This province stretched along the extensive Laguna de Bay is the home of several hot springs, falls and the enchanting Mt. Makiling. Laguna De Bay is surrounded by public resorts facilitated with swimming pools that have water coming from hot springs, which are jammed-pack by visitors during weekends.
A well-constructed road now circles the bay. Driving down this highway leads you to many interesting spots and stunning views. Pagsanjan is the most famous town. Visitors mainly come for the thrilling river ride between the striking canyon walls to Pasanjan Falls. Two boatmen struggle to push the boat upstream against the strong rapids and head further up until water is calm. This pattern is repeated several times up to the falls. With the skill and strength of the boatmen who were paddling the river all their life, a guide and a pilot will safely guide your journey with a little exciting toss and twist through the torrents as boat speeds upstream. Once you reach the falls, a raft will be chartered to take you a hidden cave behind the cascading water. However, during and after a rainy season, heading to the falls is not possible. And when the river is low, “shooting the rapids” ends up “carrying the banca”. With this, you will be charged more by the boatmen, as they will loudly claim how much work they did during the ride.
Los Banos is another town within Laguna and the jumping-off town if you plan to climb Mt. Makiling. The hike is possible via the access road inside the UP Campus. There is a trail heading to some natural hot springs and to the summit.
Lake Caliraya is a refreshing 2 hour drive from Manila. It is a wide man-made lake that was initially constructed to feed the water of Laguna De Bay. Caliraya nestles amidst coconut palms lined up parallel to each other beautifully sited at the foot of Mt. Banahaw. Exciting water activities are unlimited in the area. Most resorts facilitate boardsailing, windsurfing, jet skiing and wakeboarding at the lake.
Don’t miss a trip to the seven small crater lakes of San Pablo. Lake Sampaloc can be reached easily from the city hall, Lake Mojicap and lake Kalibato are few meters walk from the highway, lake Palakpakin is few meters hike from a provincial road, Lake Yambao and Pandin are accessible through a coconut plantation while Lake Bunot can be reached from a resort. These are nice places of interest but best traveled with a guide.
The trip around Laguna De Bay is much easier nowadays. You can hire a vehicle or take a southbound bus from Cubao that heads to Sta Cruz. Some of it may not continue up to Pagsanjan but there are options along the way. You can easily catch a jeepney from Sta. Cruz that heads further to Pagsanjan. On the other side, some jeepneys ply from Antipolo, Rizal to Sta. Cruz. The ride may take long. So it is best to go around with your own hired vehicle for a hassle-free trip.