Visit This National Park In Southeast Asia For Stunning Waterfall Views

If you're a waterfall enthusiast, you've probably already put Niagara Falls, Iguazu Falls, and Victoria Falls on your bucket list. But if you find yourself in Southeast Asia, build up your canoe skills and buy a flight to the Philippines because you absolutely cannot miss out on the country's gorgeous Pagsanjan Falls.

Unlike Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada, where you can reach the cascades by walking along the famous waterside promenade, Pagsanjan Falls, located in Pagsanjan Gorge and Falls National Park, will require some leg work. Casa Marina, a bed and breakfast along the banks of the falls, posted this stunning video to Facebook showing that the only way to reach it is by dugout canoe! Alluding this experience to a scene in Jurassic Park, the business writes that this is how Filipinos have been reaching the iconic falls since it was first discovered in the 19th century, calling it the Philippines' OG tourist destination. 

The canoe ride to the falls lasts about two hours, traversing over 3.1 miles of connecting rivers. The town of Pagsanjan is not far from the capital, Manila, meaning that if you are down for the river adventure, Pagsanjan should be on your itinerary. Here's everything you need to know. 

The canoe ride may not be suitable for young children

Reports that the canoe ride to Pagsanjan Falls is safe for children have been debunked by some people who have made the trip. In a Tripadvisor thread, where a user asked if their children aged 3 and 4 should make the canoe ride, respondents advised against it, noting that the canoe might capsize in the rapids. Yes, you read that right. 

This isn't a leisurely canoe ride along still waters — the canoe trek takes you through 14 different downstream rapids to reach the falls. That's why it appeals to those looking for adventure on their vacation. Southeast Travel Corp General Manager Marlene Insigne told TTG Asia that "Pagsanjan is a must in [foreign toursts'] itineraries... (and) the kind of adventure experience the tourists are looking for."

However, the bamboo raft that gets you to the falls may not be safe for children, and Tripadvisor users suggest it wouldn't be great for youngsters under 12. But one commenter in the thread noted that you won't be alone in the canoe as boatmen and tour operators join you at every step, and you are issued a life jacket and helmet before the trek begins. So, if you're unsure of your kid's swimming skills, maybe leave them at your resort's daycare for this excursion!

The protected region offers scenic views

The canoe ride to the Pagsanjan Falls in the Laguna province becomes even more spectacular as the watercraft glides by mangroves, remote villages, and smaller-scale waterfalls. There's a high chance of spotting exotic birds, monkeys, and a raft of ducks swimming alongside your canoe. The national park is a protected area, about 375 acres, so you can expect some pristine sights and a scenic experience.

The government of the Philippines has invested in this excursion to ensure that it is authentically Filipino. PATA Philippines Chapter Chair Maria Paz Alberto told TTG Asia that "Pangsanjan is definitely a must visit not only for foreign tourists but Filipinos as well. The younger generation does not even know about this beautiful tourist area." To that end, they are focusing not just on the adventure experience but also on the culinary delights you can enjoy along the way and the Filipino-made clothes and textiles to take home as souvenirs. 

Many tour groups operate in the area, including Yolo Travel Philippines, which has a high user review rating on Tripadvisor. Its prices range from around $139 per person for the trek.