hidden gem, the Hulugan Falls. Though it is already being frequented by the locals, it has been introduced to the world through social media. From then on, it was already featured in various travel shows and other publications. Its convenient accessibility from Manila further made it popular.
The flock would not miss the opportunity for themselves to see this majestic work of God. After having breakfast in our place of stay in Cavinti we took the road leading to Barangay San Salvador. And because Cavinti is just adjacent to Luisiana it took us less than twenty minutes to reach the barangay.
Upon reaching the barangay we are assigned a guide and we were lead to the Barangay Captain’s house to register. We were told to write our names and contact info in case we left our important things behind, or God forbid, something happened to us. The environmental fee is PhP15 per person while having a guide has no fixed fee, or it depends on how much you will give. The discovery of this waterfalls is a great boom for this small town whose livelihood depends mainly on planting crops on the mountains. After registration, we started our journey to Talay Falls. We want to go to Hulugan and Aliw Falls, but according to Jimmy our guide, Aliw is already in a different barangay. He suggested going first to Talay and Hidden Falls before finally heading to Hulugan.
ONE STREAM, THREE FALLS
After half an hour of walking, we stumbled on a small stream. This stream leads to the three falls.
We have no idea why these waterfalls were given different names though its water is sourced from a single stream. The weather is scorching hot during our trip so there are fewer flowing waters and the rocks are not very slippery. According to our guide, during the rainy season, the water current is strong and sometimes overflow the stream.
We went upstream and here we saw the beauty of Talay Falls. Talay has two falls: one is short but wide, only ten feet high, and another one which is narrow but tall, almost 30 feet high. The rocks are covered with green moss that adds to the beauty of the waterfalls. There are cottages built for those who want to take some rest. We did not swim there because according to Jimmy, the waters are a bit deep. Anyway, we reserve the swimming for Hulugan. Though we were awed by its beauty, Jimmy said that this is just a preview (patikim pa lang daw!).
REVEALING HIDDEN FALLS
At the upper part of Talay Falls is another falls. It is called Hidden falls because, obviously, it is hidden, and you have to climb through the large moss-covered boulders to reach it. However, climbing through it has been made more convenient thanks to the ropes that were installed. After less than ten minutes of climbing the falls revealed to us its hidden beauty.
The falls is not accessible as it is surrounded by waters and tall boulders at its sides. Because the place is small there are limited activities that can be done here, so we decided to descend after we take photos.
TREK TO HULUGAN FALLS
After going to the two previous falls we went on our way to the falls that we are yearning to see – the Hulugan Falls. We returned to the road near the stream until we reached the field with a structure that serves as a comfort room. After a little rest, we continued our trek which is almost entirely downwards. The trail is easy to follow, there are pathways and bamboo railings installed along the way. This part of Laguna is known for lanzones, so at the mountains, we can see the lanzones trees. There are also other trees such as rambutan and other fruits. We stopped for a while as one of our companions screamed. It turned out to be a snake. Though its only two feet long, I am about to grab my camera when the reptile quickly went away. We just forgot about it and continued our walk.
MAJESTIC HULUGAN FALLS
After 30 minutes of descending, we reached the base of the falls. The falls is very huge. We awed in extreme wonder and amazement since we haven’t seen any falls this large before. It is almost 90 meters high, almost as high as a 12-story building. According to Jimmy, during the rainy season, the current is strong and it is hard to come close. Because this is the final falls in our very itinerary, we decide to stay much longer here. We camped out in one cave at one side of the waterfalls and went swimming in the falls’ basins. The strong current made us feel as if we are being massaged if we are in position, but we didn’t last long as the waters are very cold.
After a while, a group of tourists led by their respective tour guides started to flock in. According to our guide, they have their most visitors during the recent Chinese New Year, when over two thousand guests visited here. We saw some guides sharing their part in maintaining the cleanliness of the falls, by removing leaves in pools and picking up the trash.
After several hours of swimming, we decided to pack up. As we slowly went away we cannot avoid glimpsing again its beauty.
- It is better to go on weekdays to avoid joining the influx of tourists going here. During weekends and holidays, the roads leading to the falls are filled with tourists’ vehicles.
- As there is no shower room at the falls themselves, you have to go back to the Barangay Hall to have a shower. Some houses are offering showers for a small fee of PhP15.
7:00 – Arrive, Registration at Kap’s House
7:30 – Start trek
8:07 – Arrive at Talay Falls
8:50 – Trek to Hidden Falls
9:00 – Hidden Falls
9:17 – Start trek to Hulugan Falls
10:02 – Arrive at Hulugan Falls
1:20 – Start trek, Ascend
2:20 – Arrive at Kapitan’s House
- Entrance Fee – P15/per person
- Guide – No fixed amount
- Use of CR – P15
- From Cubao, take HM, BLTB, JAC Liner, or any provincial bus bound to Sta. Cruz. Then, from Sta. Cruz’s terminal, ride a jeep going to Lucena, Lucban or Tayabas and inform the driver to drop you at Barangay San Salvador.
Tip: (From Sta. Cruz) If you want to save travel expenses, insist on riding jeep instead of costly tricycle ride.
- (Via SLEX) Travel going to Sta. Cruz, then go straight to Luisiana. Barangay San Salvador is only about few kilometers from the town proper.
- (Via Manila East Road) Here is a more scenic route wherein you will be entering Cavinti via Caliraya before Luisiana (just like our trip).