Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Summer Mini Adventures: PANGUIL RIVER ECOPARK

The continuation of the mini adventures of The BACKPACKERS this summer...

---nature lovers and/or travel junkies
---wants an accessible and affordable destination
---strolling around to check out the famous spots in our country



A refreshing dip at Panguil River

An hour away from Tanay, Rizal (approximately three hours away from Manila)  is the quaint town of Pangil in the province of Laguna. Who knew that a hidden natural wonder can be found along the town's peaceful roads. After entering Pangil, approximately five minutes away, you will see a marker on the road pointing out the direction to the park. Take a left turn and you will pass by a barangay until the sight of the houses decreases and you will be greeted by the park's admission office.

The signboard

I was imbibed by the courtesy of the local staff and the amusing architecture of the receiving hall for it exceeded my expectations for a small destination in a rustic community. I appreciate the fact that the local tourism of Pangil, Laguna is making a good effort in promoting the natural wonder. The squeamish staff even got to exchange jokes with us as we tell tales of our travel targets that day. Unfortunately we learned that we might not be able to conquer Ambon Ambon Falls due to the continuous rain in the area. But the nice girl on the counter acknowledged the fact that we went there for the falls as well and advised us to check the status of the trail after a couple of hours. Right after the registration, we entered the park.

The BACKPACKERS & friends @ the Panguil tourism office

Just like the other regular wide parks, the place is complete with directions pointing to the destinations that you can find inside. A notable place would be Bollero Dam which is a right turn just a couple of stroll after the gate. Because we had lots of carry on stuffs, we headed for the cottages. While we were following the path to the cottages beside the river, we saw a kiddie pool. The kiddie pool is your regular pool with tinted blue water thanks to the tiles. There is a jacuzzi-type pool beside it with a seemingly river water on it. It was colorless when we entered. Soon after the kids plunged into it, it turned murky brown!

The cottages beside the river

We opted for the cottages at the other side of the river so we crossed the bridge which has an 'Under Repair' signboard at that time. Crossing the bridge tends to get a little shaky but it seemed sturdy enough despite the 'Under Repair' warning. We met the caretakers of the cottages who confirmed that the trail to Ambon Ambon Falls was impenetrable. The said 30-minute hike involves river crossings and due to the rainfall during the past days, the river became swollen and had obstructions. The caretaker expressed that even the locals who surveyed the area had a difficult time inspecting the trail. We accepted the fact that it was not the best time to meet Ambon Ambon Falls. Maybe next time!

at the riverside

There are several cottages lined up on both sides. The river is slightly modified to create a division per three cottages that seemed like layers of pool harboring a cool rushing water. We prepared our hearty lunch - the always present hotdog, bagoong and adobo special thanks to Louie's mom! Louie has been a great companion of The BACKPACKERS, we met him first at Mt. Bungkol Baka and at Mt. Tagapo. Thanks a lot Mrs. Baccay! There was a slight concern that bothered us while we were enjoying our savory lunch - there were flies everywhere! To those who are planning to visit the park, make sure you prepare for these as they are everywhere once you put your food at the cottage's table!

Flies everywhere!

It was time to dip at the river! It was greenish at that time, remnants of the rapids that washed away the greens at the upper portions of the river due to the heavy rainfall in the area. It was very cold as well but once you fully dip in the water, your body will get used to it. It was invigorating to bathe in a natural place like this. Despite the commercialization and the modification around, the river itself is a raw product of Mother Earth. 

BP Angel and the borrowed floater

All in all, the place provides a cool escape where you can be one with nature and at the same time have the comfortable amenities that separate the ecopark from the other unsupervised outdoor destinations. In my humble opinion, the local tourism authorities of Pangil do not need to push hard in order to transcend luxury and attract big time tourists to visit the place. What's beautiful in Panguil River Ecopark is the opportunity to embrace the raw beauty of nature. The most important thing is the continuous management to make sure the place is not being abused by campers and the ceaseless preservation of the place. 

The BACKPACKERS @ Panguil River Ecopark

Due to the fact that we can not trudge all the way to Ambon Ambon Falls, we wrapped up our stay at Panguil River Ecopark earlier, just after two hours of enjoying its refreshing natural water.

BP Chons - last pose before waving goodbye to the park

And our next destination: the scenic man made lake in the Philippines! A man made lake? Yes! It is nestled high above the province of Laguna overlooking the prominent Laguna Lake. Next stop: Caliraya Lake!



PART 3: PANGUIL RIVER ECOPARK    <--Article Feature

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