If my memory serves me right, it was after graduation from high school when I last visited Taytay Falls in Majayjay, Laguna. I planned to revisit the place several times but things would pop up and I would have forgotten about it. So, when I learned that my brother was off-duty from work one Thursday last July, I asked him to go there with his family. It was so spontaneous that we only had an hour or so to get ourselves ready.
It was almost lunch time when we left Lucena City. The weather changed from sunny to cloudy with a big chance of rain as we passed by the city of Tayabas and it rained as we approached Lucban, Quezon. We took a break for lunch at Isabelito’s, a treat for my brother’s family.
After a hearty meal, we drove through the scenic Lucban-Majayjay road. A few kilometers away from the boundary of Quezon and Laguna provinces we took a left turn near a barangay hall, an uphill drive leading to Taytay Falls. The paved road seemed endless until a sign that said “Taytay Falls” with an arrow pointing to the right. We followed the narrower road until we reached another barangay hall where we paid an environmental fee of twenty pesos per person to access the falls. We parked under a cloudy, gray sky and some coconut trees.
A 15-20 minutes walk on paved trail (depending on how fast one is) led to the waterfalls. Our trek was slower as we kept on stopping for things that caught our interest — some blue dragonflies, the sounds of the birds and insects, the canopy of the forest, the clear stream running along the trail, greeting volunteers who keep the cleanliness of the place, and the obligatory selfies.
Tatay Falls appeared at the end of the trail. It is one of the hundreds of waterfalls cascading from the slopes of the majestic Mount Banahaw. It’s icy cold water drops from a relatively low cliff (about two to three storeys high) and is collected at the basin-like bottom enclosed by a man-made structure. Water spills over the dam-like enclosure forming another cascade that flows downstream, snaking through a river filled with boulders and volcanic rocks.
It was a very calm afternoon. It wasn’t crowded, only a few people where there. The watchmen warned us not to swim close to the falling water as it was deep. There was a thick rope that delineates the swimming area from the raging falls. The water was clean and clear at some points where one can see golden rocks (colored by moss and algae).
For almost three decades from my last visit to Taytay Falls, I am glad that, despite human intervention, the falls and the forest have been kept pristine and lush. It is consoling that, despite the falls’ popularity, the people who visited the place have respected the falls and its environment. The Philippine environment department (ministry) and the local government of Majayjay deserve a pat on their backs for implementing environmental protection laws.
It was half past three in the afternoon when we decided to leave. It was getting darker as if night was falling. We left because we were afraid that the rains would come soon.
It indeed rained hard on our way back but it stopped as we approached Lucban. We took a short stop again and feasted on pansit habhab and street food sold in the town’s plaza.
In my mind, I was already planning of going back. Maybe a longer dip in the water with some friends. And yes, to take better photos.
Some notes on Taytay Falls:
- Taytay Falls is also known as Imelda Falls, after (who else!) the former Philippine first lady. But the name did not hold water (pun intended 😊 ).
- Explore the river, jump over rocks, discover unique flora, listen to the song of the forest, run after blue dragonflies (just don’t hurt them).
- Don’t miss the red hanging bridge.
- Be environmentally conscious and responsible. Bringing in food and drinks is allowed BUT make sure to take trash and leftovers on your way back.
- Food and drinks are available at the stores circling the parking area.
- The place is safe but one should take necessary precaution as the trail, rocks, and boulders can be slippery, particularly on rainy days. Keep kids within your sight.
- Overnight stay options are available: rent a tent or a room in the inns. Tents can also be rented for day trips, or bring and pitch your own tent.
- Warning: the toilets aren’t clean and poorly maintained.
- To get there: From Metro Manila, take a southbound bus to Santa Cruz, Laguna; hop on a jeepney to Majayjay town; take a jeepney bound for Lucban, ask the driver to drop you off at the road leading to Taytay Falls; and hail a tricycle to the falls.
- If coming from Lucena City, take a 45-minute jeepney ride from the Diversion Road terminal (beside Jollibee) to Lucban; get a Majayjay-bound jeep at the public market, ask the driver to drop you off at the road to Taytay Falls; and hop on a tricycle ride to your destination.
- If driving, have a great adventure with Waze or Google Map.
- Take photos. A lot of them.
- Explore the sights, sounds, and tastes of the towns of Laguna and Quezon provinces while there. Enjoy.